The Chair of the Senate Committee on Education said the organizational meeting of an interim study to determine inequities within the Oklahoma Teachers Retirement System was a success.
Senator Susan Paddack, a Democrat from Ada, said she is hopeful that the study will result in legislation that will keep experienced teachers in Oklahoma.
“The whole idea behind the study is to look at the teacher retirement system and reduce inequities within the system,” Paddack, said. “Today’s meeting gave members of the Legislature an opportunity to meet with stakeholders and discover facts that should guide us through the process of discovering what we can do to keep the brightest teachers right here in Oklahoma. I look forward to working with the House as this interim study progresses.”
The Senator said under the current system Oklahoma teachers often fare better by retiring as soon as they are eligible and then moving to another state where they work for several more years solely to gain better retirement benefits in another state system.
“Teachers who have given years of dedicated service to this state should be able to end their careers here in Oklahoma, instead of flocking to Texas to supplement their retirement income,” Paddack said. “Unfortunately, the current system does not provide adequate support to our hard-working teachers and we need to ensure the teacher retirement system is a sound system.”
Paddack said that Oklahoma has some of the finest teachers in the nation, and she is not surprised that surrounding states try to lure Oklahoma teachers away by offering higher salaries and better retirement packages.
“Oklahoma is a great place to live, and our schools are filled with students who love to learn,” Paddack said. “We must do all we can to keep the best and brightest teachers in our state. I am confident that the results of this study will bring forth legislation that will make the retirement system more equitable, thus increasing the likelihood of Oklahoma teachers remaining in our schools systems longer.”