From the Tallahassee Democrat:
Florida’s school districts are about to be walloped with a nearly $233 million bill from the Legislature — because of the legacy of the Great Recession on the state’s pension fund.
Here’s what’s happening: The Legislature this month passed a bill (HB 5007) that would change how much state employers must contribute to their employees’ retirement pensions.
“It’s a big hit and school districts seem to be the biggest chunk,” he said.
Last year, the increase to the retirement system that was placed on school districts was $35 million, school district lobbyist Jim Hamilton said.
Though Florida’s retirement system is “well-funded” and “quite stable,” it does not have “every dollar that they would need in 30 years,” Hamilton explained. And though school districts won’t have a choice but to pay the new rates, Hamilton said that legislative “leadership does understand this is a burden.”
The Legislature could still pass measures to increase the per-pupil funding amount — the main source of funding for school districts — to offset the costs of the legislation, Hamilton said.
“We’re still three weeks away from sine die (the end of session), and a lot can happen,” he said. If signed, the mandate would go into effect July 1.
“It’s a false sense of funding,” said Scott Mazur, president of the Leon County teacher’s union. He told the Democrat that the efforts to increase teacher pay may end up “just reallocating” money, noting that he foresees programs being cut to offset the costs.
“The total cost to the employer for the pay — not only what the employee takes home — all would come from” the same pot of money, she told Board members. “At the end of the day, it would mean less money home to the employee because we’re having to contribute more of that pot toward retirement.”
Florida, Florida, Florida, why do you elect people that hate teachers and public education? I want to remind you while above is going on, we are planning to send hundreds of millions more to charter schools and to pay for yet even more vouchers, but perhaps worse of all the pension is in good shape, there really isn’t a problem.
Update. The three percent taken back in 2011 was to balance the budget because the state was going to send district’s 3-4 less and require them to contribute 3-4 less to the FRS. The teacher contribution may not go directly to the general fund, but it replaced money from the general fund that was going to go to districts so they could pay less to the FRS. Okay that’s a little complicated, and if you want to read a ton more on it, click, the link: