Which Georgia school teacher retirement plan will you support?
Georgia’s public school teachers retirement plan is set to expire next year, leaving teachers scrambling to figure out how to survive without paying back a portion of their pensions.
The state has offered teachers a choice between a $2,500 annual annuity or a $100,000 plan that would allow teachers to keep working for up to 35 years and still have enough money to live comfortably.
But some teachers have expressed concerns about whether that plan is worth the extra expense.
Here’s what you need to know about Georgia’s teacher retirement plans.
Georgia’s teachers retirement plans expire in 2021.
(Photo: File / Associated Press)Georgia’s teachers pension plan will be up for renewal in 2021, but it’s not yet clear what the state plans to do with it.
State Sen. Jason Rapert, R-Granbury, said the state will offer teachers an annuity of up to $2.50 million.
That’s up from the $1.75 million offered to teachers in 2020, he said.
Rapert’s bill would not cover teachers who retire before 2021, meaning the state would still be obligated to pay for the teacher’s retirements.
The new plan also would require teachers to pay the same amount to retirees every year, though Rapert says that would not apply to retirees in the classroom.
Rapet, who represents a district in Georgia’s northern part, said teachers should be able to retire with full pensions.
He added that it is a bad idea to have the teachers pension fund be so dependent on an investment that teachers will be able only to pay into it for about 20 years.
Raport has been trying to pass a bill to make teachers retirement accounts fully dependent on the state pension.
But state Sen. Josh Stein, D-Atlanta, has blocked the measure from becoming law.
Georgia teachers have been left scrambling as the state tries to balance its budget.
Georgia has been one of the biggest beneficiaries of federal stimulus money, which has helped keep its public schools operating, but Rapert said the federal government will have to pay its bills to teachers if they are not working for state governments.
“If we can’t keep them, we’re going to be cutting back,” Rapert told The Associated Press.
Georgia Public Schools is the state’s largest school district.
The district has more than 1,100 schools and more than 700,000 students.
The teachers pension is considered one of its most valuable assets.
Georgia currently offers a pension to teachers that can be used for any period of service, including those working at a state-funded institution.
But Rapert wants to make that pension more reliable and better value for taxpayers.
Raperts bill also would set up a fund for teachers to make contributions into when they retire.
He says that will help ensure that teachers’ pensions are safe and that taxpayers won’t have to foot the bill for their retirement expenses.
The plan also includes an income-contingent plan that allows teachers to choose their retirement income.
But a number of teachers have questioned whether the income-based plan is fair to them.
In 2018, the state reported $1 billion in revenue from the income plan, while the income tax plan collected $1 million.
The pension plan would be one of many that teachers may have to contribute to if they wanted to maintain their current retirement benefits.