Bill would raise retirement age for Wisconsin Retirement System
A proposed law is purportedly designed to address Wisconsin’s teacher shortage, but because it would raise the minimum retirement age for participants in the Wisconsin Retirement System by nearly five years, it could be met with no shortage of opposition from public employees.
The bill, sponsored by State Sen. Duey Stroebel, R-Saukville, and State Rep. Mary Felzkowski, R-Irma, would raise the minimum retirement age at which a participant may begin collecting benefits from 55 to 59½, according to an article in the Wisconsin State Journal.
This would allow retired teachers or other former employees participating in the Wisconsin Retirement System to be rehired and work full-time for a WRS employer for up to three years and still collect their pension payments.
Stroebel and Felzkowski say the measure would make it easier for retired teachers to fill workforce shortages in local school districts. According to the Wisconsin Association of School Boards, the number of Wisconsin teachers has declined by 1,338, or 2.2 percent, in the past decade, while the number of public-school students has decreased by 2,269, or 0.5 percent, over the same time period.
Advocates for public employees and educators argue raising the minimum retirement age isn’t necessary and actually devalues educators, especially in light of the fact that the proposed bill exempts other public workers such as police officers and firefighters.