In 2009 — nearly 5 years ago — the DeKalb County School System broke a pact it had made 30 years earlier (1979) with DCSS teachers and staff. DeKalb County Schools stopped payment on a tax-sheltered annuity (TSA) retirement fund for district employees.
In 1979, the TSA was “sold” to employees as a “replacement” for Social Security, encouraging faculty and staff members to vote to drop Social Security. In return, DeKalb County Schools would contribute an amount equal to what DCSS would have contributed to Social Security into separate accounts for each employee.
After two years of stonewalling by DCSS, DeKalb teacher Elaine Gold and school psychologist Amy Shaye filed suit against DCSS in June 2011. Gold and Shaye claim DeKalb County Schools’ action was in direct violation of the contract the district agreed to and has resulted in a loss of millions of dollars for district employees. Their suit seeks class action status, which would allow other DeKalb Schools employees to join the suit against the district.
On January 14, the Court denied Gold and Shaye’s Motion for Class Certification. The practical result of this ruling, if allowed to stand, is that each teacher could be compelled to retain and arrange for legal counsel in order to enforce their legal rights.
An appeal was filed immediately. Elaine Gold and Amy Shaye believe the court’s decision is legally unsound and is grossly unjust to our teachers. DeKalb School Watch is in full agreement with them. Elaine and Amy remain committed to obtaining a remedy for all teachers negatively impacted by DCSS’s sudden termination of this important retirement benefit.
How important is TSA? For starters, teachers — even those who have worked their entire careers for DeKalb County Schools — will receive little-to-no Social Security (per the federal Windfall Elimination Provision or WEP) when they retire because they are retiring from an organization that does not pay into Social Security. WEP applies even to those DCSS retirees who claim spousal Social Security benefits instead of their own. WEP applies even to those DCSS retirees who previously put in many years working elsewhere and paying into Social Security before being employed by and ultimately retiring from DCSS.
Faculty and staff who reach age 60 and have worked for DCSS for 10 years are eligible to retire from the Teacher’s Retirement System (TRA) as a DCSS retiree.
DeKalb County Schools’ unconscionably greedy act has condemned many DCSS retirees to a retirement in poverty.
Does anyone know if the superintendent, the superintendent’s “cabinet” and other “senior” administrators at the Palace still receive TSA contributions to their accounts?
If you know something about this, please contact DSW via e-mail (firstname.lastname@example.org) or, for complete anonymity, at DSW’s post office box address: DeKalb School Watch, P. O. Box 660221, Atlanta, GA 30341-0221
You needn’t give us your name, but you must send a copy of whatever proof you have that backs up your claim. We will put it in the right hands without revealing your identity.
For more information on this court case go to this URL at the Barnes Law Group