CCSA Answers: CalPERS and Charter Schools

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February 13, 2016 Question: Is CalPERS accepting new charter school employees? Answer: Yes, after four years, charter schools are again being accepted into PERS on a conditional basis. In 2011, CalPERS had aligned its contracting procedures with the IRS and Treasury Department's proposed draft regulations, Determination of Governmental Plan Status. This had resulted in new charter school employees being deemed ineligible to participate in CalPERS.

In 2015, the IRS issued Notice 2015-07 titled "Relief for Certain Participants in ยง 414(d) Governmental Plans," which provided interim relief prior to the effective date of the final regulations and allowed public charter schools to participate in governmental plans if they met certain conditions. CalPERS has aligned its eligibility criteria for charter schools in accordance with Notice 2015-07, and has developed a School Applicant Questionnaire that new charter school applicants are required to complete when seeking to become part of CalPERS. Charter schools must also complete a Charter School Certification.

In addition, PERS employees have also been retrained to answer charter school-related questions via phone or email within 48 hours by calling 888-225-7377 or emailing employer.response.team@calpers.ca.gov. Charter schools with high profile or time-sensitive requests may dial 1-800-253-4594 for assistance.