Childhood is a journey, not a race.

Bits & Pieces, November 2022.

If you’re not at the table, you’re on the menu. That sentiment sums up state budget politics. It explains why it is so critically important to stay engaged while our leaders make decisions about retirees’ finances.

Work on the Plan 1 COLA continues. The Select Committee on Pension Policy has narrowed its focus to a single bill draft. Committee members are studying and plan to endorse a 3% Plan 1 COLA in 2023. The bill also has a provision requiring the Office of the State Actuary to study future funding for an automatic and permanent Plan 1 COLA. A 3% COLA this year is not enough. Inflation is running near 9%. The Social Security increase is likely to be between 8% and 9% year. The WSSRA legislative team is lobbying the SCPP for at least 7% one-time, or a two-year bill with 4% increases in 2023 and 2024. To weigh in, please contact the Select Committee on Pension Policy at The SCPP is expected to vote on this matter and make a final recommendation to the legislature at the 11/15 meeting.

There will be money for legislators to spend. Tax receipts for the current 2021-2023 state budget are approximately $1.5 billion higher than expected. The revenue forecast for the 2023-2025 budget is $200 million higher than initially forecasted. The 2025-2027 forecast is a whopping $70 billion – the current state budget is $63 billion.

Everyone will want a piece of the budget pie. Current state and school employees will expect inflationary raises. The hundreds of other advocacy organizations represented in Olympia will be requesting the extra revenue or the continuation of one-time programs. Pensions, however, are always a safe bet for legislators. Using extra revenue to pay down the unfunded liability saves the state hundreds of millions of dollars in future budgets and eliminates the risk of the Plan 1 becoming unfunded. Alternatively, paying COLAs to our retirees ensures our oldest citizens have resources they need for housing, food, and financial security.

Being in frequent contact with legislators – even nagging – is the best way to ensure pensioners’ needs are met. Let’s keep our seat at the table and not be on the menu this year.

Peter Diedrick


Calendar Items: Important dates with Health and Retirement Information !

Reminder: See
Check out the webinar on Health Care Plan Changes.  Remember retirees, the date to change health care plans is from November 1st to November 30th.  That means the paperwork must be in by November 30 not just postmarked November 30th.

Two other timely items are of note as the school year begins. First, the new Long-term care act goes live in January. Any wage earner not holding a pre-existing long-term care insurance plan in hand will pay 58 cents of every $100 earned ($580 for a $100,00 income) into a fund to pay for this new program. Details are listed on the WSSRA website under the “Current News” tab.

Second, the costs of Uniform Medical as a PEBB Medicare Supplement for 2022 will increase from $336 to $364 per month for a single subscriber. This increase may cause retirees to consider switching to other PEBB sponsored programs that are cheaper. November is the only monthto complete any switch. To get everyone current information join the webinar on October 26th. Detailed information on this webinar see the top item under the “Events” tab on the WSSRA website.

Informative Webinars for Active and Retired School Employees!

Check out under the tab WSSRA Current News and Projects:

  1. Health Care Authority: New United Health Care Medicare Advantage program coming in 2021. Sign up deadline November 30.
  2. Washington State Actuary: Supports the soundness of the pension system.
  3. Washington State Investment Board: 75% of your pension comes from the investments.
  4. Preretirement Webinar: Posted afterFebruary 18, 2021.
  5. Department of Retirement.

These are a few of the subjects of importance that you can find on the WSSRA website.

Mini Grants

Our mini grant program has changed due to the Covid 19 issues that schools are now dealing with. Please read the following letter and mini grant form to see what Unit 21 members are now doing to offer support to the local schools and staff.

As usual, all school employees are eligible to apply. However, this year we are looking to maximize our dollars and grant proposals will be judged on merit (number of students affected, feasibility of success, and funding needed). In the past each grant was for $150, this year amounts awarded will vary from $150 and above based on the criteria above. Grant applications must be submitted via email and received by the cutoff date. Preference will be given to Unit 21 members. A non-member may apply and receive a grant one time.


All across Washington there is a local unit for you and for your friends and co-workers. Membership can be by automatic deduction!

If you are still employed your school district will facilitate your membership cost of $7 per month. Please contact Michele Hunter at 360-413-5496 or for information or click the membership link in the box below.

If you are a retired school retiree, please call Michelle or Barbara Robinson Unit 21 membership chair at for information or click the membership link in the box below.

Remember if you live in the Skagit, Island, San Juan area your unit of choice is Unit 21.