The Vermont Statutes Online

Title 16: Education

Chapter 23: COURSES OF STUDY

 

Sub-Chapter 1: Public Schools Generally

§ 1938. Disability retirement

(a) Upon notice not later than 90 days subsequent to the date the member may have separated from service, any member who has had five or more years of creditable service and has served as a teacher in the state during the five years immediately preceding the date of such separation from service, may be retired by the board of trustees on a disability retirement allowance on the first day of the calendar month next following receipt of application, provided such application is filed not less than 30 nor more than one 180 days subsequent to the filing of such notice, or on the first day of the calendar month next following the member's separation from service provided such application is filed prior to such separation, and further provided that the medical board, after a medical examination of such member, shall certify that the member is mentally or physically incapacitated for ordinary service; and, if previously separated from service, that such incapacity has existed since the time of the member's separation from such service; and that such incapacity is likely to be permanent.

(b) Anything to the contrary notwithstanding, should the board of trustees of the state teachers' retirement system determine, within its sole discretion, that a member of said system had failed for good cause to file the notice or application required by subsection (a) of this section, within the time limits prescribed, said board may permit the filing of such notice or application at any time prior to termination of membership and may thereupon act upon such notice or application as if it had been filed within the time limits prescribed by said subsection.

(c) Upon disability retirement a member shall receive a service retirement equal to the normal retirement benefit accrued to the effective date of the disability retirement, provided, however, that such allowance shall not be less than twenty-five percent of his or her average final compensation at the time of his or her disability.

(d) Once each year during the first five years following the retirement of a member on a disability retirement allowance, and once in every three year period thereafter, the board of trustees may, and upon his application shall, require any disability beneficiary who has not attained age sixty to undergo a medical examination, by a medical board or by a physician or physicians designated by the medical board, such examination to be made at the place of residence of such beneficiary or other place mutually agreed upon. Should any disability beneficiary who has not attained age sixty refuse to submit to such medical examination, his allowance may be discontinued until his withdrawal of such refusal, and should his refusal continue for one year, all his rights in and to his pension may be revoked by the board of trustees.

(e) If a disability beneficiary engages in gainful occupation paying more than the difference between his retirement allowance and his average final compensation at retirement, the board of trustees may, under uniform standards of economic need, reduce and from time to time adjust his pension to an amount which, together with his annuity and the amount earnable by him, equals his average final compensation at retirement. For the purposes of this subsection, "retirement allowance" means the allowance payable without optional modification as provided in section 1941 of this title, and does not include any part of the annuity not provided by the regular contributions of the member at the rate provided under subsection (b)(2) of section 1944 of this title. (Amended 1959, No. 72, § 3, eff. April 1, 1959; 1961, No. 85, § 2; 1963, No. 110, § 1, eff. May 28, 1963; 1963, No. 182, § 2; 1967, No. 172, § 2; 1973, No. 141 (Adj. Sess.), § 3; 1981, No. 41, § 26; 1993, No. 33, § 3; 1999, No. 158 (Adj. Sess.), § 9.)

§ 1938a. Benefit denial; evidentiary hearing

(a) An applicant for disability retirement benefits under section 1938 of this title may file a request for an evidentiary hearing with the board of trustees if the application for benefits is denied.

(b) The hearing shall be conducted by a hearing officer designated by the board and in conformance with rules adopted by the board. Rules adopted by the board shall be consistent with section 809 of Title 3.

(c) The decision of the hearing officer shall constitute final administrative action. (Added 2003, No. 38, § 6.)

§ 1939. Restoration to service

(a) In any fiscal year in which a beneficiary resumes service, as that term is defined in section 1931 of this title, he or she shall again become a member of the system, shall contribute at the rate established for members of his or her group and shall not be entitled to receive a retirement allowance, if he or she is:

(1) compensated in excess of the allowable number of days per school year as established by the board for substitute teaching; or

(2) receives compensation in excess of 60 percent of the average compensation in the teacher system.

(b) If a person once again becomes a member under subsection (a) of this section, membership shall be retroactive to the beginning of the fiscal year in which the person resumed service and the member shall not be entitled to any retirement allowance received during that fiscal year. If the person received a retirement allowance during the fiscal year in which he or she resumed service, upon subsequent retirement the board shall suspend his or her retirement allowance for a period necessary to reimburse the system for the total retirement allowance received during the period in which the beneficiary resumed service and became a member.

(c) Upon subsequent retirement of a person who once again becomes a member under subsection (a) of this section, the beneficiary's former retirement allowance shall be restored, but the beneficiary shall not be entitled to cost of living adjustments for the period during which he or she was restored to service. In addition to the former retirement allowance, a beneficiary shall be entitled to a retirement allowance separately computed for the period beginning with his or her last restoration to service for which the member has made a contribution. (Amended 1963, No. 110, § 2, eff. May 28, 1963; 1973, No. 141 (Adj. Sess.), § 4; 1981, No. 41 § 27; 1995, No. 36, § 5; 1999, No. 158 (Adj. Sess.), § 10.)

§ 1940. Termination of service; death; refund; pension

(a)(1) Upon the withdrawal of a member from service prior to retirement, the amount of the member's accumulated contributions, less not more than one-third of the regular interest credited thereon as determined by the Board, will be returnable to the member. In lieu of the return of contributions:

(A) a member who has attained the age of 57 and completed at least five years of creditable service or completed 25 years of creditable service as of June 30, 2010, may allow his or her contributions to remain in the system and receive a retirement allowance, commencing as early as age 55;

(B) a member who has not attained the age of 57 or completed 25 years of creditable service as of June 30, 2010, may allow his or her contributions to remain in the system and receive a retirement allowance commencing as early as age 55 or when the combination of the member's age and years of creditable service totals 90, whichever comes first.

(2) In either instance set forth in subdivisions (1)(A) and (B) of this subsection, the retirement allowance shall consist of the annuity provided by his or her accumulated contributions with interest to the date on which the allowance commences, and a pension equal to a service retirement pension computed on the basis of the member's compensation and creditable service to his or her date of withdrawal from service.

(b)(1) Upon the death of a group A or group C member before retirement the member's accumulated contributions will be payable to such primary beneficiary, primary and secondary beneficiaries, or joint beneficiaries, if any, as the member has nominated by written designation duly acknowledged and filed with the board. In the absence of a written designation of beneficiary or in the event the designated beneficiary is deceased, the return of accumulated contributions with interest payable as a result of the death of the member prior to retirement shall be payable as follows:

(A) In the case of an open estate, to the administrator or executor.

(B) In the case of a closed estate and the deceased member's account is valued at less than $1,000.00, in accordance with the probate division of the superior court decree of distribution.

(C) In the absence of an open estate or probate division of the superior court decree of distribution, and where the deceased member's account is valued at less than $1,000.00 to the surviving spouse of the deceased owner, or, if there is no surviving spouse, then to the next of kin according to 14 V.S.A. § 551.

(D) In all other cases a probate estate shall be opened by the claimant, or other interested party, in order to determine the appropriate distribution of the proceeds of the deceased member's account. When an estate is opened solely to distribute the proceeds of a deceased member's account under this section, the probate division of the superior court may waive any filing fees.

(2) In addition, if any member was in service at the date of the member's death or on leave of absence granted subject to board regulations relating thereto and had completed one or more years of creditable service, or if the member's death was the result of an accident while in service or on leave of absence under board rules, a pension equal to ten percent of the member's average final compensation, but not less than $50.00 per month, will be payable on account of each of the member's dependent children under the age of 18, or, if a dependent student, under the age of 23, not exceeding a total of three. However, if a surviving child of any age was mentally or physically incapacitated for substantial gainful employment before attaining age 18, the pension will be payable for the duration of the child's incapacity. (Amended 1959, No. 226, § 1; 1963, No. 110, § 3, eff. May 28, 1963; 1966, No. 45 (Sp. Sess.), eff. July 1, 1965; 1967, No. 316 (Adj. Sess.), § 1, eff. March 22, 1968; 1973, No. 141 (Adj. Sess.), § 5; 1981, No. 41, §§ 28, 39(2); 1989, No. 169 (Adj. Sess.), § 5; 1999, No. 158 (Adj. Sess.), § 11; 2007, No. 13, § 28; 2009, No. 74 (Adj. Sess.), § 4; 2009, No. 154 (Adj. Sess.), § 238a, eff. Feb. 1, 2011; 2013, No. 22, § 12.)

