It was recently reported that “new regulations” would cause New Mexico schools to lose some of their most experienced substitute teachers. Those “experienced” teachers as it turns out are teachers who have recently retired from full-time teaching and apparently still like being in the classroom enough that they want to be substitutes on a fairly-regular basis.
So, what’s the problem? Simply put, issues with New Mexico’s pension system and changes to that system are limiting the amount of money teachers can make lest they unduly tax the already-underfunded ERB retirement program.
Where have we heard this before? Oh yes, in New Mexico police officers are limited in their ability to work past their mandated retirement age due to pension issues.
The solution for teachers is easy (although making the transition won’t be): put teachers on 401-K style defined contribution plans and get them off of the current defined-benefit plan that hamstrings their ability to work after they’ve retired. As far as police are concerned, it would seem that retired officers could keep their earned pensions and shift to a 401-K plan for earnings past retirement.
New Mexico’s pension plans are underfunded and inflexible. It is time for reform.