Charter School Teachers Fear IRS Rules Will Cost Pensions

Monday, 13 Feb 2012 05:03 PM

By Marti Lotman

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Charter school teachers fear that a proposed change in Internal Revenue Service regulations will render them ineligible for state pension plans and take away the money they have accrued.

Under the proposed rules, the definition of “governmental plans,” the federal standard that defines who can be considered a government employee for pension purposes, would change drastically, according to the educationvies.org website.

“The IRS did not have charter schools in their sights, but whether they had them in their sights or not, it could have negative consequences for us,” said Todd Ziebarth, vice president for state advocacy and support at the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools.

“Our concern is that this could raise some questions. It’s a gray area around whether charters would meet the test.”

Five eligibility criteria will be established under the proposed change, one of which has charter school teachers worried. The provision states that “the governing officers either are appointed by state officials or publicly elected.”

The teachers fear that they may not meet the minimum criteria because the schools are not entirely public institutions.

The rules “could unfairly jeopardize the retirement security of charter-school teachers,” wrote Republican Reps. John Kline of Minnesota and Duncan Hunter of California.

“The draft regulations could effectively prevent many public charter schools from recruiting or retaining veteran traditional public school teachers, significantly interfering with charter schools’ ability to achieve their educational goals,” wrote Kline, chairman of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce, and Hunter, chairman of the Early Childhood, Elementary, and Secondary Education Subcommittee.




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