The rush of teachers seeking to get into the current retirement system before it expires tomorrow has grown to a whooping 4,873 applications this month — nearly five times the amount in December 2008, when 1,043 teachers applied.
State lawmakers this month passed Gov. David Paterson’s proposal to start a new Tier V pension system, which provides less generous retirement benefits aimed at lowering the soaring pension costs for state and local governments.
The changes include requiring new employees, including teachers, to pay 3.5 percent of their income toward retirement for their entire career, compared to the current 3 percent for 10 years.
The new law prompted a rush of teachers signing up to secure their place in the old system, according to the New York State Teachers’ Retirement System.
And the numbers have grown significantly even since last week. The Associated Press reported last week that 3,198 workers entered the more generous pension tier this month. But the applications are up more than 50 percent in just a week.
The New York State United Teachers encouraged its members to join the system before it changed.
Morgan Hook, a spokesman for Gov. Paterson, said the new pension tier will save billions of dollars but “still, it is extremely unfortunate that any group or individual would seek to game the system and violate the spirit of the law.”