The MTRS works to keep school district administrators and business officials up to date by sending periodic announcements via e-mails and presenting educational seminars for payroll and human resource representatives.

If you are a school district administrator and you are not on our e-mail list to receive regular updates from us, please let us know your e-mail address.

DateTopic(s)
8/21/14MTRS update: MyTRS being upgraded, will be unavailable this weekend
8/11/14MTRS update: August 2014 newsletter for members now online; please help spread the word
7/21/14MTRS update: FINAL deadline for active members to submit Part 2 of §3 purchase applications is August 31, 2014
7/15/14MTRS reminders: Membership eligibility and the serious consequences of improper enrollment
6/25/14MTRS update: Members' 2013 annual statements to be mailed this week
5/1/14MTRS update: Retiree insurance reporting news, dates and reminders
4/18/14MTRS announces spring retirement seminars--Please spread the word!
3/18/14MTRS update: Payroll deduction reporting news and a reminder
3/6/14MTRS update: New process for reporting retiree insurance changes
2/7/14MTRS update: Payroll deduction reporting news, tips and reminders
12/13/13MTRS update: Payroll deduction reporting news, tips and reminders
11/26/13MTRS reminder: Pensionable earnings limitations for members hired after 1/1/2011
11/22/13MTRS update: Notice of PRIM Board election
9/25/13MTRS update: October 2 deadline for Part 2 of §3 service purchase applications
9/10/13MTRS update: Member online enrollment tool now available
9/3/13MTRS update: MyTRS upgrade complete, now online
8/22/13MTRS reminder: Member deadline to submit Part 2 of §3 purchase applications is October 2, 2013
8/21/13MTRS update: August newsletter for members now online; please help spread the word
8/19/13MTRS update: MyTRS upgrade going live on T 9/3; MyTRS will be unavailable Th 8/22–M 9/2
7/25/13MTRS update: MyTRS upgrade coming; now planned for early September, modifications minor
5/28/13MTRS update: Members' 2012 annual statements to be mailed this week
5/13/13MTRS retirement seminar update: Final programs just added!
5/7/13MTRS retirement seminar reminder and updates; Worcester program just added!
4/26/13MTRS announces spring retirement seminars--Please spread the word!
3/13/13MTRS reminder: April 2 is the deadline for purchasing §3 service at lower interest rate
2/15/13MTRS §3 service purchases at buyback interest: Member app portion due 4/2/2013; employer app portion due 10/2/2013
12/18/12MTRS Update December 2012
11/29/12MTRS notice: MyTRS to be unavailable Th 11/29, 6-11:30 pm
11/26/12Reminder: MTRS "Ready for Retirement" seminars scheduled!
11/9/12MTRS announces programs for members retiring within the next year!
11/8/12MTRS notice: MyTRS to be unavailable Th 11/08, 5-8 pm
10/31/12MTRS update: Redesigned MTRS website to launch Friday, November 2
10/24/12MTRS notice: MyTRS to be unavailable Th 10/25, 6-11 pm
7/31/12MTRS reminder: 2011 deduction reporting deadline is August 31, 2012
7/3/12MTRS update: Online member enrollment process restored and now available
6/28/12MTRS update: Our newsletters to active and retired members now online
5/9/12MTRS update: Additional info on two recent pension reform measures
4/19/12MTRS update: Deduction reporting progress; future steps and deadlines, if applicable
4/18/12MTRS announces Spring retirement information seminars
3/27/12MTRS update: You will need to change your MyTRS password on or after April 5, 2012
2/16/12MTRS update: Deduction reporting
12/16/11MTRS Board news: Karen Mitchell and Dennis Naughton elected; longtime member John Dow retires
12/8/11MTRS updates: Pension reform, revised Retirement Application, the Open Checkbook initiative
11/15/11MTRS update: Member Enrollment Form now available in downloadable format
11/10/11MTRS news: Board election and appointee updates
10/6/11MTRS announces programs for members retiring within the next year!
10/4/11MTRS Enrollment form update
9/1/11MTRS Enrollment form
9/29/11MTRS update: Notice of MTRS Board election
5/3/11MTRS notice: Six additional MyTRS training sessions scheduled; 14 updated guides now online
4/25/11Notice: MTRS Furlough Policy expires on June 30, 2011
4/11/11MTRS announces Spring retirement information seminars
2/28/11MTRS notice: MyTRS training sessions now scheduled—please register online to attend

August 21, 2014

Subject: MTRS update: MyTRS being upgraded, will be unavailable this weekend

Dear School District Superintendents, Charter School and Education Collaborative Directors, Business Managers, Town Treasurers, Personnel Administrators and Payroll Officers,

So that we may perform an upgrade to our online application, MyTRS will be unavailable--to employers and members--from 6 p.m. on Friday, August 22 through 6 a.m. on Monday, August 25.

For employers, this upgrade introduces only minor modifications behind the scenes, and everything else--the way you access and sign in to MyTRS, submit monthly deduction reports, register members for enrollment--will remain the same.

You may, however, need to upgrade to later versions of your browser, JAVA and Adobe Reader if you experience any computer difficulties when using MyTRS, as the MyTRS system requirements have changed to be in step with current software applications (for details, see MyTRS system requirements).

If you have any questions, please contact your Employer Services Representative, or Robert George, Director of Employer Services, at 617-679-6869 or robert.george@trb.state.ma.us.

As always, thank you for your continued assistance to us and our members!


August 11, 2014

Subject: MTRS update: August 2014 newsletter for members now online; please help spread the word

Dear School District Superintendents, Charter School and Education Collaborative Directors, Business Managers, Town Treasurers, Personnel Administrators and Payroll Officers,

Our August 2014 Advisor for active and inactive members is now available at mass.gov/mtrs. Articles include:

  • MTRS leadership changing at the end of the year: Executive Director Joan Schloss retiring, Deputy Executive Director Erika Glaster appointed as successor
  • The MTRS turns 100: On July 1, our agency celebrated a century of service to educators
  • MTRS and PRIM Board updates
  • Quick updates: PRIM receives national award; an update on the number of service requests we have received, and our progress in processing service purchase applications

Please note that, in an effort to be environmentally responsible and reduce administrative costs, we are making this issue available online only; it will not be mailed to our more than 107,000 active and inactive members. We will also be notifying our members for whom we have e-mail addresses that the Advisor is now available online, but please help us spread the word by forwarding this e-mail to your employees who are MTRS members. We would greatly appreciate any assistance you can provide!

As always, if you or your MTRS employees have any questions about retirement benefits or our services, please don't hesitate to contact us.


July 21, 2014

Subject: MTRS update: FINAL deadline for active members to submit Part 2 of §3 purchase applications is August 31, 2014

Dear School District Superintendents, Charter School and Education Collaborative Directors, Business Managers, Town Treasurers, Personnel Administrators and Payroll Officers,

As you know, because of the extraordinary influx of §3 service purchase applications we received as a result of last year's interest rate increase, our Board allowed individuals who had filed only the member portion of their applications by April 2, 2013 a six-month extension--until October 2, 2013--to submit their employer portion. However, as that deadline approached, we heard from many members and employers that, despite their best efforts, they could not obtain the required documentation in that timeframe. To ease employers' administrative burden and allow those members still to qualify for the buyback interest rate of 4.125%, we then accepted from employers a list of members whose applications they had received before October 2 and that were "in process."

In the nine months since October 2nd, a number of these "in process" applications have been completed. However, now, in order to bring this application completion period to a close, our Board has established a FINAL deadline for these members to submit their employer forms of August 31, 2014.

Please know that we have already notified the affected members of this final deadline. On June 6, we mailed personalized "FINAL NOTICE" letters to members whose "Section 3" service purchase applications were still incomplete to advise them that they must submit the missing documentation and information, postmarked by August 31, 2014. This deadline applies regardless of whether the member was on a list of "in process" applications submitted by an employer. There will be no exceptions to this deadline. Members who fail to complete their applications by August 31, 2014 may still apply for the service at a later date, but they will be subject to the higher interest rate.

If you have any questions, please contact us at 617-679-6877 or geninfo@trb.state.ma.us. Thank you in advance for your continued assistance to our members and us!


July 15, 2014

Subject: MTRS reminders: Membership eligibility and the serious consequences of improper enrollment

Dear School District Superintendents, Charter School and Education Collaborative Directors, Business Managers, Payroll Officers, Personnel Administrators and Town Treasurers,

As you begin another busy hiring and MTRS enrollment season, I want to take this opportunity to remind you of the importance of ensuring that your employees are properly enrolled in our system. Enrolling employees who do not qualify for membership in the MTRS will result in serious consequences at retirement for those who believe they are participating in our RetirementPlus plan.

Specifically, please note:

1) Pursuant to our membership eligibility requirements (807 CMR 4.02), ensure that:

a) the individual's contract requires that the person be certified by the ESE as a condition of employment; and

b) if a member takes another position within the district, assess whether the new position allows the member to remain in the MTRS system.

As noted above and in the example below, enrolling employees who do not qualify for membership in the MTRS will result in serious consequences at retirement for those who believe they are participating in our RetirementPlus plan.

Example: A pre-4/2/2012 member at age 58 with 34 years of service who was enrolled in the MTRS--but serving in a position that did not require ESE certification--would think that she would receive 80% of her final salary average under RetirementPlus. However, because she should not have been a member of the MTRS, she would only be entitled to 61.2% under the regular formula, and would either have to take the reduced pension or go back to work.

2) If you have any individuals serving in the positions listed below, review the information carefully. For your reference, similar notes were also included in our broadcast e-mail of December 18, 2012.

  • ROTC instructors: If your district has an ROTC program and the instructors are NOT required to be ESE-certified as a condition of their employment, those instructors are NOT eligible for MTRS membership.
  • Occupational and Physical Therapists: If your district employs occupational and physical therapists who are required to have and maintain a certification from the Board of Allied Health Professionals as a condition of employment and meet our contract and full-time requirements, those therapists are eligible for MTRS membership.
  • Athletic Directors: Many districts pay a full-time employee who is eligible for MTRS membership because of their primary role in the district, generally a teacher, to serve as a part-time athletic director. Some districts have decided to hire a full-time athletic director. If your district has a full-time athletic director and your athletic director is NOT required to be ESE-certified as a condition of his or her employment, your athletic director is NOT eligible for MTRS membership. Compensation for part-time athletic directors who are otherwise MTRS-eligible is subject to our Regular compensation requirements.
  • Board Certified Behavioral Analysts (BCBAs): The MTRS has received several calls regarding non-ESE-certified BCBAs. If you have a BCBA on staff and your BCBA is NOT required to be ESE-certified as a condition of his or her employment, your BCBA is NOT eligible for MTRS membership.

If you have any employees who may be improperly enrolled in the MTRS at this time, and you need assistance correcting their situations, please contact us so we can work together to resolve any issues as soon as possible.

If you have any questions, please contact our Employer Services unit at 617-679-6895 or empsup@trb.state.ma.us. Thank you for your continued assistance to our members and us! 


June 25, 2014

Subject: MTRS update: Members' 2013 annual statements to be mailed this week

Dear School District Superintendents, Charter School and Education Collaborative Directors, Business Managers, Payroll Officers, Personnel Administrators and Town Treasurers,

On Wednesday, June 25, annual statements will be mailed to our more than 105,000 active and inactive members.

For your reference, in support of your efforts to have our more than 12,000 unenrolled members complete their MTRS employment histories with us, these members will receive a special message on their statements, advising them to complete their enrollment histories online. We are hopeful that this outreach will be effective, and that everyone will soon see fewer "Member not enrolled" exception messages in deduction reports.

We don't expect that you will receive many inquiries about this mailing, but for information, please see our FAQs page online.

Questions? Please contact our Employer Services unit at 617-679-6895 or mailto:empsup@trb.state.ma.us.


May 1, 2014

Subject: MTRS update: Retiree insurance reporting news, dates and reminders

Dear School District Superintendents, Directors, Business Managers, Payroll Officials, Town Treasurers, Charter School and Education Collaborative Directors,

Note: If your district is one of the 47 districts currently participating in the GIC's Retired Municipal Teacher (RMT) program, this update does not apply to you.

Since the implementation of our standardized reporting procedure in March, our turnaround time for processing insurance changes has improved significantly. As of today, you can expect your changes to be processed within about six weeks. To you and your staff, thank you--for all of your patience, cooperation and efforts over these past several months.

So that we may continue to improve on our efficiency and timeliness, please take note of these important updates and reminders:

Reporting dates for May, June and July
Our goal is to process changes that are received by the first of each month so that they are reflected in our retirees' benefit payments for that month. As you may know, we must submit our benefit payment file to the State Treasurer's office by a certain cut-off date every month, and cannot process changes that are received either after, or only shortly before, that date for that month's benefit payments. To help ensure that your changes are reflected as desired, please submit them by:

  • May 1 for May payments (cut-off date is May 18)
  • June 1 for June payments (cut-off date is June 16)
  • July 1 for July payments (cut-off date is July 17)

Contact us if you have these two issues
If you either submitted an update before March 1 that has not yet been resolved, or you have any cases in which a retiree is owed more than $1,000, please contact Robert George, Director of Employer Services, at robert.george@trb.state.ma.us or 617-679-6869. Before doing so, however, please be sure to check your April 30 report to confirm that the issue has not been resolved.

Please DO:

  • Send all requests to insuranceupdates@trb.state.ma.us. Updates sent to individual MTRS staff member e-mail addresses will be returned.
  • Make sure that you are using our new forms and that your forms are complete, including plan codes. Plan codes are abbreviated names of each plan (PPO and HMO alone are insufficient). To receive a copy of the plan code list from 2013, please e-mail insuranceupdates@trb.state.ma.us with the subject "Requesting plan codes."

Please do NOT:

  • Stockpile your changes. Requests are processed on a first-come, first-served basis, so submit your updates as soon as possible, and refrain from holding changes in an effort to submit only one form with multiple updates.
  • Submit duplicate requests. If you have already submitted a change, please allow time for processing; do not submit a new form that includes your previously submitted changes along with your new ones.
  • Refund or bill retirees directly if you have already submitted the change to us. If we have received your request, we will process it retroactively, when needed, based on the effective date you provided.
  • Submit requests with custom calculations, such as retroactive bills, credits or refunds. Our new system will automatically calculate adjustments based on coverage dates.
  • Combine plan rates. If a retiree has one plan, and his or her spouse or dependent has another, please list each on a separate line, showing each plan code and rate. Deductions are set up by plan, not by total deduction amount.
  • Submit partial-month deductions. The MTRS requires deductions on a full-month basis. Employers who choose to pro-rate coverage within a month will need to make arrangements with retirees for any partial-coverage months.
  • Refer retirees to the MTRS to discuss insurance benefits and coverage. We will certainly answer calls related to delays in processing deduction changes, but we do not have the expertise to discuss the types of plans that you offer.

Again, thank you for following our new rate change submission procedures. If you have any questions, please feel free contact me at 617-679-6810, or Employer Services Director Robert George at 617-679-6869.


April 18, 2014

Subject: MTRS announces spring retirement seminars--Please spread the word!

Dear School District Superintendents, Charter School and Education Collaborative Directors, Business Managers, Payroll Officers, Personnel Administrators and Town Treasurers,

Please help us spread the word to your employees—our spring seminars are starting soon!

In May and June, we will be presenting Your MTRS Benefits, our two-hour retirement education program for all members who want to learn about the MTRS retirement plan and benefits. Program dates and locations are below; space is limited, and registration is available on a first-come, first-served basis. Online registration is required for this program and is available at http://mass.gov/mtrs .

Please help us publicize our programs by letting your employees know that they are being offered, and that this is a prime opportunity for them to get answers to their retirement benefit questions. IF AT ALL POSSIBLE, we would greatly appreciate your forwarding this message to your MTRS members via e-mail.

If you have any questions about our upcoming seminars or any other retirement issues, please be sure to contact us at mailto:empsup@trb.state.ma.us.

Thank you in advance for any assistance you can provide in letting our members know about the programs--and if you're interested in attending, we'd be happy to see you there!