§ 1941. Optional benefits

(a)(1) On or before the 15th day of the calendar month in which the first payment on account of a retirement allowance becomes normally due, but not later than the date on which the payment becomes normally due, each member shall elect to receive the member's retirement allowance in accordance with one of the following forms of payment:

(A) Option 1. A retirement allowance payable during the member's life computed pursuant to section 1937 or 1938 of this title, whichever is applicable; or

(B) Option 2. A reduced retirement allowance payable during the member's life, with the provision that at the member's death a lump sum equal in amount to the difference between his or her accumulated contributions at the time of his or her retirement and the sum of the annuity payments actually made to him or her during his or her lifetime shall be paid to the person, if any, as he or she has nominated by written designation duly acknowledged and filed with the board; or in the absence of a written designation of beneficiary, or in the event the designated beneficiary is deceased, the residual amount payable as a result of the death of the member after retirement shall be payable as follows:

(i) In the case of an open estate, to the administrator or executor.

(ii) In the case of a closed estate and the deceased member's account is valued at less than $1,000.00, in accordance with the probate division of the superior court decree of distribution.

(iii) In the absence of an open estate or probate division of the superior court decree of distribution, and when the deceased member's account is valued at less than $1,000.00 to the surviving spouse of the deceased owner, or, if there is no surviving spouse, then to the next of kin according to 14 V.S.A. § 551.

(iv) In all other cases a probate estate shall be opened by the claimant, or other interested party, in order to determine the appropriate distribution of the proceeds of the deceased member's account. When an estate is opened solely to distribute the proceeds of a deceased member's account under this section, the probate division of the superior court may waive any filing fees.

(C) Option 3. A reduced retirement allowance payable during the member's life, with the provision that it shall continue after his or her death at one-half the rate paid to him or her and be paid for the life of the beneficiary nominated by him or her by written designation duly acknowledged and filed with the board at the time of retirement, should the beneficiary survive him or her; or

(D) Option 4. A reduced retirement allowance payable during the member's life, with the provision that it shall continue after his or her death at three-fourths of the rate paid to him or her and be paid for the life of the beneficiary nominated by him or her by written designation duly acknowledged and filed with the board at the time of retirement, should the beneficiary survive him or her; or

(E) Option 5. A reduced retirement allowance payable during the member's life, with the provision that it shall continue after his or her death for the life of the beneficiary nominated by him or her by written designation duly acknowledged and filed with the board at the time of retirement, should the beneficiary survive him or her.

(2) The benefits payable under options 2, 3, 4, and 5 shall be determined as actuarial equivalents of the retirement allowance under option 1. Any member who elects to receive a retirement allowance under the provisions of options 3, 4, or 5 may elect to receive a benefit further reduced actuarially as prescribed by the board with the added provision that on the basis of stipulations contained in a plan-approved domestic relations order or if the retired member survives his or her nominated beneficiary, the retirement allowance which would have been payable under option 1 shall be paid to the retired member during the remainder of his or her lifetime. If a member does not make an election as to the form of his or her retirement allowance, the member shall receive his or her retirement allowance under the provisions of option 1.

(b)(1) A retirement allowance shall be payable to the eligible surviving beneficiary, if any, following the death of a:

(A) group A member who had attained age 60 or had completed 30 years of creditable service; or had not attained age 60 and had completed 10 years (but less than 30 years) of creditable service and was in service at the time of the member's death.

(B) group C member who had attained age 55 and completed five years of creditable service; or had not attained age 55 and completed 10 years of creditable service.

(2) In order to be eligible to receive the retirement allowance, the surviving beneficiary must be nominated by the member by written designation duly acknowledged and filed with the board and if the beneficiary is other than the spouse of the member, the beneficiary must be dependent upon the member at the time of the member's death, provided that no person entitled to a pension under subsection 1940(b) of this title may be eligible for a retirement allowance under this section. The board shall from time to time adopt uniform rules for determining whether a designated beneficiary was dependent upon a member; if, in the judgment of the board, a surviving beneficiary in receipt of a retirement allowance would have ceased to be dependent upon the member had the member survived, the board may discontinue the retirement allowance payable to such surviving beneficiary. The retirement allowance payable to the surviving beneficiary shall be equal to the benefit which would have been payable had the member elected option 5 and retired on the member's date of death, computed in the case of a member who has not attained age 60 on the basis of a disability retirement allowance or an early retirement allowance, as provided in subsection 1937(c) of this title, without regard to whether the member has completed the eligibility requirements for early retirement, whichever provides the greater benefit to the surviving beneficiary. Such retirement allowance to the surviving beneficiary shall be in lieu of the payment of the member's accumulated contributions provided under subsection 1940(b) of this title, provided, however, that the surviving beneficiary may elect to receive payment of the member's accumulated contributions in lieu of such retirement allowance or may elect to convert the retirement allowance otherwise payable to the member into an actuarial equivalent under the provisions of option 2 of this section. Failing an eligible surviving beneficiary, the member's accumulated contributions shall be payable in accordance with the provisions of subsection 1940(b) of this title.

(c) Effective as of July 1, 1967, any surviving spouse or designated beneficiary who shall have been in receipt of a benefit pursuant to this section prior to July 1, 1967, shall receive a benefit determined as if the provisions of sections 1937 and 1938 as amended as of July 1, 1967, had been in effect on the day preceding the date of death of the deceased member or retired member. (Amended 1959, No. 182, § 1; 1967, No. 269 (Adj. Sess.), § 1, eff. July 1, 1967; 1973, No. 141 (Adj. Sess.), § 6; 1975, No. 175 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; 1981, No. 41, § 29; 1989, No. 169 (Adj. Sess.), § 6; 1999, No. 53, § 6; 2001, No. 29, § 5; 2007, No. 13, § 29; 2007, No. 137 (Adj. Sess.), § 5; 2009, No. 154 (Adj. Sess.), § 238a, eff. Feb. 1, 2011.)

§ 1942. Board of trustees; medical board; actuary; rate of contribution; safekeeping of securities

(a) The general administration and the responsibility for the proper operation of the system and for making effective the provisions of this chapter are hereby vested in the board of trustees of the system, which shall be organized immediately after three of the trustees provided for in this section have qualified.

(b) The board shall consist of six trustees, as follows:

(1) The commissioner of education, ex-officio;

(2) The state treasurer, ex-officio;

(3) The commissioner of financial regulation, ex-officio;

(4) Two trustees and one alternate, who shall be members of the system and who shall be elected by the members of the system for a term of four years according to such rules and regulations as the board shall adopt to govern such election; and

(5) One trustee and one alternate, who shall be elected by the board of directors, Association of Retired Teachers of Vermont, who shall be a retired member of the system receiving retirement benefits, for a term of four years beginning July 1, 1972.

(c) If a vacancy occurs in the office of a trustee, except for the trustee elected by the board of directors, Association of Retired Teachers of Vermont, the vacancy shall be filled by the board, which shall appoint a member of the system to serve until the next regular election is held. A vacancy in the office of the trustee appointed by the board of directors, Association of Retired Teachers of Vermont, shall be filled by that board which shall appoint a retired member of the system receiving retirement benefits to serve until the next regular election is held.

(d) The trustees as such shall serve without compensation, but they shall be reimbursed from the funds of the system for all necessary expenses that they may incur through service on the board.

(e) Each trustee shall be entitled to one vote on the board. Four concurring votes shall be necessary for a decision by the trustees at any meeting of the board, and four trustees shall constitute a quorum of the board. Any ex officio trustee may designate in writing a person within the trustee's department or office to attend a meeting or meetings of the board of trustees in the trustee's place. The designation shall be filed with the secretary of the board. A person so designated and an alternate attending on behalf of an elected or appointed trustee under this section shall have the same voting rights and responsibilities as the absent trustee at such meeting or meetings, except that the designee or alternate shall not automatically assume the trustee's place as an officer of the board.

(f) Subject to the limitations of this chapter, the board shall, from time to time, establish rules and regulations for the administration of the system and for the transaction of its business.

(g) The board shall elect from its membership a chair and a vicechair, and shall appoint a secretary who shall be the executive officer of the board and who may or may not be a member of the board. The board may employ such actuarial, medical, and other services as shall be required.

(h) The board shall keep in convenient form such data as shall be necessary for actuarial valuation of the system and for checking the experience of the system.

(i) The board shall keep a record of all of its proceedings, which shall be open to public inspection. It shall publish annually a report showing the fiscal transactions of the system for the preceding year, the amount of the accumulated cash and securities of the system, and the last balance sheet indicating the financial condition of the system as shown by an actuarial valuation of the assets and liabilities of the system.

(j) The attorney general of the state shall be the legal advisor to the board.

