"Right now our pension funding has been declining," says Diane Marinaro, president of the Hamden Education Association. "They're not giving us the 100-percent every year like they should be. Teachers are paying their required amount every paycheck and we expect the state to do the same."
"I have put in 33-years of teaching and when I retire I would like to know that the state has put in its fair share, and I know that they haven't," says teacher Haywoodene Hines.
Teachers do not pay into or receive Social Security, so they count on state-funded pensions. (WTNH)
Sadly, the state hasn't shown much willingness to keep up its end of the bargain. Only a small fraction of the state surplus will be used to fund the retirement fund, even in the most generous plans. At this point many teachers believe that the fund will not be there for them when they retire.
Teachers are so frustrated at the state's inability to keep its promises to them that some are calling for a constitutional amendment which would force the issue:
Right now the fund is more than 5 billion dollars behind, and teachers want the constitutional amendment to guarantee the retirement money will be there when they need it. They say it needs to be taken care of soon, because eventually it's going to cost taxpayers a bundle.
Greenwich Representative Dolly Powers says "by passing a constitutional amendment, the only people who can override the law are the people, they're also the ones who will have the burden. Future generations, our grandchildren and children, those are the ones who will pay the bill if we don't come up with a long term solution now." (WFSB)
A constitutional amendment may be overkill, but the state needs to seriously consider what its going to do about the fund. They've been ignoring it for years--some sort of fix needs to happen soon.
"Thousands expected at teacher pension rallies." WTNH 29 March, 2006.
"Thousands of Teachers Rally Across State." WFSB 29 March, 2006.