fbpx
Skip to content

Posts tagged ‘retired teachers’

Retired Teachers Ask Legislators to Honor Commitments

CEA Retired members listen to CEA Retirement Specialist Robyn Kaplan-Cho explain the details of legislative proposals during a retired teachers' lobby day this morning.

CEA Retired members listened to CEA Retirement Specialist Robyn Kaplan-Cho explain the details of legislative proposals during a retired teachers’ lobby day this morning at the State Capitol.

Retired teachers turned out in droves today at the State Capitol to tell their legislators why it’s so important that the state fully honor its commitments to retirees. “It’s extremely important to be here today,” said CEA Retired member Althea Carr. “Our legislators need to know about the issues that concern us.”

“If legislators don’t hear from us, they won’t know what issues are important to us – and they work for us,” said Ann Grosjean. Read more

Members of CEA Retired Encouraged to Support Their Younger Colleagues

CEA Vice President Jeff Leake.

CEA Vice President Jeff Leake.

Never have teachers been required to deal with so much change simultaneously—from new teacher evaluation to Common Core State Standards—but they can breathe a sigh of relief knowing that retired teachers have their backs.

That was the message from CEA Vice President Jeff Leake to more than 200 retired teachers at the September CEA Retired Fall Meeting at the Aqua Turf today.

Leake said, “We rely on you so much, and we need your activism to advocate for public education.”

CEA Retired President Gloria Brown

CEA Retired President Gloria Brown.

Just back from a regional organizing conference in Quincy, Mass., Leake urged retirees to bring their communities together to support high-quality schools.

“Let’s commit to re-engaging and organizing our communities,” he told the audience.

CEA Retired President Gloria Brown said the retirees have been actively recruiting members and have seen record growth in the past year—more than 300 new members have joined CEA Retired.

CEA Retired Annual Meeting“Even though we are no longer in the classroom, we, of course, care about children and our colleagues. It’s in our hearts and blood, and as retired teachers we have unique opportunities to help improve public education in Connecticut,” said Brown.

Brown urged all members to stay active and involved by attending meetings, contacting legislators, and staying informed on the issues by reading the CEA Advisor, visiting the CEA Retired website, and attending meetings. A series of Retired County Meetings is scheduled this fall, and dates are posted online. The CEA Retired Annual Spring Meeting is scheduled for May 21, 2014, at the Aqua Turf.

Teachers Continue to Contact Their Legislators and Urge You to Do the Same

Naugutuck teacher Anthony Scorge told Governor Malloy

Naugatuck High teacher Anthony Sorge asked Governor Malloy why he had proposed eliminating funding to the Retired Teachers’ Health Insurance Fund at a recent meeting in Naugatuck.

Your colleagues have made numerous calls urging legislators to continue the state’s contribution to the Retired Teachers’ Health Insurance Fund. Please join your colleagues and keep up the effort.

The legislature’s Appropriations Committee is still weighing  whether state dollars will be put into the fund for the next two years and every call makes a difference.

Naugatuck teachers are among the many who are speaking to elected officials about this important issue. At a recent town hall meeting in Naugatuck, teachers told Governor Malloy about the impact the cut in funding would have on them.

Naugatuck High School teacher Anthony Sorge asked the governor why he has proposed eliminating state funding to the Retired Teachers’ Health Insurance Fund. The governor said that the state is still experiencing difficult economic times and mentioned that the legislature can decide to move money around and reinstate dollars to the fund.

Retired teacher Jeanne Scheithe told Malloy she is concerned about the impact on teh

Retired teacher Jeanne Scheithe told Malloy she is concerned about the impact on the fund of eliminating the state’s contribution for two years.

Jeanne Scheithe, a retired Naugatuck teacher, raised concerns about the impact that the elimination of state dollars two years in row would have on the fund  — especially on top of the reduced state contribution to the fund this year and last.

Thank you to the Naugatuck teachers and everyone else who have been calling, emailing, and meeting with your elected officials. Teachers’ voices are being heard.

Please continue to call your state representative and state senator and ask them to ensure that the budget restores state funding to the Retired Teachers’ Health Insurance Fund. You can look up your legislators here.

  • House Democrats: 1-800-842-1902
  • House Republicans: 1-800-842-1423
  • Senate Democrats: 1-800-842-1420
  • Senate Republicans: 1-800-842-1421

Read additional details about the Retired Teachers’ Health Insurance Fund here.

Educators Unite to Protect the Retired Teachers’ Health Insurance Fund

Nearly 30 retired teachers came to Hartford to urge legislators to preserve the Retired Teachers’ Health Insurance Fund today. Pictured left to right are Don Demers, John Battista, Mike Lingaro, Karin Pyskaty, CEA President Sheila Cohen, Jane Shugg, Mary-Jo Vocke, Rhea Klein, Ronald Green, Fonda Green, Bill Murray, and Walt Liplinski.

