Skip to comments.NJEA: Thousands of teachers could retire if benefits changed under Christie plan
Posted on 04/18/2010 2:27:14 PM PDT by Coleus
Teacher retirements could jump seven-fold, with as many as 30,000 veteran educators exiting before the next school year if the Christie administration alters benefits and pension rules, the NJEA said Thursday. The state teachers union warned of chaos in the classroom and irreparable damage to every school system in the state following news that the administration is working out the details of a plan to change the rules for those who receive medical benefits and pensions through the state.
School employees and retirees make up the largest group in the system, and Education Commissioner Bret Schundler said it was hoped the changes could coax enough retirements to avoid layoffs next year. Nearly every district in the state is grappling with staff cuts as steep reductions in state aid are planned under the Christie budget.
Its conceivable you could have more retirements than you need so districts could have to do more hiring, said Schundler. He said salary and benefits for new hires cost 83 percent less than those for veteran teachers. Under the tentative plan, outlined by Schundler, employees and retirees would pay more toward their medical benefits; an amount has not yet been settled upon, but it could be a percentage of any increases in premiums. Employees who retire before August 1 would still be eligible for free lifetime medical benefits.
The calculation of pension at retirement, now based on the salary during the last three years of employment, would be changed to include the last five years of service, Schundler said. The change could mean a reduction of several thousand dollars annually in pension payments for teachers at the top of the pay scale, said Passaics Robert Holster, one of the states longest serving schools chiefs.
Holster estimates that 25 percent of his staff could be packing their bags if the proposals are enacted. That number represents veteran teachers in range of retirement, whose salaries average $109,000. A large number of administrators would likely retire as well, he said. Holster has prepared a budget for next year that includes the layoff of 138 staff in the district because of the state cuts. But he said the teachers union was not budging when he asked that they act on the Governors request that they take a one-year pay freeze.
They looked at me like I was speaking a foreign language, said Holster. If they took it I wouldnt need to have layoffs. The retirements may stem layoffs and save money in the short term, but union and school leaders said such significant turnover could be disruptive and counterproductive.
In a press release, NJEA President Barbara Keshishian said the flood of retirements could also strain the states anemic pension system. Teachers contribute 5.5 percent of each paycheck to the pension fund but the state has for 15 years underfunded its share, Keshishian said.
The average teacher retires at age 61, said Keshishian. It is estimated that for every year that a teacher retires sooner than she otherwise would, the cost to the pension system increases by 10 percent for her pension and benefits. Veteran teachers are eligible to retire at 55; the age has recently been pushed to 60 for new hires. Christies office did not return a call for comment Thursday evening. The plan would need legislative action and Schundler said the administration hopes to have something to the lawmakers by May in the hopes so that it could be effective for August 1.
Keshishian warned of the disruption for districts that would need to scramble to hire new staff just a month before school starts in September. And school leaders worried about training large numbers of new hires, particularly after veteran mentors have retired. James Montesano, superintendent in Paramus, said theres far less dead wood among the veteran teaching staffs than the public often believes.
Theres this perception both from what Im reading from the governors comments and people in general, that they feel once a teacher hits 25 years of experience they turn into Mrs. Crabtree, said James Montesano, superintendent of schools in Paramus. There are a lot of very inspirational teachers that have never lost their love of the classroom. Asking them to step aside, theres a tradeoff, its not just a windfall.
Do it. Within two years, every “slot” would be filled and annual costs would be greatly reduced with no effect on quality.
Buh, bye. You can run but ya can’t hide. The truth is that pensions and benefits are unaffordable and are going to get cut sooner or later.
Christie need to do for the NJEA what Reagan did for the air-controllers union.
In a battle between Christie & the NJEA, my money is on Christie.
Oh, please. If I calculated my salary change from three years to five years, the results are virtually neglible. The people most affected would be those who would not seek to retire anyway. Gloom and doom nonsense. They should be happy they can retire.
When Gov. Christi appeared on CNBC, he reported that for an investment of $157,000 during a typical NJ teacher’s career, they would collect over $3,000,000 in retirement and health benefits....and New Jersey is broke!
Too bad he has to be the pooper-scooper who must clean up the debt piled up by the NEA and the Democrats, but kudos to him for trying.
They’ve had a money grab for decades and today’s public “education” is the result. Yet somehow getting rid of them will cause big problems . . .yeah, right.