(k) The board shall designate a medical board of three physicians who are not eligible to participate in the system. The medical board shall arrange for and pass upon all medical examinations required under the provisions of this chapter, shall investigate all essential statements and certificates by or on behalf of a member in connection with application for disability retirement, and shall report in writing to the board its conclusions and recommendations upon all the matters referred to it. If required, other physicians may be employed to report on special cases.

( l ) The board shall designate an actuary who shall be the technical adviser of the board on matters regarding the operation of the system and who shall perform such other duties as are required in connection therewith.

(m) Immediately after the establishment of the system, the actuary shall make such investigation of the mortality, service, and compensation experience of the members of the system, as the actuary shall recommend and the board shall authorize, for the purpose of determining the proper mortality and service tables to be prepared and submitted to the board for adoption. Having regard to such investigation and recommendation, the board shall adopt for the system such mortality and service tables as shall be deemed necessary, and shall certify the rates of contribution payable under the provisions of this chapter. At least once in each five-year period following the establishment of the system, the actuary shall make an actuarial investigation into the mortality, service and compensation experience of the members and beneficiaries of the system, and taking into account the results of such investigation, the board shall adopt for the system such mortality, service and other tables as shall be deemed necessary and shall certify the rates of contribution payable under the provisions of this chapter.

(n) On the basis of such mortality and service tables as the board shall adopt, the actuary shall make annual valuations of the assets and liabilities of the funds of the system.

( o ) The Vermont pension investment committee shall designate from time to time a depository for the securities and evidences of indebtedness held in the fund of the system and may contract for the safe-keeping of securities and evidences of indebtedness within and without the state of Vermont in such banks, trust companies, and safe-deposit facilities as it shall from time to time determine, and the necessary and incidental expenses of such safe-keeping and for service rendered, including advisory services in investment matters, shall be paid from the fund. Any agreement for the safe-keeping of securities or evidences of indebtedness, except securities loaned pursuant to a securities lending agreement as authorized by subsection (q) of this section, shall provide for the access to such securities and evidences of indebtedness at any time by the custodian or any authorized agent of the state for audit or other purposes.

(p) The board shall enter into insurance arrangements to provide health and medical benefits for retired members and their dependents. The board may enter into insurance arrangements to provide dental coverage for retired members and their dependents, provided the state or the system has no legal obligation to pay any portion of the dental benefit premiums.

(q) The Vermont pension investment committee may authorize the loan of its securities pursuant to securities lending agreements that provide for collateral consisting of cash or securities issued or guaranteed by the United States government or its agencies equal to 100 percent or more of the market value of the loaned securities. Cash collateral may be invested by the lending institution in investments approved by the state treasurer. Approval of investments shall be made in accordance with the standard of care.

(r) The board shall review annually the amount of state contribution recommended by the actuary of the retirement system as necessary to achieve and preserve the financial integrity of the fund established pursuant to section 1944 of this title. Based on this review, the board shall determine the amount of state contribution necessary for the next fiscal year to achieve and preserve the financial integrity of the funds. On or before November 1 of each year, the board shall inform the governor and the house and senate committees on government operations and on appropriations in writing about the amount needed. (Amended 1971, No. 155 (Adj. Sess.), eff. March 9, 1972; 1975, No. 175 (Adj. Sess.), § 2; 1987, No. 92, § 4, eff. June 23, 1987; 1989, No. 225 (Adj. Sess.), § 25(b); 1991, No. 151 (Adj. Sess.), §§ 3, 4; 1991, No. 265 (Adj. Sess.), § 2; 1995, No. 36, § 6; 1995, No. 180 (Adj. Sess.), § 38(a); 1999, No. 158 (Adj. Sess.), § 24; 2005, No. 48, § 2; 2005, No. 50, § 6; 2007, No. 13, § 30; 2007, No. 137 (Adj. Sess.), § 6; 2009, No. 74 (Adj. Sess.), § 5; 2011, No. 78 (Adj. Sess.), § 2, eff. April 2, 2012.)

§ 1943. Investments; interest rate; disbursements

(a) The members of the Vermont pension investment committee established in 3 V.S.A. chapter 17 shall be the trustees of the fund created by this subchapter, and with respect to them may invest and reinvest the assets of the fund, and hold, purchase, sell, assign, transfer, and dispose of the securities and investments in which the assets of the fund have been invested and reinvested. Investments shall be made in accordance with the standard of care established by the prudent investor rule under 9 V.S.A. chapter 147.

(b) The board from time to time shall set rates of regular interest at such percentages compounded annually as it determines to be equitable both to members and to taxpayers of the state, but not less than three percent nor more than five percent.

(c) The state treasurer shall be the custodian of the assets of the fund of the system. All payment from the fund shall be made by the treasurer or by a deputy treasurer, only upon vouchers signed by two persons designated by the board. A duly attested copy of a resolution of the board designating such persons and bearing on its face specimen signatures of such persons shall be filed with the state treasurer as authority for making payments upon such vouchers. No vouchers shall be drawn unless it has previously been authorized by resolution of the board.

(d) Except as otherwise herein provided, no trustee and no employee of the board or member of the Vermont pension investment committee shall have any direct interest in the gains or profits of any investment made by the committee; nor shall any trustee or employee of the board or committee, directly or indirectly, for himself or herself or as an agent, in any manner use the same except to make such current and necessary payments as are authorized by the board or committee; nor shall any trustee or employee of the board or committee become an endorser or surety, or in any manner an obligor, for the moneys loaned to or borrowed from the board. The state treasurer, with the approval of the board and the committee, shall adopt by rule standards of conduct for trustees and employees of the board in order to maintain and promote public confidence in the integrity of the board. Such rules shall prohibit trustees, members of the committee, and employees from receiving or soliciting any gift, including meals, alcoholic beverages, travel fare, room and board, or any other thing of value, tangible or intangible, from any vendor or potential vendor of investment services, management services, brokerage services, and other services to the board. (Amended 1963, No. 110, § 4, eff. May 28, 1963; 1967, No. 13; 1967, No. 29, § 1, eff. March 14, 1967; 1981, No. 41, § 30; 1985, No. 171 (Adj. Sess.), § 4, eff. May 7, 1986; 1987, No. 80, § 9, eff. June 9, 1987; 1997, No. 67 (Adj. Sess.), § 3; 2005, No. 50, § 7; 2007, No. 13, § 31.)

§ 1943a. Compliance with federal law

(a) Intent. The general assembly intends that the retirement system and any trusts or custodial accounts established to hold the assets of the retirement system in accordance with subsection (b) of this section be maintained, in form and operation, so as to maintain the status of the retirement system as a qualified plan under 26 U.S.C. § 401(a) as amended, and the tax exempt status of such trusts and custodial accounts under 26 U.S.C. § 501(a), to the extent that those requirements apply to a governmental plan as described in 26 U.S.C. § 414. Notwithstanding any other provision of this chapter to the contrary, this section shall be applicable, administered, and interpreted in a manner consistent with maintaining the tax qualification of the retirement system as a qualified plan and the tax exempt status of such trusts and custodial accounts under 26 U.S.C. §§ 401(a) and 501(a), respectively.

(b) Exclusive benefit. All assets of the retirement system shall be held in trust, in one or more custodial accounts treated as trusts in accordance with 26 U.S.C. § 401(f), or in a combination thereof. Under any trust or custodial account, it shall be impossible at any time prior to the satisfaction of all liabilities with respect to members and their beneficiaries for any part of the corpus or income to be used for, or diverted to, purposes other than the exclusive benefit of members and their beneficiaries. However, this requirement shall not prohibit:

(1) the return of a contribution within six months after the retirement system determines that the contribution was made by a mistake of fact; or

(2) payment of the expenses of the retirement system.

(c) Vesting on plan termination. In the event of the termination of the retirement system, the accrued benefits of eligible members shall become fully and immediately vested.

(d) Forfeitures. Service credits forfeited by a member for any reason shall not be applied to increase the benefits of any other member.

(e) Required distributions. Distributions shall begin to be made not later than the member's required beginning date as defined under 26 U.S.C. § 401(a)(9) and shall be made in accordance with all other requirements of that subsection. Benefits shall be paid under the maximum allowance pursuant to this subsection even though the member has not previously applied to receive them. The system shall be deemed to be in compliance with the terms of 26 U.S.C. § 401(a)(9) so long as it is administered under a reasonable good faith interpretation of that subsection.

(f) Limitation on benefits. Benefits shall not be payable to the extent that they exceed the limitations imposed by 26 U.S.C. § 415, as adjusted for increases in the cost of living.

(g) Limitation on compensation. Benefits and contributions shall not be computed with reference to any compensation that exceeds the maximum dollar amount permitted by 26 U.S.C. § 401(a)(17) as adjusted for increases in the cost of living.

