Yup, you read it right: $100,000+ a year for life. Chance of winning 1 in 1
It’s called “Education Reform”
Governor Malloy brings his now familiar confrontational style to the Windham High School tonight (3/14/12) as the Great Malloy/Wyman “Education Reform” Road Trip of 2012 rolls in for Town Meeting #5.
With the Legislature’s Education Committee voting on the “Education Reform” bill within the next two weeks you can be sure the Governor will try to keep the debate on the ‘big picture” and stay far away from some of the lesser known provisions tucked into his 163 page piece of legislation.
Windham is also the temporary workplace of “Special Master” Steven Adamowski; Malloy’s pick to oversee the state’s efforts to increase student achievement scores in the Windham School System.
Adamowski, who helped Malloy develop this “Education Reform” package, is also the unnamed beneficiary of a couple of sentences 3,000 lines into Malloy’s “Education Reform bill. The section in question retroactively changes Connecticut’s teacher pension law to allow Adamowski to collect a large pension from the State’s Teacher Retirement Fund, a pension he would not otherwise qualify for.
See last Monday’s Wait, What? blog for Part I of this incredible story: Pension, Pension, who wants a Pension – Steven Adamowski this is your lucky day.
And now Part II;
In 2006 Steven Adamowski was named Hartford’s Superintendent of Schools. Last summer he left that position and Malloy’s Department of Education quickly named him Windham’s “Special Master.”
When administrators or teachers come from out-of-state (as Adamowski did in 2006) they are given a one-year nonrenewable certificate to work in a Connecticut school. However, the individual must take and pass the state’s education certification exam within one year.
Connecticut law is very clear. Except for that temporary one year certificate, “no teacher, supervisor, administrator, special service staff member or school superintendent shall be employed in any of the schools of any local or regional board of education unless such person possesses an appropriate state certificate, nor shall any such person be entitled to any salary unless such person can produce such certificate dated previous to or the first day of employment.”
So, in order to keep your position and collect your pay check you need to pass that test.
But it turns out that Steven Adamowski never took the required test. [Nor, interestingly, did he seek a waiver from the test which requires an SAT score of at least 1,000 on the older version of the SATs – back then the average score in the US was about 1050].
So how did Adamowski remain Hartford’s superintendent when he had no certificate to work in the state?
On the last day of the Connecticut General Assembly 2007 Session an amendment was added to a bill in the House of Representatives at 12:08 in the morning.
That amendment changed the law to read that “the commissioner may grant a waiver of certification to a person who the commissioner deems to be exceptionally qualified for the position of superintendent…” Later the night, just 30 minutes before the State Senate was to adjourn for the year, that bill (with the Adamowski amendment) passed and was later signed into law.
Using that provision, Adamowski became the only person in Connecticut to be given an annual waiver of certification for each of the next four years.
But it turns out there is a problem.
While the special deal allowed him to remain Hartford’s superintendent, it didn’t exempt him from having to meet the laws related to getting a State Teacher Retirement pension.
Now enter Governor Malloy’s “Education Reform” bill of 2012 (Senate Bill 24).
Section 32 of Malloy’s bill goes back and changes Connecticut’s pension law so that Adamowski can get pension credits for all his years as superintendent even though he never had the certification needed to be in the pension system.
And rest assured this change as a profound impact.
Back in the 1970s and 1980s, Steven Adamowski served as a teacher and school administrator in number of Connecticut towns but even with that time he doesn’t come close to having the required 35, 25 or 20 years of Connecticut school service needed to get an annual pension check.
In fact, he barely has 10 years of Connecticut service.
Determining a school administrator or teacher’s pension is actually a fairly complex process. It depends on the number of years they worked in Connecticut, the number of years they worked in schools outside of Connecticut but paid to have those years “shifted” to Connecticut’s system and the salary the retiree made in their last three years of work. There is also a “regular retirement” system and an “early retirement” system.
Last spring, the issue of whether Adamowski could get credit for his Hartford position went all the up to Connecticut’s Attorney George Jepsen and on May 16, 2011 Jepsen ruled the Hartford years cannot be counted toward his pension.
So at this point Adamowski hasn’t met the criteria for a State Teacher Retirement pension.
However, if the law is changed, he would qualify almost immediately and if works another five or six years he’ll get a significant pension.
Malloy’s bill gives Adamowski his time as Hartford’s uncertified superintendent. Add the time he has or could purchase for the years he worked in public schools outside of Connecticut and if his role as “Special Master” counts or they give him another school administrative job he will have a big pile of retirement credits in the next few years.
Combine those with his present “Special Master” salary of $225,000 a year and he could easily be looking at a pension in the range of $100,000 or more a year. With automatic cost of living adjustments to that pension and a good long healthy retirement, this “small technical change” that is hidden inside Malloy’s “education reform” bill could cost the state millions.
The Malloy Administration may claim Senate Bill 24 is the Great “Education Reform” Act of 2012 but the title of the bill should probably be – “How to Take Care of Your Own – While Messing up Connecticut’s Education System.”
My guess is that we won’t hear much about this section of the bill or many of the other strange provisions that are included in Malloy’s “Education Reform” bill.