Pennsylvania produces a large surplus of teaching school graduates, particularly here in the southwest part of the state. Only a small fraction of them can find positions close to home. The last time our school board had vacancies to fill, they reported 300 or so applicants for every position. We’re just one state, so I’m sure New Jersey will no problem finding replacements who would love to work even a little closer to home.
Yeah, I was thinking along the same lines. The schools will most likely improve. Cutting away dead wood tends to do that.
” ...the state has for 15 years underfunded its share,...”
ok, so who was in charge for the past 15 years? Guess the state’s underfunding started (according to the union) with Christie Todd Whitman, but after her weren’t they all Dems?
God love the really good, dedicated teachers, whatever portion of the overall count they may represent, but with all due respect, the state funded retirement packages just aren’t sustainable.
The same need to be in DC - and the retirement bennies cut way down.
Let them live like the rest of us - who pay for it all.
Chaos? My Obama (located opposite my pie hole).
The fewer union teachers, the better.
Wanna bet we can gain MEASURABLE IMPROVEMENTS within a year after getting rid of all union idiots?
(Yes, I know there are good teachers in there...but the fact is there are even more good ones who are not members of the Comunionist Party.)
Shove it up your Obamas, unions.
These idiots are pro-abortion? How many aborted babies wind up as students for these dummies to teach? Talk about doing yourself in.
“Asking them to step aside, theres a tradeoff, its not just a windfall.”
It’s voluntary on their part, asshat.
bye bye >>>
don’t let the door hit you in the ass on the way out.
“FREE HEALTH INSURANCE FOR LIFE?”
I wish. I was given the opportunity to get continuing health insurance when I retired for a mere $1,200 a month for me and the wife. I declined.
Don’t know how many good teachers there are, but I bet NJ is a closed shop. Gotta join the union or you ain’t workin’.
IMHO we had better teachers when they didn’t make much money. You didn’t have to worry so much about teachers showing up just for the money or hanging on to increase their pension. Those teachers mostly did it because they loved teaching kids.
NJ teachers put in 5% of their income and expect to get what % of their final years salary?
You don’t have a ‘highest three’ calculation in your sysytem.
If you did, the system you worked under would begin to adjust to those all important three years, with promotions, job title changes, and other methods that would give you an extra 10 or 20% of pay for those three years.
This will provide employment for the young, newly minted teachers who’ve been unable to find jobs thus far.
Free Health Insurance is a little bit of a misnomer I believe. My dad retired from teaching at 64, received a year of full health insurance benefits from his retirement plan, and then qualified for Medicare at 65. However, his retirement plan includes secondary insurance (the insurance that covers the 20% part A and B don’t cover). He’s been paying a portion of the premium of the secondary insurance since Medicare kicked in but I’m not sure how much. I’m sure plans vary from state to state. With that said, the unions have raped the public for far too long using the meme “it’s for the children.”
It certainly looks like they get paid pretty well if the average salary is $109,000. I'd say that probably puts them ahead of most teachers in private schools with the same number of years in. I say tell them to get their asses out if they think the job isn't worth it anymore. There are plenty of people looking for jobs right now.
Of course! /s
Good! Then hire younger unemployed teachers at 1/3 the price.
Teachers union chief refuses Gov. Chris Christie's request to fire memo writer
Asked whether Coppola would quit, she said, "I have no idea." Later, NJEA spokesman Steve Baker said she does not intend to ask for the resignation of Coppola, who "made a sincere apology."
The memo detailed a series of actions to protest the aid cuts and ended with a "prayer" for Christies death. Local union officials said it was in bad taste but meant as a joke. Keshishian would not comment on the memo or apology but said Christies call to reject school budgets is "very unfortunate."
Christie calls for teachers’ union to forgo member dues
Tuesday, April 13, 2010
I love the public schools but the fact of the matter is there is excess and greed there, said Christie, during an appearance on CNBCs Squawk Box. He said enrollment in the schools has gone up by 3 percent statewide while hiring has increased 16%.
NJEA Spokesman Steve Baker called Christies suggestion just the latest ploy to distract attention from the real issues.”
Members of the NJEA pay an average of $731 in dues annually to the group which has long been a powerful force in Trenton. It opposes Christies suggestion that teachers take a one-year pay freeze and contribute 1.5 percent of their salary for health benefits.
