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National Alliance to Testify Against Proposed I.R.S. Regulations Forcing Charter School Educators Out of State Retirement Plans

Proposed Regulations by I.R.S. Could Impact Retirements of More than 95,000 Employees in Public Charter Schools WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools (NAPCS) will lead charter advocates from across the country in testifying at an Internal Revenue Service (I.R.S.) public hearing against proposed regulations that likely would force states to prohibit public charter school educators from participating in state retirement plans. The proposed regulations, released in November 2011 and titled “Determination of Government Plan Status,” would affect an estimated 95,000 public charter school employees nationwide – potentially forcing more than 93 percent of the nation’s charter school workforce to either leave their public charter schools or lose their state pensions. The NAPCS brought this issue to the attention of the I.R.S. shortly after the proposed regulations were released, urging the federal agency to amend the proposed regulations to specify that public charter schools, authorized by state charter statutes and funded with public dollars, be treated like all other public schools, permitting charter school employees to maintain their participation in state retirement plans. Since the I.R.S. released proposed pension regulations last November, the federal agency has received more than 2,300 public comments in response. Over 95 percent of those comments were specific to the regulations’ likely negative impact on public charter school employees. As currently written, the proposed regulations would not only jeopardize the retirement security of public charter school employees already participating in such plans, but they effectively would prevent many public charter schools from recruiting and retaining veteran public school employees, significantly interfering with charter schools’ ability to achieve their educational goals. Furthermore, excluding public charter school employees from state retirement systems could cause significant funding problems for many state retirement plans. “Public charter school employees should have the option of participating in state pension plans, and that choice should be up to charter school employees, rather than the Internal Revenue Service,” said Renita Thukral, NAPCS Senior Director of Legal Affairs. “These proposed regulations, as currently drafted, will cause a great deal of harm for charter schools as well as state pension funds across the country, and we encourage the I.R.S. to fix these proposed regulations as soon as possible.” The public hearing on the proposed regulation will take place at 10:00 a.m. on Monday, July 9th, and will be held in the Auditorium, Internal Revenue Building, 1111 Constitution Avenue NW, Washington DC. Testifying against the proposed regulations on behalf of the NAPCS includes: Renita Thukral, Senior Director, Legal Affairs, NAPCS; David Dunn, Executive Director, Texas Charter Schools Association; and Jill Gottfred, Policy Manager, Illinois Network of Charter Schools. About the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools The National Alliance for Public Charter Schools is the leading national nonprofit organization committed to advancing the charter school movement. Our mission is to lead public education to unprecedented levels of academic achievement by fostering a strong charter sector.  For more information, please visit our website at www.publiccharters.org.