DeKalb County Teachers Sue over Frozen Retirement Plan

April 1, 2011 ( - Two DeKalb County educators have filed a lawsuit against the school district and board for failing to make contributions over the last two years to a district employee retirement fund.

According to the Atlanta Journal Constitution, the lawsuit accuses the board of reneging on its commitment by freezing contributions and failing to give the two-year notice beforehand, as required by board policy. School board chairman Tom Bowen said the board did not act improperly and has the right to amend its own policies.   

According to the suit, the board voted to waive the two-year notice in 2010, a year after the contributions were halted. Bowen added that the decision to suspend payment into the fund was not a secret – it was visible in public budget documents prior to taking effect.  

The suit seeks repayment of past contributions and future payment until proper notice is given.  

The news report said the plan was established in 1979 as an additional benefit to educators and an alternative to social security. It is separate from the state retirement fund and is paid into individual employee accounts, tax sheltered until withdrawn. The contributions make up about 6% of each employee’s annual salary – about $20 million per year, according to attorneys who filed the suit and board members.