Nearly 30 retired teachers came to Hartford to urge legislators to preserve the Retired Teachers’ Health Insurance Fund today. Pictured left to right are Don Demers, John Battista, Mike Ungoro, Karin Pyskaty, CEA President Sheila Cohen, Jane Shugg, Mary-Jo Vocke, Rhea Klein, Ronald Green, Fonda Green, Bill Murray, and Walt Ciplinski.

“I paid $15,000 a year out of my pocket for health insurance before my wife and I turned 65 and were eligible for Medicare.”

“Retired teachers are on fixed incomes and we don’t get Social Security, so increases in our health care insurance costs are difficult to manage.”

“Both active and retired teachers have been paying more than their fair share—now it’s time for the state to keep its promise and continue funding the Retired Teachers’ Health Insurance Fund.”

Those are just some of the comments from nearly 30 retired teachers who attended an Appropriations Committee hearing at the State Legislative Office Building in Hartford today to show their support and urge legislators to preserve the Retired Teachers’ Health Insurance Fund.

The governor’s budget proposal eliminates the state’s contribution to the fund for the next two years.

CEA President Sheila Cohen, testifying before the committee, said the state is not upholding its end of the bargain, and is breaking its promise to active and retired teachers in Connecticut.

“The governor’s plan puts the Retired Teachers’ Health Insurance fund in serious jeopardy, and that’s totally unacceptable,” she said.

Cohen added, “Active and retired teachers have always dutifully made their required health insurance contribution with the understanding that it will be there for them when they retire. The state should honor its obligation to Connecticut teachers.”

CEA is urging all teachers—active and retired—to call their legislators and tell them to continue the state’s 33 percent contribution to the fund.

Active teachers contribute 1.25% of their salary annually into the Retired Teachers’ Health Insurance Fund—this represents the largest contribution to the fund—over $45 million in 2012-2013.

Retired teachers also contribute to the fund—nearly $38 million in 2012-2013.

Members need to call, email, or write to their legislators and explain how the cuts to the fund would directly affect them.

Call your state representative and state senator and ask them to ensure that the budget restores the state’s funding to the Retired Teachers’ Health Insurance Fund. Click here to look up your state legislator.

•  House Democrats: 1-800-842-1902

•  House Republicans: 1-800-842-1423

•  Senate Democrats: 1-800-842-1420

•  Senate Republicans: 1-800-842-1421

CEA Retirees Spring into Action to Protect the Teachers’ Health Insurance Fund

Retired South Windsor teacher Marcia Baretta, at right, with past Hebron Education Association co-presidents Nancy Millerick (at left), and Althea Carr

From left, retired Hebron teachers and past co-presidents of their local Nancy Millerick and Althea Carr and retired South Windsor teacher Marsha Baretta learned more about the governor’s proposal to eliminate the state’s contribution to the retired teachers’ health insurance fund.

“Active and retired teachers need to get involved in issues of importance to the profession,” said Marsha Baretta, a retired South Windsor teacher. “And right now a key issue is our teachers’ health insurance fund, and it affects all teachers.”

Baretta, who was among a group of retirees at a CEA Retired Regional Member Activist Workshop in Glastonbury today, was talking about the governor’s proposed budget plan that completely eliminates the state’s contribution to the retired teachers’ health insurance fund for the next two years.

Jon-Paul Roden, CEA-Retired president and NEA-Retired Executive Council member, told his colleagues that the governor’s plan puts the retired health insurance fund in jeopardy. He called on the retirees to speak up on the issue and become more politically active. “Do whatever you can and whatever you can fit into your schedules,” said Roden. “It could be making a phone call, talking to other retirees about the issue, sending an email, or writing a letter to legislators—anything that will increase your activism and let your voices be heard.”

Retired  West Hartford teacher Ken Carpenter talks with Judy Baxter, retired Mansfield teacher and CEA local political coordinator.

Retired West Hartford teacher Ken Carpenter talks with Judy Baxter, retired Mansfield teacher and CEA local political coordinator.

CEA Political Action Coordinator Conor Casey told the group to tell their individual stories about how the cuts would impact them. When asked how many attendees had already called their legislators, more than half of those in the room raised their hands.

Many of the retirees, including Ken Carpenter, a retired West Hartford teacher, said their phone calls were taken very seriously.  “My call was transferred to the House Speaker’s office,” said Carpenter. “The Speaker’s aide was very receptive. He listened to my concerns and suggested sending emails or letters that could be given directly to the speaker.”

Casey agreed, telling the group, “Handwritten notes are important because legislators rarely get them and they pay more attention to them.”  He added, “There’s still plenty of opportunities for you to let your voices be heard by calling, emailing, or writing—take your choice, but do something.”

Click here to find out how to contact your legislator.

CT Healthcare Experts Answer Retired Teachers’ Questions

CEA-Retired President Jon-Paul Roden addresses members at the group's meeting September 20.

