The Indiana Retired Teachers Association members in Starke and Pulaski counties recently met and those who attended the meeting had an opportunity to hear Lynn Johnson, Superintendent of the North Judson-San Pierre School system, talk about the state of education in Indiana today.
Dennis Norman, the Area 1 Director for the Association, said the Association was established 61 years ago to work for retired teachers pensions. He explains how the pension plan was funded.
“The way pensions were set up in the state have changed a little bit over the years,” said Norman. “Basically, a teacher put in money every paycheck, the schools put in money every paycheck and the State was also supposed to put money in on a regular basis. One of those three has gotten $11 billion behind. I’ll leave it at that.”
Because of the failure of the state to make its pension fund donations, a new plan is going to be reviewed in the next session of the legislature.
“The new plan that’s coming up is looking at something where teachers will have an option about how much to put in every paycheck. Schools may or may not contribute to that. There will be a formula, perhaps, and the State may or may not have to put in money as well. That means that each teachers will manage his/her own what they call pension fund which is nothing more than a 401K.”
Dennis Norman taught Language Arts in the Portage Township schools from 1962 until 1997. He was asked if teaching has changed dramatically since he was in the classroom 14 years ago.
“When I listen to my former students who are still teaching, or are new into teaching now, and I listen to the Administrators and the hoops they’re going through and I watch what is coming down the pike from Indianapolis, it is like an entirely different world. Those of us who were in the classroom when it was still fun, even challenging, had some latitude. I can remember a term that we had at our disposal back in the ’60’s, ’70’s and ’80’s called ‘academic freedom’. Now you have to be on page one, page ten or page 15 at a certain time. There have been a lot of changes.”