(h) Actuarial determination. Whenever the amount of any member's benefit is to be determined on the basis of actuarial assumptions done by a professional actuary, those assumptions shall be specified by resolution, which documentation shall be incorporated in the system by reference. The board shall also adopt interest and mortality assumptions for the purposes of determining actuarial equivalent benefits under the system. The board shall adopt assumptions by resolution, which documentation shall be incorporated in the system by reference.

(i) Direct rollovers. An individual withdrawing a distribution from the retirement system which constitutes an "eligible rollover distribution" within the meaning of 26 U.S.C. § 402, may elect, in the time and manner prescribed by the retirement board and after receipt of proper notice, to have any portion of the distribution paid directly to another plan that is qualified under 26 U.S.C. § 401(a), to an annuity plan described in 26 U.S.C. § 403(a), to an annuity contract described in 26 U.S.C. § 403(b), or to an eligible plan described in 26 U.S.C. § 457(b) which is maintained by a state, political subdivision of a state, or any agency or instrumentality of a state or political subdivision of a state and which agrees to account separately for amounts transferred into such plan, or to an individual retirement account or annuity described in 26 U.S.C. § 408(a) or (b), in a direct rollover.

(j) Compliance with the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA). Notwithstanding any provision of law to the contrary, contributions, benefits, and service credits with respect to qualified military service will be provided under the system in accordance with 26 U.S.C. § 414(u), unless state law provides more favorable benefits than those required by federal law.

(k) Mandatory withdrawal. When a member who is not vested in the system is required by this chapter to withdraw his or her assets of greater than $1,000.00 from the system and the member fails to provide distribution directions, the system shall directly roll over those assets into an IRA in the member's name.

( l ) The board may adopt rules to ensure that this chapter complies with federal law requirements. (Added 2007, No. 13, § 32; amended 2009, No. 24, § 6.)

§ 1944. Vermont teachers' retirement fund

(a) Fund. All of the assets of the system shall be credited to the Vermont teachers' retirement fund.

(b) Member contributions.

(1) Contributions deducted from the compensation of members shall be accumulated in the fund and separately recorded for each member.

(2) The proper authority or officer responsible for making up each employer payroll shall cause to be deducted from the compensation of each group A member five and one-half percent of the member's earnable compensation and from each group C member five percent of the member's earnable compensation, including compensation paid for absence as provided by subsection 1933(d) of this title. In determining the amount earnable by a member in a payroll period, the board may consider the rate of compensation payable to such member on the first day of a payroll period as continuing throughout the payroll period, and it may omit deduction from compensation for any period less than a full payroll period if a teacher was not a member on the first day of the payroll period, and to facilitate the making of deductions it may modify the deduction required of any member by such an amount as shall not exceed one-tenth of one percent of the annual earnable compensation upon the basis of which such deduction is made.

(3) The deductions provided for herein shall be made notwithstanding that the minimum compensation provided for by law for any member shall be reduced thereby. Every group A and group C member shall be deemed to consent and agree to the deductions made and provided for herein, and shall receipt for the member's full salary or compensation, and payment of salary or compensation less such deduction shall be a full and complete discharge and acquittance of all claims and demands whatsoever for the services rendered by such person during the period covered by such payment, except as to the benefits provided under this chapter.

(4) The proper authority or officer responsible for making up each employer payroll shall certify to the board the amounts deducted on each and every payroll, and each of such amounts shall be paid into the fund and credited to the individual account of the member from whose compensation the deduction was made.

(A) All employer reports and corresponding member contributions required by this subdivision (4) shall be provided by the due date established by the board. Employers providing reports or remitting contributions, which are more than 30 days delinquent, may be assessed a delinquent reporting fee of one percent of the amount that should have been reported and remitted for each month, or prorated portion of a month, that the report or contributions are delinquent.

(B) All employers shall provide accurate reports. Employers providing inaccurate reports shall be responsible for correcting any deficiencies and shall reimburse the system for any costs incurred by the system as a result of inaccuracy.

(C) In the event that an employer willfully files an inaccurate report, in addition to any other penalties provided by law, the employer shall pay the system an administrative penalty of up to 50 percent of the amount that was not accurately reported.

(D) The system may enforce the provisions of this subdivision (4) in Washington superior court.

(E) The board may, in its discretion, waive part or all of a penalty assessment for good cause shown.

(5) In addition to the contributions deducted from the compensation of a group A or group C member as hereinbefore provided, subject to the approval of the board, any group A or group C member may redeposit in the fund by a single payment or by an increased rate of contribution an amount equal to the total amount which the member previously withdrew therefrom as provided in this chapter, or any part thereof; or any member may, subject to the approval of the board and such conditions as the board may prescribe, deposit therein by a single payment or by an increased rate of contribution an amount computed to be sufficient to purchase an additional annuity, which together with the member's prospective retirement allowance, will provide for a group A member a total retirement allowance not to exceed one-half of the member's average final compensation at age 60 or for a group C member, a total retirement allowance not to exceed one-half of the member's average final compensation at age 62. In addition to contributions hereinbefore provided, any group A or group C member may make further contributions at a rate not to exceed five percent of the member's earnable compensation. Interest at such rates as may be set from time to time by the board shall be allowed on such contributions and shall be used in determining the benefits payable from such contributions. In other respects such additional amounts so deposited shall become a part of the member's accumulated contributions.

(6) Any group A member who has rendered service outside the state in the capacity of a teacher as herein defined and as approved by the board, or who was a teacher in Vermont on July 1, 1947 and elected not to join the system but who has subsequently joined, may:

(A) Elect to have included in the member's creditable service all or part of any period of service outside the state. Any group A member who so elects shall deposit in the fund by a single contribution an amount computed at regular interest to be sufficient to provide at age 60 an annuity equal to one-one hundred and twentieth of the member's average final compensation multiplied by the number of years of service rendered outside the state for which the member elects to receive credit. No application may be accepted for the purchase of credit for service outside the state, however, if at the time of application the member has a vested right to retirement benefits in another retirement system based upon that service.

(B) Elect to have included in the member's creditable service all or part of any service with which the member was credited immediately prior to any refund of the member's accumulated contributions, including prior service, as defined in section 1931 of this title, which shall be restored upon full restoration of previous membership service as provided herein. Any group A member who so elects shall deposit in the fund by a single contribution an amount equal to the amount of accumulated contributions previously withdrawn together with regular interest thereon from the date of the refund to the date of repayment, or a proportionate part of that amount if less than the full period of previous service is to be included in the member's creditable service. If a member has received a refund of the member's accumulated contributions more than once, the member may elect the period or periods of previous service on account of which the member will make contributions under this subdivision (b)(6) subject to the aforesaid limitation. Any group A member who elects to repay any amount previously refunded shall continue thereafter to contribute to the system the proportion of earnable compensation determined on the basis of the member's age on the date on which the member shall have last become a member.

(C) Elect to have included in the member's creditable service those years of teaching in Vermont rendered between July 1, 1947 and July 1, 1972 for which no contributions to the system have been made. Any group A member who so elects shall deposit in the fund by a single contribution an amount computed at regular interest to be sufficient to provide at age 60 an annuity equal to one-one hundred and twentieth of the member's average final compensation multiplied by the number of years of service for which the member elects to receive credit.

(7) The contributions of a member, and such interest as may be allowed thereon, paid upon the member's death or withdrawn by the member as provided in this chapter, shall be paid from the fund.

(8) Any group A or group C member who has rendered 15 years of creditable teaching service and who has, prior to becoming a member of the system, served a minimum of one full year of full-time service in the military, one full year of full-time service as a member of the Cadet Nurse Corps in World War II, the Peace Corps, or VISTA for which the member has derived no military or other pension benefits, may elect to have included in the member's creditable service all or any part of the member's military or Cadet Nurse Corps or Peace Corps or VISTA service not exceeding five years. Any group A member who elects credit under this subdivision shall deposit in the fund by a single contribution an amount computed at regular interest to be sufficient to provide at age 60 an annuity equal to one-one hundred and twentieth of the member's average final compensation multiplied by the number of years of he service rendered for which the member elects to receive credit. Any group A member who elects credit for service in the Cadet Nurse Corps under this subdivision and any group C member who elects credit under this subdivision shall deposit in the fund by a single contribution an amount computed at regular interest to be sufficient to provide at normal retirement an annuity equal to 1-2/3 or two percent, whichever is applicable pursuant to section 1937 of this title, of the member's average final compensation multiplied by the number of years of the service for which the member elects to receive credit. Notwithstanding the provisions of this subdivision, any group C member who was a group B member and any group A member shall, upon application, be granted up to three years of credit for military service during the periods June 25, 1950 through January 31, 1955, February 28, 1961 through August 4, 1964 if service was performed while in what is now the Republic of Vietnam, and August 5, 1964 through May 7, 1975 and shall not be required to make a contribution, provided the member has rendered 15 years of creditable teaching service and prior to becoming a member served a minimum of one full year of full-time service in the military for which he or she has derived no military pension benefits. Notwithstanding the foregoing, in the event of a conflict between the provisions of this subsection and the provisions of 10 U.S.C. § 12736 concerning the counting of the same full-time military service toward both military and state pensions, the provisions of the United States Code shall control.

