Pension changes may swell teacher retirements

Associated Press


A wave of teacher retirements in Ohio could be coming in the next few months.

Changes in retirement rules will give teachers across the state a strong incentive to retire by July 1, The Columbus Dispatch reported.

Teachers who retire in the first half of 2013 will begin receiving 2 percent cost-of-living increases to their pensions in 2015 while those who don’t must wait until 2018 to see increases. After that, retirees will need to wait five years for their first cost-of-living increase.

Similar changes to the Ohio Public Employees Retirement System led to a big number of retirements at the end of 2012, according to the system’s numbers.

“I don’t want to portray it as the sky is falling, but it’s certainly a management issue that people will have to deal with,” said David Varda, executive director of the Ohio Association for School Business Officials.

Another surge in retirements could come by 2015 when age and years-of- service requirements for full benefits gradually will rise.

“It’s something we have to deal with over the next two to three years,” Varda told the newspaper.

Officials with the School Employees Retirement System and the State Teachers Retirement System say they’ll have a good idea about the potential impact on retirements in a few months.

Counseling appointments with the State Teachers Retirement System office were up from last year, said spokesman Nick Treneff.

“Since the vast majority of teachers retire at the end of the school year, it’s difficult to project just yet,” he said.

The system saw a surge in retirements eight years ago when the economy was more stable, he said. But the number of retirees fell when the economy began to tumble in 2008.

“As some of those baby boomers are aging into retirement age, they are going when they can afford to do it,” Treneff said.

Dick and Ann Noble, both teachers at Groveport Madison outside Columbus, said the pension changes forced their hands.

“I could teach for another five years,” said Dick Noble, 56. “Financially, it’s the best move for me and my family.”

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