Charter Schools Protest Removal from LA State Retirement Plan

October 25, 2011 ( - Teachers in Louisiana’s Algiers Charter Schools Association are protesting a move by the group's leadership to leave the state teacher retirement plan because of rising costs.

The Times-Picayune reports that the Teacher Retirement System of Louisiana is mandating ballooning contributions from employers, association officials said, at the same time that a key grant is expiring for the Algiers schools, creating such a budget void that the consortium would have to lay off 120 of its 800 educators if it doesn’t make a change.  

The association is opting to create a 403(b) plan that will allow it to continue making contributions to teacher retirement accounts at the same level.  

The news report said teachers still can choose to leave their existing savings in the state plan, but without the ability to add money or receive matching contributions from the schools.  

Choosing how to shift money between accounts depends on calculations including length of participation in the Louisiana system. The association plans to offer employees opportunities to meet with financial advisors to help with the decision, according to the Times-Picayune.  

The change applies to five of the eight schools in the Algiers network, targeting campuses that are chartered through the state-run Recovery School District. Two other member schools, Alice M. Harte Charter School and Edna Karr Charter High School, are chartered by the Orleans Parish School Board, which will keep them in the state retirement plan. The eighth school, the Algiers Technology Academy, has yet to encounter the problem because its charter hasn’t emerged for renewal, the checkpoint that introduced the change in the other schools.