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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

AMPR to present teachers’ retirement options to fiscal board

By John McPhaul

The Puerto Rico Teachers Association (AMPR by its Spanish initials) and its local union will have the opportunity on Friday to explain and present to the Financial Oversight and Management Board the three alternatives that they consider viable to save the retirement of teachers.

“For us it is important that the proposed alternatives be considered because what is fair is that the teacher can retire with 75% of his or her salary when he or she completes 30 years of service at 55 years of age, as we have always stated,” said AMPR President Víctor Manuel Bonilla Sánchez in a written statement. “The Dialogue Table allowed the government to present its alternatives, in addition to all the teachers’ groups looking for different options for the benefit of the teachers.”

Sybaris Morales Paniagua, interim general secretary of the AMPR-Local Union, added that “we are one teacher and we will all suffer the consequences of the freeze.”

“The [oversight] Board has to understand that teachers cannot live with half or less of their pension. It is impossible that there are no other options so that teachers can enjoy the pension they have coming to them.”

Morales Paniagua said the three alternatives already presented to the Dialogue Table are viable, but that the will to apply them is lacking.

The three alternatives are:

Voluntary Transition: Teachers will not have to work until they are 63 years old, the age imposed by the oversight board. He or she may resign when he or she meets both the eligibility criteria of age 55 or older and 30 or more years of service. It will be the government that will pay 75 percent of a teacher’s salary until he or she turns 63, which is when the teacher begins to receive a pension.

Enhanced Defined Contribution Plan: The government will contribute to the individual accounts an annual amount in addition to that which each teacher deposits in his or her account. The purpose of this plan is to take the teacher up to 75 percent of the pension. The request of the AMPR is that this annual contribution be deposited every year, while the educator continues to work for the Department of Education (DE).

Defined Contribution Plan and a Supplementary Deferred Contribution Plan: It is similar to alternative two, but this additional annual contribution from the government would be for a few years. Once that time is over, if the teacher still works for the DE, the government will assume the teacher’s contributions for his or her retirement; 2.3 percent for those teachers who contribute to Social Security and 8.5 percent for those who do not contribute to Social Security. This government contribution would be in addition to an additional percentage contribution that the government would be making in the individual account of each teacher.

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