Topeka — Two bills aimed at funding problems in the public pension system were criticized Wednesday by school officials.
Under House Bill 2310, if a retiree in the Kansas Public Employees Retirement System got another job with a KPERS employer, the person could not receive retirement benefits while he or she was still working.
Educators said this would essentially wipe out a stable of experienced teachers and administrators who, after they retire, come back to work as substitute, special education and math teachers.
“It very well could put special education in crisis,” said Robert Coleman, manager of the ANW Special Education Cooperative of Humboldt.
During the hearings, members of the House Pensions and Benefits Committee also expressed misgivings about HB 2130.
State Rep. Charles Roth, R-Salina, referred to it as a “meat cleaver approach.”
Chairman Mitch Holmes, R-St. John, said the bill “will probably be heavily amended.”
The other bill, House Bill 2328, would require local school districts to pay more into KPERS. Education officials said the additional expense, combined with recent budget cuts to schools, would be difficult to manage.
KPERS has a $7.7 billion gap between the value of its assets and future obligations. Gov. Sam Brownback has said fixing the long-term funding problems is one of his top priorities.
KPERS officials have said that current benefits to retirees are safe.