OKLAHOMA CITY -- A plan to increase the teacher retirement age has passed the Oklahoma House of Representatives and will advance to the Senate.
Lawmakers say the reform will help stabilize the Teachers' Retirement System of Oklahoma fund which some reports say is in jeopardy.
"We must reform the Teachers' Retirement System of Oklahoma and acknowledge the fact that the world has changed since the plan was established in 1943," said state Rep. Randy McDaniel, R-Edmond.
"During the 1940s, life expectancy was age 64, but the normal retirement age for teachers in the system was 70. Today, life expectancy is 78, but many teachers can retire in their 50s. Offering early retirement benefits coupled with increased longevity have been significant factors to the poor funding status of OTRS."
Senate Bill 377, by McDaniel and state Senator Mike Mazzei of Tulsa, will increase the retirement age for future teachers. The increased retirement age would apply only to those entering the Teachers' Retirement System of Oklahoma on or after November 1, 2011.
Under the bill, career teachers whose age and years of service equal 90 would be allowed to retire at age 60 in order to receive full benefits. Non-traditional teachers with fewer years of service could retire at age 65 with full benefits.
Senate Bill 377 passed the Oklahoma House of Representatives Wednesday on a vote of 66-24. The bill now returns to the state Senate for consideration.