As DPSRS-PERA Merger Looms, Come March 20 to Independence Institute to Learn About K-12 Pension Compensation

That didn’t take long. The Rocky Mountain News is no more, but education reporter extraordinaire Nancy Mitchell is back. Hopefully the first of many, she has posted a lengthy piece on the proposed merger of the Denver Public Schools (DPS) and state PERA retirement systems.

DPS officials are pushing the discussion forward, saying that the current set-up costs them funding that could be used in the classrooms:

“We pay $685 more per pupil per year in pension and retiree costs than any of the other 177 school districts in Colorado,” [superintendent Tom] Boasberg said, “which comes out to $47 million more per year …

“Translate that into teachers, that’s 700 or 800 teachers, that’s a reduction in our class size of 15 to 20 percent. Every class that has 30 students would be a class of 25 students.”

Unfortunately, this article didn’t delve into the costly problem that University of Colorado at Denver professor Michael Mannino highlighted in his recent Independence Institute report Deferred Retirement Compensation for Career K-12 Employees: Understanding the Need for Reform (PDF).

The average retired DPS career employee can expect to earn $627,570 more in benefits than his or her estimated retirement account balance. It’s a big issue looming both for public education employees and all taxpayers.

If you want to learn more, you really ought to come to hear Dr. Mannino speak on “Is the K-12 Employee Pension System Fair?”, an event hosted by my friends in the Education Policy Center. Here are the details:

Friday, March 20, 2009
5:30 PM Reception
6:15 PM Program
Independence Institute Offices
13952 Denver West Parkway (Building 53)
Suite 400
Golden, CO 80401

Attention Teachers!
Teachers are invited to come early to a special private Q & A meeting with Dr. Mannino at 5:00 PM.

Please RSVP by March 18! RSVP to (303) 279-6536 or register online. (Event is FREE for Independence Institute members and teachers with RSVP. All others $5: Please ignore credit card info. Fill in boxes with the * only.) Donations accepted at the door.

I hope to see you there.