California Educator

August 2014

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Profile Perspectives A L E N R I T C H I E used to teach music and history courses. These days his favorite courses are green with a fairway. Ahhh, the joy of retirement, where fun is par for the course. R i t c h i e t a u g h t a t M o o r e J u n i o r H i g h S c h o o l i n R e d l a n d s a n d a t t h e d i s t r i c t ' s c o n t i n u a t i o n h i g h school for most of his career. Now he spends three days a week at the golf course, serves on the county school board, sings in a community chorus, and is in the Kiwanis Club. A s p r e s i d e n t o f C TA / N E A - R e t i r e d , h e ' s a l s o a crusader who fights politicians' efforts to reduce o r e l i m i n a t e p e n s i o n s a n d re t i re m e n t b e n e f i t s . H e l o b b i e s p o l i t i c i a n s a n d ra l l i e s t h e " re t i re d t ro o p s " during elections or other times when public educa- tion is under attack. We caught up with the 74-year-old on the Redlands Country Club golf course. Retired member: Fun is par for the course By Sherry Posnick-Goodwin P H O T O G R A P H Y B Y S C O T T B U S C H M A N In Alen's words: How did you know it was time to retire? I just knew. I had taught for 40 years and enjoyed it all the way through, except for a couple of years when I had a lousy principal. I really enjoyed teaching, but I'm just as happy not to be teaching. What is a main focus of CTA/NEA-Retired? Tr ying to thwart the so-called pension reformers is a big thing right now. We want to beat back the anti-education foes and be part of CTA's Strategic Plan. One of the problems we've been working on recently is that some school districts have misreported people's salaries to CalSTRS at an inflated level. They took pay that wasn't salar y and included it when people started drawing pensions. CalSTRS is now requiring those people to go to a lower level per month, but pay back what was incorrectly paid. We are fighting that because it was the district's fault that this was misreported. Are retirees an untapped CTA resource for local association activities? Yes, we are! We do some lobbying, but we would like to do more. We would like local associations to ask us for our help. We may be retired, but we have a lot to contribute. And we have the time. But some local chapters don't even know we exist. How many retired members and chapters are there? We have almost 16,000 members in California and 18 chapters. We hold a big conference every year for everybody, and "actives" who are still teaching can come, too. We are ready for more members that will come with the next retirement wave. How much does it cost to join? Annual dues are $60, and you can become a lifetime member for $450. You can also become a "pre-retired" lifetime active member, and you don't have to pay higher dues if they are increased. Even a first-year teacher can become "pre-retired" now. Are there perks? We continue to receive almost all of the benefits that the "actives" have, such as group legal services, and we receive discounts on movies, travel, car rentals, life insurance and car insurance. We have access to membership in the credit union and no-fee Visa and MasterCard. There's a vision service plan that provides a 20 percent discount on exams and glasses. It's a pretty good deal. But what about fun? CTA/NEA-Retired is a good way to go places and do things. The chapter I belong to went to the Getty Museum in Malibu and a baseball game in the local area. We also had a Christmas luncheon. We have speakers every other month. And then there are wine tasting tours. Anything else we should know? Nope, gotta finish my golf game and it's off to the school board meeting. Nice chatting with you! 25 V O L U M E 1 9 I S S U E 1

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