Manila teacher annuity plan guidelnes change

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Town Crier News Staff

Manila School Board members discussed tax shelter annuity plans, adopted the 2008-09 calendar, discussed partnership plan updates and approved certified contracts at the Thursday regular meeting.

Superintendent Pam Castor discussed with the board changes in guidelines governing the 403B, a tax shelter annuity retirement plan available to teachers.

"In the past the district's only responsibility was to deduct the money and send it to the vendors," Castor said.

Castor said presently 25 teachers are enrolled in a 403B.

"IRS regulations have changed and they changed retroactive to 2007," Castor said. "It is now the district's responsibility to administer the plan. The district has to have a written document including who can participate in the plan and how to make withdrawals. We have to track the plan even if the employee leaves the district. The vendors who participate in the plan are now the responsibility of the district. It is our responsibility to see all employees are notified of their eligibility to participate. To be eligible the teacher has to have worked 1,000 hours the previous school year or we have to believe they will work 1,000 hours in the current year and they have to contribute $200 annually to the plan. There is a limit to what they can contribute each year and it is not limited to 403B plans. Teachers can have other plans as well and we are responsible for tracking all individual plans.

"Currently we use Farm Bureau and ING as vendors. We have been in discussion with the vendors about plans and Farm Bureau is working on a model plan and ING has a model plan called Plan With Ease in place."

Castor said with this program the district can input information at the beginning of the year, they will track contributions, track other contributions, and take care of loans, withdrawals, etc. Employees can have multiple plans with other vendors. They will be required to sign a sharing agreement.

"ING is willing to provide this service to the district at no cost," Castor said. "There is a no fault clause where they will take responsibility if mistakes are made by them and the district will take responsibility if mistakes are made by us."

"I think we want to provide it for the teachers who want it and ING has a plan in place," Board member Justin Veach said.

The board voted unanimously to continue with the 403B retirement plan providing ING and its subsidiaries as common remitter of the plan. A resolution agreeing to follow all IRS regulations was also passed unanimously.

The board approved the 2008-09 calendar before going into an executive session to discuss certified contracts.

Following a three hour closed session, the board voted unanimously to approve certified contracts on an attached list presented by Superintendent Castor.

Teacher salary issues will be discussed at the April meeting.

"You have asked for information on salaries," Castor said. "I've brought a list of the information for you to review."

Castor said there have been rule changes made concerning the state partnership funding process for construction projects.

"I was told to submit two plans, one for an addition and one for a new building for the elementary project," Castor said.

She also said the district can have the Facility Condition Index (FCI) reassessed on the elementary buildings if the district wants to pay for the evaluators.

The board voted to have the FCI on the elementary building reassessed.

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