Many school retirees contribute significantly

As a retired school employee, I was very disturbed by the comments made in a recent letter to the editor by Sen. John H. Eichelberger Jr. and Rep. John McGinnis regarding pension reform issues.

In their letter, they stated that “a related problem is that more and more tax dollars are required to go to retirees, which does nothing to benefit students in the classrooms.”

This statement is misleading on many fronts, and I would like to clarify that retired school employees do not abandon children after retirement.

In fact, they willingly and enthusiastically continue to serve children through volunteer efforts in the community.

Some examples of benefits to Blair County children include: Mountain Lion Backpack Program, classroom volunteering/tutoring, mentors for the AASD’s Project SOAR, United Way’s “Stuff the Bus” donations, Teen Shelter donations and Toys for Tots’ donations.

A related study of volunteerism by school retirees conducted by PASR (Pa. Association of School Retirees) in 2012 provided data to indicate that Blair County retirees amassed a yearly total of 82,380 volunteer hours which, if calculated into dollars, would amount to more than a $1.75 million service donation to the citizens of Blair County.

In closing, I want to reiterate that school retirees continue to serve their community and its children in positive and productive ways.

Kathleen O’Rourke, Ed.D.

Past President

Blair Co. Chapter PASR

St. Boniface