Sincerely,
Joan Schloss

==========
Joan Schloss
Executive Director
Massachusetts Teachers' Retirement System
One Charles Park, Cambridge, MA 02142-1206
Phone: 617-679-MTRS (6877)
http://mass.gov/mtrs
==========

Your MTRS Benefits

Your MTRS Benefits is an optional, free, two-hour (4-6 p.m.) informal program for all members who want more information about MTRS retirement benefits--whether you are a recent member, mid-career educator or soon-to-be retiree. Topics include:

  • MTRS benefits and services,
  • estimating your retirement benefits under the regular and RetirementPlus formulas,
  • various issues you need to consider in retirement, including health insurance coverage, taxation of your retirement benefit, the rules on working after retirement, Social Security--and more!

Program locations and dates:
CAMBRIDGE, Monday, May 12; MTRS Main Office, Presentation Room
HANOVER, Thursday, May 15; Hanover Center Elementary School auditorium
NORTHAMPTON, Tuesday, May 20; Northampton High School auditorium
SOUTH YARMOUTH, Tuesday, May 20; Dennis-Yarmouth Regional High School auditorium
LEXINGTON, Wednesday, May 21; Lexington High School auditorium
AUBURN, Tuesday, May 27; Auburn High School auditorium
IPSWICH, Thursday, May 29; Ipswich High School auditorium
CAMBRIDGE, Tuesday, June 3; MTRS Main Office, Presentation Room
NORTON, Thursday, June 5; Norton Middle School auditorium

To attend, simply register online at http://mass.gov/mtrs !

==============


March 18, 2014

Subject: MTRS announces spring retirement seminars--Please spread the word!

Dear School District Superintendents, Charter School and Education Collaborative Directors, Business Managers, Payroll Officers, Personnel Administrators and Town Treasurers,

Please help us spread the word to your employees—our spring seminars are starting soon!

In May and June, we will be presenting Your MTRS Benefits, our two-hour retirement education program for all members who want to learn about the MTRS retirement plan and benefits. Program dates and locations are below; space is limited, and registration is available on a first-come, first-served basis. Online registration is required for this program and is available at http://mass.gov/mtrs .

Please help us publicize our programs by letting your employees know that they are being offered, and that this is a prime opportunity for them to get answers to their retirement benefit questions. IF AT ALL POSSIBLE, we would greatly appreciate your forwarding this message to your MTRS members via e-mail.

If you have any questions about our upcoming seminars or any other retirement issues, please be sure to contact us at mailto:empsup@trb.state.ma.us.

Thank you in advance for any assistance you can provide in letting our members know about the programs--and if you're interested in attending, we'd be happy to see you there!

Sincerely,
Joan Schloss

==========
Joan Schloss
Executive Director
Massachusetts Teachers' Retirement System
One Charles Park, Cambridge, MA 02142-1206
Phone: 617-679-MTRS (6877)
http://mass.gov/mtrs
==========

Your MTRS Benefits

Your MTRS Benefits is an optional, free, two-hour (4-6 p.m.) informal program for all members who want more information about MTRS retirement benefits--whether you are a recent member, mid-career educator or soon-to-be retiree. Topics include:

  • MTRS benefits and services,
  • estimating your retirement benefits under the regular and RetirementPlus formulas,
  • various issues you need to consider in retirement, including health insurance coverage, taxation of your retirement benefit, the rules on working after retirement, Social Security--and more!
  • Program locations and dates:
    CAMBRIDGE, Monday, May 12; MTRS Main Office, Presentation Room
    HANOVER, Thursday, May 15; Hanover Center Elementary School auditorium
    NORTHAMPTON, Tuesday, May 20; Northampton High School auditorium
    SOUTH YARMOUTH, Tuesday, May 20; Dennis-Yarmouth Regional High School auditorium
    LEXINGTON, Wednesday, May 21; Lexington High School auditorium
    AUBURN, Tuesday, May 27; Auburn High School auditorium
    IPSWICH, Thursday, May 29; Ipswich High School auditorium
    CAMBRIDGE, Tuesday, June 3; MTRS Main Office, Presentation Room
    NORTON, Thursday, June 5; Norton Middle School auditorium

    To attend, simply register online at http://mass.gov/mtrs !

    ==============

March 18, 2014

Subject: MTRS update: Payroll deduction reporting news and a reminder

Dear School District Superintendents, Charter School and Education Collaborative Directors, Business Managers, Town Treasurers, Personnel Administrators and Payroll Officers,

Please take note of these two timely updates:

1) 2013 deduction reports: The deadline for finalizing your calendar year 2013 deduction reports is March 31, 2014.

At this time, and thanks to your efforts, we are on schedule to finalize all districts’ calendar year 2013 deduction reports by March 31, 2014. Currently, 350 districts have completed their 2013 reports, and 95% of all the reports are complete. If your district:

  • is complete, THANK YOU—you are in compliance!
  • is not yet complete, please let us know if you need any assistance in meeting this deadline, as we are here to help. As a reminder, districts that fail to comply with the March 31st deadline will be referred to the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (ESE) and the Public Employee Retirement Administration Commission.

2) February 2014 reports and payments: As a reminder, submissions were due by Monday, March 10.

As you know, deduction payments are due by the 10th of each month for the previous month’s deductions and reports. If you have not already submitted your January or February 2014 employee retirement deductions and reports, please do so immediately. 

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact:

Thank you for your continued assistance to our members and us. 


March 6, 2014

Subject: MTRS update: New process for reporting retiree insurance changes

Dear School District Superintendents, Directors, Business Managers, Payroll Officials, Town Treasurers, Charter School and Education Collaborative Directors,

Note: If your district is one of the 47 districts currently participating in the GIC's Retired Municipal Teacher (RMT) program, this update does not apply to you.

As you may know, in transitioning our retiree insurance change process to MyTRS, we have encountered technical challenges that have resulted in 10- to 12-week processing delays.

To address this situation--which is a top priority for us--we are taking the following steps:

  • working with our vendor to fix the technical problems;
  • redirecting staff resources to complete change requests more efficiently; and,
  • as outlined below, implementing a new, standardized process for all districts to report individual and group insurance changes.

What this means for district insurance coordinators

As of Monday, March 10, all districts must submit changes as follows:

  • All changes must be submitted using our newly reformatted MTRS pdf forms (or Excel templates), available at Reporting retiree insurance changes.
  • All completed forms must be submitted via e-mail, to insuranceupdates@trb.state.ma.us. After Friday, March 14, 2014, faxes will no longer be accepted.
  • When we have processed your changes, we will notify you by e-mail.

Additional notes and instructions

1. Please DO provide only the MTRS retiree’s name (unless the member’s spouse is also a MTRS retiree or a surviving beneficiary with his or her own MyTRS account).

2. Please do NOT:

  • send duplicate, incomplete or faxed forms,
  • e-mail full Social Security numbers (provide the last four digits only),
  • include any calculations on the form (if a member requires a retroactive adjustment, provide the effective date only), or
  • e-mail your forms to individual MTRS representatives, as they will be returned.

3. If you provide a retroactive date but have already refunded or billed the retiree, please make a note in the Comments box on the form.

4. If your request requires a retroactive correction, we will assume that we must process an adjustment for the bill or refund associated with the change based on the effective date of the change, unless it is otherwise stated on the request.

5. Reminder: Insurance deductions are always deducted one month prior to the effective period. For example, premiums for April are deducted in March.

Thank you for your assistance with our new rate change submission procedure, and for your patience as we resolve the technical issues. If you have any questions, please feel free contact me at 617-679-6810, or Employer Services Director Robert George at 617-679-6869.

Sincerely,
Joan Schloss


February 7, 2014

Subject: MTRS update: Payroll deduction reporting news, tips and reminders

Dear School District Superintendents, Charter School and Education Collaborative Directors, Business Managers, Town Treasurers, Personnel Administrators and Payroll Officers,

Please take note of these three timely updates:

1) 2013 deduction reports: The deadline for finalizing your calendar year 2013 deduction reports is March 31, 2014. 

At this time, and thanks to your efforts, we are on schedule to finalize all districts’ calendar year 2013 deduction reports by March 31, 2014. Currently, 83% of last year’s reports have been finalized; we hope to be at 90% by the end of February. 

2) January 2014 reports and payments: As a reminder, submissions are due by Monday, February 10.

As you know, deduction payments are due by the 10th of each month for the previous month’s deductions and reports. If you have not already forwarded all your 2013 employee retirement deductions, please do so immediately. The deadline for the January 2014 reports and payments is Monday, February 10, 2014.

3) Member enrollment issues: About the “Member not enrolled” exception message and finding MTRS member numbers.

  • About the “Members not enrolled” exception message: In mid-December 2013, we reactivated a MyTRS deduction report validation to verify a member’s enrollment status. Now, if a member has not completed the enrollment process, your report displays the exception message “Member not enrolled.” 

Since this validation was restored, we know that many of you have seen a significant number of these exceptions. You are doing a remarkable job of directing these employees to our website to enroll online, which has been very helpful in quickly resolving these exceptions—thank you!

For your reference, this exception may appear—correctly—for:

  • Employees who are not newly hired. In some cases, an existing employee may have missed the enrollment process when he or she was first hired. Please assure active employees that we have accounts for them through the employer registration function, but that the member enrollment process is very important and necessary. If we do not have an enrollment form on file, we will not be able to pay a retirement benefit or process a refund for the employee. Additionally, employees need to enroll in order for us to collect demographic information for the purpose of conducting actuarial valuations of the system. 
  • Employees who believe that they have already enrolled. Prior to September 2013, some employees may have completed our earlier paper form, but then not mailed it to us. If employees believe that they have already enrolled, ask them please to enroll again—in MyTRS. (If they see the “Enroll in the MTRS” link on their homepage in MyTRS, they have not fully enrolled, as that link is visible only to members who need to enroll.) The process takes less than ten minutes to complete, ensures that we have their most up-to-date information, and provides them with online access to account information.
  • Finding MTRS member numbers: To enroll, employees must create their MyTRS accounts. Employees will need their Social Security number and MTRS member number. If you need to look up an MTRS member number for an employee or just for your own reference, you can find it in MyTRS by clicking on View/Update Employee Information.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact:

Thank you for your continued assistance to our members and us.


December 13, 2013

Subject: MTRS update: Payroll deduction reporting news, tips and reminders

Dear School District Superintendents, Charter School and Education Collaborative Directors, Business Managers, Town Treasurers, Personnel Administrators and Payroll Officers,
 
Please note these important updates regarding:

1)    the deadline for finalizing all calendar year 2013 deduction reports;
2)    the upgrades to MyTRS that were implemented in September 2013; and,
3)    tips and reminders for payroll deduction reporting.

1) The deadline for finalizing all calendar year 2013 deduction reports is March 31, 2014; if your district is currently severely delinquent in reporting, your superintendent will receive a notice from us soon.

Currently, 64% of the 2013 deduction reports for calendar year 2013 have been finalized. We have projected a 70% completion rate by the end of December, 80% by the end of January, 90% by the end of February and 100% by March 31. In the next few days, we will be sending individual notifications to superintendents of districts that are severely delinquent in their reporting. We will continue to communicate with delinquent districts on a monthly basis in order to meet the March 31 deadline. As I have noted before, this is a team effort so please don't hesitate to notify us if we can be of any assistance.

2) Certain MyTRS deduction reporting features were upgraded in September 2013; please review these brief descriptions to ensure that you are familiar with the changes and how they work.

  • NEW: Apply button in the Deduction Report Editor
    Located between the Save and Cancel buttons on the Deduction Report Editor, Apply allows you to save changes made to a deduction report while you are correcting your report without leaving edit mode. Apply rechecks all errors and exceptions, just like the Save button; however, unlike Save, once Apply has completed processing, you can continue to the next correction without having to hit Edit and wait for MyTRS to return to edit mode. When making your last change, set your Report Status Override to “yes” and simply hit Save and then submit your report as you have been.
  • NEW: Service correction code of PO-Payout
    The equivalent of the MT-Midyear Termination code, the PO-Payout code provides a more appropriate, intuitive label for mid-year payouts that are not related to the termination of an employee’s service, such as when a teacher is being paid their summer pay as he or she starts a leave of absence in the middle of a school year.
  • MODIFIED: Processing of your EFT payments now includes additional behind-the-scenes verifications, and it may take slightly longer for the status to change from Pending to Issued
    The EFT payment option has not changed in MyTRS, but you may notice that it takes longer for your EFT to change from pending status to issued status. MyTRS now verifies member payments for service purchases as part of the EFT submission process, and this has extended the EFT posting processing time.
  • RE-ENABLED: Two enrollment exception messages
    While working on your deduction reports, you may notice two familiar exception messages. Both were initially introduced in 2010, but disabled until September 2013, when the member enrollment process was incorporated into MyTRS.

Member not enrolled: MyTRS is again validating members’ enrollment status; if a member has not completed his or her online enrollment process, the exception message “Member not enrolled” will appear. To resolve the exception, instruct your employee to go to our website and  enroll using the member self-service module in MyTRS. This message is an exception so it will not prevent a deduction report from being submitted; however, it will appear every pay period until your employee enrolls as required. As a result of this validation being restored, you will probably see a number of these exceptions now, but please remember that they will quickly be resolved when your employees complete their online enrollment process.

Member’s rate and R+ status are on hold: If a member’s rate is awaiting determination (for example, because of a pending service transfer from another Massachusetts contributory retirement system or because the member is within their 180-day RetirementPlus election period), you will receive a new exception message saying “Member’s rate and R+ status are on hold.” In cases where MyTRS detected a possible rate discrepancy and the member’s rate is on hold, MyTRS will also display both messages so that you know that a rate change may be premature.

3) Tips and reminders for deduction reporting:

  • Reminder: Submit your payments and have your reports imported to MyTRS by the 10th of each month.
  • Tip: If you are still working on a reporting backlog, it is important to import your current report to avoid the risk of complications that may arise in the future by importing an outdated file later.
  • Reminder: Instruct new staff to enroll in the MTRS in a timely manner using the member self-service module of MyTRS.
  • Tip: You can now access the MTRS membership number and contribution rates for all registered employees by clicking on View/Update Employee Information in MyTRS. When setting up new employees, please check MyTRS first to verify their contribution rates.
  • Reminder: Keep your employees’ contract information up to date in your payroll software, especially for new employees, to ensure that the data you are reporting on a monthly basis is correct:
    • Full-time equivalent contract salary
    • Position code
    • Full-time percentage
    • Contract term
    • Pay Duration
    • Pay Frequency

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact:

Thank you for your continued assistance to our members and us—and best wishes for very happy holidays!


November 26, 2013

Subject line: MTRS reminder: Pensionable earnings limitations for members hired after 1/1/2011

Dear School District Superintendents, Charter School and Education Collaborative Directors, Business Managers, Town Treasurers, Personnel Administrators and Payroll Officers:
As a reminder, the federal Internal Revenue Code 401(a)(17) limits the amount of annual pensionable earnings ("regular compensation") that can be used in computing benefits for active members of public retirement systems.
 
With Chapter 131 of the Acts of 2010 ("Pension Reform II"), and for the purpose of imposing a pension "cap," the Commonwealth further limited the amount of pensionable earnings for Massachusetts public employees whose effective date of membership is after 1/1/2011, setting it at 64% of the annual federal amount, which is indexed on a yearly basis. For calendar year 2013, the limit for Massachusetts public employees is $163,200 (or 64% of the federal limit of $255,000).
 
At this time, please note:

  • Compliance: To ensure compliance, we are reviewing the regular compensation amounts reported by employers. For calendar year 2012, only one employee with a membership date after January 1, 2011 exceeded the limit. For 2013, if any members are found to have exceeded the limit for the calendar year, we will reach out to their employer to make arrangements to return the excess contributions to the member. We expect very few members, if any, to exceed the limits.
  • Affected earnings: This limit applies only to pensionable earnings, and is based on calendar year compensation, not school year compensation or school year contractual rate.
  • Resources:

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact your district's assigned Employer Services Representative, or Robert George, Director of Employer Services, at 617-679-6869 or robert.george@trb.state.ma.us.


