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Issue Explainer

Pensions for Educators

Alaska educators hired after 2006 have the least secure retirement system in America.
A person stacking blocks of benefits
Published: January 2024

Alaska educators hired after 2006 have the least secure retirement system in America. Most Alaska public employees who fall into TRS III and PERS IV are without a true pension option, and most TRS III employees don’t have access to Social Security. This combination has had devastating consequences on our ability to attract and retain the best and brightest educators for our students.

In preliminary findings from Governor Dunleavy’s Teacher Retention and Recruitment Task Force, retirement was listed as one of the top-three issues for both teachers and administrators. Without a change, Alaska will continue to be a training ground for educators who want experience but have no financial incentive to remain in our retirement system beyond 5 years. This turnover is estimated to cost the State of Alaska $20 million dollars per year.

Right now, legislators in both the Alaska State House and Senate are considering legislation that would fix this broken system. Bills have been introduced that have generated bi-partisan support. Now, it’s up to all public employees to contact our legislators and tell them to pass a comprehensive solution to our retirement system.

The Facts:

Here's how broken retirement system for public employees has a deep impact.
Fact #1

The Only State

Alaska is the only state in the country where teachers can’t earn a pension, or at least earn a guaranteed income in retirement with Social Security.
Fact #2

Harms Competition

Alaska can no longer compete with the lower 48 when trying to recruit public education employees, our retirement system arguably makes Alaska the least attractive jurisdiction to work in the whole country.
Fact #3

Increases Turnover

Alaska’s educator turnover is among the worst in the country. A 2021 study by the Institute of Education Sciences found Alaska’s teacher turnover to be 22%. Teacher turnover in rural Alaska is as high as 31%.

What can you do?

You can take direct action today by contacting your legislators and urging them to support legislation to fix our retirement system. Your stories are powerful! Sharing how Alaska’s retirement system is impacting your family, your school, and your community can make a difference.

Together, we can pass this important legislation and restore a retirement with dignity for all Alaska public employees!

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