The budget crisis in Hartford has produced many proposals, including the idea that towns contribute toward teacher pensions. Ridgefield residents should be especially concerned about the plan to require towns and cities to pay into the pension system that our state legislators have been underfunding for years.
The teacher pension statute does not allow towns to opt out, and it mandates a single state system. The decision to underfund these pensions was made by the General Assembly, not the municipalities. Some will argue that towns like Ridgefield can afford to take on this scheme because we pay our teachers more than many other towns in Connecticut, but that number is being deceptively represented when discussed only as averages.