November 22, 2013

Subject: MTRS update: Notice of PRIM Board election

Dear School District Superintendents, Business Managers, Payroll Officers, Personnel Administrators, Town Treasurers, Charter School and Education Collaborative Directors,

The Massachusetts Teachers' Retirement System (MTRS) has been asked by the Pension Reserves Investment Management (PRIM) Board to assist them in the statewide election for a representative of the Massachusetts Teachers’ Retirement System to the PRIM Board (http://www.mapension.com). As you may know, the PRIM Board is responsible for the investment management of the Pension Reserves Investment Trust (PRIT) Fund which includes the Massachusetts Teachers' Retirement System. 

Active and retired members of our system are eligible to become candidates for the PRIM Board. At this time, we respectfully request that you post the attached "Notice of PRIM Board Election" in a conspicuous location in your building. Please feel free to duplicate this notice to facilitate the notification of the MTRS members of your staff. Anyone who is interested in becoming a candidate should contact our Cambridge office to obtain the nomination papers required to qualify a member as a candidate.

If you have any questions about the PRIM Board or the upcoming election, please contact our Cambridge office at 617-679-6877.

Thank you in advance for your assistance!


September 25, 2013

Subject: MTRS update: October 2 deadline for Part 2 of §3 service purchase applications

Dear School District Superintendents, Charter School and Education Collaborative Directors, Business Managers, Town Treasurers, Personnel Administrators and Payroll Officers, 

As you know, due to the extraordinary influx of §3 service purchase applications as a result of the interest rate increase this past April, the MTRS allowed a six-month extension--to October 2, 2013--for individuals who filed only the member portion of their applications to submit the employer portion.

As October 2 approaches, many employer representatives are telling us that, despite their best efforts, they will not be able to complete all of the "Part 2" forms they have received by the deadline. In order to mitigate this situation, we will accept from you a list of the members whose §3 "Part 2" forms you are unable to complete by that deadline.

Accordingly, if, on or before October 2, you have any outstanding §3 service purchase "Part 2" applications from MTRS members who filed "Part 1" of their applications on or before April 2, 2013, and you are unable to complete and return "Part 2" to the members by October 2, please:

  1. Prepare a list of the members' names and last four digits of their SSNs.
  2. On or before October 3, 2013, e-mail your list to David Brusie, MTRS Communications Specialist, at david.brusie@trb.state.ma.us.
  3. Provide the completed "Part 2" forms directly to your members as soon as possible, so that they may file them with us to complete their applications.

Thank you in advance for your ongoing cooperation. If you have any questions, please contact Robert George, Director of Employer Services, at robert.george@trb.state.ma.us.


September 10, 2013

Subject: MTRS update: Member online enrollment tool now available

Dear School District Superintendents, Charter School and Education Collaborative Directors, Business Managers, Town Treasurers, Personnel Administrators and Payroll Officers,

As scheduled, the member self-service module in MyTRS is now available for your newly hired members to use to enroll in the MTRS.

Please note that the process is the same as before--employers must still register new hires in MyTRS and provide them with the printed MTRS Enrollment Assignment Sheet, and new hires must still enroll online--and only the tools have changed.

  • The MTRS Enrollment Assignment Sheet has been updated to include MTRS member number and additional fields related to deduction reporting. To create a self-service account in MyTRS, members will need their MTRS member numbers, so this identifier has been added to the assignment sheet; you can also find your employees' MTRS numbers using the View/Update Employee Information link. Also added were three fields that you may be familiar with from deduction reporting:
    • Contract term: The term (length of time expressed in months) associated with the contract covering the member whose deductions are being reported; the length of time the member is contracted to work. Contract terms of "01", "02" and "03" should only be used for an athletic coach who is a teacher in another school district. New: The MTRS now offers a contract term of 'HR' for MTRS eligible hourly employees who have fluctuating base earnings because they are not eligible for vacation or sick leave benefits.
    • Pay frequency: The annual pay date schedule expressed as a two-digit number. For a member who receives pay weekly over all 12 months in the year, the pay frequency would be reported as 52. Teachers who receive pay on a bi-weekly schedule, 12 months a year would have a pay frequency of 26. Pay frequency of "01", "02", "03" and "06" should only be used for a coach who teaches in another school district.
    • Pay duration: Duration of the pay schedule for the member being reported, expressed in months. The "LS" value is entered for members on a 12-month pay cycle who collect their summer pay as a lump sum in month 10. Pay durations of "01", "02" and "03" should only be used for a coach who teaches in another school district.
  • The one-day delay between employer registration and member enrollment has been eliminated. Enrollment has been incorporated into MyTRS, allowing members to enroll online on the same day that you register them.
  • There is no form to return to employers. To verify that your employees have enrolled and confirm their contribution rates, check MyTRS; under Your Employees, click View/Update Employee Information and then, under the Demographics tab, search for the employee.
  • Enrolling members will first need to create a self-service account in MyTRS, then sign into MyTRS to access the enrollment tool. The just-updated MTRS Enrollment Assignment Sheet directs members to our website, where they will find additional instructions on what to do and how to access MyTRS.

Also, at this time, the self-service module of MyTRS is only being made available for use by our new enrollees. In the coming months and on a gradual basis, we will be making it available to our active and retired members, and we will be sure to keep you informed along the way.

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact your assigned Employer Services representative or the Employer Services Unit at empsup@trb.state.ma.us or 617-679-6895.


September 3, 2013

Subject: MTRS update: MyTRS upgrade complete, now online

Dear School District Superintendents, Charter School and Education Collaborative Directors, Business Managers, Town Treasurers, Personnel Administrators and Payroll Officers,

As scheduled, the upgraded version of MyTRS is now online and available for your use.

Please note:

  • The address of the MyTRS log in page has not changed: If you previously bookmarked that page, your bookmark will work.
  • As we have mentioned, the changes were few and minor: The home page was slightly reorganized; some links were renamed for clarity; and, for use in the near future, links to several new functions were added. In the coming weeks, we will be providing you with instructions on how and when to access the new functions, so please do not use them at this time. For details on the changes to the home page, please see the Employer page on our website.
  • The member online enrollment process will be available on Monday, September 9: To streamline the enrollment process—and eliminate the one-day delay between employer registration and member enrollment—members will be able to enroll online directly in MyTRS beginning Monday, September 9. In preparation for this transition, we have removed the downloadable enrollment form from our website, and posted a notice to advise new enrollees to come back to the "Enroll in the MTRS" process on or after September 9.

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact your assigned Employer Services representative or the Employer Services Unit at empsup@trb.state.ma.us or 617-679-6895.

Thank you for your cooperation as we implemented this upgrade—we greatly appreciate your patience!


August 22, 2013

Subject: MTRS reminder: Member deadline to submit Part 2 of §3 purchase applications is October 2, 2013

Dear School District Superintendents, Charter School and Education Collaborative Directors, Business Managers, Town Treasurers, Personnel Administrators and Payroll Officers,

As explained in our broadcast e-mail of March 13, to help ease the administrative burden on you, and to assist members in qualifying for the lower, "buyback" interest rate by the April 2 deadline, our Board allowed individuals who filed only the member portion of their applications until October 2, 2013 to submit the employer portion of their applications.

We are writing at this time to remind you of this deadline, and also to let you know that we recently reminded the affected members of this deadline. On August 15, we mailed personalized "FINAL REMINDER" letters to members whose 6,200 "Section 3" service purchase applications were incomplete to advise them that they must submit the missing documentation and information so that it is either received by us, or postmarked, on or before October 2.

If you have any questions, please contact our Employer Services unit at 617-679-6895 or mailto:empsup@trb.state.ma.us. Thank you in advance for your continued assistance to our members and us!
 
Sincerely,
Joan Schloss
 
P.S. to our colleagues in western Massachusetts: As you know, beginning today and for the next few weeks, we will be converting to our new, agency-wide computer system. So that our western regional staff may attend training in Cambridge, our Springfield office will be closed on Monday, August 26 and Tuesday, August 27, and coverage there will be limited for the remainder of the week. Accordingly, if your employees need assistance from us during the week of August 26, please advise them to visit our website or call our Cambridge office. Thank you!


August 21, 2013

Subject: MTRS update: August newsletter for members now online; please help spread the word

Dear School District Superintendents, Charter School and Education Collaborative Directors, Business Managers, Town Treasurers, Personnel Administrators and Payroll Officers,

Our August 2013 Advisor for active and inactive members is now available at mass.gov/mtrs.

Please note that, in order to save printing and postage costs, this issue will be available online only, and will not be mailed to our more than 107,000 active and inactive members. We will soon be notifying our members for whom we have e-mail addresses that the Advisor is now available online, but please help us spread the word by forwarding this e-mail to your employees who are MTRS members. We would greatly appreciate any assistance you can provide!

Articles include:

  • "Pension Reform III" interest rate increase prompts record-setting influx of service purchase applications: Filings for the first seven months of 2013 increased 407% over the same period last year; please be patient as we process this unprecedented caseload.
  • A to-do checklist for active members, from enrollment to retirement: Know when to contact us, and what you should do to prepare for retirement throughout your career.
  • Survivor benefits: Q&A on the two types.
  • Pension costs nationwide: Contrary to popular belief, not a significant drain on state coffers.
  • Our System: A profile of our membership and an update on our funding status.
  • Post-retirement employment restrictions: Before returning to work with a Massachusetts public employer, know the rules.

As always, if you or your MTRS employees have any questions about retirement benefits or our services, please don't hesitate to contact us.


August 19, 2013

Subject: MTRS update: MyTRS upgrade going live on T 9/3; MyTRS will be unavailable Th 8/22–M 9/2

Dear School District Superintendents, Charter School and Education Collaborative Directors, Business Managers, Town Treasurers, Personnel Administrators and Payroll Officers,

As I outlined in my e-mail to you of July 25, we will be upgrading MyTRS for employers, effective Tuesday, September 3. This upgrade introduces only minor modifications to MyTRS for employers.
 
In preparation for the upgrade:  

  1. Our Employer Services staff will be in training all day Monday, August 19 and Tuesday, August 20. We will return your calls and e-mails as soon as possible after Tuesday.
  2. MyTRS will not be available from Thursday, August 22 through Monday, September 2. During this conversion period:
    • Employers will not be able to access MyTRS. You will not be able to register employees; check member rates; submit online payments; or, import, correct, adjust or release deduction reports.
    • New members will not be able to enroll online. However, on an interim basis and to avoid enrollment delays, we will provide the pdf version of our enrollment form online as an option for newly hired employees; you can either direct your new employees to use the interim pdf form, or advise them to wait until the new online enrollment functionality in MyTRS is available.
    • MTRS Employer Services Representatives will have limited access to our records, but can and will gladly provide you with existing members’ contribution rates if needed.

We appreciate your patience as we deploy these minor upgrades. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact your district’s Employer Services Representative, or Robert George, our Director of Employer Services, at robert.george@trb.state.ma.us or 617-679-6869.


July 25, 2013

Subject: MTRS update: MyTRS upgrade coming; now planned for early September, modifications minor

Dear School District Superintendents, Charter School and Education Collaborative Directors, Business Managers, Town Treasurers, Personnel Administrators and Payroll Officers,

In preparation for the gradual introduction of online account access for your employees and our members, we will soon be upgrading MyTRS for employers.

This upgrade introduces only minor modifications to MyTRS for employers, many of which were made in response to your feedback. Please be assured that this is not the major implementation that you experienced in 2010, but, rather, an incremental upgrade to the existing system.
 
What's new?

  • The home page has been slightly reorganized: A few of the links have been renamed for clarity and moved from under one heading to another.
  • The one-day delay for member enrollment has been eliminated: Members will be able to enroll online directly in MyTRS on the same day that you register them.
  • "Service and salary verification" forms may be submitted online: You will be able to submit, store and update certain forms online, including Part 2 of the refund and retirement applications.
  • Compatibility mode in Internet Explorer is no longer necessary: If you are using Internet Explorer, you may need to deselect compatibility mode.

What stays the same?

  • How you access and sign in to MyTRS
  • Monthly deduction reporting
  • Member enrollment registration
  • All other processes and functionality

What is the current timeline?

  • Conversion period during which MyTRS will not be available: Thursday, August 22 through Monday, September 2
  • Projected upgrade implementation (subject to change): Tuesday, September 3
  • On or before Wednesday, August 21, we will confirm the projected upgrade date via e-mail and a notice on the MyTRS home page. 

What does the conversion period--when MyTRS will be unavailable--mean for deduction reporting and registering new members?  

  • Unavailable means unavailable. During the conversion period, employers will not be able to access MyTRS. You will not be able to register employees; check member rates; submit online payments; or, import, correct, adjust or release deduction reports.
  • New members will not be able to enroll online. However, on an interim basis and to avoid enrollment delays, we will provide the pdf version of our enrollment form online as an option for newly hired employees; you can either direct your new employees to use the interim pdf form, or advise them to wait until the new online enrollment functionality in MyTRS is available.
  • MTRS Employer Services Representatives will have limited access to our records during the conversion period, but will gladly provide you with existing members' contribution rates if needed.
  • Please plan in advance to complete as much of your processing as possible before the conversion period.

What else should I know?

  • You do not need to do anything now.
  • There will not be any training sessions regarding this upgrade, as the modifications really are minor. However, we are working to again present employer seminars on a regular basis, and will be sure to send you announcements of upcoming programs.

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact your district's Employer Services Representative, or Robert George, our Director of Employer Services, at robert.george@trb.state.ma.us or 617-679-6869.


May 28, 2013

Subject: MTRS update: Members' 2012 annual statements to be mailed this week

Dear School District Superintendents, Business Managers, Payroll Officers, Personnel Administrators, Town Treasurers, Charter School and Education Collaborative Directors,

First, a big thanks--to you and your staff members--for completing your 2012 payroll deduction reports by our requested deadline of March 31. Because of your significant efforts, our more than 107,000 members' 2012 statements will be mailed this week, and we are now back on track for sending MTRS account statements on an annual basis. We are very happy to have reached this point, and again, truly appreciate your persistence, patience and cooperation in implementing our online deduction reporting system.

Second, we don't expect that you will receive many questions about this mailing, but for information, please see our FAQs on members' 2012 annual statements

Questions? Please contact our Employer Services unit at 617-679-6895 or mailto:empsup@trb.state.ma.us.


May 13, 2013

Subject: MTRS retirement seminar update: Final programs just added!

Dear School District Superintendents, Business Managers, Payroll Officers, Personnel Administrators, Town Treasurers, Charter School and Education Collaborative Directors,

As we've announced to you in two earlier e-mails, we are now presenting "Your MTRS Benefits," our general retirement seminar, across the state. We have just added three new dates, and with these additions, our spring program schedule is now complete:

  • South Yarmouth: Thursday, May 30, Dennis Yarmouth Regional High School auditorium, 210 Station Avenue
  • Cambridge: Tuesday, June 4, MTRS Cambridge office, 1st floor Presentation Room, One Charles Park
  • Cambridge: Thursday, June 6, MTRS Cambridge office, 1st floor Presentation Room, One Charles Park  

Program details and remaining dates are below; online registration is required and is available at http://mass.gov/mtrs.
 
Once again, if you can help us publicize these programs by letting your employees who are MTRS members know about them, we would greatly appreciate your help. Thank you in advance for your continued assistance to us and our members!
 
Sincerely,
Joan Schloss
 
==========
Joan Schloss
Executive Director
Massachusetts Teachers' Retirement System
One Charles Park, Cambridge, MA 02142-1206
Phone: 617-679-MTRS (6877)
http://mass.gov/mtrs
==========
 
Your MTRS Benefits
For members with effective membership dates prior to April 2, 2012
 
Your MTRS Benefits is an optional, free, two-hour (4-6 p.m.) informal program for members who want more information about MTRS retirement benefits--whether you are a two-year member, mid-career educator or soon-to-be retiree. Topics include:

  • MTRS benefits and services,
  • estimating your retirement benefits under the regular and RetirementPlus formulas,
  • various issues you need to consider in retirement, including health insurance coverage, taxation of your retirement benefit, the rules on working after retirement, Social Security--and more!

