Bill to Raise Teacher Retirement Age Sparks Debate

By T. Scott Boatright

A Louisiana Senate bill proposing to raise the age for teachers and others to qualify for full retirement benefits from 62 years old to 67 has stoked the ire of teachers, superintendents and leaders of the state retirement systems.

The bill would only apply to future teachers and is designed to make the retirement system, especially for existing teachers, “stronger and healthier.”

But opponents of the bill feel the new rules would make it harder to shore up the ranks of teachers at a time when staffing state classrooms is becoming more and more difficult.

The Louisiana Federation of Teachers, the Louisiana Association of Educators, Louisiana Association of School Superintendents, Gov. John Bel Edwards’ office, the state AFL-CIO, the Retired State Employees Association and the Teachers’ Retirement System of Louisiana have all announced their opposition to the bill as has the the Louisiana State Employees’ Retirement System.

Groups reportedly supporting the legislation include the Louisiana Association of Business and Industry and the state branch of the National Federation of Independent Businesses.

The bill barely cleared the Senate Retirement Committee 4-3 on April 19. If passed it would increase the retirement age to 67 and apply to those who enter the teaching profession or state workforce on or after July 1 of this year.

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