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Teachers’ Retirement System Seeing Record Number Of People Retiring

Empty classroom with no students

More than 1,000 people filed paperwork to retire via the Oklahoma Teachers’ Retirement system in June 2021.

That number is likely an all time record, Oklahoma TRS Executive Director Tom Spencer said.

Additionally, 770 people have filed paperwork to retire during the month of July. Though that number could fluctuate, it would likely also be a record.

The system is made up of K-12 teachers, support staff and university employees. So it’s not like everyone retiring is a teacher.

But, the high numbers could signal a further weakening of a workforce that has seen significant turnover in recent years.

Oklahoma school districts have known the so-called “retirement cliff” is approaching. Teachers’ pensions are determined by their last three years on the job so many might be looking to retire after completing their third year of school after the 2018 raises, Robin Fuxa, Director of the Professional Education program at Oklahoma State University, told StateImpact in May.

“We have a lot of boomers who are retiring,” she said at the time.

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Robby Korth grew up in Ardmore, Oklahoma and Fayetteville, Arkansas, and graduated from the University of Nebraska with a journalism degree.
StateImpact Oklahoma reports on education, health, environment, and the intersection of government and everyday Oklahomans. It's a reporting project and collaboration of KGOU, KOSU, KWGS and KCCU, with broadcasts heard on NPR Member stations.
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