Florida teacher retirement benefits untouched in the end
The proposals flowing out of Tallahassee had teachers fearful for their futures.
To balance budgets, lawmakers had sought to strip away retiree health insurance subsidies, force teachers and other state workers to contribute more to their retirement funds, change the method for calculating pension income and more.
One veteran educator told the Gradebook that if all the changes came to pass, she'd be living off food stamps and eligible for Section 8 housing in her retirement years. Some gratitude to people who dedicated their lives to helping Florida's students, right?
In the end, the Florida Legislature made just one adjustment to the contribution levels for the state's deferred retirement program (DROP). All those other ideas went away, unable to muster enough support to get to the governor's desk (where they were likely to get vetoed anyway).
Now, the big threat remains at the local districts, where school boards face rising costs and level funding. Pay cuts, benefit reductions and furloughs have been topics of conversation in most counties, with layoffs and buyouts already in the works in Broward, Monroe and a handful of others.
Look for negotiations to begin soon pretty much everywhere.