1976 South Carolina Code of Laws
Updated through the end of the 2000 Session
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Title 9 - Retirement Systems
OPTIONAL RETIREMENT PROGRAM FOR TEACHERS AND SCHOOL ADMINISTRATORS
SECTION 9-20-10. Definitions.
As used in this chapter:
(1) "Employer" means a school district which receives funding from the State from the annual appropriation to the Department of Education for Aid to School Districts--Employer Contributions in the annual general appropriations act.
(2) "Employee" means a person employed full time by a public school district who is:
(a) certified and teaching in the classroom;
(b) assisting a certified classroom teacher;
(c) a professional specialist having direct contact with students;
(d) an academic subject, or specialty area coordinator or director working in a school or school district;
(e) a principal, vocational center director, assistant principal or vocational center assistant director, district assistant, county or area superintendent.
(3) "Participant" means an employee who participates in the optional retirement program provided by this chapter.
SECTION 9-20-20. Optional retirement program established.
There is established an optional retirement program for public school (kindergarten through grade twelve) teachers, specialists, coordinators, and administrators. An employee is not eligible to participate in the optional retirement program unless the employee is eligible for membership in the South Carolina Retirement System. The following retirement and death benefit payment options may be provided for a participant in the optional retirement program: annuities, lump-sum distributions, partial distributions, or periodic withdrawals, whether through individual annuity contracts or individual certificates issued for group annuity contracts, fixed or variable in nature, or a combination of them, which must be issued to, and become the property of, the participant, or through mutual fund companies, or through state or national banking institutions. The employer and the participant shall contribute toward the purchase of the contract or investment under this program. The contribution made by the employer must be derived, in whole or in part, from the funds appropriated annually by the General Assembly as Aid to School Districts--Employer Contributions in the Department of Education appropriation in the annual general appropriations act. In accordance with the definition provided in Section 9-20-10(2), the State Department of Education annually shall provide to the South Carolina Retirement System a listing of positions that qualify an employee for the optional retirement program.
SECTION 9-20-30. Administration of program; designation of investment companies.
The South Carolina Retirement System shall provide for the administration of the optional retirement program under this chapter. The director of the South Carolina Retirement System shall designate no fewer than four companies to provide annuity contracts, mutual fund accounts, or similar investment products offered through state or national banking institutions, or a combination of them, under the program. In making the designation the director shall consider:
(1) the nature and extent of the rights and benefits to be provided by the contracts or accounts, or both, of participants and their beneficiaries;
(2) the relation of the rights and benefits to the amount of contributions to be made;
(3) the suitability of these rights and benefits to the needs of the participants;
(4) the ability and experience of the designated companies in providing suitable rights and benefits under the contracts or accounts, or both;
(5) the ability and experience of the designated companies to provide suitable education and investment options.
SECTION 9-20-40. Election of system; changing systems; payment into optional retirement program.
Employees first employed in an eligible position or job classification within each school district after June 30, 2000, shall elect either to join the South Carolina Retirement System or to participate in the optional retirement program under this chapter on or before December 1, 2000, or within ninety days after the entry into service, whichever is later, or failing to make the initial election within the required time, the employee is considered to have elected membership in the South Carolina Retirement System. An election made pursuant to this section must be made in writing and filed with the retirement system and the appropriate officer of the employee's participating employer and is effective on the date of employment.
The election to participate in the optional retirement program is irrevocable. However, an employee who participates in the optional retirement program may irrevocably elect to join the South Carolina Retirement System upon the passage of sixty months after initial enrollment in the optional retirement program. The optional retirement participant must make this election to participate in the South Carolina Retirement System within ninety days after the expiration of sixty months after the employee's initial enrollment in the optional retirement program, or failing to make the election within the allotted time, the employee is considered to have irrevocably elected to participate in the optional retirement program. Upon joining the system, the employee may establish up to five years of credit in the system for service earned while participating in the optional retirement program by making a payment to the system in an amount determined by the board.
SECTION 9-20-50. Contributions.
Each participant shall contribute monthly to the program the same amount he would be required to contribute to the South Carolina Retirement System if the participant were a member of that system. Participant contributions may be made by payroll deduction, by a reduction in salary, or by employer pick up in accordance with any applicable provisions of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986. Each employer shall contribute on behalf of each participant the same amount it would be required to contribute to the South Carolina Retirement System if the participant were a member of that system. Each employer shall remit to the designated companies, for application to participants' contracts or accounts, or both, an amount equal to the participant's contribution plus that percentage of each employer's contribution which would have been used to fund all retirement system benefits for future service if the participants had been members of the retirement system, but the employer's contribution may not be less than four and one-quarter percent of compensation. The employer shall remit the remainder of its required contribution to the retirement system, but the contribution to the retirement system must not be less than two and fifty-five hundredths percent of the employee's compensation.
SECTION 9-20-60. Payment of retirement or preretirement death benefit by State.
No retirement benefit or preretirement death benefit may be paid by the State for service rendered while participating in the optional retirement program except as authorized in Section 9-20-40. The benefits are payable to optional retirement program participants or their beneficiaries by the designated companies in accordance with the terms of the contracts issued to participants.