(9) Contributions required under this subsection shall be limited to contributions from group A and group C members.

(10) [Repealed.]

(11) Any group A or group C member who rendered service in the capacity of a teacher, as defined by the board, in an approved public or independent school which was not a part of the system may elect to have included in the member's creditable service, all or part of any period of service in such approved school. Any member who so elects shall deposit in the fund by a single contribution an amount computed at regular interest to be sufficient to provide at normal retirement an annuity equal to 1-2/3 or two percent, whichever is applicable pursuant to section 1937 of this title, of the member's average compensation multiplied by the number of years of service for which the member elects to receive credit. No application for credit under this subdivision shall be granted if at the time of application, the member has a vested right to retirement benefits in another retirement system based upon that service.

(12) Any group A or group C member may elect to have included in the member's creditable service, years of service during which the member exercised his or her option not to be a member of the system. Any member who so elects shall deposit in the fund by a single contribution an amount computed at regular interest to be sufficient to provide at normal retirement an annuity equal to 1-2/3 or two percent, whichever is applicable pursuant to section 1937 of this title, of the member's average compensation multiplied by the number of years of service for which the member elects to receive credit.

(13) Any group A or group C member may elect to have included in the member's creditable service all or any part of the member's service in the capacity of a teacher in a school which was a part of the system for which the member has no credit. Any member who so elects shall deposit in the fund by a single contribution an amount computed at regular interest to be sufficient to provide at normal retirement an annuity equal to 1-2/3 or two percent, whichever is applicable pursuant to section 1937 of this title, of the member's average final compensation multiplied by the number of years of the service for which the member elects to receive credit.

(14) Any group C member may elect to increase his or her retirement allowance for years of service as a group B member prior to July 1, 1990 from 1-1/4 percent of average final compensation to 1-2/3 percent of average final compensation. A member making an election under this subdivision shall deposit in the fund by a single contribution an amount computed at regular interest to be sufficient to provide at normal retirement an annuity equal to 1-2/3 percent of the member's average final compensation multiplied by the number of years of service for which the member elects to increase his or her retirement allowance.

(15) Notwithstanding any provision to the contrary and except for military credit elected under subdivision (8) of this subsection, a member may not elect more than a total of 10 years of creditable service under the provisions of this subsection.

(16) Except as provided in subdivision (5) of this subsection, any time a member is required to make a single contribution in connection with an election under this subsection, a member may, with the approval of the board, contribute over a maximum of five years in installments of equal value or apply contributions previously made under subdivision (5) of this subsection toward the purchase of service. Those contributions shall become a part of the member's accumulated contribution and shall be treated for all purposes in the same manner as the contributions made under subdivision (2) of this subsection. Any member who retires before completing payment as approved by the board for the purchase of service under subdivisions (6) through (13) of this subsection shall receive pro rata credit for service purchased before the date of retirement, but if the member so elects at the time of retirement, the member may pay as much in a single sum as is necessary to provide full credit at that time.

(17) Any member may elect to have included in the member's creditable service, years of service as a state or municipal employee. Any member who so elects shall deposit in the fund by a single contribution an amount computed at regular interest to be sufficient to provide at normal retirement an annuity equal to 1-2/3 or two percent, whichever is applicable pursuant to section 1937 of this title, of the member's average compensation multiplied by the number of years of service for which the member elects to receive credit. No application for credit under this subdivision shall be granted if at the time of application, the member has a vested right to retirement benefits in another retirement system based upon that service.

(c) State contributions, earnings, and payments.

(1) All state appropriations and all reserves for the payment for all pensions and other benefits, including all interest and dividends earned on the assets of the retirement system shall be accumulated in the fund. All benefits payable under the system shall be paid from the fund. Annually, the retirement board shall allow regular interest on the individual accounts of members in the fund which shall be credited to each member's account.

(2) Beginning with the actuarial valuation as of June 30, 2006, the contributions to be made to the fund by the state shall be determined on the basis of the actuarial cost method known as "entry age normal." On account of each member, there shall be paid annually by the state into the fund a percentage of the earnable compensation of each member to be known as the "normal contribution" and an additional percentage of the member's earnable compensation to be known as the "accrued liability contribution." The percentage rate of such contributions shall be fixed on the basis of the liabilities of the system as shown by actuarial valuation. "Normal contributions" and "accrued liability contributions" shall be by separate appropriation in the annual budget enacted by the general assembly.

(3) The normal contribution shall be the uniform percentage of the total compensation of members which, if contributed over each member's prospective period of service and added to such member's prospective contributions, if any, will be sufficient to provide for the payment of all future benefits after subtracting the sum of the unfunded accrued liability and the total assets of the fund of the retirement system.

(4) It is the policy of the state of Vermont to liquidate fully the unfunded accrued liability to the system. Until the unfunded accrued liability is liquidated, the accrued liability contribution shall be the annual payment required to liquidate the unfunded accrued liability over a period of 30 years from July 1, 2008, provided that the amount of each annual accrued liability contribution after June 30, 2009, shall be five percent greater than the preceding annual accrued liability contribution. Any variation in the contribution of normal or unfunded accrued liability contributions from those recommended by the actuary and any actuarial gains and losses shall be added or subtracted to the unfunded accrued liability and amortized over the remainder of the 30-year period.

(5) [Deleted.]

(6)-(11) [Repealed.]

(12)(A) Payment of a portion of the cost of health and medical benefits provided by subsection 1942(p) of this title for retired members shall be made from the medical account created by subsection (i) of this section. The board shall determine the total costs of the applicable standard plan for a retired member and of the applicable standard plan for a retired member and spouse, and the board shall pay the following portion of those costs:

(i) 80 percent of the cost for a retired member who has at least 10 years of creditable service as of July 1, 2010, and fewer than 25 years of creditable service at the time of retirement;

(ii) 80 percent of the cost for a retired member and spouse if the retired member has at least 10 years of creditable service as of July 1, 2010, and at least 25 years of creditable service at the time of retirement;

(iii) 60 percent of the cost for a retired member who has fewer than 10 years of creditable service as of July 1, 2010, and 15 or more but fewer than 20 years of creditable service at the time of retirement;

(iv) 70 percent of the cost for a retired member who has fewer than 10 years of creditable service as of July 1, 2010, and 20 or more but fewer than 25 years of creditable service at the time of retirement; and

(v) 80 percent of the cost for a retired member and spouse if:

(I) the retired member has 10 or more but fewer than 15 years of creditable service as of July 1, 2010, and at least 25 years of creditable service at the time of retirement; or

(II) the retired member has 15 or more but fewer than 25 years of creditable service as of July 10, 2010, and at least 10 additional years of creditable service at the time of retirement; or

(III) the retired member has 25 or more but fewer than 30 years of creditable service as of July 1, 2010, and at least 35 years of creditable service at the time of retirement; or

(IV) the retired member has at least 30 years of creditable service as of July 1, 2010, and at least five additional years of creditable service at the time of retirement; and

(V) The service was not purchased, restored, granted, or transferred on or after July 1, 2010.

(B) The board shall pay an equal dollar amount for eligible retirees regardless of the plan selected. All eligible retirees may select health plan coverage from a range of plans approved by the board. Retired members may authorize deductions to be made from their monthly retirement allowance for the balance of the cost of such benefits for the retired members and their dependents. Periodically, the board shall approve the following:

(i) a standard plan for retirees who are not yet eligible for Medicare, which plan shall provide first dollar coverage for subscribers;

(ii) a standard plan for retirees who are eligible for Medicare, which plan shall provide first dollar coverage for subscribers;

(iii) a range of plans that may be selected by retirees, including the standard applicable plans;

(iv) for fiscal year 2002, the applicable standard plan shall not exceed the cost of the $250.00 comprehensive plan offered by the board;

(v) for fiscal year 2003, the applicable standard plan shall not exceed the cost of the $250.00 comprehensive plan offered by the board; and

(vi) for fiscal years 2004 and thereafter, the cost of the applicable standard plan determined under this subsection shall not exceed the cost of the $250.00 comprehensive plan offered in fiscal year 2003, adjusted for the appropriate fiscal year. In the event of the discontinuance of the $250.00 comprehensive plan, a plan with a comparable expenditure profile shall be used as a benchmark.