Program schedule
WOBURN
, Tuesday, May 14; Woburn High School auditorium
WEST SPRINGFIELD, Thursday, May 16; West Springfield High School auditorium
WEYMOUTH, Tuesday, May 21; Weymouth High School auditorium
WORCESTER, Tuesday, May 21; Worcester Technical High School auditorium
NORTON, Wednesday, May 22; Norton Middle School auditorium
JUST ADDED: SOUTH YARMOUTH, Thursday, May 30; Dennis Yarmouth Regional High School auditorium
JUST ADDED: CAMBRIDGE, Tuesday, June 4; MTRS Cambridge office, 1st floor Presentation Room
JUST ADDED: CAMBRIDGE, Thursday, June 6; MTRS Cambridge office, 1st floor Presentation Room
 
To attend, simply register online at http://mass.gov/mtrs.


May 7, 2013

Subject: MTRS retirement seminar reminder and updates; Worcester program just added!

Dear School District Superintendents, Business Managers, Payroll Officers, Personnel Administrators, Town Treasurers, Charter School and Education Collaborative Directors,

As we announced to you in an e-mail of April 26, we will soon be presenting "Your MTRS Benefits," our two-hour retirement education program for all members who want to learn about the MTRS retirement plan and benefits. You and your staff are also invited to attend!
 
Please note these updates:

  • Just added: Worcester, Tuesday, May 21, Worcester Technical High School auditorium, 1 Skyline Drive
  • Date changed: West Springfield presentation changed from Thursday, May 9 to Thursday, May 16; same location, West Springfield High School auditorium, 425 Piper Road
  • Coming soon: Presentations in Cambridge and on the Cape, to be announced on our website and via e-mail  

The updated program schedule is below; online registration is required and is available at http://mass.gov/mtrs.
 
Please help us publicize "Your MTRS Benefits" by letting your employees know that it is being offered in the coming weeks (starting this Thursday in Ipswich), and that this is a prime opportunity for them to get answers to their retirement benefit questions. IF AT ALL POSSIBLE, we would greatly appreciate your forwarding this message to your MTRS members via e-mail.
 
Questions? Contact us at mailto:empsup@trb.state.ma.us or 617-679-6895. Thank you in advance for any assistance you can provide in letting our members know about the programs!
 
Sincerely,
Joan Schloss
 
==========
Joan Schloss
Executive Director
Massachusetts Teachers' Retirement System
One Charles Park, Cambridge, MA 02142-1206
Phone: 617-679-MTRS (6877)
http://mass.gov/mtrs
==========
 
Your MTRS Benefits
For members with effective membership dates prior to April 2, 2012
 
Your MTRS Benefits is an optional, free, two-hour (4-6 p.m.) informal program for members who want more information about MTRS retirement benefits--whether you are a two-year member, mid-career educator or soon-to-be retiree. Topics include:

  • MTRS benefits and services,
  • estimating your retirement benefits under the regular and RetirementPlus formulas,
  • various issues you need to consider in retirement, including health insurance coverage, taxation of your retirement benefit, the rules on working after retirement, Social Security--and more!

Program schedule
IPSWICH
, Thursday, May 9; Ipswich High School auditorium
WOBURN, Tuesday, May 14; Woburn High School auditorium
NOTE DATE CHANGE: WEST SPRINGFIELD, Thursday, May 16; West Springfield High School auditorium
WEYMOUTH, Tuesday, May 21; Weymouth High School auditorium
JUST ADDED: WORCESTER, Tuesday, May 21; Worcester Technical High School auditorium
NORTON, Wednesday, May 22; Norton Middle School auditorium
 
With programs in Cambridge and on the Cape to be announced via e-mail and on our website!
 
To attend, simply register online at http://mass.gov/mtrs.


April 26, 2013

Subject: MTRS announces spring retirement seminars--Please spread the word!

Dear School District Superintendents, Business Managers, Payroll Officers, Personnel Administrators, Town Treasurers, Charter School and Education Collaborative Directors,
 
Please help us spread the word to your employees—our spring seminars are starting soon! 
 
This year, we are presenting only "Your MTRS Benefits," our two-hour retirement education program for all members who want to learn about the MTRS retirement plan and benefits. The current program schedule is below, and additional dates and locations will be announced via e-mail and on our website soon; online registration is required and is available at http://mass.gov/mtrs.
 
Unfortunately, we will not be offering "The Next Chapter," our all-day retirement planning program, due to the demands of implementing Pension Reform III. However, we do expect to present it again next spring. 
 
Please help us publicize "Your MTRS Benefits" by letting your employees know that it is being offered in the coming weeks, and that this is a prime opportunity for them to get answers to their retirement benefit questions. IF AT ALL POSSIBLE, we would greatly appreciate your forwarding this message to your MTRS members via e-mail.
 
If you have any questions about our upcoming seminars or any other retirement issues, please be sure to contact us at mailto:empsup@trb.state.ma.us. And thank you in advance for any assistance you can provide in letting our members know about the programs.

Sincerely,
Joan Schloss
 
==========
Joan Schloss
Executive Director
Massachusetts Teachers' Retirement System
One Charles Park, Cambridge, MA 02142-1206
Phone: 617-679-MTRS (6877)
http://mass.gov/mtrs
==========
 
Your MTRS Benefits
For members with effective membership dates prior to April 2, 2012
 
Your MTRS Benefits is an optional, free, two-hour (4-6 p.m.) informal program for members who want more information about MTRS retirement benefits--whether you are a two-year member, mid-career educator or soon-to-be retiree. Topics include:
 
• MTRS benefits and services,
• estimating your retirement benefits under the regular and RetirementPlus formulas,
• various issues you need to consider in retirement, including health insurance coverage, taxation of your retirement benefit, the rules on working after retirement, Social Security--and more!
 
Program schedule
IPSWICH, Thursday, May 9; Ipswich High School auditorium
WEST SPRINGFIELD, Thursday, May 9; West Springfield High School auditorium
WOBURN, Tuesday, May 14; Woburn High School auditorium
WEYMOUTH, Tuesday, May 21; Weymouth High School auditorium
NORTON, Wednesday, May 22; Norton Middle School auditorium
With additional dates and locations to be announced via e-mail and on our website!
 
To attend, simply register online at http://mass.gov/mtrs.


March 13, 2013

Subject: MTRS reminder: April 2 is the deadline for purchasing §3 service at lower interest rate

Dear School District Superintendents, Directors, Business Managers, Payroll Officials, Town Treasurers, Charter School and Education Collaborative Directors,
As a final reminder, and also clarification of our e-mail of February 15, the application filing deadlines for §3 creditable service purchases at the current, lower "buyback" interest rate of 4.125% are as follows:

  • For members to file at least Part 1, the "member portion" of their application: TUESDAY, APRIL 2, 2013.
  • For members to file Part 2, the "employer portion" of the application: Wednesday, October 2, 2013.

As described in our e-mail of February 15, the only change in the application process was to allow members to submit the "employer portion" separately from the "member portion" and at a later time.

Available now on our website are updated versions of our §3 service purchase applications that reference the filing deadlines and have clearly separated member and employer sections. If a member has already asked you to complete an "old" version of the "employer portion" of one of our applications, please feel free to use either the "old" form that the member provided or the new version of Part 2. For your reference, the updated interactive version of Part 2 of our substitute, temporary or part-time service purchase application is also available.
 
Finally, to remind members of the April 2 deadline, we will also be sending a "last call" broadcast e-mail to our members for whom we have e-mail addresses very soon. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact your Employer Services representative at 617-679-6895 or mailto:empsup@trb.state.ma.us.


February 15, 2013

Subject: MTRS §3 service purchases at buyback interest: Member app portion due 4/2/2013; employer app portion due 10/2/2013

Dear School District Superintendents, Directors, Business Managers, Payroll Officials, Town Treasurers, Charter School and Education Collaborative Directors,

As you know, pursuant to pension reform legislation enacted in November 2011, the interest rate charged on certain service purchases will double from "buyback" interest (currently, 4.125%) to "actuarial" interest (currently, 8.25%) as of April 2, 2013—which is rapidly approaching.

Many of you have reported being inundated with urgent requests to document members' prior employment histories on our service purchase application forms. To help ease the administrative burden on you, and also accommodate any members who still wish to qualify for the current, lower "buyback" interest rate, our Board recently extended the time for members to submit the employer portion of their §3 service purchase application to October 2, 2013. Accordingly:

If members are unable to submit their fully completed §3 service purchase applications by April 2, 2013, they may still preserve their right to an initial invoice at the current, lower, "buyback" interest rate by submitting at least the completed "member portion" of their service purchase applications (generally, Part 1) to us so that it is postmarked on or before April 2, 2013, and then submitting the completed "employer portion" (generally, Part 2) no later than October 2, 2013.

When members receive their initial invoice—which may take up to 12 months—they will then have until 60 days from the date of that invoice either to pay for their purchase in full or to submit both their signed installment plan agreement and their first installment payment together. If they do not act by 60 days from the date of their invoice, or default on their installment agreement, and they later wish to purchase this service, they will be subject to the interest rate in effect at that time, which—after April 2, 2013—will be actuarial interest. (As a reminder, all purchases of service credit still must be completed prior to a member’s date of retirement.)

We will soon send a broadcast e-mail to our members for whom we have e-mail addresses to remind them of the interest rate increase and outline the new filing policy.

If you have any questions, please contact your Employer Services representative. As always, thank you for all that you do for us and our members throughout the year. We truly appreciate your efforts.


December 18, 2012

Subject: MTRS Update December 2012

Dear School District Superintendents, Directors, Business Managers, Payroll Officials, Town Treasurers, Charter School and Education Collaborative Directors,
I am pleased to report that later this week we are mailing a consolidated 2010-2011 member annual statement. The statement will include your employees’ 2010 annuity savings balance along with their 2011 contributions and interest. We appreciate your continued efforts and assistance in closing the books on the calendar year 2010 and 2011 deduction reports. 
 
I am also pleased to report that with the significant progress districts are making with their 2012 reports, we anticipate mailing our 2012 member statements by June of 2013. This will place us on our normal schedule for mailing annual statements. In order to mail statements in June, districts must have all of their 2012 deduction reports finalized by March 31, 2013
 
Currently, 63% of the 2012 deduction reports due as of December 1, 2012 have been finalized. We have projected a 72% completion rate by December 31st, 82% by January 31st, 91% by February 28th and 100% by March 31st. In the next few days we will be mailing individual letters to Superintendents of districts that are severely delinquent in their reporting. We will continue to communicate with delinquent districts on a monthly basis in order to meet the March 31st deadline. As I have noted before, this is a team effort so please don’t hesitate to notify us if we can be of any assistance. 
 
Below are a few helpful hints or recommended steps that may assist you in the deduction reporting process:

  • Make sure to submit your payments and have your reports imported to MyTRS by the 10th of each month. If you are still working on a reporting backlog, it is important to import your current report to avoid the risk of complications that may arise in the future by importing an outdated file later.
  • Make sure new staff enroll in the MTRS in a timely manner using our online enrollment tool. Please do not use the paper form that we temporarily made available when our online form was unavailable. Reminder: There is a one day delay between when an employee is registered in MyTRS and when that employee can enroll using our online enrollment form.
  • Verify contribution rates for all new employees with prior service, once they have been registered in MyTRS, by clicking on View/Update Member Information in MyTRS.
  • Make sure the following fields are updated in your payroll software, especially for new employees, to ensure the contract information you are reporting on a monthly basis is correct:
    • Full-time equivalent contract salary
    • Position code
    • Full-time percentage
    • Contract term
    • Pay Duration
    • Pay Frequency

We have recently become aware of a couple of membership eligibility issues that we believe may apply to multiple employers. If one of the situations below applies to your district and you need assistance correcting the problem, please contact us so we can work together to resolve the issue as soon as possible.

  • ROTC instructors: If your district has an ROTC program and the instructors are NOT required to be ESE certified as a condition of their employment, those instructors are NOT eligible for MTRS membership.
  • Occupational and Physical Therapists: If your district employs occupational and physical therapists who are required to have and maintain a certification from the Board of Allied Health Professionals as a condition of employment and meet our contract and full-time requirements, those therapists are eligible for MTRS membership. 
  • Athletic Directors: Many districts pay a full-time employee who is eligible for MTRS membership because of their primary role in the district, generally a teacher, to serve as a part-time athletic director. Some districts have decided to hire a full-time athletic director. If your district has a full-time athletic director and your athletic director is NOT required to be ESE certified as a condition of his or her employment, your athletic director is NOT eligible for MTRS membership. Compensation for part-time athletic directors who are otherwise MTRS eligible is subject to the regular compensation requirements listed on our website. To review these requirements, please see our website on regular compensation here: http://www.mass.gov/mtrs/employers/training-and-reference/regular-compensation-pensionable-earnings/ .

Finally, as most employers know, a retired member of the MTRS is limited in how much he or she may earn through Massachusetts public employment in a calendar year. Essentially, that section limits post-retirement earnings in a calendar year to the difference between the member’s retirement allowance and the salary that is being paid for the position from which he or she retired, plus $15,000. (That section also limits the number of hours that can be worked in a year at 960 hours annually.)

Some retirees have concluded, erroneously, that they can defer money earned in one year to another year and stay within the limit. Under this theory, a retiree can work as much as he or she desires in any given year so long as the earnings in excess of that year’s limit are paid in another year. Employers should be aware that this practice violates the plain language of the statute, and the MTRS will attribute any deferred salary earned to the year in which it is earned, regardless of when it is paid. 
 
If you have any questions regarding your district’s compliance, please do not hesitate to contact: Robert George, Director of Employer Services, at 617-679-6869; Sean Neilon, Assistant Executive Director, at 617-679-6889; or me, at 617-679-6810.


November 29, 2012

Subject: Reminder: MTRS "Ready for Retirement" seminars scheduled!

Dear School District Superintendents, Business Managers, Payroll Officers, Personnel Administrators, Town Treasurers, Charter School and Education Collaborative Directors,

Please note that MyTRS will be unavailable on Thursday, November 29, between 6:00 p.m. and 11:30 p.m., so that we may perform scheduled maintenance.


November 26, 2012

Subject: Reminder: MTRS "Ready for Retirement" seminars scheduled!

Dear School District Superintendents, Business Managers, Payroll Officers, Personnel Administrators, Town Treasurers, Charter School and Education Collaborative Directors,



As we announced to you in an e-mail of November 9, we will soon be presenting our popular “Ready for Retirement” program for members who are retiring within the next year. At this time, we want to ask that you please help us spread the word to your employees.



As possible, please remind your soon-to-be-retiring employees that we’re offering this program—and that this is a prime opportunity for them to get answers to their questions about retirement benefits. PLEASE DISTRIBUTE this information to any MTRS member retiring this year.



Thank you for your continued assistance to our members and us—we truly appreciate your efforts!



With best wishes,

Joan Schloss



==========

Joan Schloss

Executive Director

Massachusetts Teachers’ Retirement System

One Charles Park, Cambridge, MA 02142-1206

Main phone: 617-679-MTRS (6877)

Fax: 617-679-1661

http://mass.gov/mtrs

==========

READY FOR RETIREMENT

For members retiring in 2013



The MTRS staff will be presenting our popular seminar, “Ready for Retirement,” across the Commonwealth in November and December. “Ready for Retirement” is a free, optional, two-hour program (4-6 p.m.) designed for members retiring  in 2013. We’re reaching out to soon-to-be retirees before the retirement season starts so that when you begin the application process, you will know just what you need to do and when.



Topics include:

* the retirement application process and the benefit calculation formula,

* timelines and service expectations,

* first payment information,

* health insurance, tax and working after retirement issues,

* cost-of-living adjustments after you retire, and

* recent changes to Massachusetts pension law and what they mean for you.



Please note: Personalized account information and pension estimates are not offered during these sessions.



To attend, simply choose the date and location that is best for you, and then register online. Our simple online registration form is located at http://www.mass.gov/mtrs/register/r4r.html. We hope to see you soon! 
 
HYANNIS, Thursday, November 29, Barnstable High School Knight auditorium 

WEST SPRINGFIELD, Thursday, November 29, West Springfield High School auditorium
WOBURN, Tuesday, December 4, Woburn High School auditorium
AUBURN, Wednesday, December 5, Auburn High School auditorium 

IPSWICH, Thursday, December 6, Ipswich High School auditorium
CAMBRIDGE, Monday, December 10, MTRS Cambridge office (PROGRAM FULL)
WEYMOUTH, Thursday, December 13, Weymouth High School auditorium
CAMBRIDGE, Monday, December 17, MTRS Cambridge office
FOXBOROUGH, Tuesday, December 18, Foxborough High School auditorium

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November 9, 2012

Subject: MTRS announces programs for members retiring within the next year!

