FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Report Finds CT’s Teacher Pension System Subsidizes Pay Inequities
December 14, 2021—The Equable Institute and Education Reform Now CT (ERN CT) have released a new report exploring how resources for students and educators are impacted when the state fully funds local districts’ teacher pension obligations.
“Although individual school districts set their own salary schedules, local municipalities do not cover any of the resulting pension obligations in Connecticut,” said Anthony Randazzo, Executive Director of Equable. “And since retirement benefits are part of local teacher compensation packages, our report looks at the state’s full coverage of teacher pension benefits as a subsidy administered on a per pupil basis. What we’ve found is that this subsidy allocates more dollars to higher performing, more affluent, less diverse school districts. That puts districts with the greatest need at a structural and systemic disadvantage in terms of compensating their teaching workforces.”
Titled Who Benefits? How Teacher Pension Financing Impacts Student Equity in Connecticut, the report establishes a new metric for the state: the Per Pupil Pension Subsidy. It identifies how much the state spends per student in each public school district when it makes an annual contribution to the Teacher Retirement System.
Among the key findings in the report are that the State of Connecticut:
Pays a larger Per Pupil Pension Subsidy to high-performing school districts than to districts with lower performance.
Subsidizes school districts at double the rate for more affluent students as for their peers from low-income families.
Subsidizes school districts at more than twice the rate for white students as for students of color.
"Now that we know the state's approach to financing teacher pensions reinforces systemic inequities, Connecticut must make a change," said Amy Dowell, State Director of ERN CT. “Offering retirement benefits is an important component in maintaining a strong educator workforce. The state should not, however, be reinforcing differences in compensation between districts, as these factors directly impact each district's ability to recruit and retain high-quality teachers. It’s yet another type of educational resource inequity that impacts opportunity from one town to the next, and we owe it to all students to fix it.”
Equable is a bipartisan 501(c)(3) non-profit that works with public retirement system stakeholders to solve complex pension funding challenges with data-driven solutions. We exist to support public sector workers in understanding how their retirement systems can be improved, and to help state and local governments find ways to both fix threats to municipal finance stability and ensure the retirement security of all public servants.
About Education Reform Now CT:
The state chapter of a national organization, Education Reform Now CT is a 501(c)(3) that operates as a think tank and policy advocate, promoting great educational opportunities and achievement for all by increasing equity, protecting civil rights, and strengthening the social safety net.