(vii) As of January 1, 2007 and thereafter, upon retirement, members entitled to prorated group medical benefit plan premium payments from the retirement system under the terms of this section shall have a one-time option to reduce the percentage of premium payments from the fund during the member's life, with the provision that the fund shall continue making an equal percentage of premium payments after the member's death for the life of the dependent beneficiary nominated by the member under section 1941 of this title, should such dependent beneficiary survive the member. The retirement board, after consultation with its actuary, shall establish reduced premium payment percentages that are as cost neutral to the fund as possible.

(d), (e) [Repealed.]

(f) Expenses. The expenses of the system, including all the expenses necessary in connection with the administration and operation of the system, shall be paid from the fund.

(g) Collection of contributions.

(1) The proper authority or officer responsible for making up the payroll shall draw his or her warrant, at such intervals as may be agreed upon with the board but at least semiannually, payable to the system for all contributions deducted from the compensation of members, and shall transmit the same to the board, together with such schedule of the contributions included therein as the board may require.

(2) The board shall certify to the governor-elect, as required by 32 V.S.A. § 301, an estimate of the contributions of the state which will become due and payable during the two years next following to meet the requirements of the fund of the system, and shall certify the percentage of payroll of all members which is equivalent to such amount. The amounts so certified shall be included in the budget submitted to the general assembly. When appropriated, the commissioner of finance and management shall issue his or her warrant in favor of the system for the amount certified by the board to be necessary to carry out the provisions of this section.

(h) Notwithstanding the provisions of subdivision 1944(b)(2) of this title to the contrary and pursuant to the provisions of Section 414(h) of the Internal Revenue Code, the state or political subdivisions employing such members shall pick up and pay the contributions required to be paid by group A and group C members with respect to service rendered on and after July 1, 1992. Contributions picked up by the state or political subdivisions employing such members shall be designated for all purposes as member contribution, except that they shall be treated as state contributions in determining tax treatment of a distribution. Each member's compensation shall be reduced by an amount equal to the amount picked up by the state or political subdivisions employing such members. This reduction, however, shall not be used to determine annual earnable compensation for purposes of determining average final compensation. Contributions picked up under this subdivision shall be credited to the fund.

(i) There is created a medical account to be maintained under the retirement system pursuant to 26 U.S.C. § 401(h), which shall be used to pay for health and medical benefits as the board may arrange pursuant to subsection 1942(p) of this title. Contributions to the account shall be reasonable and ascertainable. The medical account shall be subordinate to the retirement benefits provided by the retirement system. It shall be impossible, at any time before satisfaction of all liabilities to provide retiree medical benefits, for any part of the corpus or income of the account to be used for, or diverted to, any purpose other than providing health and medical benefits. All balances in the account at the end of the fiscal year shall be carried forward, and interest earned shall remain in the account. Notwithstanding the exclusive benefit rule of subsection 1943a(b) of this title, in the event of termination of the account on satisfaction of all liabilities under the plan to provide retiree medical benefits, any amount remaining in the account shall be returned to the state of Vermont. (Amended 1959, No. 42, §§ 1, 2; 1959, No. 72, §§ 4, 5, eff. April 1, 1959; 1959 (Adj. Sess.), No. 328, § 8(b); 1963, No. 182, § 3; 1971, No. 187 (Adj. Sess.); 1971, No. 233 (Adj. Sess.), §§ 2-4; 1973, No. 141 (Adj. Sess.), § 7; 1975, No. 175 (Adj. Sess.), § 3; 1977, No. 53, §§ 2, 4, eff. April 23, 1977; 1977, No. 247 (Adj. Sess.), §§ 191-193, 195; 1981, No. 41, §§ 31-34, 39(3); 1983, No. 149 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; 1983, No. 195 (Adj. Sess.), § 5(b); 1989, No. 78, §§ 8, 9; 1989, No. 169 (Adj. Sess.), § 7; 1991, No. 24, § 11; 1991, No. 247 (Adj. Sess.), §§ 1-4; 1993, No. 49, §§ 24, 25, eff. May 28, 1993; 1995, No. 36, § 7; 1995, No. 178 (Adj. Sess.), § 179a; 1999, No. 53, §§ 7, 7a; 1999, No. 158 (Adj. Sess.), § 5; 2001, No. 29, § 6; 2001, No. 63, § 175; 2001, No. 142 (Adj. Sess.), § 206; 2003, No. 122 (Adj. Sess.), § 297f; 2005, No. 163 (Adj. Sess.), § 7; 2005, No. 165 (Adj. Sess.), § 3; 2005, No. 215 (Adj. Sess.), § 277; 2007, No. 13, § 33; 2007, No. 137 (Adj. Sess.), § 7; 2009, No. 24, § 6a; 2009, No. 74 (Adj. Sess.), § 6; 2009, No. 139 (Adj. Sess.), § 6.)

 

Sub-Chapter 2: Flexible Pathways To Secondary School Completion

§ 1944a. Periodic actuarial reports

The board shall cause to be made an actuarial reevaluation of the rate of member contributions deducted from earnable compensation pursuant to section 1944(b)(2) of this title, on a periodic basis at least every three years, to determine whether the amount deducted is necessary to make the contributions picked up and paid by the state for such members cost neutral to the general fund. The actuarial re-evaluation shall consider all relevant factors including federal tax law changes. The board shall report the results of the actuarial reevaluation to the general assembly together with any recommendations for adjustment in the members' contribution rate under section 1944(b)(2). (Added 1991, No. 247 (Adj. Sess.), § 6.)

§ 1945. Application of other laws

No other provision of law in any other statute which provides wholly or partly at the expense of the state of Vermont for pensions or retirement benefits for teachers of the state, their widows, or other dependents, shall apply to members or beneficiaries of the retirement system hereby established, their widows or other dependents.

§ 1946. Exemption of member's interest; assignment

That portion of the compensation of a member deducted or to be deducted under this chapter, the rights of a member or beneficiary to an annuity, pension, or retirement allowance hereunder, and all a member's rights in the assets of the system, shall be exempt from taxation, including income tax, and from the operation of any laws relating to bankruptcy or insolvency, and shall not be attached or taken upon execution or other process of any court. No assignment by a member or beneficiary of any part of the assets to which he or she is or may be entitled, or of any right to or interest in the assets, shall be valid except as specifically provided in this chapter. (Amended 2007, No. 13, § 34.)

§ 1946a. Tax exemption for member of retirement system of another state or political subdivision thereof

Payments received by a member of a retirement system of another state or political subdivision thereof, whether called a pension, an annuity, a retirement allowance, or any other name, shall be exempt from taxation, including income tax, provided that such member was at the time of retirement a member of the teaching or supervising staff covered by such retirement system. The term "teaching or supervising staff" shall include the superintendent, assistant superintendents, principals, supervisors, assistant supervisors, directors, assistant directors, examiners, supervising school physicians, supervisors of health education, supervising nurses, and all other persons permanently employed in giving or supervising instruction in a public day school, normal school, teachers' college, or other educational institution located in, and supported and controlled by, any state or political subdivision thereof.

§ 1946b. Alternate payee; domestic relations orders

(a) As used in this section:

(1) "Alternate payee" means any individual who is recognized by a domestic relations order as having a right to receive all, or a portion of, another individual's payment rights in the system.

(2) "Domestic relations order" means a judgment, decree or order of the family division of the superior court issued pursuant to 4 V.S.A. chapter 10, concerning marital property rights that includes a transfer of all, or a portion of, a member's or beneficiary's payment rights in the system to an alternate payee. It also means a judgment, decree or order from a court of competent jurisdiction in another state, concerning marital property rights that includes a transfer of all, or a portion of, a member's or beneficiary's payment rights in the system to an alternate payee. Domestic relations orders shall conform to the requirements of this section in order to be effective. A domestic relations order does not take effect until it is served on the system by certified or registered mail, return receipt requested. In the event that there is more than one domestic relations order, the order which is most recent in time and which has been served on the system will control.

(b) A member's or beneficiary's rights in the system may be modified by a domestic relations order as provided in this section.

(c) A domestic relations order shall contain all of the following elements:

(1) The identity of the member or beneficiary and the alternate payee by full name, current address, and Social Security number.

(2) The amount or percentage of the member's or beneficiary's benefits to be paid by the board to the alternate payee and the date or dates upon which the calculation of payments is to be based.

(3) The number of payments or time period in which payments are required to be made under the domestic relations order.

(4) Each retirement plan to which the domestic relations order applies.