Dear School District Superintendents, Business Managers, Payroll Officers, Personnel Administrators, Town Treasurers, Charter School and Education Collaborative Directors,

Please help us spread the word to your employees who are planning to retire within the next year—we’ve scheduled our “Ready for Retirement” seminars!

The MTRS staff will again be presenting this popular program across the Commonwealth in November and December. Space is limited, and registration is available on a first-come, first-served basis. Online preregistration is required for this program, and our simple online registration form is accessible via a link from our homepage at http://mass.gov/mtrs .

We are asking for your help to publicize these seminars. Please remind your soon-to-be-retiring employees that we’re offering this program—and that this is a prime opportunity for them to get answers to their questions about retirement benefits. We have attached a one-page flyer in pdf format, and respectfully ask that you print and post it, or distribute it to your employees who are members of the MTRS. MOST IMPORTANTLY, PLEASE DISTRIBUTE this information to any MTRS member retiring this year.

Thank you for your continued assistance to our members and us—we truly appreciate your efforts!

With best wishes,

Joan Schloss

==========

Joan Schloss

Executive Director

Massachusetts Teachers’ Retirement System

One Charles Park, Cambridge, MA 02142-1206

Main phone: 617-679-MTRS (6877)

Fax: 617-679-1661

http://mass.gov/mtrs

==========

READY FOR RETIREMENT

For members retiring in 2013

The MTRS staff will be presenting our popular seminar, “Ready for Retirement,” across the Commonwealth in November and December. “Ready for Retirement” is a free, optional, two-hour program (4-6 p.m.) designed for members retiring in 2013. We’re reaching out to soon-to-be retirees before the retirement season starts so that when you begin the application process, you will know just what you need to do and when.

Topics include:


  • the retirement application process and the benefit calculation formula,

  • timelines and service expectations,

  • first payment information,

  • health insurance, tax and working after retirement issues,

  • cost-of-living adjustments after you retire, and

  • recent changes to Massachusetts pension law and what they mean for you.

Please note: Personalized account information and pension estimates are not offered during these sessions.

To attend, simply choose the date and location that is best for you, and then register online. Our simple online registration form is located at http://www.mass.gov/mtrs/register/r4r.html. We hope to see you soon!

LEE, Tuesday, November 20, Lee Middle and High School auditorium

HYANNIS, Thursday, November 29, Barnstable High School Knight auditorium 

WEST SPRINGFIELD, Thursday, November 29, West Springfield High School auditorium
WOBURN, Tuesday, December 4, Woburn High School auditorium
AUBURN, Wednesday, December 5, Auburn High School auditorium 

IPSWICH, Thursday, December 6, Ipswich High School auditorium
CAMBRIDGE, Monday, December 10, MTRS Cambridge office
WEYMOUTH, Thursday, December 13, Weymouth High School auditorium
CAMBRIDGE, Monday, December 17, MTRS Cambridge office
FOXBOROUGH, Tuesday, December 18, Foxborough High School auditorium


November 8, 2012

Subject: MTRS notice: MyTRS to be unavailable Th 11/08, 5-8 pm

Dear School District Superintendents, Business Managers, Payroll Officers, Personnel Administrators, Town Treasurers, Charter School and Education Collaborative Directors,

Please note that MyTRS will be unavailable on Thursday, November 8, between 5:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m., so that we may perform emergency maintenance.


October 31, 2012

Subject: MTRS update: Redesigned MTRS website to launch Friday, November 2

Dear School District Superintendents, Directors, Business Managers, Payroll Officials, Town Treasurers, Charter School and Education Collaborative Directors,

We are pleased to announce that we will launch our newly redesigned website on Friday, November 2. We'll still be at mass.gov/mtrs, but with a new look and these features:

  • Fresh, clean "Mass.Gov" design: With this redesign, we have joined other state agencies in support of the Commonwealth's efforts to present "one face of government." The new look is simple, modern and streamlined.
  • Clearly labeled areas for active and inactive members, benefit recipients, and employers: Prominent, top-level buttons allow for easy navigation to each of these areas from any page on the site.
  • Quick access to "MyTRS Employer sign in" and "Related resources": In the right column on all Employer pages, you'll find the link to the MyTRS Employer sign in page, as well as links to various forms, external sites, directories and other internal web pages related to the topic at hand.
  • Archive of recent broadcast e-mails sent to active and retired members: Reference our past e-mail announcements and updates to active and retired members.
  • Updated content reflecting the provisions of "Pension Reform III" for all members: Last year's pension reform legislation affected active and retired MTRS members, and significantly changed the benefit structure for new members who join the MTRS on or after April 2, 2012. Our redesigned site contains updated content that reflects these changes, including the provisions for new members.

PLEASE NOTE: The links to our homepage and Employer MyTRS sign in page REMAIN THE SAME; however, all other links have changed. Accordingly, if you have marked any of our other pages as "favorites" or "bookmarks," or linked to any of our pages from your website, please be sure to update your links.

If you have any feedback on our new look, please send your comments to mailto:webmaster@trb.state.ma.us. We welcome your thoughts and suggestions for improving our website and services to you and our members!


October 24, 2012

Subject: MTRS notice: MyTRS to be unavailable Th 10/25, 6-11 pm

Dear School District Superintendents, Business Managers, Payroll Officers, Personnel Administrators, Town Treasurers, Charter School and Education Collaborative Directors,

Please note that MyTRS will be unavailable on Thursday, October 25, between 6:00 p.m. and 11:00 p.m., so that we may perform scheduled maintenance.

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July 31, 2012

Subject: MTRS reminder: 2011 deduction reporting deadline is August 31, 2012

Dear School District Superintendents, Directors, Business Managers, Payroll Officials, Town Treasurers, Charter School and Education Collaborative Directors,

I am writing to remind you that the deadline for all districts to have completed their 2011 deduction reports is Friday, August 31 (see our e-mail to you of April 19, at http://www.mass.gov/mtrs/4emp/4empemail.htm#a04192012).

As of today, nearly 300 districts (listed below) have completed their 2011 reports, and 82% of all 2011 deduction reports have been finalized. If your district is:

on the list, you are in compliance with the deadline--thank you!

not on the list, please let us know if you need any assistance in meeting this deadline, as we are here to help. As a reminder, districts that fail to comply with the August 31st deadline will be referred to the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (ESE).

If you have any questions regarding your district’s compliance, please do not hesitate to contact: Robert George, Director of Employer Services, at 617-679-6869; Sean Neilon, Assistant Executive Director, at 617-679-6889; or me, at 617-679-6810.



Sincerely,

Joan Schloss

As of July 31, 2012: School districts in compliance with 2011 deduction reporting deadline of August 31, 2012
(All deduction reports for 2011 have been submitted)


ABINGTON PUBLIC SCHOOLS

ACADEMY OF THE PACIFIC RIM CHARTER SCHOOL

ACTON PUBLIC SCHOOLS

ACTON-BOXBOROUGH REGIONAL SCHOOL

ACUSHNET PUBLIC SCHOOLS

ADAMS-CHESHIRE REGIONAL SCHOOLS

ADVANCED MATH & SCIENCE ACADEMY CHARTER SCHOOL

AGAWAM PUBLIC SCHOOLS

ALMA DEL MAR CHARTER SCHOOL

AMHERST PUBLIC SCHOOLS

ARLINGTON PUBLIC SCHOOLS

ASHBURNHAM-WESTMINSTER REGIONAL SCHOOL

ASHLAND PUBLIC SCHOOLS

ASSABET VALLEY COLLABORATIVE SCHOOL

ASSABET VALLEY REGIONAL VOCATIONAL SCHOOL

ATHOL-ROYALSTON REGIONAL SCHOOL

ATLANTIS CHARTER SCHOOL

AUBURN PUBLIC SCHOOLS

AVON PUBLIC SCHOOLS

AYER SHIRLEY REGIONAL

BARNSTABLE PUBLIC SCHOOLS

BEDFORD PUBLIC SCHOOLS

BELCHERTOWN PUBLIC SCHOOLS

BELLINGHAM PUBLIC SCHOOLS

BELMONT PUBLIC SCHOOLS

BENJAMIN BANNEKER CHARTER SCHOOL

BENJAMIN FRANKLIN CLASSICAL CHARTER SCHOOL

BERKLEY PUBLIC SCHOOLS

BERKSHIRE ARTS AND TECHNOLOGY CHARTER

BERKSHIRE HILLS REGIONAL SCHOOL DISTRICT

BERLIN PUBLIC SCHOOLS

BERLIN-BOYLSTON REGIONAL SCHOOL

BEVERLY PUBLIC SCHOOLS

BICOUNTY COLLABORATIVE

BILLERICA PUBLIC SCHOOLS

BLACKSTONE VALLEY REGIONAL VOCATIONAL

BLUE HILLS REGIONAL TECHNICAL

BOSTON COLLEGIATE CHARTER SCHOOL

BOSTON PREPARATORY CHARTER SCHOOL

BOURNE PUBLIC SCHOOLS

BOXBOROUGH PUBLIC SCHOOLS

BOXFORD PUBLIC SCHOOLS

BOYLSTON PUBLIC SCHOOLS

BRAINTREE PUBLIC SCHOOLS

BREWSTER PUBLIC SCHOOLS

BRIDGE BOSTON CHARTER SCHOOL

BRISTOL COUNTY AGRICULTURAL

BROOKFIELD PUBLIC SCHOOLS

BROOKLINE PUBLIC SCHOOLS

BURLINGTON PUBLIC SCHOOLS

CAMBRIDGE PUBLIC SCHOOLS

CANTON PUBLIC SCHOOLS

CAPE COD LIGHTHOUSE CHARTER SCHOOL

CAPS COLLABORATIVE

CARLISLE PUBLIC SCHOOLS

CARVER PUBLIC SCHOOLS

CASE COLLABORATIVE

CENTRAL BERKSHIRE REGIONAL

CENTRAL MASS. SPEC. ED. COLLABORATIVE

CHATHAM PUBLIC SCHOOLS

CHELSEA PUBLIC SCHOOLS

CHESTERFIELD-GOSHEN REGIONAL

CHICOPEE PUBLIC SCHOOLS

CHRISTA MCAULIFFE REG. CHARTER P.S.

