Pension, Pension, who wants a Pension – Steven Adamowski this is your lucky day.

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.

  • Msavage51

    I stand corrected. The level of corruption that this state (country) has risen (sunk) to can still surprise me. I knew that something was wrong the moment they appointed Adamowski. Even though I’m suspicious of anything and everything the Malloy administration does, this one surprises me. Disgusting–absolutely disgusting.

    • jonpelto

      At any point he could have taken the certification test and qualified but he is to important. But teachers need more tests and no tenure.
      Why not just amend the law to read anyone who makes over $150,000 doesn’t have to follow the law the way the rest of us have too.
      I mean face it – you wouldn’t be making $225,000 if you were better than anyone else.

      Sent from my BlackBerry please excuss typos

      • sharewhut

        Why should he get certified?
        Teachers don’t have to be certified do they?
        At least in charters they don’t.
        And that’s where his heart and (I’m taking all the blame to preemptively absolve Jon of any libel/slander/blasphemy issues) perhaps his wallet lay?

      • Follow the Money

         Why not is right. Just like the Bridgeport mess, they’ll just change the law to suit them as they muddle along – to hell with what’s already legally on the books! Of course, none of this is ever reported by so-called “main stream media” because it doesn’t support the position of those orchestrating this.

  • TMS

    Jon ~

    Looking back on your articles regarding Charter Schools in which teachers don’t have to be certified and the Governor’s proposed changes to make them the new privatized public school system, does this mean those teachers would also qualify for pension and retirement benefits?

    • jonpelto

      The law was that charter school teachers and administrators were supposed to be certified. Achievement First/Amistad and others were not following the law – that is why Amistad only got a 3 year extension instead of a five year.

      The lobbyists for the charter schools pushed a bill that allowed charters to have up to 30% non-certified.

      Those people who are certified go into the teacher’s retirement system and the taxpayers pay about $7,500 a year for each of them to be in that system. Those who are not certified can not be the teacher retirement system.

      Adamowski is not certified nor has anyone been paying into the system for him. The education reform bill would automatically and retroactively put him in there.

      • TMS

        WOW! Must be nice to have the state legislators creating legislation just for you. Here it is I’m thinking the legislators work for the voters.

        I have to say for as much as I learn from  your articles and the subsequent comments, I sometimes leave your site feeling helpless and depressed.   

        • jonpelto

          Sorry…. From now on we’ll pretend everything is fine.

        • TMS

          I needed that laugh!

        • Follow the Money

          Write to those legislators – call, email, blog – but let them know. You are correct that they are supposed to be working for the voters, but the special interests in the form of ConnCAN, Students First, Achievement First, and their ilk have their attention. They are not following the will of the people when they allow take overs of school systems and break their own laws to make it happen.

          Write your legislators and tell them how you feel.

  • sharewhut

    Just trying to fully understand his status. From what I can determine he is not currently classified as an employee of either the state or Windham? So at least his $225k a year won’t be figured into this state grant…err I mean ‘pension’. Or is that somewhere else in the bill- a contract employee of a non profit receiving state funds is eligible to count such time for a pension?
    And let’s not gloss over the vacation/sick/personal days. While at first blush folks may think that they’re part of the salary- which they are IF TAKEN. More likely, he’ll use minimal days and collect as lump sum at retirement (to the tune of about $1000 a day- figured at the per diem rate in contract). Which will also be counted as salary for figuring pension.
    Darn glad I gave up my $200 longevity and $750 top step payments!
    And the state has budgeted $1 million a year for him to accomplish his task. With benies, he alone is taking in 25% of that. Add personal staff he’s sure to bring in, travel to seminars/conferences (eliminates some of need to use vacation days?) and maybe 1/2 of that million per will reach the target.
    And I’m sure he’ll make sure some of the $$ makes it’s way to ‘CanCon’ and ‘Achievement Fistfullofdollars’.

  • Salyjean

    The corruption is just so over whelming.  He just can’t be stopped.

  • Glennforkids

    ok so if there are such problems in windham why does the super still have a job? Is adamowski a state employee because he was appointed or an contracted/outside employee?

    • Msavage51

      Believe he is a state employee, but not positive about that. In re to the superintendent in Windham–Ana Ortiz has only been the superintendent for a short period of time. She inherited a district that was already facing many, many issues. There is a huge bilingual population and not many bilingual teachers. Windham is one of the poorest communities in the state. Parents aren’t involved for a variety of reasons–they have to work long hours for low pay to put food on the table, they are just not interested, they are very interested, but don’t communicate very well in English, etc., etc. Those are some of the major problems that Windham faces. But of course there are parents who are very involved as well. Ana Ortiz didn’t deserve to lose her job because she was unable to turn the district around in the short time she’s been at the helm. She is Hispanic–a huge plus in an area where a large percentage of the population speaks Spanish as their primary language, in my opinion. Wonder whether Adamowski speaks Spanish? Ortiz is also very visible and involved, from what I’ve seen. Windham gets a bad rap, but the kids I’ve met from Windham High School are some of the nicest kids around, in my opinion.

  • tired taxpayer

    This is a Wow moment. This Gov needs to go and take his little friend with him

  • noteworthy

    Adamowski did not earn a pension, was not certified to be a part of the pension group; contributions were not paid into the pension. That Malloy would give what has not been earned and Adamowski demanding it, is nothing short of thievery. Sanctioned stealing at the same time we are paying heavy and mounting tax burden is morally bankrupt.

