AB 963 makes changes regarding CalSTRS

The California State Teachers’ Retirement System (CalSTRS) is an educator-only pension fund, which provides retirement, disability and survivor benefits.  California Assembly Bill 963, makes the following changes affecting CalSTRS:

1- Allows an employee who transfers to a non-creditable position to retain CalSTRS membership unless the employee affirmatively elects to transfer to a different public retirement system (i.e., to CalPERS).

2- Allows former CalSTRS members who transferred to another public retirement system (after it was discovered that they were misclassified as being eligible for CalSTRS membership) to have an opportunity to elect to transfer back to CalSTRS membership.  Such employees must make the election to transfer back into CalSTRS membership in writing on or before June 30, 2016.  If the employee was a “classic member” under PEPRA, they will not become a “new member” under PEPRA because of this transfer.

3- Amends the definition of creditable service to include activities that do not otherwise meet the definition of creditable service but were performed for an eligible employer on or before December 31, 2015 and that were reported as creditable service to CalSTRS.  In other words, this bill allows employees who were misclassified as being eligible for CalSTRS membership to remain in CalSTRS.

4- Clarifies which employees are eligible for CalSTRS membership.  The following classes of employees are eligible for membership in CalSTRS if they perform “creditable service” as defined by the Education Code:

  1. Certificated employees in prekindergarten through grade 12;
  2. A faculty member in an academic position or an educational administrator in a community college district;
  3. Eligible charter school employees of a charter school eligible to receive state apportionment;
  4. Superintendents of California public schools and presidents and chancellors of community colleges; and  
  5. Teachers who are employed on a consulting basis to participate in the California Peer Assistance and Review Program.

For more information regarding this bill and CalSTRS, please contact your labor law counsel. 

By Kerianne Steele | October 26, 2015

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