BUCKS COUNTY BUGLE
Summer 2022 Newsletter
Editor – Judy Guise
At our luncheon on May 12 we were able to accomplish several goals. We awarded scholarships to graduating seniors and provided a grant to a teacher who wanted to expand a program for her students. We also provided information on how to avoid being the victim of credit card scams. The centerpieces on the dining tables were delivered to shut-ins. Also a donation was approved for the Bucks County Homeless Shelter. PASR in addition to being an active voice in Harrisburg aims to recognize and support school retirees and the education profession.
Mark McKillop, the executive director of PASR, has been working diligently toward making a COLA happen. PASR also is actively seeking to increase retiree representation on the PSERS Board of Trustees.
Included in this newsletter is information about the coming merger of the Montgomery County Chapter of PASR with our Bucks County Chapter. We plan to include Montgomery County members in our October 6 luncheon which will take place at Spring Mill Manor in Ivyland. I hope to see you there.
CHAPTER NAME CHANGE – BUCKS-MONT CHAPTER
At the June 2 Bucks County Executive Board Meeting, the Executive Boards of Bucks and Montgomery Chapters agreed to merge.. The new chapter, Bucks-Mont, will become effective on or before June 2023. Future Luncheons will be joint affairs and new officers for the chapter will be held at the Spring 2023 Luncheon. This will be the last newsletter from the Bucks Chapter. The fall edition will be a joint venture and feature information about both chapters.
WE NEED YOUR HELP TO OBTAIN A COLA THIS YEAR
Our Lobbyist feels that we need to let the members of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives know that we support a COLA for retired Public School Employees
How to locate and contact your State Representative.
If you do not know who currently represents you, your address will identify that person.
Once you locate your state rep – here are the various ways to contact them:
Phone call to the legislator’s local office.
Phone call to the legislator’s Harrisburg office.
Personal visit to legislator’s local office.
Email to office.
Communication on Facebook page.
Communication on Twitter.
Email to State Representative from their Web Page.
Here is a basic message:
It has been 20 years since the last Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) and inflation has reduced the value of that pension by about 50% during that time. Now that there is a surplus, there is no better time to act. We really need your help
Please do not be overly “aggressive” or demanding in asking for support for a COLA (Cost of Living Adjustment). Respectful is a better methodology.
Please mention that we (PASR) recognize the challenges that lawmakers/elected officials have each year when it comes time to pass the state budget.
Others have seen increases since 2002, but not public school retirees.
We understand that this is not a simple or easy request, and it will cost money.
Some Reasons to Pass a COLA Now
1. It has been far too long since the last COLA-about 20 years.
2. Since the passage of Act 9 of 2001, PSERS retirees have lost at least 50% of the value of their pensions due to inflation.
3. Inflation (Cost of Living) has increased over 73% since 1990.
4. The Average Pre-Act 9 pension is $1,586 (month). The Median is $1,427.
5. The Average Post-Act 9 pension is $2,352 (month). The Median is $1,997.
6. About one-third (34.1%) of all PSERS annuitants have a pension of under $10,000 per year.
7. Almost one-half (47.6%) of all PSERS annuitants have a pension of under $20,000 per year. (Approx. $1,667)
8. Only about 4.0% of all PSERS annuitants retired prior to 1990. It is a total of 9,638 people.
9. Annuitants who retired prior to 1986 have an average yearly pension below$7,021. ($585 monthly)
10. 10 Cost of Living Adjustments were granted between 1967 and 2002 –about one every 3.5 years.
11. Only one COLA has been passed while PSERS was 100% funded (2001).
The Case for Pre-Act 9 Emphases
The case for passing a COLA to help those who retired before the passage of Act9 of 2001 is overwhelming. It is especially urgent for those who retired before 1990.
Pre-Act 9 (those who retired prior to December 31, 2021) annuitants/retirees comprise only 19.9% of all retirees collecting a pension from PSERS. That is 45,797 out of 229,562 total annuitants. (A decrease of 4.3%)
The previous percent (those who retired prior to July 1, 2001) annuitants/retirees prior comprised only 20.9% of all retirees collecting a pension from PSERS. That is 47,435 out of 226,683 total annuitants. (A decrease of 5.0%)
In comparison, that number was 21.8% of the total with data complete as of December 31, 2020. (A total decrease of 9.6% for Calendar year 2021)
Currently, The Post-Act 9 annuitants outnumber the Pre-Act 9 annuitants 4.01 to 1.
