The St. Tammany Parish Retired School Employees' Association (STPRSEA)
School Board Honors Retired Employees
At the School Board's July meeting, a special reception was held for retired employees, especially those who had retired in the past year. School Board President Jack Loup welcomed those visiting and read a resolution acknowledging the many contributions made by retired school personnel both before their retirement and, on a volunteer basis, after their retirement. Association President Marian Arrowsmith, at right, also spoke to the audience about the importance of staying in touch and remaining aware of issues that affect retirees.
July 14, 2011
Officers and board members of the St. Tammany Parish Retired School Employees’ Association met this past summer to plan member activities and set meeting dates for the upcoming year. Gathered for the session are (back, left to right) Netria Joe; Marian Arrowsmith, president; Carolyn Brown, secretary; Karen Jenkins; Jack Loup and Courtney Cheri and (front, left to right) Bill Brugmann, Betty Plummer, vice president; Carolyn Brugmann; Linda Crowen; Linda Martin and Linda Roan.
The Louisiana Retired Teachers Association (LRTA) Meeting for Fall, 2011, was held this week at the Airport Hilton in Kenner. Pictured left to right are Dr. James A. Taylor, President of LRTA; Bob Simmons; Dr. Jesse Scott, First Vice President of LRTA in charge of membership who lives in Slidell and is a member of STPRSEA; Karen Jenkins; Patti Brunning; Carolyn Brugmann; Marian Arrowsmith; Bill Brugmann; and Jack Loup. All are members of STPRSEA and live in St. Tammany except for Dr. Taylor, who will be our speaker at the meeting on November10th. Not pictured but in attendance at the meeting were Netria Joe and Ida James.
Dear Fellow Public School Retiree:
Financial security in our retirement years is very important to all of us, and we have had the benefit of a retirement system which offers us peace of mind that our retirement pay is a foregone conclusion. However, that security will be in jeopardy if some disturbing proposals to drastically change our retirement benefits are approved by the State of Louisiana in early 2012. Although we have had similar concerns in the past that have been resolved, these new proposals present a greater threat and chance of passage than we ever have seen. We cannot assume that “this too will pass”.
As an association dedicated to keeping retirees informed and to working for the best possible benefits for retirees, the St. Tammany Parish Retired School Employees’ Association (STPRSEA) wants to alert you about troubling proposals that jeopardize the financial stability of our retirement system and ultimately our retirement checks; and enlist your help in trying to stem the tide that has the potential to destroy our current state retirement system.
1. A plan is being proposed that will phase out the current “defined benefit retirement plan” administered by the Teachers’ Retirement System of Louisiana (TRSL), which is based on years of service, average salary, and an accrued rate. Not only does this proposal potentially shortchange future retirees but assuredly will reduce revenue coming into the system and have a disastrous impact on the financial security of our TRSL.
Our current retirement pensions depend on TRSL receiving ongoing contributions from active employees to invest for current and future retirees’ pensions. Without the retirement contributions of all future employees, from traditional schools and charter schools, our TRSL cannot remain financially sound. Under the proposal, current retirees would remain in our “defined benefit retirement plan”, but TRSL would receive no contributions from new employees. Instead, all new traditional school and charter school teachers and other school employees would have to join a system that requires them to assume responsibility for retirement investments in some version of a “defined contribution plan”, with no guarantee of a fixed retirement benefit. The effect on TRSL, simply stated, would mean “NO MONEY IN, NO MONEY OUT.”
2. Consolidating State retirement systems and restructuring the management of the systems to change the control of investment decisions are proposed. The impact of such actions would result in diluting the financial resources of the TRSL, losing the identity and autonomy of our current retirement system¸ and giving over investment decisions to nonmembers of our plan, rather than active and retired members of TRSL. These proposals seem desperate, without reasonable merit, harmful to current and future retirees, short-sighted when looking at the big picture, and confounding.
Why destroy a retirement system that works well, in favor of an untested and potentially harmful one? Why undermine the TRSL, which had an almost 27% return on investments last year? Why dismantle the TRSL and its board of trustees, considering the TRSL earned the highest performing ranking among public pension funds with assets greater than $1.0 billion? We cannot imagine that a politically appointed board of trustees would perform or safeguard our interests as well.
WHAT WE CAN DO
So, what can we do to help prevent these proposals from being enacted?
1. Contact your elected officials and/or talk to your Louisiana family and friends about opposing the proposed changes in our retirement system. A suggested message to send to elected officials is provided at the following link.
Please make time to contact them and/or ask family and friends to contact them right away.
2. Stay informed about all education and retirement issues that affect us. See www.blueprintlouisiana.org for a complete look at the proposals mentioned.
