State Auditor John Geragosian file photo

Connecticut’s state auditor reported Thursday that the state for years has inappropriately paid for the health benefits of three teachers who returned to the classroom after having been in retirement.

State Auditor John Geragosian
State Auditor John Geragosian file photo

In a review of seven sample cases, State Auditor John Geragosian found that three re-employed teachers still had health benefits being paid for by the state’s Teachers’ Retirement Board rather than by the local school districts employing the teachers.

The retirement board – which provides $20 million in subsidies each year to bring down health insurance costs for retired public school teachers – did not have procedures in place to ensure the state stops paying for these benefits when teachers return to the classroom.

Despite state law mandating the state not pick up this cost, “Rehired teachers received health benefits from the board that they were not eligible to receive,” Geragosian wrote.

While 43 percent of the seven cases reviewed were found to be receiving benefits in error, it is not clear just how widespread the problem is. The audit was part of a regular review and only selected a sample of cases to check. Statewide, 183 people left retirement to return to the classroom in fiscal years 2014 and 2015

“We agree with this recommendation. Upon discovery we immediately implemented a process to retroactively recoup health benefits paid on behalf of re-employed retired teachers, where applicable, and to suspend such benefits prospectively for newly re-employed retirees.”

Geragosian said in an interview he believed the Teachers’ Retirement Board had resolved the problem.

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Jacqueline Rabe Thomas

Jacqueline was CT Mirror’s Education and Housing Reporter, and an original member of the CT Mirror staff, joining shortly before our January 2010 launch. Her awards include the best-of-show Theodore A. Driscoll Investigative Award from the Connecticut Society of Professional Journalists in 2019 for reporting on inadequate inmate health care, first-place for investigative reporting from the New England Newspaper and Press Association in 2020 for reporting on housing segregation, and two first-place awards from the National Education Writers Association in 2012. She was selected for a prestigious, year-long Propublica Local Reporting Network grant in 2019, exploring a range of affordable and low-income housing issues. Before joining CT Mirror, Jacqueline was a reporter, online editor and website developer for The Washington Post Co.’s Maryland newspaper chains. Jacqueline received an undergraduate degree in journalism from Bowling Green State University and a master’s in public policy from Trinity College.

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