The resources in the member section of this website provide important information about your membership including retirement eligibility requirements. Whether you are just starting your career or have years of experience, it is always a good idea to understand the basics about your membership in the St. Paul Teachers’ Retiremetn Fund Assocation (SPTRFA).

What does it mean to be a member? 

SPTRFA is a Defined-Benefit Pension Plan, which differs from a 403(b) or 401(k) because members are guaranteed a monthly retirement benefit payment for life.

Membership is automatic and mandatory upon employment in any St. Paul Public Schools (SPPS) position requiring a teaching license.

Retirement savings are automatic. A percentage is deducted from every paycheck towards your retirement. These contribution dollars are pretax, are determined by Minnesota law, and are subject to change.

As of July 1, 2023, employee contribution rate is 7.75 percent.

Your contributions and contributions made by SPPS are pooled and managed by experienced and credentialed investment professionals and the SPTRFA Board of Trustees, so you don’t take on the risk of investing.

To be eligible for lifetime pension benefits you must become “vested” in the retirement plan. Vesting is met after earning three years of service. Service credit is calculated by the retirement fund and is based on the number of days that you work in a fiscal year.

All active SPPS teachers will be sent periodic outreach emails from SPTRFA.

What happens if I leave teaching?

Inactive members are SPTRFA members who are either no longer employed by a SPTRFA covered employer but have left their employee contributions in the system, or members who have left service and elected to defer their retirement.  Although you are no longer actively contributing, it is important that you keep your contact and beneficiary information up to date with us.

Please note that depending on your age and length of retirement service credit in Minnesota, you retain certain public pension plan rights, including eligibility for either a refund of your employee contributions or a lifetime monthly retirement benefit.

Leaving service in St. Paul? Read about your options below.

What you do or don’t do after you leave service in St. Paul may affect your ultimate benefits from the SPTRFA.

  • Draw Your Benefit
  • Accrue Service Elsewhere – Combined Service Annuity with SPTRFA and another fund
  • Postpone Retirement –  Vested members might consider a deferring benefit because of the potential greater value of a lifetime annuity the closer they are to normal retirement age.
  • Refund – If you leave teaching, you are entitled to a refund of your employee contributions. Taking a refund prevents vested members from drawing a lifetime benefit payment. All service earned would be refunded along with the contribution balance. Refunds are subject to tax. Read more about refunds.