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The History of our Public Schools
Wyandotte County, Kansas

1844
2012

 

 

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Kansas Public Employees Retirement System (KPERS)

"HOMELAND SCHOOLS", Cabins to Complexes
Compiled by Republic County Retired Teachers Association
Copyright 1976
(Copy available at the Republic County Historical Society and Museum; Belleville, KS)

p. 27 - Until about 1940, teaching was often used as a stepping stone to another profession.  Young ladies would teach long enough to "fill her hope chest" and then get married.  It was a bleak future for the career teacher to be able to save enough for "old age."  There were those who did forge ahead hoping things would get better.

The best account I have found of the evolution of the Kansas retirement plan is in C. O. Wright's book, "100 Years in Kansas Education."  Wright credits R. V. Phinney, Supt. of Schools at Larned, with being the father of the retirement plan, although Adel Throckmorton says that W. D. Ross, State Superintendent, first proposed it during his tenure in office, 1912 to 1919.  Wright ways, "Background work in the KSTA Representative Assembly by R. V. Phinney in the 30's was slumbering and ready to be kindled anew.  By 1939 interest was extensive and the Legislative Council was instructed that year to draft a proposed bill on teacher retirement for consideration of the 1941 legislature.  Marion Beatty of Topeka, a member of the legislature, served as chairman of the committee."

Opposition to the bill was furious.  The insurance companies were against it because they feared it would hurt their annuity business.  Governor Payne Ratner's support of the bill no doubt saved it although it was greatly "watered down" before passage.  Again quoting from Wright, "As the debate became increasingly fiery, the abuse of teachers and the KSTA on the floors became stronger, day to day.  'Any teacher worth of his salt could save for old age.' 'Teachers are trying to guzzle at the public trough.' 'Retirement is socialistic ad communistic.  It was not by accident that the K.S.T.A. building across the street is red.' "

As passed, the Kansas Retirement Act of 1941 provided:

  1. that the teacher receive a service annuity figured at $1 a month for each year of service with a maximum of 30 years ($360 Masimum service annuity;
  2. that prior service be recognized back only to 1926 (15 years);
  3. that the teacher pay 4% of salary up to $3000 with the payments to remain in a savings fund in the teacher's name and returns be paid to him at the time of retirement;
  4. it was contemplated that after 30 years - with the state's payment of $30 a month service annuity and $30 additional income from the savings of the teacher - the retirement payment would approximate $60 a month or $720 a year;
  5. retirement was to be compulsory at age 70;
  6. paid-up rights were granted in case of discontinuance of teaching with retirement pay to begin at age 65; disability payments on an actuarial basis were provided after 15 years' service;
  7. the teacher could withdraw from the system and claim his contributions with interest, less deductions for cost of operation;
  8. those in service before September, 1941 were admitted to the system only upon individual application.

Improvements in the 1941 retirement plan followed:

1947:  Employees of state and county superintendents' offices were included; teachers were permitted to transfer from city retirement systems; veterans were given credit for military service; $2 was granted rather than $1 for 30 years service, moving the annuity from $30 a month to $60.

1951:  Raised payment for approved service of 30 years to $3 a month, which represented an improvement from 1941 from $1 to $3 a month.

1955:  Social Security benefits were added to the retirement income.  This more than doubled the total benefits and gave Kansas teachers the largest return for teacher contribution of any sate.

There were other improvements but the ones listed above were the principal ones.

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Contact the History Webmaster - Patricia Adams

History Site created on December 02, 2002
Page last updated: 02-Jan-2012

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