Schools skeptical of Cuomo’s pension-smoothing plan

0

A survey of 151 school districts shows that nearly 30 percent of them will “definitely not” opt-in to Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s pension-smoothing plan, and another 40 percent are “unlikely” to sign up, a school group reported Monday.

About 26 percent of respondents told the state Association of School Business Officials they’d “possibly” take advantage of the plan, which would allow for flat rates over a long period of time. Less than 5 percent said they’d “definitely” sign up.

Cuomo’s plan, which he presented during his budget proposal Jan. 22, seeks to bring school districts immediate relief from skyrocketing pension costs.

The effectiveness of the plan, which has garnered support and criticism from local government officials, hinges on the assumption that costs will be lower in the long run.

The smoothing plan is expected to be in the state budget for 2013-14, but the state Teachers’ Retirement System and state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli, who controls the state Pension Fund, have not indicated whether they support it. New York State United Teachers, a statewide union, have indicated they support pension smoothing.

Cuomo and legislative leaders expect a budget deal Monday night.

Michael Borges, executive director of the school group, said in an email Monday he is concerned about the impact on the employer contribution rates of school districts that don’t participate.

“Will it go up to make up for lower contributions by those that participate in pension smoothing plan?” he said. “These issues need to be addressed before more school districts would feel comfortable about participating.”

The following graph demonstrates the group’s findings:

Share.

About Author

Comments are closed.