Retirement benefits key to keeping teachers, say Kentuckians


Over the past two years, periodically, various pillars have suddenly become scarce, including K-12 teachers. A recent survey found that retirement benefits are seen as one of the antidotes to talent drain.

The pandemic has been “one of the biggest challenges for K-12 public school staff,” says the National Institute of Retirement Studies (NIRS), observing that “employee burnout is increasing and shortage of K-12 workers has reached crisis levels. The report’s authors warn that even if the pandemic abates, the shortage will not. Part of the reason, they say, is that “many K-12 employees are leaving the profession earlier than expected and fewer are pursuing careers in education.”

So what would help stop the exodus? Kentucky residents surveyed by NIRS strongly believe that retirement benefits are a powerful tool for attracting and retaining teachers. An overwhelming majority – 92% – agree.

There is a similar sentiment among Kentuckians regarding more specific aspects of retirement benefit offerings:

  • 91% say teachers and school staff should have a pension so they can have a secure retirement after a career in teaching;
  • 91% think school staff should have employer-provided health care benefits while they work and also after they retire;
  • 91% say K-12 pensions should include a COLA similar to that applied to Social Security benefits;
  • 89% consider a strong retirement program important because Kentucky teachers and school staff do not receive Social Security; and
  • 87% believe that more generous pension benefits will help stem and reverse the teacher shortage.

Kentucky residents place some of the blame on state lawmakers, the NIRS found. Bluegrass State lawmakers need to continue to catch up on teachers’ pension contributions, say 92%, and almost as many think they need to ensure that all teachers and school staff in Kentucky receive the pensions they deserve. they won. In addition, 92% believe that the state should be required to pay the required annual contributions to the pension fund on time and in full.

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