Retired teachers are voicing concerns about the ability to for Kentucky schools to hire quality teachers should a core component of the proposed pension plan be enacted. Kentucky Retired Teachers Association Executive Director Tim Abrams says having teachers switch to 401(a) plans would be a drain on taxpayers and offer fewer benefits.
Abrams said many teachers are willing to forgo cost-of-living adjustments to help fix the system. That is, he said, until he tells them what it would mean to their bankbook.
Abrams said, over a lifetime, the proposed suspension of the cost of living benefits would cost each teacher $71,000.
As a former Henry County Public Schools superintendent, Abrams also said the cuts could diminish the number of people willing to become teacher. He said hiring teachers is already difficult and fears the plan would make it worse.
“We’re lucky at the high school level to have one or two qualified - a lot of time we have zero qualified applicants for positions. In middle school, it might be three or four. And when I say qualified, I’m saying it loosely. We have to work really hard to find a good person to put in that classroom.”
Abrams said “there has been an attack on public education” in Kentucky through charter schools, pension overhaul and scholarship tax credits. U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos is a proponent of charters and school choice.