Retirement Overhaul Creates Uncertain Future for School Employees

Proposed changes in retirement are unneeded, threaten school employees’ retirement security...


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TALLAHASSEE – The Florida Legislature is debating proposals this session that are not only unnecessary changes to basket filled with eggsa healthy Florida Retirement System, but also threaten to jeopardize the retirement security for teachers and education staff professionals, a Florida Education Association (FEA) officer said today.

“After a lifetime of service to Florida communities, our teachers and education staff professionals shouldn’t have to worry about retiring into poverty,” said FEA Vice President Joanne McCall. “Legislators need to leave the FRS alone.”

Students seeking careers in education are having second thoughts about teaching in Florida. Sammy Jones shares his concerns.


McCall said that 49.8 percent of the members of the Florida Retirement System are teachers and education staff professionals. And of that number, 79 percent are women. She said women, who live longer and will need retirement benefits longer, are more likely to interrupt their careers to be primary caregivers for children and the elderly – and that results in less money saved for retirement.

                     Teaching in Florida-Look at the Numbers 87%
FRS liability currently funded
(80% is considered actuarially sound) (1)
1% Amount of Florida’s budget going to
Unfunded Actuarial Liabilities (when it’s funded) (2)
$2.5 billion Business tax breaks over the next three years (3)
17% Percent of Floridians who believe the cost
to taxpayers for teacher retirement benefits
is too high (4)
6th Florida’s school performance ranking according to
Education Week “2013 Quality Counts” report (5)
45th National ranking of Florida’s average teacher salary (6)
-$10,000 Average Florida teacher salary below national average (7)
27,000 Number of new students projected for 2013-14 (8)
$22,800 Projected annual retirement for a new teacher
entering the FRS Defined Benefit Plan (9)
$14,400 Projected annual retirement for a new teacher
entering the FRS Defined Contribution Plan (10)
(assuming 2%
pay raise per year; meeting or
beating market expectations)
$15,282    133% of Federal Poverty Level; currently qualifies
or Medicaid (11)
49.8% Florida’s teachers and education staff professionals
make up almost half – 49.8 percent – of the total system
membership of the Florida Retirement System.
Of the 49.8 percent – 79 percent are women. (12)
????? How much less does Florida want to pay teachers?
1- Florida State Board of Administration, Investment Report 2013
2- The Florida Channel, Will Weatherford’s opening day remarks, March 5, 2013,
http://www.stateofflorida.com/Portal
3- Tampa Bay Times, “Lobbying pays Off Big
for Business in 2012”, March 11, 2012
4- Hamilton Campaigns statewide poll,
December 2012
5- Education Week “2013 Quality Counts
Annual Education Ranking of the States”
6- NEA Teacher Rankings
7- NEA Teacher Rankings
8- 2013 Chair’s Proposal, Senate Education Appropriations
9- Estimate; Florida Division of Retirement
10- Estimate; Florida Division of Retirement
11- Medicaid.gov/eligibility;
http://www.familiesusa.org/resources/tools-for-advocates
/guides/federalpoverty-guidelines

12- Florida Department of Education

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