The state’s Teachers’ Retirement System said the pension system had 273,328 active members outside New York City in June, a 4 percent decline from 2010 or 12,446 fewer enrollees, data obtained by Gannett’s Albany Bureau shows.
Schools said they will return to classes with fewer programs, higher class sizes and less staff. The state earlier this year also implemented tougher standards for students and teachers.
From the article:
New York State United Teachers, the state’s teachers’ union, estimates that there are 35,000 fewer school positions than there were in 2008. Also, despite recent increases, state funding to schools is below the 2009 level, and districts are grappling with a property-tax cap that limits revenue, the union said.
“The state’s abandonment of its commitment to adequately fund education, combined with a very restrictive and undemocratic tax cap has forced school districts to lay off teachers and staff,” said Carl Korn, a NYSUT spokesman.
The glut of retirements has had another effect: It has stressed an already underperforming pension system, forcing schools and taxpayers to pay more for teachers’ retirements.
Between 1993 and this year, the Teachers’ Retirement System paid out four times more than what it took in. The system received $17.5 billion in member and employer contributions during the 20-year period and paid out $73.2 billion in benefits.
The only thing that has kept the pension system solvent is that return on investments soared over the two decades: Assets jumped from $39 billion to $95 billion.
John Cardillo, the fund’s spokesman, said the retirement system remains sound, saying it is “one of the best-funded plans in the nation.”