The Rome News Tribune is reporting that retired teachers are butting heads with state policymakers about how to manage their retirement funds.

Currently, teacher retirement provides a guaranteed 1.5-percent cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) increase twice a year. Gov. Sonny Perdue has asked the Teachers Retirement System’s Board of Trustees to instead vote on the issue every May instead of making it automatic.

Cynthia Ables, district director for Georgia Retired Educators Association, said teachers put 5 percent into their retirement fund monthly. Many other state employees pay far less into their own retirement fund.

The TRS Board of Trustees first approved the proposed change last month. It will reconvene Nov. 19 to vote whether it will be adopted.

The TRS began in 1943 as a statewide retirement system for local school systems, technical schools, adult education schools and state colleges and universities. It handles the retirement fund for about 350,000 current and former educators.

It receives revenue from three sources including: member contributions, employer contributions and investment earnings.

The wording in the proposed policy would be revised to say the COLA “may be” given, instead of “shall be.”


The TRS is considering the policy change at the governor’s request, but it has also made some adjustments to deal with the struggling economy.

In 2010 TRS will raise the 5-percent member contribution to 5.25 percent and the employer contribution from 9.28 percent to 9.74 percent.