(Oklahoma City) Thousands of retired Oklahoma teachers will get a cost-of-living adjustment under a bill approved by the State Senate Tuesday.
SB 1231 by Senator Mike Morgan would authorize the 3 percent COLA for retired teachers, with an additional benefit for former educators who have 30 years of service or more.
"These people committed their lives to performing one of the most important forms of public service the education of our children. The least that we can do is provide them with a cost-of-living adjustment to help them make ends meet," said the Stillwater legislator.
Under the provisions of SB 1231, all retired members in the Oklahoma Teachers Retirement System would receive a 3 percent COLA on July 1st, 2002. Retired educators with 30 years of service or more would receive an additional 1 percent increase on top of the 3 percent across-the-board COLA.
According to estimates, approximately 24,000 OTRS members will get the 3 percent COLA. Another 11,000 will qualify for the additional 1 percent bonus for veteran teachers.
"We're trying to replace some of the purchasing power our retirees have lost in recent years. Costs for day-to-day necessities from utilities to groceries have gone up, but pension checks haven't always keep pace. This bill keeps the commitment we made to teachers when we promised them a livable pension in exchange for all their years of hard work," said Senator Morgan.
The dollar amount of the COLA will vary for each individual retirement member, depending on their length of service, average salary and other factors.