Q: Many Georgia educators retired Dec. 1 to take advantage of a pension benefit that’s being eliminated. I realize that not all of these retirees are teachers, but aren’t they on annual school-year contracts? If so, how can they bail out in the middle of a school year?
—Terry Dempsey, Grayson
A: Each educator under contract with a school system worked with their system to be released from their contract so they could retire Dec. 1, Professional Association of Georgia Educators (PAGE) spokesman Tim Callahan told Q&A on the News in an email. Nearly 1,800 members of the Teachers Retirement System of Georgia retired on Dec. 1 to claim a one-time 3 percent increase in their base for yearly pension benefits that’s been given to new retirees for more than 20 years and is being discontinued in January, the AJC reported. Callahan wrote that it shouldn’t be difficult replacing the retirees because “of the recent wave of teacher layoffs and the budget shortfalls facing many districts.” “In fact, in many cases, the districts may not be replacing the retiring teacher, but realigning class sizes to effect a staff reduction and reduce their overall staff costs,” he wrote. “While this action may have resulted in some academic disruption and loss of veteran educators, the (Teachers Retirement System) felt they needed to act.” There were 123 Gwinnett County employees, including 63 teachers, who retired.
Andy Johnston wrote this column. Do you have a question about the news? We’ll try to get the answer. Call 404-222-2002 or email email@example.com (include name, phone and city).
Enjoy expanded coverage of college football for UGa, Tech and the SEC, with our SEC Insider, covering all Southeastern Conference matchups and articles by AJC staff and regional newspapers that cover the SEC.