Christie said the benefits contribution would average about $750 annually for teachers.
“This is a union problem. This is a union boss problem, Christie said during an appearance shortly after 9 a.m on Fox News. If they’re so concerned about the $750 a year the teachers would have to pay, you know, their dues that they make every teacher pay are $730 a year — just about the same amount. It raises $130 million a year for the teachers’ union. How about they just try and get by on the $130 million they got last year, waive the dues for this year, and then their teachers would be held harmless?”
The media barrage follows a meeting yesterday between Christie and NJEA president Barbara Keshishian. It was their first face-to-face since his election and Christie said Keshishian left in a huff.
23.Tuesday April 13, 2010, 4:51 PM - SC says:
All Gov. Christie has done (God Bless him) is expose the NJEA for all their greed and waste. 130 million in revenue?? 500K a year for the president??
Great. Get rid of 30,000 cords of deadwood and hire 15,000 energetic young teachers to do the same work better at half the cost. Works for me.
NJEA insults Gov. Chris Christie: More apologies in order from teachers’ union
NJEA president Barbara Keshishian yesterday apologized to Christie in a statement that said the prayer was “not funny” and “language such as that has no place in civil discourse.” We agree. We also agree with Keshishian that the memo showed “a lack of respect.”
But then, so does calling the governor crude names. Keshishian remains curiously silent about her memberships vulgar posts on Facebook. Christie deserves an apology for those, too.
Posted by sadinnwk
April 11, 2010, 5:31AM
i agree with your comment,
the Njea is like the school yard bully, when they can’t fight intellectually the bully resorts to violence and name calling. The NJEA has also told members to dig up “dirt” on both schundler and chrisitie. The teachers and the NJEA are also propagandizing to the “children” every day and sending home letter to the parent against chrisite
Posted by cgdevil
April 10, 2010, 10:18AM
Despicable behavior by the NJEA and its members. Have you seen the bile posted on that Facebook page? Sickening. Now we know how they really feel.
Posted by wampus
April 10, 2010, 2:51PM
What’s wrong NJEA. Finally got a governor you can’t control? Gov. Christie is the best thing that has ever happened to NJ—AND, I’m a state employee.
Posted by nokidding
April 10, 2010, 3:36PM
NJ taxpayers can’t wait to see the NJEA gravy train wrecked by the governor.
NJEA’s lie — “It’s all for the children”
Fact — It’s all about their wallets.
Posted by spamoni
April 10, 2010, 5:32PM
i didn’t for Christie, but i gotta say go get em Chris,if it wasn’t for tenure most of these teachers would be flipping burgers. Most working people are suffering in this economy, why shouldn’t teachers. We have to bring down the unions one by one
Posted by cgdevil
April 10, 2010, 10:07PM
If you teachers are as educated as you claim to be, rise above the name-calling and argue the issues in a mature, reasoned fashion. Stop making fun of the governor’s weight and hurling expletives on Facebook like 15-year old girls who are jealous because some classmate stole your boyfriend. Grow up.
Posted by deceiverbo
April 11, 2010, 6:34AM
The NJEA and its members are showing themselves for what they really are....selfish and childish. Their brains are going haywire because they couldn’t buy this election. They are losing it. Go Governor Christie.
Posted by whatisyourproblem
April 11, 2010, 11:08AM
Are you kidding me? All of you people who complain that the “private sector” isn’t paid what teachers are paid...what do you do for a living? Do you have a college degree or even a high school diploma?
I worked in the private sector and made more 20 years ago than I do now as a teacher. I also had a pension and 401k and free health benefits. In fact, UPS drivers can make in the 70’s (yes thousands), have free health care (yes the drivers pay nothing towards their benefits), and can get up to 9 weeks off per year PAID (don’t believe me, google this yourself). In fact, everyone I know in corporate America makes a lot more than teachers and has comparative benefits.
Just because you didn’t have the education, drive , or talent to make it in corporate America, don’t blame teachers. Most of you out there must work for half-rate small businesses that can’t make it. If that’s all there is to the “private sector”, then America is doomed.
