Call to arms for Missouri teachers
March 15, 2013
To the editor:

I now make the request that all interested parties... especially Missouri teachers... become proactive in guaranteeing the future well-being of the Public School Retirement System.

Since the Public School Retirement System has remained solidly solvent while other state pensions have suffered financially, elements within the Missouri legislature are fervently working to “appropriate” (steal) funds from the teachers’ retirement system in order to shore up other faltering pension plans within the state. The Public School Retirement System of Missouri has worked flawlessly since 1946, and is currently the most secure system in the state being funded at 82%.

And there'’s the rub! Other state pension plans are not nearly so well funded by member contributions and need a large infusion of cash to keep them solvent. Repeatedly, these same foxes that we've elected to represent our interests in Jefferson City, have tried to rob the hen house by co-opting the teachers' pension plan. Again and again, the state’s teachers have fought them off; however, a new threat has arisen through proposed legislation on the part of Senator Lamping, who is leading another assault against accumulated funds that have been denied the legislature in the past.

Once again, Missouri educators are being forced to rise up and fight for what is rightfully theirs... money they have privately contributed from their monthly salaries in order to be somewhat secure during the “golden” years. Although the public is largely unaware, Missouri state law denies most teachers the option of receiving any Social Security benefits. Thus, the Public School Retirement System is all the livelihood a teacher has during their later years. Following his very brief tenure as an elected official to public office, it might be interesting to compare Senator Lamping’s' retirement benefits to those of a classroom teacher following 30-years of dutiful service in Missouri public schools.

So, what's your guess… between the good senator and an humble teacher? Who will ultimately come out on top regarding retirement benefits? And then one must also ask, “Of the two individuals being compared, who probably contributed more to the integrity of their community,… the teacher… or the politician?” Yeah, I hear you! I came to that same conclusion myself!

So, in summary, without personally speaking up and individually taking action, the sharks in Jefferson City will have a feeding frenzy with private contributions of Missouri teachers. For those who might be more interested in learning about the legislation that Senator Lamping is sponsoring (SB221, SB475, SB476, SB477), please visit the website here. In addition to a description of each bill, you will also find an on-line petition that you might wish to sign. And in addition to signing the petition, an opinionated call to your local legislator also might be a nice touch!

Edwin Woolsey, Willow Springs, MO

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