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.
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.