3. Join the Louisiana Retired Teachers Association (LRTA) and the St. Tammany Parish Retired School Employees’ Association (STPRSEA), if you aren’t already a member. The larger our organizations the more attention we will get as constituents working to influence policy and legislation. We find strength in numbers!
Photographs from Past Meetings STPRSEA Christmas Party
Photos from the November 10 Meeting
Members of the STPRSEA enjoyed the annual association Christmas party December 8. The large gathering of retirees enjoyed a performance by Woodlake Elementary School students before a wonderful feast of Christmas goodies. Everyone there relished time together to visit and join in the singing of seasonal carols.
LRTA Spring Meeting 2012: Highlights from the Spring Convention
Awards for St. Tammany's Association and District III
The award we got was a Membership Award from the "Louisiana Retired Teachers Association to St Tammany Retired Teachers Association in Recognition of the largest number of Associate Members in 2011" and the District Award.
Several members of the STPRSEA attended the recent Spring Meeting of the Louisiana Retired Teachers Association. Enjoying the meeting and fellowship of other retirees are (left to right) Carolyn Brown, Ida Thomas James, STPRSEA President Marian Arrowsmith, Netria A. Joe and Barbara T. McGary.
Above Photo: STPRSEA President Marian Arrowsmith receives a Membership Award given to the STPRSEA in recognition of its having the largest number of LRTA Associate Members in the LRTA in 2011. Presenting the award is LRTA Executive Director Graig Luscombe.
Photo at Right: LRTA District III, of which St. Tammany Parish is a member, receives a Membership Award from LRTA Executive Director Graig Luscombe for having the largest number of LRTA Associate Members in the LRTA in 2011. Accepting for District III is its president, Bertha H. "Bert", Breland, who now is Second Vice President of the LRTA.
Photos from past meetings....
March 30, 2012
STPRSEA member Hank Abel discusses retirement and other legislative issues with State Representative Kevin Pearson at March 30 called meeting.
STPRSEA President Marian Arrowsmith welcomes Representative Pearson to meeting with STPRSEA members.
Retired Assistant Superintendent Margo Guilott discusses education issues before the State Legislature with Representative Kevin Pearson and Executive Director of the LRTA Graig Luscombe at the special meeting of the STPRSEA.
Retirees Barbara Henry and Simmie Fairley meet with State Representative Kevin Pearson after his presentation to the STPRSEA.
State Representative Kevin Pearson, chairman of the House Retirement Committee and Slidell resident, spoke to members of the STPRSEA at a special March 30 meeting called for members to hear Representative Pearson discuss and answer questions about developments in retirement issues before the Legislature.
First Meeting of the School Year Held Sept. 13
The St. Tammany Parish Retired School Employees’ Association (STPRSEA) held its first meeting of the school year on September 13, 2012, at the David Treen Technology Center on 2024 Livingston Street in Mandeville. Close to 100 people attended.
St. Tammany Public School System Superintendent Trey Folse gave an overview of the past year and reviewed plans for the year ahead. STPRSEA President Marian Arrowsmith brought members up-to-date on a variety of topics.
For more information, call Marian Arrowsmith at 985-626-5880. Retirees may join the association at any regularly scheduled meeting or may send a check for $45 payable to STPRSEA in care of STPRSEA at Post Office Box 2992; Covington, Louisiana 70434.
Photos from the September 13th Meeting...
St. Tammany Parish Retired School Employees' Association (STPRSEA) Program Chair Ellen Lamarque (left) and Social Co-Chair Tassie Wahl (right) welcome featured speaker Terry Maddox, Publisher Emeritus of the St. Tammany News Slidell News and News Banner, to the November meeting of the organization. Maddox gave the association a humorous presentation that ended with a touching tribute to teachers.
Guest Speaker Greeted at November Meeting
Members of the STPRSEA express appreciation to guest speaker Terry Maddox, Publisher Emeritus of the St. Tammany News, following his presentation at the November meeting of the STPRSEA. Pictured are (left to right) Karen Jenkins, Beverly Kiefer, Terry Maddox, Natalie Chapital, Ida Thomas James and Carolyn Brown.
Scenes from the Christmas Party
Retirees Enjoy Christmas Party
STPRSEA members turned out in big numbers for the annual Christmas party held December 13, 2012. The group enjoyed a wonderful program of music provided by talented students from Ms. Christy West's class at Salmen High School, which was organized by program chair Ellen Lamarque. Following a short business meeting, retirees enjoyed a delicious meal that was organized beautifully by the social committee, chaired by Tassie Wahl and Donna Lusignan. A drawing for door prizes gifted every member with a Christmas present. The annual Christmas party always is a favorite of members and this year was not exception. Everyone left with a spirit of Christmas in the air and a carol in their hearts.