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State Lawmaker Wants To Increase Retirement Age For Teachers

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One state representative wants to increase the retirement age for teachers by two years. One state representative wants to increase the retirement age for teachers by two years.
OKLAHOMA CITY -

One state representative wants to increase the retirement age for teachers by two years. He says it would save the state money. But the teachers union says it would cost the state teachers. 

State lawmakers will start the legislative session next month about $900-million in the hole while working to give teachers a raise. Oklahoma teachers are among the lowest paid in the country.

Representative Randy McDaniel (R) Edmond says one long-term solution is to increase the retirement age for newly hired teachers from 65-years old to 67.

"We increased the retirement age five years ago and it made a big difference,” said McDaniel. “It saved us over a billion dollars. In that case, we increased it a little bit more. So, we're still expecting hundreds of millions of dollars worth of savings."

Hundreds of millions of dollars, McDaniel says, that could be used to fund teacher raises while stabilizing the cost of pensions and healthcare for retired teachers.

"Make those more predictable. Make those containable. That way we can free up extra resources so we can pay not only meet the national average but exceed it in many cases. That's my goal. I want to pay people better. And I think this is a way we can do it,” continued McDaniel.

Opponents say the measure would only force more teachers from Oklahoma.

"Extending the amount of time that they've got to teach before they can retire doesn't seem like an enticement,” said Alicia Priest, President of the Oklahoma Education Association.

McDaniel says, this is a long-term solution, not a quick fix, and it would take years before the state saw large scale savings.  

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