A proposal to allow experienced teachers to return to Oklahoma
classrooms without losing retirement benefits or harming the state
teachers' retirement fund may run afoul of the Internal Revenue
Service, legislators were warned Wednesday.
Rep. Tad Jones, R-Claremore, told members of the House Retirement
Laws Committee that he believes the state could provide financial
incentives to lure experienced teachers back to the classroom after
Officials said surrounding states often hire Oklahoma's most
experienced teachers to work in their school systems and additional
financial incentives are needed to keep them here.
A retired teacher that comes in from Texas, we can pay them as
much as we want to, said Traci Ballard, director of legislative
services for the Oklahoma State School Board Association. A retired
teacher from Oklahoma going to Texas can make as much as they want
But when the same retired Oklahoma teacher attempts to return to
the classroom in Oklahoma, we're penalizing them, she said.
Jones said a 30-year teacher in Oklahoma is paid $36,000 per year
(a maximum salary level reached at year 25), compared to a starting
teacher salary of $27,000.
Under his proposal, a retired teacher could return to an Oklahoma
classroom and still receive his or her retirement income and annual
pay equivalent to the salary of a first-year teacher.
Under Jones' proposal, a 30-year teacher that retires and returns
to work in Oklahoma schools could receive up to $21,000 in
retirement benefits plus a regular starting teacher salary of
$27,000, which would provide a $12,000 annual increase in pay for
that experienced teacher compared to the top amount ($36,000)
allowed in straight salary prior to retirement.
We're trying to encourage teachers to stay in the system, Jones
Jones said his proposal offers teachers a trade-off - higher
income levels but lower monthly retirement benefits in the long run.
If they stay teaching under the current system for another 10
years, their retirement could go up significantly for what they
could get for the rest of their lives, but if they choose this
scenario, they get more up front and less on the back end, Jones
He said the proposal would also generate savings for schools
because of the lower salary involved while still retaining
There's $9,000 the school would save right there, Jones said. …