Over 200 retired teachers had their healthcare questions and concerns addressed Tuesday by state experts at a CEA-Retired meeting in Southington. CEA-Retired President Jon-Paul Roden said, “Healthcare issues are always of concern to our CEA-Retired members. Holding conferences like this from time to time meets our members’ needs, and we are happy to provide that opportunity.”

Retired members attending the conference heard from individuals who administer their healthcare plan and provide their pension benefits, as well as from a woman whose office provides assistance with healthcare concerns for all Connecticut residents.

Connecticut’s Healthcare Advocate Provides Help for Consumers

Victoria Veltri, Connecticut’s healthcare advocate, told the retired teachers that her office assists consumers to make informed decisions when selecting a health plan and in resolving problems with their plans.  The Office of the Healthcare Advocate (OHA) has assisted 16,000 consumers since 2002 and recovered $35 million.

“Your insurance contract is the law regarding your policy,” said Veltri. “You need to make sure you have a copy of your contract and read it so you know your rights and responsibilities.”

If you are affected by a denial of coverage, have a question about your policy, or need an explanation of benefits you can contact the OHA.

Veltri said that her office is “the only Connecticut government entity that provides real-time service.  If you contact our office, you will get a call back the same day. We keep you up to date all the time, over the phone, or through email or fax – however is most comfortable for you to be in touch.”

You can contact the Office of the Healthcare Advocate by

In addition to providing direct assistance to Connecticut residents, the OHA has authority under state law to propose legislation, and advocate for or against legislation.  Last year the office advocated on behalf of legislation that led to an agreement requiring the insurance commissioner to hold up to four public hearings a year on proposals to raise health insurance rates for individual or small group HMO plans by 15 percent or more.

Panel Provides Updates on Pension and GPO/WEP

Jamie Stirling of Stirling Benefits, right, speaks to retirees. From left are panelists Darlene Perez, Administrator of the Teachers' Retirement Board; Robyn Kaplan-Cho, CEA Program Development Specialist; and Clare Barnett, Chair of the Teachers' Retirement Board.

During the second half of the meeting, CEA-Retired members heard from a panel of three pension and healthcare experts: Clare Barnett, retired teacher and chair of the Teachers’ Retirement Board; Darlene Perez, administrator of the Teachers’ Retirement Board; and Jamie Stirling of Stirling Benefits. Stirling Benefits administers the state’s supplemental insurance plan for retired teachers.

Barnett had good news for CEA-Retired members: The budget proposed by Governor Malloy and adopted by the legislature fully funds the teachers’ pension fund for both this fiscal year and next. “This is a huge commitment during a difficult economic time,” said Barnett.

CEA’s Program Development Specialist Robyn Kaplan-Cho, who moderated the panel, said that CEA members need to thank the governor and legislature for including the full pension and retiree healthcare appropriations in the budget.

Kaplan-Cho added that she wanted to acknowledge Darlene Perez for all of her hard work on behalf of Connecticut’s teachers. A retired teacher in the audience agreed that kudos are necessary, speaking highly of the assistance she received from a Teachers’ Retirement System employee who resolved an issue with her pension check on the Friday before a long weekend.

The outstanding work of Perez and her staff is especially impressive because the office is severely understaffed. Because of state budget constraints, the State Teachers’ Retirement System has only 22 employees, said Perez. The system must enroll new retirees over the summer, send checks out, and respond to numerous phone calls and emails from the retirees it serves.

Perez recommended that retirees contact her office by email, trb.webmaster@ct.gov, whenever possible. Responding to voice mail messages usually takes her staff at least two to three days.

She also recommended that retirees who need forms download them from the Teacher Retirement Board website: http://www.ct.gov/trb/site/default.asp.

Interactive software that would point out mistakes and omissions and allow retirees to submit forms directly would save time and money for the Teachers’ Retirement System, said Perez.  Unfortunately her office doesn’t have this technology yet, but she’s hopeful that these updates will come, as Governor Malloy is supportive of IT initiatives in state government.

Many CEA-Retired members had questions about efforts to repeal the Government Pension Offset and Windfall Elimination Provision (GPO/WEP) that unfairly reduce or eliminate Social Security benefits pubic employees have earned.

Kaplan-Cho said she is cautiously optimistic about the possibility of a repeal. There is increasing support in Washington, D.C. for repealing GPO/WEP, but it’s a complicated issue and the economy remains challenging.

Most of Connecticut’s U.S. representatives and senators have supported repealing GPO/WEP, but Kaplan-Cho reminded retirees that it’s “very important to share your personal stories about how you’ve been impacted by GPO/WEP.”  Those stories are what will make Congress eventually take action on this issue.

CEA-Retired will offer its next conference providing more essential information for retired teachers on May 22, 2012. If you’re not already a member of CEA-Retired you can enroll today by visiting CEA-Retired’s award-winning website or by contacting Cherie Young at CEA: 860-525-5641 or 800-842-4316.