teachers' retirement system

I am the driver education instructor at Middlebury Union High School. My job is to keep kids alive. A large part of my role is to serve as an extra set of eyes and ears as they learn to drive. When they come into my classroom — and into the DE car — they must have total faith that I will be there for them. It’s a promise I make so that they can travel into the future with less distraction, anxiety or fear. You know the construction zone worker along the highway holding the Stop sign? They have an important job, too. They are there to keep their coworkers safe. Safe from being hit by a wayward...
This situation with the state teachers’ and state workers’ pension fund is incredibly incompetent and unjust. Certainly, the burden for fixing it should not fall on the teachers and state workers. Just to propose such a solution is tone deaf at least, and callous, considering the already outrageous wealth inequities in this state and nation. Too bad we cannot sell off the F-35s and fund the pensions that way. We would all be better off. To me, that is the perfect solution. Millard Cox Ripton
Angelo, the proposal to change state employee and Vermont teacher pensions that is being considered by the Legislature is a major issue in Vermont today. Teachers have used a strategy of letter writing (published in this newspaper), holding a Zoom meeting where teachers presented to local legislators and testifying before legislative committees. The result of these efforts has been the same reduced pension proposal but now available to educators when they reach full Social Security retirement age, 67 or 68, rather than the rule of 90 (age plus years of service). For many teachers in their mid...
The Legislature has before it — at long last — a proposal to address the solvency of the state’s pension system. There is nothing in the proposal for anyone to like. It’s full of pain and regret and expense. It’s the embodiment of what happens when a problem is recognized but its solution is deferred. For decades. The proposal unveiled by the House Government Operations committee essentially follows the recommendation by state Treasurer Beth Pearce, who said in January there was little choice but to ask retirees to work longer, pay more, and to receive less in retirement. With $5.6 billion in...
The deficit in the state’s pension fund is worrisome and demands redress, but State Treasurer Beth Pearce’s solution is unfair. In brief, the state of Vermont is facing a crisis in its pension system. For over a decade, Vermont has allowed a gap to grow between what it paid in and what it promised teachers and state employees. This ever-growing gap was an issue prior to COVID, but now that the state is looking at its revenue drying up, it is using the pandemic to change the rules. One important issue is promised cost-of-living adjustments. We cannot back fill a decades-long and ever-growing...
I love my job. I get to go to work every day and interact with my students at Middlebury Union Middle School, where I’ve taught for 16 years. It is a busy job, one with challenges and messes and the occasional beautiful, perfect moment. Each day, there is something to celebrate and something — or someone — to worry about, some problem to solve. There are meetings and assignments to grade, and always, always someone who needs help. The reason I can focus on this job — this complex, inspiring, difficult job — is because I have put my faith in a promise that I believed in. A promise that I would...
Think about a favorite teacher that you had in elementary, middle or high school. Was there something they did that really had an impact on your life, or inspired you? Most of us have at least one person that comes to mind from our past. It could have been their daily kindness and encouragement, or even something bigger, like helping you decide on a post-secondary path based on your individual strengths they noticed in the classroom. I know that I have several teachers that I think about from my childhood in Ohio, and my three teenagers have teachers right here in Middlebury that have made...
I believe that education is the foundation to building a democratic society. Education that involves not just math, reading and writing skills, but education to think critically about systems and structures that construct society. I believe well-educated, thoughtful and committed teachers are essential to helping students become critical thinkers and effective participants in our democracy. I believe that teachers should be supported in their efforts to be well-educated, thoughtful and committed — in other words, professional. Teachers should be able to rely on government’s commitment to the...
I am writing today because of the proposed changes to the Vermont State Teachers’ Retirement System. As a native Vermonter, I have been an educator since 1995, teaching a variety of subjects and students in the Vergennes, Burlington, and Middlebury school districts. Most of these years, I designed and taught camp-like programs, such as the “Shark Tank Start-Up” that was lauded by Governor Scott, during the summers to offer rich and real-world experiences to our most vulnerable students. Also, I serve on numerous unpaid local and state committees, task forces, and boards to ensure equitable...
I am a teacher at Middlebury Union Middle School (MUMS), where I have been teaching math since 1997. I am writing on behalf of the teachers of the Addison County School District (ACSD). My intention is to raise awareness on an issue that is causing great distress for teachers in my district and across the state: the shocking and promise-breaking attack on the teachers’ retirement system by Vermont State leadership. I would like to begin by thanking the community for their support not only during the challenges of this past year, but also throughout my time in the district. That support may be...

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Addison County Independent