Are you sitting down? No really… I think you should sit down for this one.
Governor Malloy’s “Education Reform” bill really is the perfect symbol of the times in which we live.
Blame the people on the front line while taking care of those at the top.
Enter one Steven Adamowski.
Fresh off being paid well over a million dollars to run the Hartford School System for the last five years, Steven Adamowski was appointed “Special Master” of the Windham School System late last summer by Governor Malloy’s administration.
At $225,000 a year, plus benefits that include five weeks of paid vacation, three weeks of sick time and 100% paid health benefits for himself and his wife and fully funded life and disability insurance, Adamowski will be responsible for overseeing Windham’s school system.
Windham’s $167,000 superintendent will stay in place to assist the Special Master with his task.
Turns out there is only one problem…
Now at the age of 60 and despite having five years of service as Hartford’s superintendent, Steven Adamowski doesn’t qualify for a pension from the state’s Teacher Retirement Fund.
Why? Because he isn’t a certified teacher.
Wait – But all school administrators and teachers – (except at charter schools) – must hold state teacher certification.
Nope, back in 2007, the Legislature passed an amendment allowing the state to waive that requirement for Adamowski. But alas Adamowski never bothered to actually get certified during his five years here in Connecticut and therefore doesn’t qualify for a state funded pension.
But have no fear, despite Governor Malloy’s constant refrain that Connecticut’s pension systems are unsustainable
Despite the fact that Connecticut’s State pension fund is $11 billion dollars underfunded.
Despite the fact that Connecticut’s teacher pension fund is $9 billion dollars underfunded.
Despite the fact that Connecticut’s state and teacher post retirement health insurance funds are $30 billion dollars underfunded.
Despite the fact that Moody’s Investment Services downgraded the state of Connecticut from a rating of Aa3 to Aa2 because of these unfunded liabilities saying the “pension funded ratios that are among the lowest in the country”
The Governor’s “Education Reform” legislation “reforms” the teachers’ retirement system to allow one person to qualify for a pension and life-time health benefits.
And that person is Steven Adamowski.
In a bill that has 5,036 lines of text, one has to fast forward to line 3,573 to find the “technical” changes to the language of the state’s Teacher Retirement Pension program.
The existing language of subdivision (26) of section 10-183b of the Connecticut General Statutes defines who qualifies for a teacher pension by defining the word teacher as “any teacher, permanent substitute teacher, principal, assistant principal, supervisor, assistant superintendent or superintendent employed by the public schools in a professional capacity while possessing a certificate or permit issued by the State Board of Education…”
Since Adamowski doesn’t have a certification or permit issues by the State Board of Education, Governor Malloy’s bill adds a new sentence that would require that a pension be paid to;
“ a superintendent employed by a local or regional board of education on or after July 1, 2007, pursuant to subsection (c) of section 10-157, as amended by this act.
It was that 2007 change for Adamowski that added subsection (c) of section 10-157 and allowed the Commissioner of Education to waive the certification process for Hartford’s un-certified superintendent
When Malloy’s Education reform bill passes and becomes law, Steven Adamowski will immediately qualify for a pension and participation in the State of Connecticut’s Teacher Retirement Heath and Prescription Drug Benefit Program when he retires.
Even better for him, as a participant in the teacher retirement system, he will be able to add to his pension by buying the time the he served as a superintendent in New Jersey, Missouri and Ohio.
Meanwhile, retired teachers were at the State Capitol this week in opposition to Governor Malloy’s 2012 budget proposal that reduces the state’s contribution for retired teacher’s health care from one-third to one-quarter of the premium costs. If the new budget cut is adopted, there will be an immediate $7.5 million increase in premium costs for retired teachers. (Shared Sacrifice).
As OPM Secretary Ben Barnes explained it in his recent testimony about the cut to the Legislature; “This will encourage them [retired teachers] to stick with their local [health] plans…the state is not in a position to be the insurer of last resort for this many people that were never state employees.”
Unless of course you are Steven Adamowski and you are making $225,000 a year as the Special Master of the Windham Schools.