  • Buygoldandprosper

    Another GREAT story revealing more corruption on the state level. The legislature fails to engage in substantive work but can spend time on pork like this?
    Dan is really showing his true colors,just about every week that he is in town and not business-classing his way around the globe.

  • Bcjohnson

    Lifetime medical benefits? I don’t get those. Who does?

    • jonpelto

      The 100% benefits for him and his wife is while he is employed as “Special Master”. If they give him the pension that he doesn’t qualify for then he will have a co-pay (but of course) his co-pay will be a fraction of the cost that he would be paying on the open market. The really interesting thing is if they give him the pension – he can then go back and buy all the earlier time that he did not get credit for – so he’ll have to lay out some cash but then will have a MUCH larger teacher pension – because it won’t just be the 5 years from hartford and his time as special master but all the time he was working as a school administrator anywhere.

      • Dot D

        Thanks for putting this out there, Jon – after being part of a teachers’ meeting with our state legislator the other evening, this only fuels the flames of the disgusting behind the scenes ‘playing’ that is going on in Hartford (and elsewhere) these days.  Incredible how Mr. Malloy has turned on the teachers and state workers – those who worked hard to elect him.  He will never get a second vote from this household.  

      • sharewhut

        Let’s look at “Buy earlier time”. Not sure what it’ll “cost” him on paper, but if he’s allowed to accumulate some of the 5 weeks paid vacation and 3 weeks given each year to cash out at retirement he’ll have a pretty hefty down payment to purchase time. Even if sick time is paid off at the reduced rate that state employees get, it’s conceivable he’ll amass over $100k in 3 or 4 years. Would have to look at his contract with SERC for details on cashing in time,

        • sharewhut

           From HC article I linked to in the preceding thread:
          “The goal is for Windham to achieve adequate yearly progress in
          reading and math under the federal No Child Left Behind Act. The special
          master’s authority will expire a year after that goal is accomplished.
          Adamowski will report to Coleman, and his employment can be extended beyond the two-year agreement.”
          Sounds like there may be a Special Master in Windham for as long as he wants the job, unless next Gov and the legislature decide to stop funding. A Special Master until a year after the NCLBA is met. It may sound harsh for me to be saying this but realistically, depending on how low the bar is set, it’ll be a loooooong time before Windham/Willimantic can be fixed.

        • jonpelto

          Sent from my BlackBerry please excuss typos

        • jonpelto

          Sent from my BlackBerry please excuss typos


      alot of superintendants do, and some administrators

  • Mrhawk42

    Maybe we just might have a Civil Rights violation here if this passes. This is surely a discriminatory practice against the rights of people who make less than $150,000 and have contirbuted and earned a state teachers pension?

    • jonpelto

      Sure would make a great class-action lawsuit for all the people who have been turned down in the past. !!!! I think you are on to something.

  • Elizabethdaly

    This kind of corruption makes the Rowland years take on a kind of nostalgic quality, and his ethical wrongs seem like chump change gains…Of course he didn’t have Ben Barnes to be his front man and truth obfuscator……..BTW, no comments on the job performance of Adamowski during his years in Hartford.  Why don’t we ask some of the kids who did not benefit from the education that they were entitled to, made no progress because they were not supported, and were either pushed out through routine suspension, and expulsion, or dropped out because of hopeless despair?

    • jonpelto

      I agree 100% …. and also …. I know the Mayor and legislators had a big gala when Adamowski left and called him a hero – but they should have known the truth and have to know it by now. How do they explain this huge gift to someone who allowed the City’s children to slide deeper and deeper into the muck.

      • Msavage51

        The big gala–what a joke. There are all kinds of reports regarding ways that Adamowski manipulated the system to make it look as though the students’ performance was improving under his tenure. Now that he is gone the former board members are starting to speak out. Just google it and you’ll see. Not only did he persecute the teachers, but Adamowski reportedly didn’t even improve the lot of the children in Hartford.  

  • Esheetm

    Yet our unions support all Democrats.

  • soccerdad

    Should anybody be surprised what Malloy does? He wouldn’t even be the governor if the polls hadn’t been kept open for a few extra hours because they ran out of ballots in Bridgeport, a predominant Democratic city. And who should be surprised by anything involving Adamowski. He was arrested for drunkenness several times and don’t ever remember seeing or hearing anything in the media. Think the predominant left-wing media will report this latest Malloy travesty. Doubt it!!!!

  • CTvoter

    I’m just wondering what Adamowski’s GPA was. Does he qualify to get this pension? 

    • jonpelto

      Funny you should ask that question… be sure to check out the blog tomorrow 🙂

      • guest

        The suspense is killing me!

  • Rosalm719

    This is the reason why we are doing so poorly in comparison to another countries. Their money goes directly to the school and teachers ours goes to a few at the top and let the ones on the trenches fend for themselves. Sort of what happened in Vietnam.

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  • Mookalaboona

    This is outrageous.  I’ve paid for 38 years, and what will I get, 59,000 dollars a year?  The TRB is 7 billion dollars in the red, and this bully Malloy is going to get his friends money?  

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