Thursday, October 8, 2009
Whither the Double Dippers?
You probably remember the big scam that Lincoln School Superintendent Frank Holman pulled earlier this year. He retired on June 30th, saying that there were health issues with family members. Then in August, he was rehired by the school board at his old salary of about $100,000. Holman explained that he had "retired" to take advantage of a teacher retirement law loophole that allowed him to leave the district for 30 days and draw retirement. The loophole was tightened by the legislature this year, but not in time to stop people like Holman who arranged to get rehired and draw a big salary while also draining the state retirement fund meant for retired teachers.
There are more than 2,000 people in Arkansas who have faked retirement to start drawing benefits then went back to work at big salaries. Their friends in high places have so far prevented their names being released, and most of them are not as proud of scamming the system as Frank Holman and the Lincoln School Board members seem to be.
What we do know, however, is where the Devious Double Dippers worked when they "retired" and where they now work while drawing salaries and retirement pay. Here is what we know about local double dippers.
This is where 161 of them worked when they "retired" and started drawing retirement payments:
Rogers School District - 60
Springdale School District - 22
Bentonville School District - 14
Lincoln School District - 14
Farmington School District - 11
Boston Mountain Coop - 10
West Fork School District - 9
Siloam Springs School District - 9
Elkin School District - 4
Greenland School District - 4
Pea Ridge School District - 3
Gravette School District - 1
Here's where 140 of the "retirees" have been hired and now are drawing both salaries and retirement benefits:
University of Arkansas - 31
Northwest Technical Institute - 22
Boston Mountain Coop - 13
NWA Academy of Fine Arts - 11
Haas Hall Academy - 11
Benton County School of Arts - 10
Pea Ridge School District - 7
Decatur School District - 2
Bentonville School District - 1
Lincoln School District - 1
In addition to the sucking of assets by the double dippers, the Arkansas Teacher Retirement System's investments fell by more than $2 billion last fiscal year. Hopefully, the market will improve and the new law will limit the number of fake retirements, making sure that Arkansas school teachers who really retire will get the benefits they deserve.