CITY ON A HILL CHARTER SCHOOL

CLARKSBURG PUBLIC SCHOOLS

CLINTON PUBLIC SCHOOLS

CODMAN ACADEMY CHARTER SCHOOL

COHASSET PUBLIC SCHOOLS

COMMUNITY CHARTER SCHOOL OF CAMBRIDGE

COMMUNITY DAY CHARTER SCHOOL

CONSERVATORY LAB CHARTER SCHOOL

CONWAY PUBLIC SCHOOLS

DANVERS PUBLIC SCHOOLS

DARTMOUTH PUBLIC SCHOOLS

DEERFIELD PUBLIC SCHOOLS

DIGHTON-REHOBOTH REGIONAL SCHOOL

DIMAN REGIONAL VOCATIONAL SCHOOL

DORCHESTER COLLEGIATE ACADEMY CHARTER

DOVER-SHERBORN REGIONAL SCHOOL

EAST BRIDGEWATER PUBLIC SCHOOLS

EAST LONGMEADOW PUBLIC SCHOOLS

EASTHAM PUBLIC SCHOOLS

EASTHAMPTON PUBLIC SCHOOLS

EASTON PUBLIC SCHOOLS

EDWARD BROOKE CHARTER SCHOOL

EDWARD W. BROOKE CHARTER SCHOOL 2

ERVING PUBLIC SCHOOLS

ESSEX COUNTY AGRICULTURAL SCHOOL

EXCEL ACADEMY CHARTER SCHOOL-CHELSEA

FALL RIVER PUBLIC SCHOOLS

FALMOUTH PUBLIC SCHOOLS

FARMINGTON RIVER PUBLIC SCHOOLS

FLLAC COLLABORATIVE

FLORIDA PUBLIC SCHOOLS

FOUR RIVER CHARTER PUBLIC SCHOOL

FOXBORO REGIONAL CHARTER SCHOOL

FOXBOROUGH PUBLIC SCHOOLS

FRAMINGHAM PUBLIC SCHOOLS

FRANCIS W. PARKER CHARTER SCHOOL

FRANKLIN COUNTY REGIONAL SCHOOL DISTRICT

FRONTIER REGIONAL SCHOOL DISTRICT

GARDNER PUBLIC SCHOOLS

GEORGETOWN PUBLIC SCHOOLS

GILL-MONTAGUE REGIONAL

GLOBAL LEARNING CHARTER PUBLIC SCHOOL

GLOUCESTER COMMUNITY ARTS CHARTER SCHOOL

GLOUCESTER PUBLIC SCHOOLS

GOSNOLD PUBLIC SCHOOLS

GRAFTON PUBLIC SCHOOLS

GRANBY PUBLIC SCHOOLS

GRANVILLE PUBLIC SCHOOLS

GREATER LAWRENCE REGIONAL

GREATER LOWELL REGIONAL

GREATER NEW BEDFORD REGIONAL VOCATIONAL

GROTON-DUNSTABLE REGIONAL

GROVE HALL PREP CHARTER SCHOOL

HADLEY PUBLIC SCHOOLS

HALIFAX PUBLIC SCHOOLS

HAMPDEN CHARTER SCHOOL OF SCIENCE

HAMPDEN-WILBRAHAM REGIONAL

HARWICH PUBLIC SCHOOLS

HATFIELD PUBLIC SCHOOLS

HILLTOWN COOPERATIVE CHARTER SCHOOL

HILLVIEW MONTESSORI CHARTER SCHOOL

HINGHAM PUBLIC SCHOOLS

HOLLAND PUBLIC SCHOOLS

HOLLISTON PUBLIC SCHOOLS

HOLYOKE COMMUNITY CHARTER SCHOOL

HOLYOKE PUBLIC SCHOOLS

HOPEDALE PUBLIC SCHOOLS

HOPKINTON PUBLIC SCHOOLS

HUDSON PUBLIC SCHOOLS

HULL PUBLIC SCHOOLS

INNOVATION ACADEMY CHARTER SCHOOL

IPSWICH PUBLIC SCHOOLS
KING PHILIP REGIONAL

KINGSTON PUBLIC SCHOOLS

KIPP ACADEMY LYNN CHARTER SCHOOL

LABBB COLLABORATIVE

LAWRENCE FAMILY DEVELOPMENT CHARTER SCHOOL

LAWRENCE PUBLIC SCHOOLS

LEE PUBLIC SCHOOLS

LEICESTER PUBLIC SCHOOLS

LENOX PUBLIC SCHOOLS

LEOMINSTER PUBLIC SCHOOLS

LEVERETT PUBLIC SCHOOLS
LEXINGTON PUBLIC SCHOOLS

LINCOLN PUBLIC SCHOOLS

LITTLETON PUBLIC SCHOOLS

LONGMEADOW PUBLIC SCHOOLS

LOWELL COMMUNITY CHARTER SCHOOL

LOWELL MIDDLESEX ACADEMY CHARTER SCHOOL

LUDLOW PUBLIC SCHOOLS

LUNENBURG PUBLIC SCHOOLS

LYNN PUBLIC SCHOOLS

MANCHESTER ESSEX REGIONAL SCHOOL

MANSFIELD PUBLIC SCHOOLS

MARBLEHEAD COMMUNITY CHARTER SCHOOL

MARLBOROUGH PUBLIC SCHOOLS

MARSHFIELD PUBLIC SCHOOLS

MARTHA'S VINEYARD CHARTER SCHOOL

MARTIN LUTHER KING JR. CHARTER SCHOOL

MASS ACADEMY OF MATH AND SCIENCE

MAYNARD PUBLIC SCHOOLS

MEDFIELD PUBLIC SCHOOLS

MEDFORD PUBLIC SCHOOLS

MEDWAY PUBLIC SCHOOLS

MELROSE PUBLIC SCHOOLS

MENDON-UPTON REGIONAL SCHOOL DISTRICT

MERRIMACK COLLABORATIVE SCHOOL

METHUEN PUBLIC SCHOOLS

MIDDLEBOROUGH PUBLIC SCHOOLS

MIDDLETON PUBLIC SCHOOLS

MILLBURY PUBLIC SCHOOLS

MILLIS PUBLIC SCHOOLS

MINUTEMAN REGIONAL VOCATIONAL SCHOOL

MONROE PUBLIC SCHOOLS

MONTACHUSETT REGIONAL VOCATIONAL SCHOOL

MOUNT GREYLOCK REGIONAL SCHOOL

NAHANT PUBLIC SCHOOLS

NANTUCKET PUBLIC SCHOOLS

NARRAGANSETT REGIONAL SCHOOL DISTRICT

NASHOBA REGIONAL SCHOOL DISTRICT

NASHOBA VALLEY TECH
NATICK PUBLIC SCHOOLS

NAUSET REGIONAL SCHOOL

NEEDHAM PUBLIC SCHOOLS

NEIGHBORHOOD HOUSE CHARTER SCHOOL

NEW BEDFORD PUBLIC SCHOOLS

NEW SALEM-WENDELL REGIONAL SCHOOL

NEWTON PUBLIC SCHOOLS

NORFOLK PUBLIC SCHOOLS

NORTH ADAMS PUBLIC SCHOOLS

NORTH ANDOVER PUBLIC SCHOOLS

NORTH BROOKFIELD PUBLIC SCHOOLS

NORTH CENTRAL CHARTER ESSENTIAL SCHOOL

NORTH MIDDLESEX REGIONAL SCHOOL

NORTH READING PUBLIC SCHOOLS

NORTH RIVER COLLABORATIVE SCHOOL

NORTH SHORE EDUCATION CONSORTIUM

NORTH SHORE REGIONAL SCHOOL

NORTHAMPTON PUBLIC SCHOOLS

NORTHBORO-SOUTHBORO REGIONAL SCHOOL

NORTHBOROUGH PUBLIC SCHOOLS

NORTHBRIDGE PUBLIC SCHOOLS

NORTHERN BERKSHIRE REGIONAL VOCATIONAL SCHOOL

NORWOOD PUBLIC SCHOOLS

ORLEANS PUBLIC SCHOOLS

OXFORD PUBLIC SCHOOLS

PALMER PUBLIC SCHOOLS

PATHFINDER REGIONAL VOCATIONAL

PEABODY PUBLIC SCHOOLS

PEMBROKE PUBLIC SCHOOLS

PENTUCKET REGIONAL SCHOOL

PHOENIX CHARTER ACADEMY

PILGRIM AREA COLLABORATIVE

PIONEER CHARTER SCHOOL OF SCIENCE

PIONEER VALLEY PERFORMING ARTS CHARTER

PIONEER VALLEY REGIONAL

PITTSFIELD PUBLIC SCHOOLS

PLAINVILLE PUBLIC SCHOOLS

PLYMOUTH PUBLIC SCHOOLS

PLYMPTON PUBLIC SCHOOLS

PROVINCETOWN PUBLIC SCHOOLS

QUABBIN REGIONAL SCHOOL

QUABOAG REGIONAL SCHOOL DISTRICT

RALPH C. MAHAR REGIONAL SCHOOL

READING PUBLIC SCHOOLS

READS COLLABORATIVE

RICHMOND PUBLIC SCHOOLS

RISING TIDE CHARTER

RIVER VALLEY CHARTER SCHOOL

SABIS INTERNATIONAL CHARTER SCHOOL

SALEM ACADEMY CHARTER SCHOOL

SALEM PUBLIC SCHOOLS

SANDWICH PUBLIC SCHOOLS

SAVOY PUBLIC SCHOOLS

SCITUATE PUBLIC SCHOOLS

SEEM COLLABORATIVE

SHAWSHEEN VALLEY VOC.

SHERBORN PUBLIC SCHOOLS

SHUTESBURY PUBLIC SCHOOLS

SMITH LEADERSHIP ACADEMY CHARTER SCHOOL

SOMERVILLE PUBLIC SCHOOLS

SOUTH BERKSHIRE COLLABORATIVE

SOUTH SHORE CHARTER SCHOOL

SOUTH SHORE COLLABORATIVE

SOUTH SHORE REGIONAL SCHOOL DISTRICT

SOUTHAMPTON PUBLIC SCHOOLS

SOUTHEASTERN REGIONAL VOC. SCHOOL DISTRICT

SOUTHERN BERKSHIRE REGIONAL

SOUTHERN WORCESTER CO. ED. COLLAB.

SOUTHERN WORCESTER COUNTY REGIONAL SCHOOL

SOUTHWICK-TOLLAND REGIONAL

SPENCER-EAST BROOKFIELD PUBLIC SCHOOLS

SPIRIT OF KNOWLEDGE CHARTER SCHOOL

SPRINGFIELD PUBLIC SCHOOLS

STONEHAM PUBLIC SCHOOLS

STURGIS CHARTER SCHOOL

SUDBURY PUBLIC SCHOOLS

SUNDERLAND PUBLIC SCHOOLS

TANTASQUA REGIONAL HIGH SCHOOL

TAUNTON PUBLIC SCHOOLS

TECH. COLLAB. THE ED. COOPERATIVE

TEWKSBURY PUBLIC SCHOOLS

TISBURY PUBLIC SCHOOLS

TOPSFIELD PUBLIC SCHOOLS

TRI-COUNTY REGIONAL SCHOOLS

TRITON PUBLIC SCHOOLS

TRURO PUBLIC SCHOOLS

TYNGSBOROUGH PUBLIC SCHOOLS

TYRINGHAM PUBLIC SCHOOLS

UP ISLAND REGIONAL SCHOOL

WACHUSETT REGIONAL SCHOOL DISTRICT

WAKEFIELD PUBLIC SCHOOLS

WARE PUBLIC SCHOOLS

WATERTOWN PUBLIC SCHOOLS

WEBSTER PUBLIC SCHOOLS

WELLFLEET PUBLIC SCHOOLS

WEST BOYLSTON PUBLIC SCHOOLS

WEST BRIDGEWATER PUBLIC SCHOOLS

WESTBOROUGH PUBLIC SCHOOLS

WESTFIELD PUBLIC SCHOOLS

WESTFORD PUBLIC SCHOOLS

WESTON PUBLIC SCHOOLS

WESTPORT PUBLIC SCHOOLS

WESTWOOD PUBLIC SCHOOLS

WEYMOUTH PUBLIC SCHOOLS

WHATELY PUBLIC SCHOOLS

WHITMAN-HANSON REGIONAL

WILLIAMSBURG PUBLIC SCHOOLS

WILMINGTON PUBLIC SCHOOLS

WINCHESTER PUBLIC SCHOOLS

WRENTHAM PUBLIC SCHOOLS

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July 3, 2012

Subject: MTRS update: Online member enrollment process restored and now available

Dear School District Superintendents, Directors, Business Managers, Payroll Officials, Town Treasurers, Charter School and Education Collaborative Directors,



I am pleased to report that we have resolved the technical difficulties we had experienced with our online member enrollment tool, and the original process is available online once again.



Accordingly, please continue to register your new employees in MyTRS as you have been doing, and provide them with the Online Enrollment Assignment sheet that directs them to the “Enroll in the MTRS” page on our website. There, members will find the link to the online enrollment tool, as well as an important notice regarding how recent pension reform legislation affects their cost to purchase certain types of creditable service if they do not apply and pay for the purchase within the specified timeframe based on their membership history.



We apologize for any inconvenience the interim process may have caused you and our members, and thank you all for your understanding and patience during these past several months. As always, if you or your staff have any questions or need assistance, please contact your assigned Employer Services Representative or our Employer Services unit at 617-679-6895 or mailto:empsup@trb.state.ma.us.


June 28, 2012

Subject: MTRS update: Our newsletters to active and retired members now online

Dear School District Superintendents, Directors, Business Managers, Payroll Officials, Town Treasurers, Charter School and Education Collaborative Directors,

For your reference, our vendor will soon be mailing our June 2012 newsletters to our active and retired members. Articles include:

  • Pension Reform III: What it means for MTRS members, including, for retirees, the increase in the post-retirement earnings limit and, for active members, the increase in the interest rate to be charged on certain service purchases beginning April 2, 2013 (how these two provisions affect employers was addressed in our broadcast e-mail to you of May 9, 2012, available in our e-mail archive at mass.gov/mtrs/4emp/4empemail.htm#a05092012)
  • Board updates: Farewell to departing members, welcome to new representatives
  • Our System: A profile of our membership and an update on our funding status
  • The MTRS defined benefit plan: Good for members, good for the state

Both issues are also available online at mass.gov/mtrs.

As always, if you have any questions, please contact our Employer Services unit at 617-679-6895 or mailto:empsup@trb.state.ma.us.

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May 9, 2012

Subject: MTRS update: Additional info on two recent pension reform measures

Dear School District Superintendents, Directors, Business Managers, Payroll Officials, Town Treasurers, Charter School and Education Collaborative Directors,

As we told you via e-mail last December, on November 18, 2011 Governor Deval Patrick signed Chapter 176 of the Acts of 2011, “An Act Providing for Pension Reform and Benefit Modernization,” or what is commonly known as “Pension Reform III.” The third pension reform measure passed in the last three years, Chapter 176 changed certain rules affecting current active members, increased benefits for certain retirees and survivors, and significantly changed the benefit structure for new members who enroll in a Massachusetts public retirement system, or who re-enroll after taking a refund, on or after April 2, 2012.



Now that Chapter 176 is in effect and we have received clarification on how it is to be implemented, I am writing to make you aware of two provisions in particular, as they also affect you. Specifically:

  1. the increase in interest charged to our active members on certain service purchases, and
  2. the increase in the post-retirement earnings limitation for rehired retirees.

1) For our current members whose effective membership dates are before April 2, 2013, the interest charged on certain service purchases will double after April 2, 2013; as a result, the number of requests for service purchase documentation that you receive is expected to increase greatly--and soon



Section 9 of Chapter 176 doubles the interest rate to be charged on certain service purchases from “buyback interest” (currently, 4.125%) to “actuarial interest” (currently, 8.25%), unless the member applies for the service purchase before April 2, 2013 and either pays for the service purchase in full or commits to an installment plan before April 2, 2013 or the invoice due date, whichever is later. 



Members who leave active public service, take a refund, and later return to membership in a Massachusetts public retirement system will have one year from the date of their return to purchase the service at the lower buyback interest rate.



As a result of the increase in the interest rate, we anticipate that you will notice a higher than normal volume of requests to complete service purchase forms leading up to the April 2, 2013 deadline. Members will need your assistance to document (and purchase) substitute, temporary and part-time teaching service, as well as other employment with school departments and municipalities. We sincerely appreciate your past and continued efforts to provide the best information possible. Providing us with complete information up front will limit calls and requests for additional documentation from our office. We know how busy you are and we will do our best to limit follow up requests for information whenever possible.



2) For rehired retirees, the post-retirement earnings limitation increases by $15,000 after one year of retirement



As you know, pursuant to M.G.L. c. 32, section 91, there are limits on the amount of money that a rehired retiree may earn from post-retirement employment by a Massachusetts public entity. This post-retirement earnings limit is equal to the difference between the salary being paid for the member's former position and the amount of his or her retirement benefit.



Effective April 2, 2012, Chapter 176 increased this limit by $15,000 per calendar year after the member has been retired for 12 months, and allowed members who have been retired for at least 12 months as of April 2, 2012 (the effective date of the law) to earn an additional $15,000 for the remainder of calendar year 2012.



The Public Employee Retirement Administration Commission has instructed all Massachusetts contributory retirement boards to implement the new limit as follows: Retirees may earn an additional $15,000 per calendar year beginning with their second full calendar year of retirement.

Date of retirementDate eligible to earn additional $15,000
Before or on 4/1/20114/2/2012
4/2/2011 - 12/31/20111/1/2013
1/1/2012 - 12/31/20121/1/2014
1/1/2013 - 12/31/20131/1/2015
1/1/2014 - 12/31/20141/1/2016

For additional information, including examples and a link to PERAC’s updated post-retirement earnings calculator, please see “Working after retirement” on our website at http://www.mass.gov/mtrs/2members/22retiree/22work.htm.

For details on both of these provisions, as well as an overview of how Chapter 176 affects all MTRS members, see our website at http://www.mass.gov/mtrs. If you have any questions, please contact us at mailto:geninfo@trb.state.ma.us or 617-679-6877.

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April 19, 2012

Subject: MTRS update: Deduction reporting progress; future steps and deadlines, if applicable

Dear School District Superintendents, Directors, Business Managers, Payroll Officials, Town Treasurers, Charter School and Education Collaborative Directors,

I am writing to bring you up to date on the progress that districts have made since my e-mail to you of February 16, and also to advise districts whose deduction reports are not yet fully reported for all of 2011 of future deadlines and action steps.

1) Deduction reporting progress

  • Calendar year 2010: I am pleased to note that only 6 districts missed the March 30th deadline for completing their 2010 reports. We will be forwarding their names to the Commissioner of Elementary and Secondary Education for further action.
  • Calendar year 2011: To date, 46% of school districts are fully reported in MyTRS through September, with most of those being fully reported for all of 2011. Overall, nearly 75% of school districts have either fully reported, or at least imported to “initial” status, all of their 2011 reports. Within the next four months, however, all 2011 reports that are not yet fully reported need to be reconciled and finalized.

Please note that, if your district is fully reported for all of 2011, you do not need to take any additional action, other than continuing your timely reporting. And to all of you who are in this group, thank you—for your efforts, persistence and patience in accomplishing the transition to our web-based reporting system. We truly appreciate all of your assistance and support.

2) If your district is NOT fully reported for all of calendar year 2011, be aware of these future action steps and deadlines

As I noted in February, your prompt submission and finalization of deduction reports is necessary for us both to process retirement benefits for our members on time, and to provide accurate data on our membership for the state’s financial reports, which affect the Commonwealth’s bond rating. Without your 2011 reports, we cannot perform these two important, sensitive and visible fiduciary functions. Accordingly, please note the following related deadlines and action steps.


If your district is NOT fully reported through...

  • September 2011: For 2012 Retirement application processing, you may be required to submit additional salary and contribution data for your retiring employees. Depending on how current your deduction reports are, you may be required to provide salary and deduction information for all unreported months between May 2010 and the dates of your retiring employees’ last deductions. During the week of April 23, we will begin e-mailing the “Supplemental Part 2” retirement application form and instructions to affected districts so that you may provide us with the necessary data. Failure to provide the information will prevent us from processing your district’s 2012 retirements.
  • December 2011: For financial reporting purposes, please import all outstanding 2011 reports at least to “initial” status by May 15, 2012. You may recall that, last year, school districts were asked to import all then outstanding 2010 deduction reports to “initial” status in order to comply with the Commonwealth’s financial and demographic reporting requirements. This year, we have been instructed to provide this information to the State’s Actuary by the end of May. Accordingly, it is imperative that your district import all of your outstanding 2011 reports by May 15th in order for us to run our financial reports. Failure to comply with the deadline will delay not only the processing of your employees’ 2012 retirement applications, but also the preparation of the Commonwealth's Actuarial Valuation.

Please make sure your district creates and imports all of your outstanding 2011 deduction reports by May 15th; if you need any assistance from us in meeting this deadline, please let us know as we are here to help. You will then have until August 31, 2012 to reconcile and finalize your 2011 deduction reports.

I want to thank you and your staff in advance for your continued efforts. Together we are making significant progress in reducing the backlog of deduction reports.

If you have any questions regarding your district’s compliance, please do not hesitate to contact: Robert George, Director of Employer Services, at 617-679-6869; Sean Neilon, Assistant Executive Director, at 617-679-6889; or me, at 617-679-6810.

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April 18, 2012

Subject: MTRS announces Spring retirement information seminars

Dear School District Superintendents, Business Managers, Payroll Officers, Personnel Administrators, Town Treasurers, Charter School and Education Collaborative Directors,

Please help us spread the word to your employees--we've scheduled our Spring seminars, and all MTRS members are invited to attend one or both programs:

  • Your MTRS Benefits (10 dates at locations across the Commonwealth): For members who are interested in learning more about their retirement plan and benefits.
  • The Next Chapter (Saturday, June 2, Marlborough Best Western): Our popular all-day retirement planning program for members 5 to 15 years from retirement.

