Retired teachers celebrate 95 years of success!

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Local CalRTA leaders share in milestone celebration 

Founded in 1929 and the oldest and largest group of retired teachers in the nation, the California Retired Teachers Association (CalRTA) had a lot to celebrate at this year’s Annual Convention and Delegate Assembly in Sacramento from June 7-9.  Four local retired teachers from Division 33 – Co-Presidents Ron and Sue Breyer, Vice President Tom Green, and Member at Large Jason Chrest – served as delegates at the convention, which combined education, official association business, and a special 95th birthday celebration. Though much has changed in California since CalRTA was formed in 1929, the focus on retirement security remains firmly in place.

Chris Ailman, CalSTRS Chief Investment Officer

Convention participants conducted organization business at the Delegate Assembly and attended a variety of “breakout” sessions on such topics as Medicare and Medicaid services, emergency preparedness, the six pillars of brain health, seniors and safe driving, and protecting yourself from scams and financial fraud.  In addition, attendees heard messages of encouragement and support from such dignitaries as Dan Doonan, Executive Director of the National Institute on Retirement Security (NIRS); Chris Ailman, Chief Investment Officer for CalSTRS since 2000; and Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, former Lieutenant Governor of Maryland and advisor on retirement for the Department of Labor.

Dan Doonan, Executive Director, National Institute on Retirement Security (NIRS)

Within California, CalRTA is seen as the go-to organization on retiree issues. Our sponsored legislation has improved retirement security and repeatedly put money directly in retirees’ pockets … from our bill in 1947 that raised monthly benefits from $60 to $100 … to our bill just two years ago that helped nearly 46,000 of our oldest retirees see more money in their SBMA checks.

            The pensions retired teachers receive is part of their overall compensation package while still working in the classroom. In addition to providing security for retirees, pensions have a tremendous positive economic impact on California, according to the report “Pensionomics 2023” by the National Institute on Retirement Security.  “Several Federal Reserve studies demonstrate that the decline of pensions and rise of 401(k)s increased wealth inequality and, conversely, adding pensions and Social Security to the household balance sheet reduces wealth inequality by race, gender and income,” NIRS Executive Director Dan Doonan explained.

Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, former Maryland Lieutenant Governor and advisor on retirement for the Department of Labor

CalRTA also supports public education and current teachers with scholarships and state and local teacher grants. Last year CalRTA and its 83 Divisions donated more than $750,000 in grants, scholarships and materials to schools. That was in addition to the $39 million worth of volunteer time.

            Locally, Division 33 offers 16 $100 grants each year to area teachers and matches state CalRTA $100 grants with a crisp $100 bill from Division 33. Local teachers looking for grant opportunities should watch for announcements on the CalRTA state website (www.calrta.org) and our local Division’s website (www.div33.calrta.org).

            “We cared about our students and our communities while we worked as educators,” said CalRTA State President Susan Dixon. “That caring doesn’t stop at retirement.”

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