HARRISBURG – As the General Assembly kicks-off the budget season by diving headfirst into pension reform this week, PennCAN released its latest report, which examines how PA’s pension crisis is impacting school districts and how teachers fair under this system. Below is a statement on the report and its findings from PennCAN’s Executive Director, Jonathan Cetel:
“In PennCAN’s report – PA Pension Benefits Don’t Add-Up For Teachers And Taxpayers – we took a look at PA’s pension crisis through the lens of education to explore how rising pension costs are impacting the financial stability of our 500 school districts. Here’s what we discovered:
- In the 2016-17 budget, the General Assembly approved $673 million in new education spending – of which 51% bypassed the classroom and went to fund the pension system.
- From 2010 to 2015 pension costs for school districts increased by $1.8 billion (261%).
- The increased pension obligations have crowded-out spending on educational programs for students, including: CTE programs (down 3.8%); funding for libraries (down 6.2%); and after-school programs (down 47%).
PA’s teachers work tirelessly on behalf of PA’s students and deserve retirement security. Unfortunately, our report shows that today’s teachers are not actually reaping the benefits of PA’s pension system:
- 65% of teachers move out of the state or leave the teaching profession before vesting (10 years) and do not benefit from PA’s pension system at all.
- Of the PA teachers entering the profession at age 25, only .52% are projected to remain in the public education system until normal retirement age (60-years-old) and collect their full benefits from PSERS.
We urge lawmakers and the Governor to review the findings in our report as they get set to consider the legislation before them this week. It is my hope that by addressing the pension crisis we can move PA in a direction where the pension system meets the needs of the school districts who want fiscal stability and the teachers who deserve retirement security.”
To read the full report go to: https://penncan.org/research-showcase/pa-pension-benefits-dont-add-up-for-teachers-and-taxpayers/