Podcast: PA Teachers Talk Pension Reform

Often lost in the public pension reform debate raging across the state are the viewpoints of public school teachers themselves. That’s why our Senior Policy Analyst Priya Abraham recently interviewed two public school teachers at very different stages in their careers.

Bill Frye is a recently retired science teacher from Westmorland County and taught in Pennsylvania public schools for more than 20 years. He is currently collecting the defined benefit pension he earned.

But Bill is concerned about the more than $50 billion in public pension debt already on the books:

“Like any business, you have to be able to pay your bills now and in the future. When I hear of the huge debt, I think about everyone. The system as it is now won’t be able to support the current manner of payout.”

Steve Calabro is mid-career but is worried that teachers’ pensions will be such a burden on taxpayers that his own son will effectively be paying Steve an allowance when he retires. He says action is needed now:

“Something has to be done. The sooner we get through all the rhetoric and all the talking points and actually do something, the better off we and our kids will be.”

How can lawmakers honor pension obligations while preventing future generations from being unfairly burdened by ever-growing pension debt?

Listen to the enlightening conversation here.

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