I’m planning to start a small business to give myself some income during my wonderful summer vacations (unpaid of course). However, unlike many business owners out there, I will not open my business until I have an iron-clad business plan and can assure myself that the business will be successful financially. I definitely will NOT hire people and place the financial burdens of a failing business (or not having the know how to run a business ) on them as it appears that many of your employers are doing to you. And, I will hire only the best candidates for the job and pay accordingly (Hopefully other teachers, cops, or firemen). Oh, and those groups will get discounts at my business...and only those groups...sorry private business, it looks like you are screwed again....lol.
I should also mention that I am moving out of state..to a state that pays teachers less money, but shows them respect. So you see, it’s not always about the money for teachers. I’m willing to take less money to do the same job...all I want is the respect that teachers USED to receive. The state I am moving to is also the perfect state to set up my new small business in as well.
To those of you “private sector workers” who seem to like to insult teachers because of jealously (believe me, it’s painfully obvious...read the posts, you all sound like jealous 5 year olds), I definitely have been successful in the private sector in the past, and could be extremely successful again if I so choose. I’m willing to go head head intellectually with ANY of you..and I can guarantee that I’ll win. Let’s see, top 2 in my class at Rutgers (public relations and advertising), number 1 in my Master’s program to become a teacher (still paying the 50K bill on that one..lol), 165 IQ. However, if all you want to do is say “Na na na na na na teachers suck, jealous of teachers, yadda yadda” I’m not playing those baby games. I will win there too, because I have a great razor wit.
Maybe I should start a day care, charge $200 per week for your kids, pay my workers minimum wage (as they do) and drive my Mercedes with my yacht club parking decals on the windows (as many day care owners who I know do). It sounds like there are many of you out there who need to be in day care yourselves.
Are you all this jealous of your bosses as well? I’m sorry that many of you seem not to have the brains, motivation, or desire to move to positions where you are treated better and paid according to your worth...or maybe that’s the problem...not much worth. Should we go back to the days of Pullman? Google “PULLMAN” if you don’t know what I’m talking about. Perhaps you should spend less time griping online and more time either looking for a better job, OR trying to get back what American employees have steadily been losing since the 1980s. It was funny when Reagan “broke” the air traffic controller union. Well, I think it is funny that they now make as much, if not more than they did when unionized (or are all of you too lazy to do research and find THIS out for yourself). I guess it stopped being funny when your jobs were outsourced, huh? Try outsourcing teachers . Let me know how that works for you Bucko.
Oh and BTW, no one seems to care about how much UPS pays its employees although you all complain enough when you go to mail a package . You know, that shipping price that YOU pay pays THEIR salaries). I guess UPS is much more important than teaching your kids how to read which I doubt many of you out there can do). I’d like to see some of you teach Spanish , calculus, even art.
If you can’t in good faith negotiate down existing pensions and if liberal judges block you from cutting them legislatively, than turn their own favorite weapon on them. Hit them with windfall pension taxes, enough to make the post-tax pensions fair! Don’t they love to feel our pain?
The schools will never improve, but this could bring the toxic, corrupt farce of a school system down and pave the way for TAX CREDITS.
Teachers in private schools, not matter how many years they have in, would be luccky to make half what their incompetent public counterparts get. Most private school teachers are making a lot less then half.
The article says that its the last five years of service verses the last three years of service. This is different from the “highest three” which would be the highest salary made for any given three years.
If we are talking about the last three years salaries versus the last five years salaries, I don’t think it makes much of a difference. It is possible someone could experience two promotions within the last five years of service. In this case they could experience a significant lost in their retirement. More likely, within the last five years of retirement, a person MAY have experienced one promotion and that would probably have been early within that five year window. But for the most part, I don’t think there are very many people who are promoted in the last five years EXCEPT corrupt bureaucrats who are friends with other corrupt bureaucrats trying to pad their retirement. (I’ve seen this happened.)
In rereading the article, where the problem seems to be is in giving people free medical who retire August 1st and making those who do not retire pay at least a portion of their costs. What that portion is hasn’t been decided so it’s hard to say how much they would lose.
I think it is wrong for any company or government entity to promise people pensions and benefits only to take those benefits away because the company is having problems. People make lifetime decisions based upon what they are promised in benefit packages. They cannot make wise choices if twenty years later a company says, “Oops, sorry but we don’t have enough money that we promised.” This isn’t like the folks at Enron who could have diversified. It is more like the folks at United Airlines who the Supreme Court gave the go ahead to to rob their pension plan to strave off banruptcy. If the rules change, the people may not have joined United or would have change their saving strategies.
