Legislature Changes Teacher Retirement Benefits - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

6/20/05

Legislature Changes Teacher Retirement Benefits

While there is still work to be done in the special session, one thing is for sure. The state's teacher retirement system is changing. NewsChannel 11 talked with local educators to find out whether it's for better or worse. They tell us it is the lesser of two evils.

Governor Perry signed a bill into law this weekend that will reduce some teacher pensions. Under the bill, the youngest two-thirds of teachers in the system will see slightly reduced pensions, school districts are barred from offering early retirement, and the retirement age for educators hired after September 1st, 2007 will go up to 60-years-old from 55. It's all an attempt to fix an $11 billion shortfall in the teacher retirement system.

Local educators say the plan is better than letting TRS fail, but they feel they're footing the bill when the state should be increasing it's contribution. Cherie Jenkins, President of the Lubbock Educators Association says, "We're having to pay more in and the school district is paying more in and the school district gets the money from what they would have compensated us with.. So from both places we're losing."

Senator Robert Duncan fought for the new plan, and educators respect him for doing that because they say the alternative is no retirement at all. His plan will add about $455 million to the system each year. TRS has also changed some of its investments to make up for the rest of the shortfall.

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