WUSD offers incentives to early retirees

Woodlake Unified offers one-time incentives to employees retiring this school year

WOODLAKE – Retirement just got a lot sweeter for a select group of workers in Woodlake. The Woodlake Unified School District (WUSD) is offering a one-time early retirement incentive program for any employee planning to retire between now and the end of the school year.

If an employee plans to retire, they will receive a one-time payment of $5,000 if they notify the district by Jan. 11, 2021 or $2,500 if they notify after Jan. 11 but before Feb. 5, 2021. In order to be eligible for the program, the employee has to be 60 years old by June 30, 2021 and have at least 20 years of full-time service to WUSD. Once they notify the district of retirement, the decision is permanent.

The program was passed unanimously at the Nov. 18 board meeting and a memo was sent out notifying teachers a day later. The district is hoping to have a better sense of which employees they will have to replace for next year. Normally, they don’t find out who is retiring until the end of a school year. According to superintendent Laura Gonzalez, this program will help her follow through on her commitment to hire the best staff for students, regardless of position.

“In order for us to find the best for our kids is to hire early. It helps to know when folks are planning to retire so we can position ourselves to hire sooner and hire the most qualified candidates,” Gonzalez said.

WUSD employees who plan to retire early will benefit because they normally wouldn’t receive this incentive. This is a one-time deal by the district to see if it will work as planned. They will assess how this program will affect them fiscally and evaluate if it is something that will be offered in the future.

Gonzalez said the ongoing pandemic did not play a role in the creation of this program, and it would have been offered despite the circumstances.

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