Make Mine a Double Dip
I was in Ohio last week to celebrate my sister’s retirement as a pubic school special education teacher. Her superintendent is retiring also, but not to golf, read, and do volunteer work. He has taken another job as Director of Pupil Personnel for another district where he will draw a salary along with his retirement income.
While I was helping my sister clean out her classroom, she introduced me to her high school principal and his assistant. Both are retired administrators receiving both their pension and their salary from their current job. It turns out that in Ohio, teachers and administrators can retire after 30 years in the state system and then go back to work either at the same job or in another school district. The opportunity to retire at 52 with ten or more working years ahead is a real encouragement to “double dip.”
The Columbus Dispatch reports that more than 150 of Ohio’s 614 school superintendents collect both pensions and paychecks. While this is a great deal for individual school personnel, it’s not so great for the state teachers’ retirement fund, currently facing $40 billion in unfunded liabilities. The system may need a taxpayer bailout. It’s also not so great for aspiring administrators or teachers.
School districts insist that rehiring their retired superintendents retains experience at the helm. Until last year, districts also saved on health insurance, paid by the retirement system. The system has since abandoned that idea, finding it too costly.
The Dispatch notes that superintendents represent only a fraction of the state’s double dippers, but they are among the most visible.
The double dip benefit isn’t available in my state, and at first I looked askance at my colleagues in Ohio. But I have to admit, if I were working there, it would be hard to ignore the benefit. College fees, vacations, nicer home or car – you name it. Why doesn’t it feel right?