If companies or the government want to reduce benefits it should be on the new workers who can make those choices-not on the people who are two-three years from retirement. It’s like telling someone who is 72 years old they are no longer going to get Social Security or Medicare.
I think the median average age of TENURED K-12 school teachers has gone up in 19 of the last 20 years (as of 2008 when the study was released, publicized by the Atlantic City press, APP.com back then).
Overwhelmingly large numbers of baby boomer teachers in NJ were going to retire this decade under any circumstances as they hit their Golden Number for reitremnt pensions.
The NJEA is using a decades in the making and decades known foregone generational workforce shift as a propaganda piece to further pillage the taxpayers’ coffers in the state.
The NJEA is a criminal enterprise, and every media organization that is publicizing this are co-conspirators.
All defined benefit pensions should be outlawed. This type of pension "banks" on the solvency of the entity 20-30 yrs in the future. The only type of pensions that should be allowed are 401K's, or in the case of govt 403B's. In these pensions a % is deducted from earnings and the co. contributes a % as well. The monies are put into an account the co. has no control over and can never touch again.
It is more like the folks at United Airlines who the Supreme Court gave the go ahead to to rob their pension plan to strave off banruptcy.
Ultimately they did declare bankruptcy and afterwards the congress passed a law that all future pensions had to be 401k's in the airline industry. Govt should be under the same system.
The problem is the benefits liabilities in some states is so great that even if all future employees were paying for their insurance and their pensions were 401k's it won't be enough to balance budgets.
Flush them all...
Let me talk about the marginal increases in teachers salaries in NJ. We’re talking about the salary increases the senior-most teachers are getting in their final 3 years of teaching.
1. They increase their education and certification levels.
2. They take every stipend assignment possible, be it sports coach, cafeteria monitoring, study hall, etc.
3. They teach extra courses.
4. They teach summer courses.
What the union is complaining about is the fact there are only so many of these salary enhancing assignments available per school system. These slots/assignments have been passed along from the most senior teachers/admins to the most senior teachers/admins, year after year for decades, so that as many of the “in cliche” teachers/admins in their final three years can maximize their salaries to maximize their pension calculation.
The unions are complaining that there would need to be 66% MORE of these salary maximizing opportunities per school district to allow the senior most teachers to take these opportunities for the final 5 years instead of the final 3 years.
The unions is also claiming that the senior most teachers in their preplanned last 5 or 6 years of teaching would head for the exits before the new pension calculation law goes in to effect.
Let me tell you something, new teachers will fill every one of those full time tenure track positions, some schools are getting over 600 applications for every position right now.
And I’ll tell you something else, it will only take a year or two for the controlling cliche of senior teachers/administrators to adjust their salary and pension maximizing strategies to the new 5 year calculation regime. It will just cause the hyenas to become even more savage when it comes time for yearly assignments.
I agree for the most part but it won't stop the government from spending money it doesn't have. In 20-30 years the government would be eying those 401K plans (as they're doing now). The only thing that will stop the federal government is a balance budget amendment.
and who can we thank? none other than “republican” governor tom kean who raised the minimum salary of all teachers in NJ, which allowed all the others to be bumped up for parity and the rest is history, no turning back.
My prior post was a bit more preachy than usual.
Also, I agree with everything you posted in 39.
If theoretically, Christie offered 66% more ways for the senior most teachers/admins to boost their salary for the final 5 years of employment while otherwise proposing the same rules, then in this hypothetical the NJEA would have supported the plan.
Those corrupt bureaucrats who help out other corrupt bureaucrats pad the salary during the final three years too often are also the union liaisons for the schools and school districts.
This would bring in new, young teachers who would be striving to do their best to not get fired.
The states are the canaries in the mines so to speak. They are feeling the squeeze because unlike the fed govt they can't print money. The fed is going to end up in the same spot because they can't monetize the debt with entitlements tied to inflation.
The only thing that will stop the federal government is a balance budget amendment.
How many teacher applications are languishing in the school board files? More than enough to replace the retirees, I would guess.
Maybe you’ll even be able to get a teaching job without being related to someone on the school board...imagine that
I very much doubt that.
In fact, if "tenure" and automatic raises are eliminated in all new contracts, I predict a significant increase in competent graduations and test scores.
But you'll have to really really pressure the politicians and unions to get access to the statistics in years to come.
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