Teachers Will See Pension Changes
The following offers highlights of the recent legislative sessions. Precollegiate enrollment figures are based on fall 2005 data reported by state officials for public elementary and secondary schools. The precollegiate education spending figures do not include federal flow-through funds, unless noted.
Flush with a $1 billion budget surplus, Maryland lawmakers gave public schools nearly $4.5 billion for fiscal 2007, an increase of $400 million, or 10 percent, over last year.
That hike includes the fourth installment of a five-year plan to raise K-12 funding by $1.3 billion.
Bill Reinhard, a spokesman for the state department of education, said that one of the bigger successes this year was an increase of $70 million in funding for school construction, which will increase to $320 million for fiscal 2007.
There was also good news for teachers, who now have an improved pension plan.
Under the revisions, the amount that teachers can contribute toward their pensions will rise from 2 percent to 5 percent of their salary, to be phased in over three years, while the state contribution would also rise. For instance, teachers who began their employment in the state in 1998 or later, and who retire after 30 years of service, will see their annual pension jump from 42 percent of salary to 54 percent.
In April, the Democratic-led legislature clashed with Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr., a Republican, over a state plan to restructure 11 failing public schools in Baltimore. The legislature overrode a veto by Mr. Ehrlich, ensuring that control of the schools remained with the city. ("Baltimore Takeovers Prevented," April 19, 2006.)
Vol. 25, Issue 40, Page 17