Teri Essex retired a year earlier than planned when she was offered $56,000 to leave her elementary-school teaching job in Elk Grove, California.
Instead of accepting a salary cut, larger classes and less money for supplies from spending reductions made last year by California lawmakers closing a $19 billion budget deficit, Essex, 60, took the money over nine years to retire in 2010 after 21 years of teaching.
“The financial buyout was a no-brainer,” said Essex, whose school was 15 miles (24 kilometers) outside Sacramento. Even though she’ll give up about $300 monthly by quitting early, she said, “Once you start thinking about retiring, it was like, ‘Oh yeah, I want to do this.’”
California, Florida and Texas are seeing more retirements as rising benefit costs, pay cuts and looming furloughs prompt workers to leave. Inducements to quit early also boosted departures in New York as U.S. states tackled budget gaps totaling more than $540 billion since fiscal 2009, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. In New Jersey, Wisconsin and Ohio, added motivation came from attacks on unions over costs that strained budgets.
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