As reported in the Baltimore Sun, the Baltimore City pension board is requiring about 2,000 school employees to begin contributing to the municipal retirement system, a plan met with resistance by school officials, who say the district won’t be able to meet the July 1 deadline.
The school system was informed this year that some of its employees would have to begin contributing to the city’s Employees’ Retirement System for the first time in decades. The school employees affected include paraprofessionals, school police, cafeteria workers and central office staff.
But the school system, which initially fought the plan, says it has not had enough time to inform its employees. Therefore, school officials plan to pay the initial bill of $14.4 million on the employees’ behalf out of the district’s budget.
The contribution requirement for certain school employees brings them into line with other Baltimore City employees who are now also contributing to their pensions. As described by the Sun,
School employees were not originally part of the mayor’s plan, under which thousands of civilian municipal employees began contributing 1 percent of their salaries to their pensions in October. The percentage will increase every year until it reaches 5 percent in 2017.
Citing fairness, the Employees Retirement System board voted in November to include school employees in the plan and gave the district until July 1, 2014, to communicate and prepare its workforce for the transition.
This change does not apply to teachers and principals in Baltimore because they are members of the State of Maryland’s Teacher’s Retirement Plan.