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Retiring teachers save jobs

Four instructors' jobs are saved
By: Joyia Emard, Loomis News Staff Writer
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Four pink-slipped Loomis teachers won’t be losing their jobs after all, now that five veteran teachers have accepted a retirement incentive package. The Loomis Union School District had already extended a golden handshake offer to teachers. Recently, the district sweetened the deal by adding a one-time payment of $10,000 and agreeing to pay for medical insurance until the retirees reach age 65. Five teachers accepted the offer. “I feel good about it,” said H. Clarke Powers teacher Debbie Newton, who is retiring after 36 years in the classroom. “It’s a good deal that works for me and I look at is as giving a young person a job,” Newton said. Besides Newton, the other retiring teachers are Murray Mulvaney, Kathy Gosch and Lou Ferguson from Placer Elementary School, and Peggy Stare from Powers School. Jay Stewart, assistant superintendent of finance, said the retirements won’t initially save the district a lot of money – only a total of $16,000 the first year because of the one-time cash payments. He said he expects that $100,000 will be saved over a three-year period. “This wasn’t necessarily about saving money, it was about saving jobs,” said District Superintendent Paul Johnson. “Those who were pink-slipped are incredible teachers,” he added. Amy Toth, of Loomis, is the parent of two elementary school children, and said she feels good about the retirement deal. “If the teachers can retire early and feel good about it, then I think that’s great. They deserve it,” Toth said. She also said she’s very happy for the young teachers who will get to keep their jobs. In March, 21 Loomis teachers, including all of the physical education and music teachers, received notice that they may not be rehired for the 2010-11 school year. The five retirements still leave 16 new teachers wondering if their jobs can be saved. District families and the Loomis Basin Education Foundation have rallied to save the physical education program, and Johnson said another group of volunteers is mobilizing to save music. “Both the PE and music programs are very important,” Newton said. Johnson said that pink-slipped teachers will be rehired according to seniority, but a number of teachers were hired on the same day and of those other criteria will be considered. Contract mediation between the teachers union and the school district, which could provide savings to bring back more teachers, is ongoing. “The only way I can see getting through this is by sharing the pain,” said Mike Edwards, school board member.