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Growing Liability: How Connecticut teacher pensions put teachers, taxpayers and students at risk

** For the full study including charts and graphs, please download the PDF**

Yankee Letter

Across Connecticut, the teacher pension system is not working for teachers, taxpayers or children. And it has the potential to fail current and future retirees if it is not equitably and carefully reformed – soon. 

Many of us are aware of how the system already strains taxpayer resources; what’s less well known is that the system doesn’t work for the majority of teachers, either. And worst of all, the system is diverting important resources away from the children who desperately need them. 


  • The pension system is underfunded by $31,300 for each K-12 student.
  • The state has only 52 cents for every dollar needed to fund the retirement system.
  • The pension debt has grown by five times since 2000, after netting out the effects of inflation.
  • Pension liabilities keep teacher salaries lower than they otherwise might be.
  • In 2000, the state contributed about $369 per student into the pension system; by 2018 that number had ballooned to $2,400 per student. This represents 12% of the total resources directed to public school classrooms.
  • Teachers who leave the profession before their 10th year receive no benefit whatsoever from the pension system – nor have they earned any Social Security benefits from those years of work.
  • The lack of portability of teacher retirement benefits penalizes mobility and partial careers. Only 30% of teachers stay in the system long enough to receive benefits that are close to peak pension wealth accrual. 

It is time to enact true pension reform for teachers. Policymakers should consider the skewed incentives in the current system that penalize both taxpayers and teachers. This paper provides common-sense solutions that would produce a pension system that is fair, sustainable, and secure, and works for teachers, taxpayers and children.

**For the full study including charts and graphs, please download the PDF**

Yankee Staff

Yankee Institute is a 501(c)(3) research and citizen education organization that does not accept government funding. Yankee Institute develops and advances free-market, limited-government solutions in Connecticut. As one of America’s oldest state-based think tanks, Yankee is a leading advocate for smart, limited government; fairness for taxpayers; and an open road to opportunity.

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