(d) A domestic relations order shall not provide:

(1) For a type or form of benefit, option or payment not available to the affected member or beneficiary.

(2) For an amount or duration of payment greater than that available to the affected member or beneficiary.

(3) That payment of a retirement allowance commence before the member departs from service and commences to receive benefits.

(4) Withdrawal of the member's contributions without the consent of the member and the alternate payee.

(5) Any requirements that are contrary to the intent of this section.

(e) A domestic relations order may provide for apportionment of post-retirement adjustments to the retirement allowance.

(f) Payments to the alternate payee under a domestic relations order shall be limited to the life of the member or beneficiary.

(g) An alternate payee's rights and interests under this section shall not survive the alternate payee's death and shall not be transferable by inheritance.

(h) An alternate payee's rights or interests acquired pursuant to this section are not subject to assignment, execution, garnishment, attachment or other process. An alternate payee's rights or interests may be modified only by a domestic relations order amending the domestic relations order that established the right or interest.

(i) The board, the system, its agents and employees shall not be liable to any person for carrying out the terms and conditions of a domestic relations order.

(j) The board may adopt rules to implement this section. (Added 1995, No. 36, § 8; amended 2009, No. 154 (Adj. Sess.), § 238.)

 

Sub-Chapter 3: Secondary Schools

§ 1947. Penalty

Whoever with intent to deceive shall make any statements or reports required under this chapter which are untrue, or shall falsify or permit to be falsified any record or records of the system, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor, and shall be punishable therefor under the laws of this state.

§ 1948. Errors

Should any mistake be made, or should any change or error in the records result in any member or beneficiary receiving from the system more or less than he would have been entitled to receive had the records been correct, the board shall have the power, in its discretion, to correct such mistake or such error, and as far as practicable, to adjust the payments in such a manner that the actuarial equivalent of the benefit to which such member or beneficiary was correctly entitled shall be paid.

§ 1949. Postretirement adjustments to retirement allowances.

(a) For all group A members, as of June 30 in each year, beginning June 30, 1972, the board shall determine the increase or decrease, to the nearest one-tenth of one percent, in the ratio of the average of the consumer price index for the month ending on that date to the average of the index for the month ending on June 30, 1971, or the month ending on June 30 of the most recent year subsequent thereto as to which an increase or decrease in retirement allowance was made. If the increase or decrease, so determined, equals or exceeds one percent, the retirement allowance of each beneficiary in receipt of an allowance for at least one year on the next following December 31 shall be increased or decreased, as the case may be, by an equal percentage. The increase or decrease shall begin on January 1 immediately following that December 31. An equivalent percentage increase or decrease shall also be made in the retirement allowance payable to a beneficiary in receipt of an allowance under an optional election, provided the member on whose account the allowance is payable and such other person shall have received a total of at least 12 monthly payments by such December 31. The maximum adjustment of any retirement allowance in any calendar year resulting from any determination under this section shall be five percent and the minimum shall be one percent, and no retirement allowance shall be reduced below the amount payable to the beneficiary without regard to the provisions of this section.

(b) For group C members, as of June 30 in each year, commencing June 30, 1981, a determination shall be made of the increase or decrease, to the nearest one-tenth of a percent of the consumer price index for the preceding fiscal year. The retirement allowance of each beneficiary in receipt of an allowance for at least one year on the next following December 31st shall be increased or decreased, as the case may be, by an amount equal to one-half of the percentage increase or decrease. The increase or decrease shall commence on the January 1st immediately following that December 31st. The adjustment shall apply to group C members having attained the age of 57 or completed at least 25 years of creditable service as of June 30, 2010, and receiving an early retirement allowance only in the year following attainment of age 62, and shall apply to group C members not having attained the age of 57 or having completed at least 25 years of creditable service as of June 30, 2010, and receiving an early retirement allowance only in the year following the member's attainment of age 65, provided the member has received benefits for at least 12 months as of December 31 of the year preceding any January adjustment. The maximum adjustment of any retirement allowance resulting from any such determination shall be five percent and the minimum shall be one percent, and no retirement allowance shall be reduced below the amount payable to the beneficiary without regard to the provisions of this section.

(c) For the purposes of this section, "consumer price index" shall mean the Northeast Region consumer price index for all urban consumers, designated as "CPI-U," in the northeast region, as published by the United States Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics.

(d) [Repealed.]  (Added 1971, No. 233 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; amended 1981, No. 41, § 35; 1989, No. 169 (Adj. Sess.), § 8; 1991, No. 64, § 8, eff. June 18, 1991; 1991, No. 247 (Adj. Sess.), § 5; 1999, No. 158 (Adj. Sess.), § 13; 2009, No. 74 (Adj. Sess.), § 7; 2009, No. 139 (Adj. Sess.), §§ 6a, 6b, 7, 13; 2011, No. 63, § H.2.)

§ 1950. Repealed. 1989, No. 169 (Adj. Sess.), § 11.

§ 1951. Group A members; limit on contributions

Contributions in the form of a deduction from compensation under section 1944 of this title shall cease for any group A member who attains 25 years of creditable service and the member shall continue to accrue creditable service, without such a contribution, at the rate of 1-2/3 percent until the member retires. Any group A member in service on July 1, 1990 who, as of that date, has made contributions for more than 25 years but less than 30 years shall, upon normal retirement, be granted up to five years of additional creditable service at the rate of 1-2/3 percent for each year or part of a year in which contributions were made in excess of 25 years. Any group A member in service on July 1, 1990 who, as of that date, has made contributions for more than 30 years shall, upon normal retirement, receive credit for contributions in excess of 25 years and in addition shall be granted, upon normal retirement, five years of additional creditable service at the rate of 1-2/3 percent. (Added 1989, No. 169 (Adj. Sess.), § 9.)

 

Sub-Chapter 4: Vocational Training

§ 1952. Repealed. 2013, No. 22, § 17, eff. July 1, 2013.

§ 1953. Prior service credit

A teacher who has ceased being a member upon reemployment is entitled to prior service credit upon depositing in the fund the contributions which would have been deducted from the teacher's compensation had he or she remained a member with interest as set forth in section 1944 of this title. The teacher, in order to qualify for the prior service credit, shall also deposit in the fund a sum equal to the contributions which would have been contributed by the state had the teacher remained a member with interest as set forth in section 1944 of this title. (Added 2005, No. 104 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; amended 2007, No. 13, § 35.)

§ 1981. Definitions

As used in this chapter unless the context requires otherwise:

(1) "Administrator" means any person so licensed by the Vermont standards board for professional educators, the majority of whose employed time in a school or a school district is devoted to serving as superintendent, assistant superintendent, assistant to the superintendent, supervisor, principal, or assistant principal.

(2) "Professional negotiations" means the meeting, conferring, consulting, discussing, and negotiating in good faith between a school board negotiations council and a teachers' organization negotiations council or an administrators' organization negotiations council to reach agreement.

(3) "School board" means the board of school directors of a school district or its equivalent in any independent elementary or secondary school.

(4) "School district" means any public school district or any independent elementary or secondary school within the state which directly or indirectly receives support from public funds.

(5) "Teacher" means any person licensed employable as a teacher by the Vermont standards board for professional educators who is not an administrator as herein defined.

(6) A "teachers' organization" or an "administrators' organization" means an organization, committee, council, group, or separate unit thereof in which teachers or administrators participate and which exists, in whole or in part, for the purpose of professional negotiation.

(7) "Agency fee" means a fee deducted by an employer from the salary or wages of an employee who is not a member of an employee organization, which is paid to the employee organization that is the exclusive bargaining agent for the bargaining unit of the employee. The collective bargaining service fee shall not exceed 85 percent of the amount payable as dues by members of the employee organization and shall be deducted in the same manner as dues are deducted from the salary or wages of members of the employee organization and shall be used to defray the costs of chargeable activities.

(8) "School board negotiations council" means, for a supervisory district, its school board, and, for school districts within a supervisory union, the body comprising representatives designated by each school board within the supervisory union and by the supervisory union board to engage in professional negotiations with a teachers' or administrators' organization.

(9) "Teachers' organization negotiations council" or "administrators' organization negotiations council" means the body comprising representatives designated by each teachers' organization or administrators' organization within a supervisory district or supervisory union to act as its representative for professional negotiations. (Added 1969, No. 127, § 2, eff. Sept. 1, 1969; amended 1989, No. 118, § 3; 1991, No. 24, § 11; 2005, No. 25, § 1; 2005, No. 214 (Adj. Sess.), § 4; eff. July 1, 2007; 2007, No. 82, § 29; 2009, No. 153 (Adj. Sess.), § 13; 2013, No. 37, § 10; 2013, No. 56, § 24, eff. May 30, 2013.)

