Education Minnesota has long advocated for the best pension plans for its members. That work continues.
“Education Minnesota believes in a pension that is accessible, enhanced and stable,” said President Denise Specht. “We are committed to those values, and we will keep our members updated on the advocacy efforts we organize.”
A pension task force of 17 members from across the state came together last year.
The task force came up with a set of recommended priority improvements, which include:
Set normal retirement age at 62 years of age or 35 years of service equivalent.
- More equitable than the Rule of 90, specifically for those who take leaves of absence or begin their education career later in their work lives.
- Provides a much stronger benefit and is more like those under Tier 1.
Restore augmentation on deferred benefits (until change in 2018, it was 2 percent).
- Current system penalizes members unnecessarily.
- The money is already in the fund with all other investments.
- Discourages leaving money in the fund for someone who leaves TRA service.
COVID Additional Service Credit Bill
- Would value and recognize educators who went above and beyond during the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Gives greater value to staying in profession and encourages retention.
COLA – Variable rate between 1-3 percent that is tied to the Consumer Price Index
- Needed improvement in order to better keep up with cost-of-living increases.
Other priorities and possibilities for improvement discussed by the task force include lowering the retirement age to 62; Rule of 90, removing all discounts; High 3 replaces High 5; decreasing discounts to 3 percent per year; and increasing the formula to 2.1 percent.
The task force’s work led to more than 3,600 members emailing their legislators and the governor, 60 members meeting with legislators in a lobby day and members passing an action item at the Representative Convention directing Education Minnesota to continue its work.
Because of that advocacy, two pension changes were passed in the 2022 legislative session.
The first change is a three-year suspension of the Retired Teacher Earnings Limitation, which lifts the earning limitation deferral and acts as a further incentive for pre-K-12 teacher retirees between the ages of 62 and their normal retirement age for Social Security to return to work in a TRA-eligible position.
The second change is a permanent availability to purchase service credits for teaching service in other states. A teacher who has at least three years of allowable service credit with the TRA is entitled to purchase up to five years of allowable and formula service credit for periods of service as an elementary or secondary public or charter school teacher in another state.
Education Minnesota has started the work around pensions for this year.
The first priority is to elect a pro-public education and pro-educator governor and Legislature to ensure future bills can pass.
Members and staff are also working on setting legislative priorities around pensions.
Throughout the legislative session, members will be asked to contact legislators and participate in Education Minnesota-organized events to help promote the passage of our bills. Education Minnesota’s lobbying team will be working on these as part of our priorities.
Interested in pension advocacy?
Education Minnesota will be sharing out ways to get involved and stay connected on this issue in all-member emails and on our social media channels! Watch for these opportunities to be announced soon! We need your help to get these items passed during the next legislative session!