Pamela Betres


Hello and thank you for the opportunity to share my thoughts with you regarding the proposed improvements to the teacher pension system.

My name is Pamela Betres, I am a National Board Certified teacher. I am a compassionate educator who has fulfilled my duties with pride and hard work. During the 28 years of my teaching career I have honored my contract despite challenges and obstacles that could not have been foreseen at the time of my graduation from RIC. But as I stated. I HONORED my contract. I contributed to my pension as required. Ultimately, the state has not honored their end of the contract and it is time to correct that mistake.

With seemingly faulty numbers and the self-serving agenda of our former Governor, our teachers were made to bear the burden of a mistake created by our state when they allowed the pension system to be illegally underfunded for decades. Educators didn’t create this problem, yet we are forced to fix it by working significantly longer for a mere fraction of our pension. The solution is simple. As you garner new funds you should make it a priority to correct this gross injustice BEFORE you move on to fund new programs.

See, it’s simple. Make. Us. A. Priority.

That being said, the problem is about SO MUCH MORE than an unfair change in the pension.. It is also about the unsustainable burden thrust upon our cities and towns. As a taxpayer, I cannot afford to own my home with the increasing tax burden placed upon me each year due in part to the ever increasing school budgets required to staff our schools with senior teachers.

To continue, the problem is also about staffing. I come from a family of educators. My father is a retired professor, my mother a retired teacher, my brother, sister-in-law, both educators. We were raised as believers in public education, and the system is at its best when there is a balance of veteran and recent graduates in our schools. It is important for students to have the critical strengths that both groups bring to the table and with the system as it is, combined with the critical teacher shortage facing our nation, students will be left attending schools that are missing an integral component to successfully staffed schools.

You have the power to correct this for all of us. For the students, the taxpayers and the teachers. Vote yes on increasing our accrual rate and decreasing the age of retirement.

Vote yes to allow educators to have pride in a long and successful career while earning a reduced but fair pension

Vote yes to allow municipalities the opportunity to infuse their staff with the next generation of strong educators for our students and

Vote yes to allow taxpayers to see the benefits of their tax dollars being used to fund new programs and improvements to their aging facilities.

I am proud to be a teacher, but have struggled to close my career with pride in the state for whom I serve. Please help me speak with pride again about my role in educating the children and young adults in our state, because as it stands it breaks my heart, but I have a hard time recommending this career, in this state, to anyone. You have the power to make this right for our teachers, for our taxpayers and for our students.

I implore you to vote yes to both of these changes.

Submitted via online webform