Ryan Hagen, Staff Writer
Posted: 04/27/2012 07:31:51 PM PDT

SAN BERNARDINO – Associate Superintendent Mel Albiso, a 22-year veteran of the school district who in recent years was sometimes the target of heavy criticism from employees, has accepted an early retirement offer.

Albiso, 56, will retire at the end of the school year and receive an annuity for five years based on his salary of $151,188 per year.

The school board made the offer, known as a Supplemental Early Retirement Plan, or SERP, to all employees of the San Bernardino City Unified School District as a cost-saving measure to reduce the number of employees and minimize layoffs.

“I’ve been contemplating retirement, and I think this is what’s best for the kids and the district,” Albiso said. “It was never my intent
to stick around too much longer.”

The board accepted Albiso’s offer April 3.

That’s less than a year after Albiso accepted last year’s SERP but was lured back when board members offered 7percent compensation increases to him and John Peukert, assistant superintendent of facilities and operations, to prevent their retirements.

The district needed their experience and would spend more if they gave SERPs to the two administrators and hired replacements, the six board members who approved that deal argued amid heavy criticism at the time.

All of the four members who remain on the board and Danny Tillman, the only member to vote against it, were unavailable or declined to comment on the changed circumstances this year.

Albiso said Friday that top administrators hired in the summer of 2011 now had the experience to lead the district effectively.

“I think they’ll be fine,” he said. “They have some new assistant (superintendents) in, and that’s what they told me, is they wanted some cabinet-level stabilization.”

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