Cuesta administrators to draft employee retirement plan

Cuesta College trustees on Wednesday directed administrators to draft a retirement incentive program to help reduce employee costs and come back with a plan on how to replace those employees and balance the college's budget.

The financial incentive to retire early or separate from the college will come before the trustees one more time in May 5 for final approval.

Administrators say the plan could save the college, which faces at $3.7 million deficit next year, about $1.2 million annually in the long term.

“I think this can be a win-win for the district,” said Pat Mullen, president of the Cuesta College Board of Trustees. “For it to be viable, it would have to be a win both ways.”

All employee groups — including teaching, classified and management— will be eligible for the offer, but college administrators will ultimately decide who received the offer based on the candidate pool.

Under the current proposal, an employee would collect 80 percent of this year’s salary over a five-year period. Employees will also have the option of “separating” from the college and not retiring – allowing them to return as part-time faculty or teach at another college.

The last time Cuesta College offered an early retirement incentive was in 2003.