This past session of the General Assembly was relatively mild in terms of legislation affecting teachers. However, it is important to note that The Commission on Employee Retirement Security and Pension Reform was established(HB665). This Commission will “ study and make recommendations relating to the financial soundness of retirement plans, the suitability of retirement, and attributes that will be suitable for future employees, the impact on state and local governments of the retirement of experienced employees between 2016 and 2026 and the strategies for replacing those employees, elements of compensation and benefits packages essential to attracting and retaining a highly productive state and local government workforce.”
The Commission will be made up of 11 members of the General assembly and 8 non legislative citizens and 2 state officials. VEA will have a voting representative on the committee. Other non legislative members include: Virginia Association of Counties, Virginia Municipal League, Virginia Governmental Employees Association, Virginia Sheriffs Association, and the Virginia State Police Association. The cost for this Commission including statistical analyses, actuaries, etc, will be paid by the VRS. I raised a question as to why no retired members were included in this Commission, since the cost of this is to be borne by VRS. I was told there is a “possibility” that a retired member “might” be included. I intend to follow up on this.
Another Commission, set up through (SJ85) provides for a joint 13 member Senate and House study of the future of public elementary and secondary education. This study was deemed necessary because of “wide array of education-related legislative proposals during each regular session of the General Assembly.” It goes on to say that “many education-related legislative proposals require more discussion and study than the committees are able to devote during a regular GA session.” As a result, the General Assembly needs “to jointly examine innovative education reforms and emerging education issues on a year round basis” because “public elementary and secondary education in the Commonwealth will benefit from a deliberate, thoughtful, coordinated and year round approach to legislative education reform.”
This group will include representatives from the Department of Education, the Standards and Learning Innovation Committee, The VEA, the Virginia Association of Counties, the Virginia Municipal League, the Virginia Association of Elementary School Principals, the Virginia Association of Secondary Principals, the Virginia Association of School Superintendents, the Virginia School Board Association and other “interested stakeholders as deemed appropriate.“ Again, I asked about retired teacher representation. We shall see. This could be a very interesting group, and all teachers should be aware of its activities.