Eighty-five percent of Colorado teachers and other school employees will leave public employment with insufficient retirement savings and no Social Security benefit for that work, according to a new report that highlights the inequities of the Colorado Public Employees’ Retirement Association.
This undermines teachers’ ability to save for a secure retirement and can impact the quality of education Colorado public school students receive.
The report, “Few Reach the Peaks,” was a collaboration by Bellwether Education Partners, the Laura and John Arnold Foundation, and TeacherPensions.org. The report discusses the ways Colorado’s pension system isn’t adequately serving its public employees.
By 2020, Colorado’s school districts will be forced to contribute more than 20 percent of their employee salary costs to the state pension plan.
Yet much of that increase will not benefit current employees. According to the report, “In 2013, for every dollar that school districts were required to contribute to the pension fund, only 16 cents went to paying the actual cost of benefits earned by workers in that year.” The rest of the money went to pay down the state’s $26 billion unfunded liability.
And this growing burden on school districts takes away funding that could be used to give teachers raises, hire more employees, buy school supplies, or make other investments to support Colorado’s kids.