Both programs are described in detail below; space is limited, and registration is available on a first-come, first-served basis. Online registration is required for all of these programs and is available at http://mass.gov/mtrs.



Please help us publicize these seminars by letting your employees know that we'll be offering these programs in the coming weeks--and that this is a prime opportunity for them to get answers to their retirement benefit questions. We have attached a one-page flyer in pdf format, and respectfully ask that you please print and post it, or distribute it to your employees who are members of the MTRS. IF AT ALL POSSIBLE, we would greatly appreciate your forwarding either this message or the attachment (or both!) to your MTRS members via e-mail.



If you have any questions about our upcoming seminars or any other retirement issues, please be sure to contact us at mailto:empsup@trb.state.ma.us. And thank you in advance for any assistance you can provide in letting our members know about these programs

Sincerely,

Joan Schloss

==========

Your MTRS Benefits

For members with effective membership dates prior to April 2, 2012



Your MTRS Benefits is an optional, free, two-hour (4-6 p.m.) informal program for members who want more information about MTRS retirement benefits--whether you are a two-year member, mid-career educator or soon-to-be retiree. Topics include:

  • an update on recent pension reform legislation affecting current members,
  • MTRS benefits and services,
  • estimating your retirement benefits under the regular and RetirementPlus formulas,
  • various issues you need to consider in retirement, including health insurance coverage, taxation of your retirement benefit, the rules on working after retirement, Social Security--and more!

Program locations and dates:

CAMBRIDGE, Tuesday, May 8; MTRS Main Office, Presentation Room

WEST SPRINGFIELD, Tuesday, May 8; West Springfield High School auditorium

IPSWICH, Thursday, May 10; Ipswich High School auditorium

WOBURN, Tuesday, May 15; Woburn High School auditorium

LEE, Thursday, May 17; Lee Middle and High School auditorium

WEYMOUTH, Tuesday, May 22; Weymouth High School auditorium

AUBURN, Thursday, May 24; Auburn High School auditorium

BARNSTABLE, Thursday, May 24; Barnstable High School, Knight Auditorium

MANSFIELD, Tuesday, May 29; Mansfield High School auditorium

CAMBRIDGE, Thursday, May 31; MTRS Main Office, Presentation Room



To attend, simply register online at http://mass.gov/mtrs!



==============



The Next Chapter

The Next Chapter is our award-winning retirement planning program for members who are 5 to 15 years from retirement, but it is a valuable seminar for any educator working on a retirement plan. We encourage members to bring their spouse or companion.



This all-day, comprehensive retirement planning program features expert speakers who address many retirement issues, including:

  • Financial planning
  • Estate planning
  • Social Security for the Massachusetts educator
  • Your MTRS benefits

Registration info:

  • MARLBOROUGH BEST WESTERN HOTEL, Saturday, June 2, 9 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. (doors open at 8:00 a.m.)
  • Registration fee: $35 per person, which includes a continental breakfast, lunch and refreshments.
  • Space is limited, and registration will be accepted on a first-come, first-served basis.
  • To attend, register online at http://mass.gov/mtrs by Thursday, May 24.

We are confident you will find The Next Chapter Program to be an informative and enjoyable day, as well as a valuable resource in your personal retirement planning. We hope you will join us!


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March 27, 2012

Subject: MTRS update: You will need to change your MyTRS password on or after April 5, 2012

Dear School District Superintendents, Directors, Business Managers, Payroll Officials, Town Treasurers, Charter School and Education Collaborative Directors,

Please note that on Thursday, April 5, 2012, we will be implementing our updated MyTRS Password Security Policy. This means:

  • When you sign on to MyTRS on or after Thursday, April 5, you will need to change your password. At the same time, you will need to select and answer two security questions so that, if you forget your password at any time, you will have the ability to reset it.
  • Every 180 days thereafter, you will be prompted to change your password.
  • If your account is inactive for 180 days, it will be locked and you will need to contact your MTRS Employer Services Representative to have it unlocked.

Password guidelines

There is no change to the password construction you are currently employing in MyTRS. As a reminder, your password must be a minimum of 10 characters in length and contain at least:

  • one uppercase letter,
  • one numeric character, and
  • one non-alphanumeric character (e.g., ! @ $ % _ ? ( #).

Password DOs and DON’Ts

  • DO notify your MTRS Employer Services Representative if you ever suspect that the security of your MyTRS password has been compromised, and change the password(s) in question immediately.
  • Do NOT:
    • Use the same password for different accounts.
    • Use business passwords for personal accounts.
    • Include dictionary words in any language or a person's first or last name.
    • Base a password on personal information.
    • Reveal your password over the phone or in an email message.
    • Share your password with anyone.
    • Write down or store your password anywhere in your office.
    • Store your password electronically without proper encryption. If you are unsure if your file is encrypted, please check with your IT Services department.

If you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact: Robert George, Director of Employer Services, at 617-679-6869; Sean Neilon, Assistant Executive Director, at 617-679-6889; or, me, at 617-679-6810.

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February 16, 2012

Subject: MTRS update: Deduction reporting

Dear School District Superintendents, Directors, Business Managers, Payroll Officials, Town Treasurers, Charter School and Education Collaborative Directors,

This communication is to report on the progress we are making with the new retirement contribution deduction reporting system and to ask for your continued commitment to finalize the 2011 deduction reports.

Summary

It has been 18 months since the new reporting application was introduced. We want to acknowledge and express our appreciation for the significant effort both of our staffs have had to undertake to learn this new system. Over the last 3 months we have experienced a significant increase in the processing of deduction reports due to:

  • The continued hard work and dedication of many payroll officers and other staff that support deduction reporting compliance;
  • Increased efficiencies of the new system for those districts that have become experienced in the new application;
  • Additional resources added by MTRS and in many cases at the district level.

For those districts that have yet to complete their 2010 reports, a separate letter will be sent to each superintendent asking to prioritize those reports. The deadline for reconciling all 2010 deduction reports is March 30th.

2011—Where We Are

Finalizing deductions reports are necessary for two reasons; to process reliable and timely retirement benefits and to provide accurate data on our membership for the Commonwealth’s financial reports.

As I’m sure many of you realize, the February school vacation marks the beginning of the 2012 retirement season. In order for the MTRS to process retirement benefits we must have current contribution data. Therefore, we are implementing certain strategies to address this situation. School districts will have two choices; either:

  • Be completely posted through at least September of 2011; or
  • As an alternative, payroll officers will be required to complete a supplementary form that will provide additional months of salary and retirement contributions as part of employer’s portion of the member's retirement application.

Further details regarding this process will be communicated over the next few weeks.

In addition to processing retirement applications, the MTRS is required to comply with several statutory financial reporting requirements that impact the Commonwealth’s bond rating. You may recall that last July we asked districts to import all the 2010 deduction reports to “initial” status by the end of August. This enabled us to provide updated demographic and financial data to the state’s actuary for the 2010 actuarial report. This actuarial report was included with other Commonwealth financial reports to the bond rating agencies that ultimately led to an increase in the Commonwealth’s bond rating. The actuarial report is run annually and we have been instructed to provide this data no later than May 31st.

Next Steps—Where We Need to Be

In order to comply with the reporting requirements, school districts must import all their 2011 deduction reports to “initial” status by May 15, 2012. Finally, we have established September 30th as the deadline to finalize all 2011 deduction reports.

I believe with your assistance and the mutual cooperation of your staff and mine, we can meet these goals. I want to thank you and your staff in advance for your continued assistance, support and patience. I remain encouraged by the progress that most districts have made and continue to make with the new application. Please know that we are here to assist in any way.

If you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact our: Director of Employer Services Robert George at 617-679-6869; Assistant Executive Director Sean Neilon at 617-679-6889 or me at 617-679-6810.

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December 16, 2011

Subject: MTRS Board news: Karen Mitchell and Dennis Naughton elected; longtime member John Dow retires

Dear School District Superintendents, Directors, Business Managers, Payroll Officials, Town Treasurers, Charter School and Education Collaborative Directors,

As you may know, we recently conducted an election for the two elected seats on our seven-member Board. As reported to our Board this morning, our members have elected Karen Mitchell, an active teacher in the Plymouth Public Schools who returns for a second term, and Dennis Naughton, a retired teacher from the Millis Public Schools. Thank you to all of our candidates, and to all of our members who participated in this important election.



Mr. Naughton replaces John A.M. “Jay” Dow, who, after 40 years of dedicated service, decided not to seek re-election. One of the longest-serving Board members, Mr. Dow began his teaching career in the Boston public schools, taught in Ipswich for a few years and then transferred to Marblehead, where he remained for 35 years before retiring in 1989. In the early 1970s, he was also president of the Massachusetts Teachers Association, where he learned the importance of the pension system and a strong retirement board. We are extremely grateful for Mr. Dow’s service to the educators of Massachusetts and the Board, and we wish him the best in retirement.



For more information on the Board election, please visit our website at http://www.mass.gov/mtrs or contact us at 617-679-6877.
 


December 8, 2011

Subject: MTRS updates: Pension reform, revised Retirement Application, the Open Checkbook initiative

Dear School District Superintendents, Directors, Business Managers, Payroll Officials, Town Treasurers, Charter School and Education Collaborative Directors,

Please take note of the following three updates regarding recent pension reform legislation, our revised Retirement Application, and the Commonwealth’s Open Checkbook project.

1) Governor Patrick signs pension reform bill; MTRS implementation plan now in development

As you probably know, on November 18, 2011 Governor Deval Patrick signed Chapter 176 of the Acts of 2011, “An Act Providing for Pension Reform and Benefit Modernization.” This is the third pension reform measure passed in the last three years, and it significantly changes the benefit structure for new members who enroll in a Massachusetts public retirement system, or re-enroll after taking a refund, on or after April 2, 2012. The law also increases benefits for certain retired members and survivors, and changes certain rules affecting current active members of the MTRS. For an overview of this legislation, see our website at http://www.mass.gov/mtrs/1news/1legis.htm.

At this time, we are working to develop the necessary policies and procedures to implement these changes as quickly and smoothly as possible. Please bear with us as we work out the details and update our member and employer materials. Be assured that, in the coming months, we will be sending additional updates describing how these changes affect you and our members.

2) Open Checkbook launches; state expenditures, including certain pension info, posted online

For your reference, on December 5, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts launched Open Checkbook, a website that provides a searchable database of all state expenditures for fiscal years 2010, 2011 and 2012. Because the MTRS is a state agency, our retirees' names and pension amount information are posted on Open Checkbook.

Open Checkbook was created as part of an effort to increase overall fiduciary transparency. The initiative was mandated by the 2011 state budget and is cited in M.G.L. Chapter 7, Sec. 14C (online at http://www.malegislature.gov/Laws/GeneralLaws/PartI/TitleII/Chapter7/Section14C).

3) New version of Retirement Application released—now in “savable” pdf format

In advance of the upcoming retirement season, we have reviewed and revised our Retirement Application—both Part 1, which is completed by the member, and Part 2, which is completed by employers. Please note, however, the basic process remains the same: members are still to complete Part 1 and provide you with a printed copy of Part 2; you are still to complete Part 2 and return it to the member for sending to us.

For more information, and a link to the updated Part 2, please visit our website page about the Retirement Application at http://www.mass.gov/mtrs/4emp/4empret.htm .

For more information on all of these topics, please visit our website at http://www.mass.gov/mtrs or contact us at 617-679-6877.

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November 15, 2011

Subject: MTRS update: Member Enrollment Form now available in downloadable format

Dear School District Superintendents, Directors, Business Managers, Payroll Officials, Town Treasurers, Charter School and Education Collaborative Directors,

As we have not yet been able to resolve the technical difficulties we have been experiencing with our online member enrollment tool, we have substituted a simple, downloadable, two-page MTRS Enrollment Form in its place, at http://www.mass.gov/mtrs/enrolltemp.htm.

Accordingly, at this time, regarding:


  • Your new, already-registered employees, who have not been able to enroll because our online tool has been unavailable: As possible, please advise these employees to go to our website and download, complete and mail the MTRS Enrollment Form directly to the MTRS.
  • Your new, not-yet-registered employees: Please continue to register your new employees in MyTRS as you have been doing, and provide them with the Online Enrollment Assignment sheet that directs them to the "Enroll in the MTRS" page on our website. Once there, instead of completing their portion of the enrollment process online, they will need to download, complete and mail the MTRS Enrollment Form directly to the MTRS.

We will process the returned forms and update your employees' enrollment status in MyTRS, which is visible to you in your view of your members' records. Members who complete and submit the MTRS Enrollment Form will satisfy our enrollment requirement, and will not be asked to complete the online enrollment process at a later date.

We are sorry that our online enrollment tool has been unavailable for these past two months. We continue to investigate the programming problems involved, and sincerely apologize for this inconvenience to our members and you, our school district representatives.

As always, if you or your staff have any questions or need assistance, please contact your assigned Employer Services Representative or our Employer Services unit at 617-679-6895 or mailto:empsup@trb.state.ma.us. Thank you all for your understanding and patience.

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November 10, 2011

Subject: MTRS announces programs for members retiring within the next year!

Dear Dear School District Superintendents, Business Managers, Payroll Officers, Personnel Administrators, Town Treasurers, Charter School and Education Collaborative Directors,

Please take note of these four announcements regarding our Board election, Board member changes, and ongoing “Ready for Retirement” programs, and as always, if you or your employees have any questions, please feel free to contact us.

Board election now underway—
Please advise your employees who are MTRS members to watch for a ballot at their home address, and, if they do not receive it by November 21, to contact us

As I mentioned in my memo to you of August 29, 2011, we are now conducting an election for the two members of the Board who are elected by the active and retired members of our system. This election is held once every four years.

If any of your employees believe that they are eligible to vote but didn’t get a ballot, please ask them to call our Cambridge Call Center, at 617-679-6890, and request a ballot. We will then determine that person’s eligibility and, if appropriate, send a ballot directly to him or her. [Note: A member is eligible to vote if he or she is an active or retired member of the Massachusetts Teachers’ Retirement System. Accordingly, temporary, part-time and substitute teachers who have not yet completed their six-month waiting period are not eligible to vote. If an employee is on a leave of absence, is on sick leave or is receiving Workers’ Compensation, however, he or she is eligible to vote.]


Governor names new appointee to the Board:

Meet Anne Wass

At its October meeting, the Board welcomed new member Anne Wass, who was recently selected by Gov. Deval Patrick to serve as his appointee. Ms. Wass replaces Ellen T. Hargraves, who held this seat for 11 years.

Ms. Wass, who retired in 2007 after 31 years of teaching sixth grade at Hanover Middle School, has held many leadership positions with the Massachusetts Teachers Association at both the local and state levels. She served on the MTA's Board of Directors and state Executive Committee, and was president of the MTA from 2006 until 2010. Along the way, she won numerous awards for her teaching service, including the Bristol County Educators' Association Kathleen Roberts Human Relations Award and the Plymouth County Education Association's Honor Award.

For additional information, please see About the Board and its members at http://www.mass.gov/mtrs/4about/4board.htm.


Linda M. Ruberto to leave Board at end of January; 

Board now accepting applications for Board-appointee position

Our seven-member board includes one member who is chosen by the vote of the other six. After 20 years of dedicated service to our members, Linda M. Ruberto, the current appointee, recently announced that she will be leaving the Board at the end of her term in January 2012. In anticipation of Ms. Ruberto’s departure, the Board is now inviting applications for this position.

Anyone who is interested in applying for this position should review our web page, Board-appointee position: Description and application process at http://www.mass.gov/mtrs/4about/4bdmemapp.htm, for additional information and instructions. All applications must be postmarked no later than December 12, 2011. The Board will review all applications and invite finalists for an interview at the end of January.


Reminder: Please encourage your MTRS members who are retiring within the next year to attend our “Ready for Retirement” programs—going on now!

While our two Cambridge presentations are already full, seats are still available at our other programs. As possible, please remind your soon-to-be-retiring employees that we’re offering this program—and that this is a prime opportunity for them to get answers to their questions about retirement benefits. Online registration is required, and is available at http://www.mass.gov/mtrs/3register/r4r.htm .

