Substitute Teacher Status Changing to Independent Contractor And the Impact on SPTRFA Members

St. Paul Public Schools recently announced that it has contracted with Teachers on Call to provide all substitute staffing.  As a result, substitute teachers will no longer be employees of the District, but rather employees of Teachers on Call, an independent contractor.
Given that this is a recent change, we wanted to provide a brief summary of how this relates to your benefits and status with the St. Paul Teachers’ Retirement Fund Association (SPTRFA).  Please click to review the PDF document to learn more about this change.

The SPTRFA staff welcomes any pension-related questions and is here to help you.

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Click here to open the June Newsletter

  • SPTRFA Board of Trustees and Staff Salute Paul V. Doane
    After three years of outstanding leadership, SPTRFA’s Executive Director, Paul V. Doane, retired on July 1, 2014.
  • SPTRFA Board of Trustees Welcomes Incoming Executive Director  Jill E. Schurtz
  • Call for BOT Nomination!
  • Welcome Retiree Class of 2014! And Retired Member Meets former WCCO-TV News Anchor Don Shelby!
  • Investment Portfolio Update
  • New FAQ: That’s a Good Question!
     “Will I receive verification of my first pension benefit deposit?”

Executive Director Retires

Paul Doane will retire on June 30th of this year after three years of service as the Executive Director for SPTRFA. In March of 2011, Paul came out of retirement with the mission to set a new direction for the fund to ensure its longevity.

We sincerely thank Paul for his hard work and dedication to the restructuring of the investment portfolio and implementing many of the crucial changes that were needed to ensure that the fund is still sustainable for its members for another 100 years.


Jill Schurtz of Minneapolis Picked to lead SPTRFA as Executive Director

The Board of Trustees is pleased to announce the selection of Ms. Jill Schurtz as the next Executive Director for the St. Paul Teachers’ Retirement Fund Association. She will start her duties on June 1.
First up for the new Director will be travelling with SPTRFA Assistant Director Christine MacDonald to the annual meeting of Plan directors of the National Council on Teachers Retirement (NCTR) meetings in Austin, TX, June 1-3. Jill will work alongside the departing director, Paul Doane, for a few weeks during June to insure a seamless transition. MORE HERE.


Legislation opens door for Duluth Teachers to join Minnesota Teachers pension fund

In the News! By Rick Baert, Pensions&Investments| May 27, 2014

The $210 million Duluth Teachers’ Retirement Fund Association (DTRFA) could be merged into the $18 billion Minnesota Teachers Retirement Association (TRA), as a result of legislation signed last week by Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton

The merger is pending approval of the two pension funds’ boards and DTRFA plan participants. The Minnesota TRA is expected to approve the merger, according to a statement on its website. The Duluth Teachers’ board approved the initial idea when it was proposed last year.

The commission report was requested last year by the state legislators, asking the commission to look at combining the assets and administration of DTRFA as well as the $926 million SPTRFA into the state teachers fund. It also asked the boards of the Duluth and St. Paul teachers pension funds to vote on whether they approved of a merger; the Duluth fund’s board voted in favor while the St. Paul fund opposed such a move.

The Duluth board wanted the merger to reduce its liabilities. “To close the gap … we can’t invest our way out of it,” J. Michael Stoffel, deputy executive director at TRA and former executive director of the Duluth plan, said in an interview last September. The St. Paul board said at the time the merger would be too costly.

However, St. Paul Teachers will get $7 million a year from the state beginning Oct. 1, 2015, to help improve its funded status, as part of the bill signed by Mr. Dayton.

Read the full article online at, Pensions&Investments


Gov. Dayton signs 2014 pension bill

May 21 UPDATE: 2014 Omnibus Retirement Bill, H.F. 1951 (Murphy, M.) 

Gov. Mark Dayton on Wednesday, May 21, signed into law the Omnibus Retirement Bill (H.F. 1951)  providing the St. Paul Teachers’ Retirement Fund Association   State funding assistance of $7 Million annually beginning Oct. 1, 2015.

This aid will help address unfunded liabilities brought on by funding shortfalls from the State in years past. The bill also sets a fixed amortization date of 2042 for SPTRFA to achieve full funding, and clarifies membership eligibility requirements for future annual post-retirement benefits.  The bill leaves SPTRFA as a separate Plan rather than merging it into the statewide Teachers Retirement Association (TRA), while authorizing the merger of the Duluth Teachers’ Retirement Fund Association(DTRFA) into TRA. Consolidation of DTRFA and TRA will move forward after the expected  approval of the TRA and Duluth boards and the DTRFA membership.

Bill author Rep. Mary Murphy, D-Hermantown, said that the measure was “crafted in the spirit of good financial stewardship and accountability to stakeholders – current and future public retirees, local government and school district employers, and taxpayers.”

Senate bill sponsor Sen. Sandy Pappas, D-St. Paul, added: “This is really an attempt to make sure we have a strong, sustainable teacher retirement system for all teachers.”

Other significant reforms in this year’s bill include:

  • Raising employee and employer contribution rates for the Public Employees Retirement Association (PERA) and Minnesota State Retirement System (MSRS). MSRS and PERA changes are being made with the intent that they will help put these plans on the path to achieve 100 percent funding.
  • Spelling out the process by which cost of living adjustments are triggered when the three statewide plans reach 90 percent funding. The plans must be 90 percent funded two years in a row before COLA increases kick in. For TRA, if 90 percent funded, the COLA  increases from 2 percent to 2.5 percent.
  • Fixing the statutory joint and survivor optional annuity discount rate for all statewide plans, which will reduce system costs and administration.
Bill Authors

Murphy, M.; Simonson; Nelson; Kahn; Lesch; Morgan

Institutional Investor magazine announces winners!

A big Congratulations is in order and we couldn’t be more proud!!

Named Small Public Pension Fund Manager of the Year, Paul Doane, Executive Director, CIO, St. Paul Teachers’ Retirement Fund Association.

The awards recognize U.S. institutional investors whose innovative strategies and fiduciary savvy resulted in impressive returns in 2013, as well as U.S. money managers in 37 asset classes who stood out in the eyes of the investor community for their exceptional performance, risk management and service.

This year’s manager winners were announced on March 17 and will be awarded along with the honorees at a dinner and ceremony on Thursday, May 15, 2014 at the Mandarin Oriental in New York City. Read More here.

SELECTION PROCESS: Institutional Investor’s U.S. Investment Management Award winners are chosen by the editorial staff of Institutional Investor magazine based on their market intelligence, performance data and additional information received from the industry following a public call for nominations and survey to investors.

Pension Withholding Contribution Change

February 21, 2014 payroll will include a 0.25% increase in your pension withholding. On July 1, 2013, your SPTRFA pension contribution rates, made by payroll deduction through SPPS (the District), were scheduled to be increased by 0.25%. We were notified by the District of an unfortunate delay in the implementation of the increased pension contribution rate. The District will begin to apply the additional 0.25% deduction beginning with the February 21st SPPS payroll.

The proper collection of pension contributions is the responsibility of St. Paul Public Schools, but we can share what we now understand. The 0.25% increase will be retroactive to July 1, 2013. The time period for the retroactive collection may be stretched over the remainder of the school year, but this will ultimately be the decision of St. Paul Public Schools. The SPPS Human Resources/Payroll department is working on the plan this week and will communicate the plan after it has been approved.

The SPTRFA pension fund is not part of the District, so you may wish to contact the SPPS Payroll department directly for further information. If you have questions regarding your payroll deductions, please contact SPPS payroll directly.