A one-time incentive program to encourage early retirement will save Santa Monica College (SMC) millions in long-term costs according to a presentation at the recent Board of Trustees meeting.

The Board evaluated the Supplemental Retirement (SRP) plan this month to see how much money SMC has been saved since implemented last year. Chris Bonvenuto, director of fiscal services at SMC, presented the board with a slideshow detailing the program.

SMC President Kathryn Jeffrey initially recommended the plan due to the decrease in student enrollments, leaving the college looking for ways to reduce their budget. The recommendation stated that employees must be at least 55 years old, with a minimum of five years of district service, in order to be eligible for the SRP. Eligible employees must have retired from district employment on or before December 31, 2017.

The faculty members who choose to take the supplemental retirement plan will receive 75-percent of their 2017-18 annual salary through a fixed sum.

A total of 78 employees voluntarily took the plan after enrollment opened on Sept. 1, 2017, leaving 43 temporary backfill employees for the 2017-18 school year. Thus far, 29 permanent hires have been approved, according to the slideshow. Bonvenuto concluded that the SRP evaluation update proved to be a “successful” resolution, because “when you bring it all together, we’re looking at $1.1 million savings this year, which is right in line with what we were expecting. $4.1 million savings next year. Again, very positive.”

The Board of Trustees unanimously passed the SRP plan in a November 7 meeting last year but wanted a report showing projections of significant monetary savings for the college if the plan is implemented.

The meeting also consisted of SMC Police Department Chief Johnnie Adams presenting a slideshow detailing SMC’s current and future emergency preparedness activities, such as what emergency protocol demonstrations are up and coming for the faculty members at the college. SMC also planned to have an amphitheater no later than July 1, 2018, as the proposed action item: memorandum of understanding with Shakespeare Center Los Angeles passed unanimously.

The next Board of Trustees meeting is scheduled to take place on April 3.

This story is printed as part of a partnership between the SMC Corsair Student Newspaper and the Santa Monica Daily Press.

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