Weast Proposes Pension Improvements

April 28, 2006
Proposal would allow new employees to retire after 30 years of service with about 60 percent of their salary.

County Councilmembers Michael Subin and Steven Silverman endorse new plan.

Montgomery County Public Schools Superintendent Jerry D. Weast is asking the Board of Education to approve pension changes for MCPS employees that will boost their retirement earnings to as much as 60 percent of the final salary upon retirement.

“I believe we have the best education workforce in the country and our employees deserve to have a better pension plan,” said Dr. Weast. “In addition, if we are going to recruit and keep high-quality employees, then we need to have a more attractive pension system that will provide real retirement security.”

MCPS is the only school system in the state that offers its employees a supplemental pension in addition to the state pension. Dr. Weast’s proposed changes will increase the new state multiplier of 1.8 percent to 2 percent. The multiplier is used to calculate an employee’s retirement benefit based on a worker’s final salary.

Importantly, Dr. Weast is also asking the Board to improve the pension benefits for those MCPS workers who are not eligible to participate in the state retirement system. Currently, MCPS provides the same benefits as the state for about 4,800 support service employees. Under Dr. Weast’s plan, the county pension for these workers will match the new state plan.

The new state pension plan raises the multiplier from 1.4 percent to 1.8 percent and increases the employee contribution to the plan from 2 percent to 5 percent over the next three years.

“MCPS competes for teachers and other staff directly with Fairfax County and other major metropolitan areas beyond the state of Maryland. Providing a competitive retirement income to our teachers and other staff permits MCPS to compete, attract, and retain outstanding talent,” Councilmembers Subin and Silverman wrote in an April 25, 2006, letter to their Council colleagues. The complete letter is attached to this news release.

The Board of Education is expected to take up the proposal at the May 9, 2006, meeting.

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