KEA concerned about proposed changes to pension plan - wave3.com-Louisville News, Weather & Sports

KEA concerned about proposed changes to pension plan

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The Kentucky House Chamber. The Kentucky House Chamber.

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - The future of Kentucky's pension program is still in question as the General Assembly gets ready to wrap up their session by midnight Wednesday. It's a vote thousands whose retirement funds rely on state money are keeping an eye on, including some your children's educators.

For 30 years, Sharron Oxendine gave all she had to her students.  

"I taught in George Rogers Clark High School," said Oxendine, "mainly Algebra, Geometry, but mostly Algebra 2."  

Though the money wasn't great, she knew she had decent healthcare and a decent pension. Now only two and a half months from retirement, Oxendine wonders if it will still be there.

"It's the first time in my career I've been scared for my future," Oxendine said.

It's why she's keeping her eye on what's happening on the last day in the General Assembly. They're supposed to vote on a new pension plan for government employees. At last check, it would turn the pension into more of a 401K while taking a percentage of the gas tax to keep the funds available. A bad idea all around if you ask Oxendine.

"If you'll look at the folks who have retired under a defined contribution plan, a 401K, most of those folks say ‘I'm going to have to go back to work in my 70s. I don't have the money I thought I was going to have. My 401k has been reduced by a third or a half with the last recession,'" said Oxendine.

Right now, the plan wouldn't affect teachers, but it does apply to the school bus drivers, custodians and cafeteria workers.

Oxendine is also president of the Kentucky Education Association. She wonders how school systems will be able to attract quality candidates for those positions without the current pension.

"If you don't have quality folks in your classrooms, on your buses, in your cafeterias, if you can't attract and retain the best people, then your children will be the ones suffering," said Oxendine.

Oxendine also wonders if they taking it away from colleagues on the buses and in cafeteria, when will they take it away from the teachers?

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