As a retired Anne Arundel County teacher and a 40-year resident of Crofton, I listened with great interest to Gov.Martin O'Malley's State of the State message. His proposal to shift pension payments to the counties is of great concern to the teachers he proposes to "thank" for making Maryland schools first in the nation for four years running.
The teacher pension contract was and is with the state, not our respective counties. In 1979, we were presented with a choice — to continue in the state retirement system or to opt out. Those of us who remained in the system paid 7 percent of our salaries annually into it with the commitment of a defined benefit and annual cost-of-living adjustments. Current teachers are now, all of them, paying 7 percent of salary toward their pensions.
Teacher retiree health benefits are not paid by the state. Teachers negotiate their health care benefits with their county school systems, both in their years of active service and in retirement. Should responsibility for pension payments be shifted to the counties, teacher healthcare would be put in jeopardy. Currently, teachers and their local school systems share in the cost.
Elaine DiAiso, CroftonCopyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun