The Jefferson County Teachers’ Association held a meeting on Monday, Nov. 25 in the freshman cafeteria to discuss the problems with the Kentucky Teacher Retirement System’s allotment of funds for retired teachers and teachers who will retire. The retirement fund, which provides retired teachers in Kentucky with monthly income, will run out in the year 2036 due to lack of saving since the recession.
“The Kentucky Teacher Retirement System (KTRS) needs $400 million each year for the next ten years to remain solvent due to years of the state legislature not making its required contributions to the system,” said Brent McKim, president of JCTA. “While this is a huge amount of funding, if the legislature acts now, the problem can be fixed.”
The state government is required by law to fund the KTRS. If the state legislature fails to act quickly, all current and former teachers in Kentucky will be negatively affected. Retired teachers could lose their income, and teachers who have yet to retire would be at risk for receiving income.
“I think all government employees should have the same retirement benefits and the funds should all come out of the same pot,” said Ms. Geary (Mathematics). “I don’t think it’s fair that the people making the laws get guaranteed retirement funds, an office, secretary, and transportation whereas teachers who have to buy most of their own supplies, make their own coffee, and make lesson plans and work 27-30 years have their retirement money in jeopardy.”
The only way Kentucky legislators could legally circumvent adding money to the fund would be to make a Constitutional amendment.
“My biggest concern is that the state of Kentucky renege on their agreement to help fund pensions. It would take a constitutional amendment to not fund our pensions, but I think that if they get too far behind they may turn to that as an option,” said Mr. Holman (Social Studies).
“The retirement security for all teachers in the Commonwealth will be in jeopardy and the taxpayers of the state could be left to pick up the bill if Kentucky defaults on this state obligation,” said McKim.
You can call the legislative message line at (800) 372-7181 to ask your legislators to make KTRS funding a top priority in the state budget during the upcoming legislative session.