- Associated Press - Tuesday, July 21, 2015

HUTCHINSON, Kan. (AP) - Education authorities have raised concerns about new rules for the Kansas Public Employees Retirement System that they say could discourage retirees from teaching in Kansas classrooms.

Under the former rules, a teacher or school administrator could retire, draw a KPERS benefit and work full time for either a new school district or his or her same school district. A surcharge was paid to KPERS, either by the employer or by way of the employer subtracting the surcharge from the employee’s salary, The Hutchinson News reported (https://bit.ly/1Sxy7ru ).

But new legislation changes working-after-retirement rules for KPERS participants and is expected to have the most impact on schools, particularly teachers and administrators who retire and return to work. The new rules have a $25,000 earnings limit per year. After reaching that threshold, the employee would have to decide whether to keep working and stop receiving the KPERS benefit, or stop working and keep receiving it.

“We’re going to have an extreme shortage if we can’t hire retirees,” said Buhler USD 313 business manager Perry McCabe, one of about 20 working retirees in USD 313.

McCabe and Gene A. Buie, executive director of United School Administrators of Kansas, said the changes come at a time when there’s an increasing challenge to fill school positions because college students are not choosing teaching as a career path, some states are recruiting Kansas teachers and some teachers are dropping out of the profession.

“I don’t know that we have 2,500 people sitting out there without teaching jobs and are ready to go in the classroom,” Buie said.

Mark Tallman, associate executive director for advocacy for the Kansas Association of School Boards, said an expiring law meant the Legislature had to address the issue this year, but the resulting rules were “much bigger changes” than expected.

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Information from: The Hutchinson (Kan.) News, https://www.hutchnews.com


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