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More local teachers to retire early
Change in benefit packages alters decisions to continue working
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Rose Barton was planning on working for a few more years.But her plans have very recently changed.Last month, the Teachers Retirement System of Georgia announced the repeal of its discretionary tax offset, used to balance the income tax charged to retirement benefits.“When I did the math, I saw that it was not to my advantage to continue working,” said Barton, who is finishing her 30th year as an educator, 21 of which have been in Hall County.The offset, established in 1990, gave teachers a 3 percent increase in benefits for the first $37,500 a year after a 1989 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that every state must treat the taxation of retirement benefits the same.Prior to that, teachers in Georgia were not taxed on their retirement packages.But effective Jan. 1, 2013, teachers who have not retired will lose that 3 percent increase.“If I had worked several more years, I would have lost that,” said Barton.She says with her expected lifespan, the difference could have been as much as $40,000.Those who retire before Jan. 1, 2013, will be grandfathered in.So school systems may see an exodus of retirees this year.Hall County sure will.Last year, Hall retired 43 certified staff members. This year, 60 have announced their retirement, with a dozen putting in their notice after the system announcement last Tuesday.“That’s why some of these folks are seriously looking at leaving that haven’t thought about it before,” said Richard Hill, Hall County associate superintendent. “And that list is growing.”Hall County has about 20 to 25 more certified staff who are eligible for retirement.“Every day since (making the announcement last Tuesday), we’ve gotten correspondence from people who are saying the same thing,” said Hill.Gainesville City Schools has only received seven retirement announcements from teachers, but school leaders have given notice to those who are eligible.