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Age, service years required for school pension

| Thursday, March 28, 2013, 12:01 a.m.

To retire with full pension benefits, state law requires school employees to meet stipulations for age and years of service.

Employees who qualified as members of the Pennsylvania School Employees Retirement System before July 2011 must be age 62 with at least one year of service; age 60 with 30 years of service; or any age with at least 35 years of service, said Evelyn Tatkovski, spokeswoman for the pension system known as PSERS.

Employees contribute an average of 7.43 percent of their salaries to the pensions. Employing school districts contribute 12.36 percent of the employees' salaries; the state reimburses districts half of that money.

Superintendent pensions, most of which are calculated by multiplying the average of the employee's three highest years of pay by 2.5, can be lucrative compared to the average school employee pension in Pennsylvania, experts said.

Of 202,015 retirees in the PSERS system, which includes teachers and other public school employees, 466 have annual pensions of more than $100,000 and 2,287 have pensions between $75,000 and $100,000,Tatkovski said. The average annual PSERS pension benefit is $24,122, she said.

Former Peters Township School District Superintendent Diane Kirk, who retired in 2006, receives $113,480 in pension payouts annually for her 35 years of public school system service.

Former Shaler Area School District Superintendent Donald Lee, who retired in 2011, receives $138,493 in annual pension payouts for 42 years of service.

— Tory N. Parrish

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