By Miriam Raftery
April 19, 2014 (Alpine)—Tom Pellegrino, retiring Alpine Union School District Superintendent, will receive a $10,000 retirement incentive.
In a letter to AUSD board President Eric Wray, Pellegrino stated that he would step down on September 30, contingent upon receiving the $10,000 retirement incentive.
That incentive was negotiated into the latest contract with Alpine teachers, who went out on strike briefly earlier this year.
According to Lou Russo, an Alpine parent, Pellegrino pushed to expand the retirement incentive to include district management as well as teachers. Russo obtained evidence of the buyout in response to a public records request he submitted to the district asking if Pellegrino received a buyout or “golden parachute.”
Russo observed, “It was designed to reduce the cost of the district by having teachers resign and lower the number of teachers or replace expensive teachers with less expensive teachers. In his case, it doesn't save the district a penny...it will have to hire a new superintendent to replace him...and he was a newbie...so he was bottom of the scale.”
But board member Glenn Dickie offers a different account, noting that the retirement incentive was part of the negotiated settlement with ATA.
He advised ECM that "$10,000 is hardly a golden parachute for the teachers let alone the administrative staff. It has always been my intention to have the terms of the ATA settlement extended to include ALL administrative staff as well as the teachers. The purpose was to align the benefit caps and salary adjustments to the admin staff, a shared pain approach. The retirement incentive happened to be a component of the overall ATA settlement aligned with administrative staff."
That said, he added, "I can assure you I was blindsided when the Superintendent took the incentive."
Pellegrino has previously stated that he is retiring to move with his family to move with his family to Costa Rica, as ECM reported.
The documentation including the ATA collective bargaining agreement, alignment to management staff as well as the MOU with ATA are all public documents and can be viewed below:
Regular Meeting - March 13, 2014 https://docs.google.com/document/d/1TaedOuLOfuQk_phG6lHmmlm0SW299qv9uIcRGxxxpN8/edit?pli=1
Action 11.0 ACTION CALENDAR
Regular Meeting - April 24, 2014 https://docs.google.com/document/d/1dfXU6M2OU6u9Tjzfi_hAow5ELtWbqFn_Z-cHWML83hM/edit?pli=1
Action 9.0 ADOPTION OF THE CONSENT CALENDAR (continued)