Skip to comments.Teacher Made Over $80K Per Year, Retires With a Pension of Over $40K — Claims 'Violation of Trust'
Posted on 05/17/2012 7:06:20 AM PDT by MichCapCon
Does a teacher who made $81,000 before retiring to a $41,400 a-year-pension have a valid complaint that she wasnt paid enough?
That was the focus of a recent story in The Bridge, The Center For Michigans news site, in which former Royal Oak teacher Kathy Kapera was featured. The article said that Kapera thought the lucrative retirement benefits teachers receive would make up for the relative lack of financial compensation she would earn as a teacher.
The article didnt give Kaperas salary other than stating what she earned in 1976 when she first started as a teacher. The article didnt state what her annual pension would be, but reported what the average pension was for public school employees, which is about half of what a teacher with Kaperas experience would actually receive.
A teacher with 32 years of experience which is what Kapera had would have made a top-of-the-scale salary of $81,000 in 2010, according to the Royal Oak teachers union contract.
Based on her salary and the pension formula (which the story pointed out included an early-retirement sweetener), a teacher with 32 years of experience at Royal Oak would have a pension of about $41,400 a year, said Michael Van Beek, education policy director at the Mackinac Center.
Kaperas estimated pension would be more than five times that of an average private-sector pension. According to a Congressional Research Service 2008 report, private-sector median pensions were $7,584 a year. In four years, Kapera would be eligible for Social Security. According to the Social Security Administration, the average annual benefit for a retired worker in the U.S. in 2012 was $14,760.
In 1976, her first year as a teacher, Kapera said she made $7,000. The story cites that salary twice in building the teachers case about her lack of financial compensation.
But how much was $7,000 in 1976? According to the March 1977 current population survey, the average salary in Michigan for a one-person household in 1976 was $7,400.
Kaperas salary would not have stayed at $7,000 for long, if she was paid an average salary for a Michigan teacher during her career. By 1980, the average teachers salary in Michigan was $19,663, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
By 2010, Royal Oak Public Schools was paying a teacher with Kaperas education and years of service at least $81,000. The average teachers salary in the U.S. was $55,202 in 2010, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
To say she was undercompensated and because of that she should have ironclad benefits is ludicrous, said Charles Owens, president of the Michigan chapter of the National Federation of Independent Business. Are you kidding me? $81,000? That aint chump change. There are a lot of people who would love to have a salary like that.
The article didnt state what Kaperas pension was. It did say the average pension payout for public school employees was $20,316 in 2010. But that average figure includes janitors, bus drivers and part-time employees whose salaries also factor into the pension calculation and are much less than teachers. Also, some retirees are eligible for a pension with as few as five years of service, which greatly reduces their pension.
The Bridge article was about the Michigan legislatures attempts to delay health care benefits for public school employees to age 60.
Kapera couldnt be reached for comment. Sid Kardon, president of the Royal Oak Education Association, said he had no way of reaching Kapera. Kardon didnt respond to an offer to comment.
Derek Melot, senior editor of The Bridge, didnt address specific question about the story but referred to the package of four stories The Bridge ran on the effort to reform Michigan Public School Employees Retirement System.
I have yet to meet a “educator” who didn’t complain about how hard they worked, how underappreciated they are, how little they got paid for what they are worth and how measly their benefits were, including an inadequate retirement. Never. Such pompous ungrateful asses.
I read somewhere that Michigan teachers are 4th in the Nation for compensation. I am really sick of all the whining, especially on the backs of other workers/taxpayers who have to be milked dry to honor these poor poor teachers’ benefit contracts. The Golden Goose is not only slain, its dead...
Get over it...you can always go out and get another job, just like the millions of taxpayers have to do in order to support her 40k pension....she should be thankful for what she has.
Maybe she should have considered another career, in a different field. That’s all we ever hear - how teacher’s aren’t paid enough. Is there any other profession that whines this much?
Me, I’m an engineer - been working since I was 16. Paid my way through college by stocking shelves, mopping floors and delivering pizza. I’ve been laid off, out-sourced and had companies fail - each time requiring me to sell my house at a huge loss and re-locate somewhere else - at my own expense.
I wish I had a $40K/yr pension I could look forward to. But, my retirement has been stolen from me by decisions made by people outside my realm of control. I don’t expect that I’ll ever retire - despite saving 15% of my salary since I was 28.
So, forgive me if I have not a single whit of sympathy for a person who did what they wanted to do, never had to worry a day in their life whether they had a job in the morning, never had to rob their retirment to sell a home and move, never had to rob their retirement to make house payments when their company closed their doors, and was able to work a job, with about 65% of the work days as the rest of America.
Teaching isn’t hard, if it was, why do we have countless home-schoolers teaching their children (at home, without a formal education, without advanced degrees), and beating public schools in every measureable metric?
If anyone wants to be added to the Michigan Cap Con ping list, let me know.
Another overpaid idiot who is a legend in her own mind.
I am beyond exhuasted listening to these cry babies.
32 years in the classroom , not enough money in the world for that , LOL
How much are this whiny bi***** medical benefits worth?
That was back when teachers were expected to be somewhat self-reliant. Now, they demand we take care of them; and teach this utter lack of self-reliance to their pupils as well.
Who cares if she was "paid enough"? There is no big chart which says how much a teacher should be paid vs. how much they work and whether it is fair. The only question is whether she was paid what she agreed to be and what other terms were in her contract on retirement and health care. Now if she worked for 35 years in anticipation of getting a contracted amount of retirement and health care and the school is breaching that contract, then she has a complaint. If she was part of a collective bargaining group and her union is selling the retirees down the river in order to profit their current members, then she also has a complaint but not just with the school.
As for retirement, there have been so many strategic bankruptcies, mergers and renegotiated contracts that I wouldn't trust any promises made for next year, much less forty years from now. If it's not in my current paycheck or saved in a personal account with my name on it, I cannot rely on it being there. And that goes doubly so for any government program.
Her 40K/yr pension actually represents about 800K in savings. ((5% withdrawal/yr). I.e. 25K/yr over 30 years.
How many people in the private sector make over 100K/yr for 8 months a year? (80K+25+). (and this doesn’t include overly generous health benefits).
Not to mention never having to worry about losing your job, which everyone in the private sector has to deal with at some time or another.
A tax revolt is coming that will make the one in the late 70’s look very minor in comparison.
These moochers make me sick...
Good post. These public sector workers are nothing more than parasites and leeches. I would say 95% of the ones i have met are grossly overpaid and underworked for what they do.
Ditto to post #15!
The follow-up question is whether Ms. Kapera also had an individual 401(k) plan? My SIL is a MI PS teacher and she has one.
I am glad she is retired. It is one step towards making the public schools in Michigan better. Maybe now we can get our students to graduate in larger numbers. It is her fault for supporting a union that does not let public schools get rid of the garbage teachers that cause our kids to not graduate.
yeah it makes me sick. they get off at 3 pm, have two weeks off for Christmas and the whole summer off, but they want to get paid like they work full time which they don’t