State Pension Cost Increases Bad News For School Districts

FALCONER – As much as a 12 percent hike in school pension costs are bad news for local schools, according to Falconer Central School District Superintendent Stephen Penhollow.

He said the cost hike, which is expected next year, will have a strong impact on his school district.

The state’s nearly 700 school districts each year pay a portion of an educator’s salary into the Teachers Retirement System, and the system this month estimated the costs will rise from 9.8 percent of payroll this year to as much as 11 percent of payroll next year. This, coupled with state and federal budget issues, could leave districts responsible for even more costs, experts said.

School officials are awaiting a limited increase in school aid for the state’s fiscal year, starting April 1. The state could face at least a $4 billion budget deficit next year after school aid soared 32 percent, or by $6 billion, over the past six years.