Blame districts, state
The news story “Latrobe officials stress retirement needs” (May 15 and TribLIVE.com) fails to mention several points. The reason Greater Latrobe School District, like many throughout the state, has such a significant increase in its Public School Employees' Retirement System (PERS) contributions is that district officials, with the permission of the state Legislature, took a 10-year deferment in making payments into the system. The state took the same hiatus.
For 10 years, the only people putting money into PERS were the education professionals, teachers and administrators alike, who consistently contribute 7.5 percent of their salaries.
Now that the deferment period is over, the state and school districts all over Pennsylvania find they have enormous bills to pay. It's not as if these entities were ignorant of the debt; they have known for 10 years that the piper would have to be paid. Furthermore, nothing the state or districts do now, aside from paying what they owe, will change or erase that debt.
Expecting the state to fix the problem is ludicrous. It owes, too, and starting a new system will only increase the state's debt because it would have to spend an additional $1 million to do so.
Bottom line: When bad decisions are made by elected officials, everybody pays.
The writer is president of the Greater Latrobe Education Association.
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