As a retired elementary school teacher, I was saddened to read Caroline Roemer Shirley’s letter. After teaching for about 15 years in Louisiana, I moved to Los Angeles, taught for another 15 years and became a member of the California State Teacher Retirement System, as well as retaining my membership in the Teacher Retirement System of Louisiana. As a new member of the pension system in California, I rolled over my Louisiana pension benefits, at considerable cost, to the California system. When I retired, I moved back to Louisiana and brought my healthy California pension to spend here.
A pension, of course, lasts as long as the member lives. Shirley claims that teachers are being “forced” into TRSL and should be given the option to instead enter into a 403(b) plan, which of course lasts only as long as the money lasts and which a teacher may outlive. Is it possible that a teacher might live a very long life and outlive the money in the 403(b)? What happens then? Does that teacher end up living on the street?
Every day, my husband has to listen to me give thanks that I have my California pension. Shirley says that pension reform here is necessary. Why is that?
As I understand it, the loss of money in the TRSL system is due to the fact that the state administration raided it to use for other purposes, whether that was legal or not. Louisiana teachers are paid very low wages. My salary doubled when I moved to Los Angeles. The lifetime pension used to be compensation for those low wages. Will that now be taken away? Most teachers are devoted to their students. They deserve to have something to count on toward the end of their lives.
Please say no to Caroline Roemer Shirley and others who would subscribe to this travesty.
Rebecca Swanson Doran