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Teachers React to Pension Reform

Posted on: 5:37 pm, February 5, 2013, by

Governor Corbett says pension reform would save Pennsylvania $2 billion over the next five years  but that is $2 billion that state employees would not receive once they retire.

Some teachers in Northumberland County say if that part of the budget plan goes through it would hurt them.

Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett compared pension debt to an avalanche during his budget proposal in Harrisburg. Corbett says it threatens to stop economic growth, and take funding from senior citizens and schools.

Some teachers at Shikellamy High School in Sunbury disagree, and call the Governor’s plan heartbreaking.

“I wish I was old enough to retire because things will be changing and it’s scary,” Sue Egan said.

Sue Egan and Michele Erdman are president and vice president of the teachers’ union in the Shikellamy School District. Both have been teachers for more than 15 years, and both have invested in their pension programs.

“To see that maybe taken away or cut back I don’t think is fair when we paid the price, the equal amount since it’s been created,” Erdman said.

The governor’s plan would not just affect teachers. Pension reform would reduce benefits for all current state employees, and starting in 2015, new hires would not get any pension.

“They will not be paying into the employee retirement. It is going to be a bad thing for the new teachers,” Egan said.

The president of the Pennsylvania State Education Association says, “Just because the state and school districts chose to reduce their payments and underfund the system for a decade doesn’t mean public employees’ hard-earned retirement savings should be reduced.”

“I feel it’s going to shy away those possible good teachers from public education, and that saddens me,” Erdman said.

The 2013-2014 state budget must be passed by the end of June.

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