Retired teachers outearn working teachers

California’s retired teachers collect $51,072 a year in pension payments, reports Intercepts. That’s more than the average working teacher earns in 28 states, according to NEA data.

California’s working teachers average $64, 156 a year. Their retirement system needs 20 percent annual returns to fund all pensions, unless benefits are cut or revenue is increased.

About Joanne


  1. What’s the COL in those 28 states compared to California?

  2. A former neighbor went back to her old district (Prince George County, MD) as a retired/re-hired teacher and collected both her full retirement pay (based on 30 years, master’s and extra credits) and a full salary (ditto) for 11 years. She taught MS social studies.

  3. Include social security taxes and benefits, and the retirees are doing even better compared to current teachers.

  4. Better raise those taxes–I retire in about 17 years 🙂

  5. @Ed, in California, teachers don’t get social security because they do not pay into it. Teachers who worked prior to going into teachers earn a very small fraction of their social security that they earned due to the social security offset & are able to only collect small portion of their spouses SS as well.

    Finally, my question is does this average include administrators? If so, the average is much higher than if it just includes actual classroom teachers.

  6. Mark Roulo says:

    This is a *BAD* headline, Joanne.

    *Some* retired teachers (those in California) get more retirement pay than *some other* working teachers (those *not* in California … nor, probably, in New York, Connecticut, …).

    But so what?

    Some working teachers make more money than other working teachers, too.

  7. @ms_teacher That is interesting about social security. I didn’t know that. Thanks.

  8. About Social Security – the same is true of teachers in Texas.

  9. We don’t get social security either — and no medical benefits other than Medicare. When you retire, you can come back part-time, but not work over a certain number of hours. Some choose to retire and just work the allowed hours to pay for the medical benefits until Medicare kicks in. The elementary folks tend to sub, while at the high school the more popular choice is to just teach a class or two. Knowing what the cost of living is in California, $56K doesn’t seem like a lot of money to me.

  10. I’m a 60 year old CA teacher. If I retire next year, I’ll get $76K per year and free medical until I’m 65.

    Currently, there are over 5,000 CA teachers and administrators with pensions over $100K.

    All of them are listed at:

    If I retire now, the state will give me a million dollars for sitting around and doing nothing, providing I live to the expected age of 75. If I live until 82, it will be a million and a half.

    If I were offered a 5 percent raise every year, I’d teach until I was 68. That would cost less than $40,000 yet the state would save $400,000 in pension money.

    My district would have to pay $200,000 more in salary because younger teachers are cheaper, but the net gain for taxpayers would be $160,000.

  11. My MIL is a retired schoolteacher (not in CA) and her daughter is a current schoolteacher. MIL’s pension at 90% of final salary is higher than SIL’s active salary.

  12. The politics of envy writ large.

  13. Robert,
    Lists like that are useless unless you can separate out administrators from classroom teachers… I think even most teachers would agree that administrators are overpaid.

    The fact that teachers do NOT get SS in CA needs to factor into whether their retirement compensation is fair or not as well.

  14. Jab, you’re right. Most of the people on the list are administrators.

    As for what a “fair” pension might be, I don’t know how you’d measure that.

    Our top age factor is 2.4 while other public employees get 2.5 so there are differences, but I still don’t know what is “fair.”

    To reduce a pension that was promised at the time of hire is probably not right, according to court rulings on the matter.

    The fact I’m not given a monetary incentive to keep on working though it would save the the pension fund money is something that doesn’t make much sense.

    If I keep working as long a Jerry Brown, the chances are I won’t drain the coffers even one penny. But If I keep working to the age that my mother is now, I’ll take out over a couple million dollars.