For more information on all of these topics, visit our website at http://www.mass.gov/mtrs or contact us at 617-679-6877.

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October 26, 2011

Subject: MTRS announces programs for members retiring within the next year!

Dear School District Superintendents, Business Managers, Payroll Officers, Personnel Administrators, Town Treasurers, Charter School and Education Collaborative Directors,

Please help us spread the word to your employees who are planning to retire within the next year—we’ve scheduled our “Ready for Retirement” seminars!

The MTRS staff will again be presenting this popular program across the Commonwealth in November and December. Space is limited, and registration is available on a first-come, first-served basis. Online preregistration is required for this program and our simple online registration form is accessible via a link from our homepage at http://mass.gov/mtrs.

We are asking for your help to publicize these seminars. Please remind your soon-to-be-retiring employees that we’re offering this program—and that this is a prime opportunity for them to get answers to their questions about retirement benefits. We have attached a one-page flyer in pdf format, and respectfully ask that you print and post it, or distribute it to your employees who are members of the MTRS. MOST IMPORTANTLY, PLEASE DISTRIBUTE this information to any MTRS member retiring this year.

Thank you for your continued assistance to our members and us—we truly appreciate your efforts!

With best wishes,

Joan Schloss

==========
READY FOR RETIREMENT

For members retiring in 2012



The MTRS staff will be presenting our popular seminar, “Ready for Retirement,” across the Commonwealth in November and December. “Ready for Retirement” is a free, optional, two-hour program (4-6 p.m.) designed for members retiring in 2012. We’re reaching out to soon-to-be retirees before the retirement season starts so that when you begin the application process, you will know just what you need to do and when.



Topics include:


  • the retirement application process and the benefit calculation formula,

  • timelines and service expectations,

  • first payment information,

  • health insurance, tax and working after retirement issues,

  • cost-of-living adjustments after you retire, and

  • recent changes to Massachusetts pension law and what they mean for you.



Please note: Personalized account information and pension estimates are not offered during these sessions.



To attend, simply choose the date and location that is best for you, and then register online at least 7 DAYS before your desired program date. Our simple online registration form is located at http://www.mass.gov/mtrs/3register/r4r.htm. We hope to see you soon!




WEST SPRINGFIELD, Wednesday, November 9, West Springfield High School auditorium

WOBURN, Wednesday, November 9, Woburn High School auditorium

LEE, Tuesday, November 15, Lee Middle and High School auditorium

CAMBRIDGE, Thursday, November 17, MTRS Cambridge office

MIDDLEBOROUGH, Tuesday, November 22, Middleborough High School auditorium

AUBURN, Tuesday, November 29, Auburn High School auditorium

WEYMOUTH, Tuesday, November 29, Weymouth High School auditorium

HYANNIS, Thursday, December 1, Barnstable High School Knight auditorium

IPSWICH, Tuesday, December 6, Ipswich High School auditorium 
CAMBRIDGE, Thursday, December 8, MTRS Cambridge office

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October 4, 2011

Subject: MTRS Enrollment form update

Dear School District Superintendents, Directors, Business Managers, Payroll Officials, Town Treasurers, Charter School and Education Collaborative Directors,

Unfortunately, we have not been successful in fixing the “member” portion of our online enrollment form. We expect the form to be down for another 2-4 weeks. Once the form is restored we will send you a follow-up e-mail.

Please be assured that this issue has no effect on your district’s ability to register your employees, take deductions from their pay or include those members on your monthly deduction reports. While the member enrollment form is inoperable, school district personnel can access member contribution rates in MyTRS using the View/Update Member Information link on the MyTRS homepage.

As always, if you or your staff have any questions or need assistance, please contact your assigned Employer Services Representative or our Employer Services unit at 617-679-6895 or mailto:empsup@trb.state.ma.us. We apologize for this inconvenience, and thank you for your patience!


September 1, 2011

Subject: MTRS Enrollment form

Dear School District Superintendents, Directors, Business Managers, Payroll Officials, Town Treasurers, Charter School and Education Collaborative Directors,

I am writing to inform you that we have disabled the “member” portion of our online enrollment form to repair it. We expect the form to be down for at least two weeks. Once the form is restored we will send you a follow-up e-mail.

Please be assured that this issue has no effect on your district’s ability to register your employees, take deductions from their pay or include those members on your monthly deduction reports. While the member enrollment form is inoperable, school district personnel can access member contribution rates in MyTRS using the View/Update Member Information link on the MyTRS homepage.

As always, if you or your staff have any questions or need assistance, please contact your assigned Employer Services Representative or our Employer Services unit at 617-679-6895 or mailto:empsup@trb.state.ma.us. Thank you in advance for your cooperation and attention to these important deduction reporting issues. We appreciate your continued assistance to us and our members!

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August 29, 2011

Subject: MTRS update: Notice of MTRS Board election

Dear School District Superintendents, Business Managers, Payroll Officers, Personnel Administrators, Town Treasurers, Charter School and Education Collaborative Directors,

As you may know, the Massachusetts Teachers’ Retirement Board is comprised of seven members, two of whom are elected by the members of the Massachusetts Teachers’ Retirement System for four-year terms. Since the terms of our incumbent elected members expire later this year, the Board has scheduled an election for this fall. Active and retired MTRS members are eligible to run for these unpaid positions, and interested members may obtain nomination papers from our Cambridge office beginning September 12. Ballots will be mailed to the home addresses of eligible voters in early November, and votes must be cast by December 12.

At this time, we respectfully ask that you post the attached notice announcing our upcoming Board election in an appropriate location in your building at your earliest convenience. Also, it would be helpful if you would call attention to this notice during any upcoming staff meetings or include a note about it in any e-mail or printed announcements that you may circulate to your faculty members. As you will see, the poster provides important information, including the election schedule and deadlines that are critical to any member seeking to be elected to the Board.

If you have any questions about the election, please contact Susan Theil, Director of Communications, at 617-679-6844 or susan.theil@trb.state.ma.us. Thank you in advance for your cooperation and assistance!


May 3, 2011

Subject: MTRS notice: Six additional MyTRS training sessions scheduled; 14 updated guides now online

Dear School District Superintendents, Business Managers, Personnel Administrators, Payroll Officers, Town Treasurers, Charter School and Education Collaborative Directors:

Please note these two timely announcements regarding MyTRS:

  1. Six additional MyTRS training sessions have just been scheduled: In response to popular demand, we will be offering six additional MyTRS training sessions, including two on Wednesday mornings to accommodate employer representatives who were unable to attend Friday morning programs. The new dates, locations and registration details are below, and also online at http://www.mass.gov/mtrs/3register/3mytrspro.htm. If you have not attended one of our training sessions yet this spring, we hope that you will be able to join us in the coming weeks!
  2. New and updated Guided Practices and Resource Guides are now available online: In an effort to provide simple, step-by-step instructions for performing the most frequently used functions, we have revised our online user guides and posted them in downloadable pdf format on our website at http://www.mass.gov/mtrs/4emp/4guideprac.htm. For quick at-a-glance information on the basic processes, please consult these brief, specific guides—they are designed to walk you through each process simply and quickly!

If you have any questions at any time, please contact our Employer Services unit at mailto:empsup@trb.state.ma.us or 617-679-6895. Thank you for your continued assistance to our members and us!

Sincerely,

MTRS Employer Services

==========
MyTRS Employer Training: Spring 2011

Training session overview
To be presented by MTRS Employer Services representatives in our Cambridge and Springfield office training rooms, this year's program is a shorter, revised version of last summer's all-day training seminars. In each morning program, we will cover the basic functions and "how-to"s of MyTRS: it will be a refresher for anyone who attended last year's seminars, and a solid, to-the-point overview for new representatives and for those who were unable to attend the 2010 programs.

You will learn how to:

  • Get started (log in, navigate, view and update records)
  • Register new employees
  • Submit your deduction payment electronically
  • Report your employees' retirement deductions
  • Access the updated Guided Practices and Resource Guides

Who should attend

You should be sure to attend if you are involved in submitting monthly deduction reports and payments, or registering new employees in the MTRS, and you:

  • did not attend one of the original MyTRS training seminars last summer,
  • have had difficulty using MyTRS or submitting your deduction reports,
  • have specific questions that you'd like to ask one of our Employer Services representatives in person, or
  • simply want to receive a refresher on how to use the system.

Locations, dates and times

All programs will be held on either a Wednesday or Friday morning, in our Cambridge or Springfield office, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., with the doors opening at 8:30 a.m.

  • Cambridge: Wednesdays, May 4 and 11; Fridays, May 20 and 27, and June 3
  • Springfield: Friday, June 10

Please note that space is limited to 40 attendees per session in Cambridge, 30 attendees per session in Springfield; registration will be available on a first-come, first-served basis. If necessary, we will offer additional programs to accommodate everyone who wishes to attend. Want to attend but can't make these dates? Use the online registration process to sign up to receive advance notice of future MyTRS trainings.

To register for a program or advance notice of future MyTRS trainings, simply go to http://www.mass.gov/mtrs/3register/3mytrspro.htm and follow the easy instructions.

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April 25, 2011

Subject: Notice: MTRS Furlough Policy expires on June 30, 2011

Dear School District Superintendents, Directors, Business Managers, Payroll Officials, Town Treasurers and Personnel Officers:

As you may recall, on April 30, 2010, the Massachusetts Teachers' Retirement Board adopted its "Policy on Furloughs and other Fiscal Emergency Measures for School Years 2009-10 and 2010-11." We are writing to remind you that the Board's furlough policy expires on June 30, 2011.

Beginning on July 1, 2011, the TRS will apply G.L. c. 32, §§ 4(1)(c) and 5(3)(b), as set forth below.

Chapter 32, § 4(1)(c) allows the MTRS to recognize creditable service for any "period of … continuous absence without regular compensation" up to one month.

Chapter 32, § 5(3)(b) provides that any "leave or period of absence" occurring within the three-year period used for the member's final average salary will be included in that period and, if unpaid, the "rate in effect for him immediately preceding any period of his absence" shall be used.

These two provisions allow members to have temporary (up to one month) unpaid leaves of absence from work without affecting their retirement calculation. The same two sections allow for service credit and imputed salary for members who are absent from work due to furloughs. This assumes the "furlough" is a temporary (less than one month) period of unpaid leave of absence from required work days. These two sections cannot be used if there is no absence, thus they are not helpful if a district implements a salary reduction or a reduction of the contractual work year.

  • Service credit for a furlough: In order for a MTRS member not to lose creditable service for a "furlough," the member must be placed on an authorized unpaid leave during the period of the furlough, not to exceed one month.
  • The member's last salary rate applies during the furlough: If a furlough day is a period of authorized unpaid leave, the MTRS will use the salary rate in effect immediately preceding the furlough when determining the salary average for any member who has a furlough within his highest three or last three years.
  • Please note: "Furloughs" that do not meet the statutory requirements include plans that reduce the number of work days by implementing "volunteer" days during which teachers work but do not get paid or when a district reduces the school year itself. These types of plans will negatively impact a MTRS member's creditable service and salary average.

If you would like an opinion as to whether your district's particular cost-saving measure will impact the retirement calculation of your MTRS members, please mail, e-mail, or fax us a copy of the relevant contract language to the attention of Erika Glaster, Deputy Executive Director, MTRS, One Charles Park, Cambridge, MA 02142-1206, e-mail: mailto:erika.glaster@trb.state.ma.us, fax: 617-679-1661.

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April 11, 2011

Subject: MTRS announces Spring retirement information seminars

Dear School District Superintendents, Business Managers, Payroll Officers, Personnel Administrators, Town Treasurers, Charter School and Education Collaborative Directors,

Please help us spread the word to your employees—we've scheduled our Spring seminars, and all MTRS members are invited to attend one or both programs:

  • Your MTRS Benefits: for all members interested in learning more about their retirement plan and benefits, and
  • The Next Chapter: our popular all-day retirement planning program for members 5 to 15 years from retirement.

Both programs are described in detail below; space is limited, and registration is available on a first-come, first-served basis. Online registration is required for all of these programs and is available at http://mass.gov/mtrs.

Please help us publicize these seminars by letting your employees know that we'll be offering these programs in the coming weeks—and that this is a prime opportunity for them to get answers to their retirement benefit questions. We have attached a one-page flyer in pdf format, and respectfully ask that you please print and post it, or distribute it to your employees who are members of the MTRS. IF AT ALL POSSIBLE, we would greatly appreciate your forwarding either this message or the attachment (or both!) to your MTRS members via e-mail.

If you have any questions about our upcoming seminars or any other retirement issues, please be sure to contact us at mailto:empsup@trb.state.ma.us. And thank you in advance for any assistance you can provide in letting our members know about these programs.

Sincerely,

Joan Schloss

YOUR MTRS BENEFITS

Your MTRS Benefits is an optional, free, two-hour (4-6 p.m.) informal program for any member who wants more information about MTRS retirement benefits—whether you are a new member, mid-career educator or soon-to-be retiree. Topics include:

  • recent—and potential—pension reforms,
  • MTRS benefits and services,
  • estimating your retirement benefits under the regular and RetirementPlus formulas,
  • various issues you need to consider in retirement, including health insurance coverage, taxation of your retirement benefit, the rules on working after retirement, Social Security—and more!

Program locations and dates:

AUBURN, Tuesday, May 3; Auburn High School auditorium

BARNSTABLE, Tuesday, May 3; Barnstable High School, Knight Auditorium

RAYNHAM, Thursday, May 5; Raynham Middle School auditorium

IPSWICH, Wednesday, May 11; Ipswich High School auditorium

SPRINGFIELD, Wednesday, May 11; Van Sickle Middle School auditorium

CAMBRIDGE, Thursday, May 12; MTRS Main Office, Presentation Room

PITTSFIELD, Thursday, May 12; Taconic High School auditorium

WOBURN, Thursday, May 19; Woburn High School auditorium

WEYMOUTH, Wednesday, May 25; Weymouth High School auditorium

CAMBRIDGE, Thursday, May 26; MTRS Main Office, Presentation Room

To attend, simply register online at http://mass.gov/mtrs!

==============

THE NEXT CHAPTER

The Next Chapter is our award-winning retirement planning program for members who are 5 to 15 years from retirement, but it is a valuable seminar for any educator working on a retirement plan. We encourage members to bring their spouse or companion.

This all-day, comprehensive retirement planning program features expert speakers who address many retirement issues, including:

  • Financial planning
  • Estate planning
  • Social Security and Medicare for the Massachusetts educator
  • Your MTRS benefits

Registration info:

  • MARLBOROUGH BEST WESTERN HOTEL, Saturday, May 14, 9 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
  • Registration fee: $35 per person, which includes a continental breakfast, lunch and refreshments.
  • Space is limited, and registration will be accepted on a first-come, first-served basis.
  • To attend, register online at http://mass.gov/mtrs by Tuesday, May 10.

We are confident you will find The Next Chapter Program to be an informative and enjoyable day, as well as a valuable resource in your personal retirement planning. We hope you will join us!

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February 28, 2011

Subject: MTRS notice: MyTRS training sessions now scheduled—please register online to attend

Dear School District Superintendents, Business Managers, Personnel Administrators, Payroll Officers, Town Treasurers, Charter School and Education Collaborative Directors:

In response to your requests for additional training on MyTRS, our online deduction reporting application released last summer, we will be providing Friday morning training sessions this spring, starting Friday, March 11.

Overview
To be presented by MTRS Employer Services representatives in our Cambridge and Springfield office training rooms, this year’s program is a shorter, revised version of last summer’s all-day training seminars. In each Friday morning program, we will cover the basic functions and “how-to”s of MyTRS: it will be a refresher for anyone who attended last year’s seminars, and a solid, to-the-point overview for new representatives and for those who were unable to attend the 2010 programs.

You will learn how to:

  • Get started (log in, navigate, view and update records)
  • Register new employees
  • Submit your deduction payment electronically
  • Report your employees' retirement deductions
  • Access the updated Guided Practices and Resource Guides

Who should attend
You should be sure to attend if you are involved in submitting monthly deduction reports and payments, or registering new employees in the MTRS, and you: