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Orange County Focus

NEWPORT BEACH : District Offers Early Retirement Package

January 22, 1992|LISA MASCARO

Several management employees in the Newport-Mesa Unified School District are expected to take advantage of an early retirement package being offered by the schools as part of a cost-cutting plan.

The retirement packages are offered to management employees over age 55; they give retiring employees a portion of their annual income on a one-time basis plus their pension, said Assistant Supt. Thomas A. Godley.

Godley said three people have expressed an interest in participating, and he expects several others to sign up later. He would not estimate how much the district could save with the plan. Last year, the district saved $75,000 through early retirements by management personnel.

The deadline for management employees to apply for the deal is March 31.

The district is likely to issue a similar package for other employees, including teachers, later this year.

Godley said the district hopes to keep vacant as many posts as possible to reduce payroll costs. The district wants to lower expenditures in anticipation of next year's budget cuts.

"That's one of the reasons we're doing it, to scale down operations," Godley said.

Earlier this school year, the district was unexpectedly hit with a $4-million shortfall that left administrators scrambling to adjust the budget.

Unlike most schools in the county, Newport-Mesa receives only basic aid from the state and relies on property taxes for the bulk of its funding. Delinquent tax payments and lower housing values left the district with less funds than it had projected.

While estimates are not available for next year's tax returns, district officials are trying to cut back on some operations in case the trend continues.

"It's just one of those things we have done periodically to assist our senior employees with retirement," said school board President Forrest K. Werner. The board unanimously approved the plan at its meeting last week.

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