Merced County Times Newspaper
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Retired teachers celebrate 90 years of giving back

The figures are certainly impressive … $15.7 billion in federal, state and local tax revenues; nearly 2 million hours in donated time worth nearly $58 million.

After years, sometimes decades, in the classroom giving back to their students, California’s retired teachers continue to give back through their pocketbooks and their passion for volunteerism.

The California Retired Teachers Association today announced that its members had tallied nearly 2 million hours of volunteer service in the past year, valued at $57.8 million. In addition to their donated time, retired teachers are part of the swell of economic benefits California receives from public pensioners as they spend their pension benefit checks.

According to the latest report from the National Institute on Retirement Security, Pensionomics 2018, California saw $73.7 billion in total economic benefit in 2016 from pension benefits paid out by state and local pension plans. Because retirees spend their benefit checks in their local community, their spending ripples through the economy as one person’s spending becomes another person’s income.

The positive economic impact of California pensions is impressive by any standard:
  • $73.7 billion in economic output generated by retirees’ spending
  • 443,966 jobs paying $25.2 billion in wages and salaries supported by retirees’ spending
  • $15.7 billion in federal, state and local tax revenues generated by retiree benefits and spending in California
  • $57.8 million worth of donated time from retired educators.

CalRTA’s members are part of that pool of retirees whose pension checks help stimulate California’s economy. Members of CalRTA also donated more than $600,000 in grants, scholarships and donations to schools and current and future teachers last year.

Each year CalRTA highlights retired teachers’ contributions by celebrating Retired Teachers Week. This year’s event Nov. 3-9 marks the 21st year the celebration has been held and corresponds with the association’s 90th anniversary.

Ninety years ago, CalRTA founder Laura E. Settle drove dusty highways to personally talk with retired teachers living in poverty after a lifetime of teaching. In 1929, as the country entered the Great Depression, a small group of teachers banded together to fight for retirement security. In addition to helping California’s educators, early CalRTA leaders went on to form other retiree organizations, such as Ethel Percy Andrus who formed AARP.

“Our early leaders showed us what dedication, compassion and determination can accomplish,” noted Dr. James Mahoney, CalRTA State President. “Today we’re trying to live up to their example as we continue our fight for retirement security.”

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