Retired teachers hope for 1 1/2% pay raise - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

Retired teachers hope for 1 1/2% pay raise

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It's been six years since retired teachers in Louisiana have had a raise, and some, especially older retirees, say it's a struggle to get by.  But there's a move to provide at least a small increase this year.

"Because we in a fixed income, it would be tremendous help for me," said retired teacher, Lizzie Syas.

She says a 1 1/2% increase in her retirement check would help, even if amounts to only around twenty dollars a month.

"The older you get the more medicine you have.  And 'course this month the light bill was extremely high.  And I think in most of the time we can't get help from anything else," said Syas.

Syas says the legislators need to remember those retired teachers, many of whom helped them get where they are today.

"Retired teachers are the reason that some of them are there and we taught some of them and they should continue to think about us," she said.

She says six years is a long time to go without a cost of living raise.  Syas and others gathered for a Calcasieu retired teachers day celebration.

Executive director from the Louisiana Retired Teachers Association Graig Luscombe says retired teachers contribute more to the economy than most realize. He says $1.64 billion dollars in benefits were paid to retired teachers last year.

"Ninety five per cent of those benefits stayed in the State of Louisiana.  Retired teachers along with all the other members of their communities drive our local economies," said Luscombe.

Luscombe says the funds for an increase come from revenue generated by retirement system investments.

"The investments of the teachers retirement system were superb last year.  They had double digit rates of return at about 13.41% and based upon those returns funds go into that account and then are disbursed to retirees when all of the conditions are met,"said Luscombe.

Those conditions include approval from the legislature.

For more on Luscombe's comments and the legislative issues facing retirees look for the web extras at www.kplctv.com

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