Those who retired in 1995 (Average Pension) = $1,437 a month.
Those who retired in 1990 (Average Pension) = $1,075 a month.
Those who retired in 1985 (Average Pension) = $585 a month
Please contact your State Representative as soon as possible.
SOCIAL SERVICE/MEMORIAL HONOR FUND
Eileen Sichel, Chairperson
Please consider donating to the SSMHF to help PASR members from across the state that are experiencing financial stress and/or in need of support due to illness or age. As more and more of our older members are asking for help, there has never been a more important time to donate. No funding comes from dues but relies only on the generosity of members or chapters.
A coupon can be found in this newsletter to be used to make a contribution. To donate on line, go to pasr.org/member-donate-ssmhf (member login required). Donations can be made to honor or memorialize someone who has made a difference in your life or to honor a special event such as a birthday or anniversary.
Keep our committee informed. If you are celebrating a 90 or 90+ birthday or know of a member who is, let us know so that we can celebrate those special people at one of our luncheons. Nonagenarians are welcome as guests to any of our luncheons, free of charge. Just let us know your status on the attached luncheon coupon. In addition, for future recognition, please let us know if you are a veteran or know of a member who served our country in the military.
As always, remember to let Eileen know if you have information or questions about members in need of our support. You are our only source of information concerning those members who could use a helping hand, financially or otherwise.
Alice Kirby, Chairperson
The Executive Board approved the transfer of the Balance in the Klothes for Kids to the Community Service Budget Line. This action was necessary since we are no longer doing the Klothes for Kids Program. They also approved sending $500 to Family Service for their Back to School Program.
Linda Peters, Chairperson
Scholarships were awarded to Aaron Lewis from Neshaminy High and Peyton Brillhart from Council Rock South. Aaron was unable to attend but plans to pursue a degree in Computer Science and biology. Peyton and her parents attended the luncheon. She comes from a family of teachers and will be seeking a degree in Secondary Education with a concentration in Biology. Both students received a $1500 Scholarship. If you wish to assist with our scholarship program, please complete the donation form on the coupon page. Pictured is Peyton, Linda Peters, Educational Support Chair, and Mrs. Brillhart.
A teacher grant presented to LaToya Sahm, a reading specialist in the Snyder-Girotti Elementary School in the Bristol Borough School District. Her Principal, Kelli Rosado also attended. The school sponsors a Math and Literacy Night to foster family engagement through math and literacy activities. Picture Right is Kelli Rosado, Linda Peters, and LaToya Sahm.
MEMBER BENEFITS AND SERVICES
Meg Kramer, Chairperson
Medic Alert System.
Connect America is new, and it offers 2 systems. An at-home system has a range of 650 feet. The on-the-go system has an unlimited range due to a GPS locator. There is a monthly monitoring cost for both systems. When the details of this program are finalized, you will be receiving an email from PASR. In the meantime, go to connectamerica.com to view the equipment that they offer.
The Great Wolf Lodge is offering a 30% discount for PASR members. The nearest location is in the Poconos. Other amusement parks (i.e. Hershey) offer discounts. Check the PASR website. There are several new ones mostly located in the western part of Pennsylvania.
You must be a member of the state PASR organization to utilize these benefits.
Lynn Majewski, Chairperson
Our chapter will be attending the Bristol Riverside Theatre production of Classic Broadway on August 21 at 3:00. Enjoy the finest songs ever written for Broadway in one unforgettable concert. You’ll hear classics from composers like George Gershwin, Richard Rodgers, Stephen Sondheim, and more. Featured performers will be Keith Baker and the BRT band as well as local vocalists. If you wish to attend, please complete the reservation slip on the coupon page. Cost is $33. Deadline for reservations is August 1.
Our chapter is also planning to offer a CPR class in October and a tea around the holidays or next spring.
Sharon Blumenthal, Chairperson
If you received a dues notice, remember to submit your 2022-2023 dues to Ray Majewski, 7 Gaucks Road, Newtown, PA 18940. Dues are due by June 30.
DATES TO REMEMBER
August 18 Bucks County Chapter Executive Board Meeting
St. John’s United Methodist Church, Almshouse Road
August 25 Region 1 Executive Board Meeting
October 6 Bucks County Fall Luncheon
October 20 Region 1 Fall Luncheon
November 1 ELECTION DAY
November 10 Bucks County Chapter Executive Board Meeting