Rising PERS Expenses Could Cost Salem-Keizer Schools

There has been a lot of buzz lately about the need for the Governor and the Legislature to make important changes to the Public Employee Retirement System (PERS) in the upcoming legislative session.  The buzz is well founded: there is great need to stabilize education funding and protect vital teaching positions and school days.

Rising PERS Expenses Could Cost Salem-Keizer Schools

Just this last week it was brought home to me again when I checked my email.  The chart below from Healthy Communities Initiative Mid-Valley shows the high cost of PERS for the Salem-Keizer School District over time:

PERS Chart

Expenses for Salem-Keizer related solely to PERS in 2013-2014 will be $16 million more than 2012-2013, potentially resulting in the loss of 192 teaching positions or about 14 school days.

That’s $16 million that will be rerouted from teaching kids.

We need a sustainable retirement model that leaves enough money for actually teaching our kids.  This is about the future of our state and the role our children and teachers will play.

Change won’t be easy, but we cannot mortgage the future of our children and grandchildren because of a lack of effort to come up with-long-term solutions to the coming PERS crisis.

It is my sincere hope and goal that the 2013 Legislature will make progress to free up money in the future for classrooms.

I’d appreciate your thoughts about this subject as well!