§ 1982. Rights

(a) Teachers shall have the right to or not to join, assist, or participate in any teachers' organization of their choosing. However, teachers who choose not to join the teachers' organization, recognized as the exclusive representative pursuant to section 1992 of this chapter, shall pay the agency fee in the same manner as teachers who choose to join the teachers' organization pay membership fees. The teachers' organization shall indemnify and hold the school board harmless from any and all claims stemming from the implementation or administration of the agency fee.

(b) Principals, assistant principals, and administrators other than superintendent and assistant superintendent shall have the right to or not to join, assist, or participate in any administrators' organization or as a separate unit of any teachers' organization of their choosing. However, subject to the provisions of subsection (d) of this section, administrators other than the superintendent and assistant superintendent who choose not to join the administrators' organization, recognized as the exclusive representative pursuant to section 1992 of this chapter, shall pay the agency fee in the same manner as administrators who choose to join the administrators' organization pay membership fees. The administrators' organization agrees to indemnify and hold the school harmless from any and all claims stemming from the implementation or administration of the agency fee.

(c) The school board or any employee of the school board serving in any capacity or any other person or organization shall not interfere with, restrain, coerce, or discriminate in any way against or for any teacher or administrator engaged in activities protected by this legislation.

(d) A teachers' or administrators' organization shall not charge the agency fee unless it has established and maintained a procedure to provide nonmembers with:

(1) an audited financial statement that identifies the major categories of expenses and divides them into chargeable and nonchargeable expenses;

(2) an opportunity to object to the amount of the agency fee sought, and to place in escrow any amount reasonably in dispute;

(3) prompt arbitration by an arbitrator selected jointly by the objecting fee payer and the teachers' or administrators' organization or pursuant to the rules of the American Arbitration Association to resolve any objection over the amount of the agency fee. The costs of arbitration shall be paid by the teachers' or administrators' organization.

(e) Nothing in this section shall require an employer to discharge an employee who does not pay the agency fee. (Added 1969, No. 127, § 2, eff. Sept. 1, 1969; amended 2005, No. 25, § 2; 2013, No. 37, § 11.)

§ 1983. Right to be heard

Nothing contained herein shall prohibit any individual or organization representative, subject to reasonable rules of procedure which may be adopted by the school board, from appearing before the school board to be heard, but not to negotiate, on any matters of school district operation. (Added 1969, No. 127, § 2, eff. Sept. 1, 1969.)

 

Sub-Chapter 5: Student Driver Education And Training Program

§ 1991. Selection of representation

(a) Teachers and administrators may select organizations to represent them on their negotiations council in collective negotiations with the school board negotiations council. The school board shall recognize an organization as the exclusive representative of the teachers or of the administrators in the school district when that organization has proved its claim to sole and exclusive representative status of the respective group as hereinafter provided. The superintendent, the assistant superintendent, and the principal shall not serve as negotiating agents for the teachers' organization.

(b) When close or disputed questions of eligibility to vote and inclusion in the unit to be represented by the teachers' organization arise, the general principle to be adhered to shall be that eligibility to vote and inclusion in that negotiating unit will be limited to all teachers in the school district under contract and actually engaged in full-time or part-time positions which are not that of administrator.

(c) The organizations selected to represent teachers or administrators shall represent without discrimination or prejudice all of those eligible for inclusion in the negotiating unit without regard to organizational affiliation or membership. (Added 1969, No. 127, § 2, eff. Sept. 1, 1969; amended 2007, No. 82, § 30.)

§ 1992. Referendum procedure for representation

(a) An organization purporting to represent a majority of all of the teachers or administrators employed by the school board may be recognized by the school board without the necessity of a referendum upon the submission of a petition bearing the valid signatures of a majority of the teachers or administrators employed by that school board. Within fifteen days after receiving the petition the school board shall notify the teachers or administrators of the school district in writing of its intention to either require or waive a secret ballot referendum. If the school board gives notice of its intention to waive a referendum and recognize an organization, ten percent of the teachers or administrators employed by the school board may submit a petition within fifteen days thereafter, objecting to the granting or recognition without a referendum, in which event a secret ballot referendum shall be held in the district for the purpose of choosing an exclusive representative according to the guidelines for referendum contained in this legislation.

(b) Recognition granted to a negotiating unit as exclusive representative shall be valid and not subject to challenge by referendum petition or otherwise for the remainder of the fiscal year in which recognition is granted and for an additional period of twelve months after final adoption of the budget for the succeeding fiscal year and shall continue thereafter until a new referendum is called for.

(c) A secret ballot referendum shall be held any time that twenty percent of the teachers or administrators employed by the school board present a petition requesting a referendum on the matter of representation, except during a period of prior recognition, as hereinbefore provided. Any organization interested in representing teachers or administrators in the school district shall have the right to appear on the ballot by submitting a petition supported by ten percent or more of the teachers or administrators in the school district.

(d) In the interest of expediting the referendum and minimizing the cost thereof, the petitioning party or parties and the school board may agree together to conduct cooperatively the referendum themselves. Alternatively, the parties may select an impartial person or agency to conduct or aid in the conducting of the referendum. Failing agreement among all interested parties on the conduct of the referendum, any of the petitioning parties or the school board may request that the referendum be conducted with the aid and assistance of the American Arbitration Association or its designee. The American Arbitration Association or its designee shall have the responsibility for making decisions on any and all matters in dispute regarding the mechanics of the referendum, eligibility and other necessary decisions relating to the conduct of the referendum.

(e) All costs incurred in conducting the referendum shall be borne jointly by the school board and the petitioners.

(f) The ballot used in any referendum shall include "no representation" among the choices. The organization designated by the majority of the votes cast shall be the negotiating representative. If the majority is "no representation," then the school board may not recognize any representative for at least twelve months thereafter. If no choice receives a majority vote, then a run-off referendum shall be conducted among the two choices receiving the greatest number of votes. (Added 1969, No. 127, § 2, eff. Sept. 1, 1969.)

§ 2001. Good faith

The negotiations councils of the school board and of the recognized teachers' or administrators' organization shall meet together at reasonable times, upon request of either party, and shall negotiate in good faith on all matters properly before them under the provisions of this chapter. (Added 1969, No. 127, § 2, eff. Sept. 1, 1969; amended 2007, No. 82, § 31.)

§ 2002. Access to materials and facilities

The school board shall permit teachers, administrators, and their respective organizations access at reasonable times to areas in which teachers and administrators work, and to use institutional bulletin boards, mail boxes, or other communication media subject to reasonable regulation by the school board, and to use school facilities at reasonable times for the purpose of meetings concerned with the exercise of rights guaranteed by this chapter. (Added 1969, No. 127, § 2, eff. Sept. 1, 1969.)

§ 2003. Time to begin

The teacher or administrator organizations holding exclusive negotiating rights shall make a request for commencement of negotiations either to their school board or to the school board negotiations council no later than 120 days prior to the earliest school district annual meeting conducted within the supervisory union. (Added 1969, No. 127, § 2, eff. Sept. 1, 1969; amended 2007, No. 82, § 32.)

§ 2004. Agenda

The school board, through its negotiations council, shall, upon request, negotiate with representatives of the teachers' or administrators' organization negotiations council on matters of salary, related economic conditions of employment, the manner in which it will enforce an employee's obligation to pay the agency service fee, procedures for processing complaints and grievances relating to employment, and any mutually agreed upon matters not in conflict with the statutes and laws of the State of Vermont. (Added 1969, No. 127, § 2, eff. Sept. 1, 1969; amended 2005, No. 25, § 3; 2007, No. 82, § 33; 2013, No. 37, § 12.)

 

Sub-Chapter 6: Adult Education And Literacy

§ 2005. Written agreement

The negotiations councils for the school board and the teachers' or administrators' organization shall enter into a written agreement or agreements incorporating therein matters agreed to in negotiation. (Added 1969, No. 127, § 2, eff. Sept. 1, 1969; amended 2007, No. 82, § 34.)

§ 2006. Mediator

If, after negotiation has taken place on all matters properly before them, the negotiations councils for the school board and teachers' or administrators' organization are unable to reach agreement on specific negotiable items, they may jointly agree upon the services and person of a mediator for the purpose of assisting them in reconciling their differences and resolving the controversy on terms which are mutually acceptable. If agreement cannot be reached upon the person of a mediator, either party may request mediation upon any and all unresolved issues to be conducted by the American Arbitration Association or its designee. The parties shall meet with the mediator and make such information available as required. (Added 1969, No. 127, § 2, eff. Sept. 1, 1969; amended 2007, No. 82, § 35.)