Walter Guest


The pension change of 2011 was financially devastating to my family. Many of my immediate and extended family were teachers at the time of the change. My father a retired principal, my sister a guidance councilor, my brother an attendance officer my cousin a school teacher and myself a teacher for 29 years all saw our pension lowered as well as having to extend our years of service. I feel as the issue was grossly overstated to the public and that many small changes could have saved the pension system and kept the years of service and benefits as they were. it was stated in the news the the teachers overwhelmingly supported the the new law and i feel as thought this was not true. The vote was only given to approximately 10% of the 10,000 teachers who were working and or retired at that time. Since when is vote of this magnitude sent only to teachers at random and not all involved. Furthermore to vote yes you had to do nothing and for a NO vote you had send the paper back with no checked. At the time city's and towns were allowed to for go their pension contributions to save money further exacerbating the problem. The culmination of this law was devastating to the current and future teachers. Teachers not able to retire caused teacher pay roll to skyrocket due to teachers spending more time at top step. This caused a ripple effect where college students who once thought of becoming teachers are now choosing different careers and choosing to teach in neighboring states where the pension is better. Please consider making changes to the pension law which in return will benefit both current and retired teachers as well as students of Rhode Island who deserve better.

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