Gov. Matt Bevin should stop trying to imitate our president by making bombastic comments not thoroughly thought out. I am not a teacher, nor am I married to one, but I am tired of constantly seeing teachers blamed and used as scapegoats because politicians, former and current, failed to properly do their jobs.
Doing his job means budgetary planning for the needs of education, including ensuring retirement benefits are sufficiently funded. Changes to the state’s retirement and pension plan may be required, but it is not required to arbitrarily change the plan for those close to retirement or cut vested rights and benefits for those who have already retired.
Instead of making insulting statements about the dedication of teachers, the governor should have sought to assure everyone that whatever changes the state may implement for Kentucky’s retirement and pension system, those changes would be phased in. The phased-in approach would allow any teacher or employee within five years of retirement to opt out of the new plan and remain in the current plan. A phased-in approach is calming and reassuring for teachers and school districts while allowing the state to adjust and correct for any unanticipated consequences.
James F. Wisniewski