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Mason City teacher concerned about future of IPERS

Status of Iowa's public employees retirement pension system concerns teacher

Posted: Mar 16, 2018 7:59 PM

MASON CITY, Iowa - Last July, the state of Iowa launched a task force to review IPERS, the state's public employees pension system. While lawmakers on both sides of the aisle told KIMT in January they think IPERS should remain untouched this year, one North Iowa teacher is worried about their pension.

Katie Koehler is a teacher with Mason City Public Schools, and has been paying into IPERS for 33 years. She says the positive ways IPERS was being run was an incentive for her to teach in Iowa. She's worried that if the system gets changed, it could impact the state's ability to recruit and retain new teachers.

"For our young educators to stay in Iowa, this was another positive. As a young teacher, I looked at and said, 'OK, what is available out there? What can keep me in this state?'", Koehler says.

In addition, Koehler says the program is functional being governed by the permanent Public Retirement System Committee, despite what some lawmakers are claiming otherwise.

"I don't understand why this state, and the people down in Des Moines, think they need to change this program. They say it's not viable, it definitely is viable. If you're an economic person, it's a longevity program. It's longevity savings. No, you're not going to get the diversified-type program, but it is a program set up for longevity," Koehler adds.

Koehler also adds that it's important for officials to listen to their constituents.

"I hope they start listening to the people, to their community members. Because I don't know if that's happening," Koehler says.

According to Koehler, 1 out of 10 workers in the state of Iowa, about 350,000 employees, are IPERS members.

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