SOUTH KINGSTOWN – Some of the school committee members feel the pension system is being resolved on the backs of the teachers. At Tuesday night’s meeting they tabled voting on a resolution to the next meeting so that they could craft one more specific to their concerns, including raising the retirement age to age 67.
The school committee was set to vote on a resolution that asks the Rhode Island General Assembly to enact reforms to the pension system that mitigate the cost to school districts and cities and towns, but after discussion, the school committee tabled the resolution until they could craft one that includes their concerns and until all members were present. Committee members Liz Morris and Richard Angeli Jr. were absent Tuesday night.
Like the teacher’s union, NEASK, some members of the school committee felt the proposed state pension plan revealed to the General Assembly last Tuesday should not eliminate the cost of living adjustments or raise the retirement age for teachers to age 67.
Last Tuesday, the General Assembly gathered in a historic one-day special legislation where Governor Lincoln Chafee and General Treasurer Gina Raimondo proposed a new hybrid plan that combines a traditional pension guarantee with a 401(K)-style plan, a suspension of cost-of-living increases for Rhode Island’s retired government workers for up to 19 years, and a higher retirement age up to 67 years old for current workers 51 years of age to save the state from its only 48 percent funded pension system and $7 billion unfunded liability.
School Director of Administrative Services John Ritchotte said the school district could save $2.8 million next year in pension costs if the proposed legislation passes the General Assembly. The pension rates will remain at the current rate.
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