Active and Retired Educators Urge Lawmakers to Help Shore Up CalSTRS
(From r.) Maggie Ellis, an elementary educator from Elk Grove and chair of CTA State Council’s Retirement Committee, stresses to members of the Senate Public Employment and Retirement Committee that a secure retirement is critical to attracting and keeping quality teachers in the profession. Ellis and Paula Weiss, a retired educator, reminded lawmakers that the CalSTRS shortfall didn’t occur overnight and can’t be addressed overnight.
Two dozen retired and active educators are spending Wednesday in the state Capitol pressing their legislators to take the steps necessary to ensure the stability of the State Teachers’ Retirement System (CalSTRS) into the future.
The educators testified before the Senate Public Employment and Retirement Committee and met with their lawmakers, emphasizing that CTA supports a fair and comprehensive solution to the unfunded liability that involves all stakeholders.
The educators called on legislators to fashion a solution that includes increased contributions from the state, local school districts, and educators, with the burden shared fairly among these three segments.
During the committee hearing, retired educators revealed how they are being hurt by a provision of federal law that reduces or eliminates any Social Security payments to them. Many educators have earned these benefits through other work prior to becoming teachers, but federal law limits or prohibits them from receiving payments otherwise due to them.
The educators are spending the afternoon meeting with their lawmakers and reminding legislators that they must protect teachers’ modest retirement benefits, which amount – on average – to just $3300 per month for an education professional with more than 25 years of service.
(Photo above): In center – Sen. Norma Torres (D-San Diego), who chairs the Senate PERS Committee, and Assembly Member Rob Bonta (D-Oakland), who chairs the Assembly retirement committee, spoke with CTA members after the Senate committee hearing.
(Photo above) A group of educators also met privately with Senate PERS Chair Norma Torres to discuss some of the fine points about efforts to maintain CalSTRS’s stability.