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No Pension Shift

This petition had 1,157 supporters

Montgomery County fiscal constraints have forced our public schools to slash more than $400 million from the budget since 2009. These cuts have necessitated increases in class sizes across all grades and required the elimination of 1300 positions. All of these reductions have occurred as our county has seen dramatic growth in student enrollment, now at a all-time high of 146,500 students. At present there are 47,365 students who qualify for free and reduced meals (FARMS), the highest number of students living at or near poverty levels in our county's history, and 22.5% of all elementary school aged students require English for Speakers of other Languages (ESOL) services. Even without the pension pushback our county is struggling with these mounting education costs. We implore you as a County, MCCPTA community and parents to look for other solutions to the pension problem that does not involve shifting even greater financial burdens onto our counties. Given that 1) the General Assembly determines how much employees contribute and how much retirees will receive and 2) the State Retirement Agency invests pension funds and administers the program with local officials having very little input into how the fund is managed or operated, it hardly seems fair to "pass the burden" for the underfunded pension to cash strapped counties. This is particularly true given that state-level decisions, including the 2006 enhancement of benefits and the so-called "corridor funding" (which allows underfunding by up to 10%), were substantial drivers that led to the underfunding. In closing, we urge that you work with leaders from our County and others to find a solution to improve the long-term health of the pension fund, without placing the burden on our backs and most importantly the future backs of our students who depend on us all.

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