Arlington, Va.— For the first time, school superintendents will assume full responsibility for administering public school systems´ retirement savings plans, under new regulations proposed by the Internal Revenue Service. The new regulations, which are part of a major overhaul of nonprofit retirement plans by the IRS, represent a significant increase in administrative responsibility for school leaders. The American Association of School Administrators (AASA), in collaboration with the IRS, is developing a toolkit to help school leaders implement the new regulations. The toolkit will deliver IRS education materials directly to superintendents to help them administer 403(b) and 457(b) retirement plans efficiently and effectively.

The proposed IRS regulations govern 403(b) and 457(b) tax-sheltered annuities that public school systems offer as a benefit to their employees. Under the new rules, school systems that offer 403(b) and/or 457(b) plans will have full responsibility for plan administration. This increased responsibility comes at a time when administrators have limited resources to assume new responsibilities for employee benefits. In addition, school districts could face fines and other penalties if the accounts are mismanaged.

The proposed regulations are intended to bring the requirements for 403(b) plans in line with the requirements for 401(k) and public 457(b) plans. Because many public schools offer these plans to their employees, the regulations will have a significant impact on public school systems.

The AASA toolkit, entitled Blueprints: A Guide to Public School Plans 403(b) and 457(b), will provide education and resources about what is required to comply with the new regulations. The toolkit will include:

? User-friendly forms and step-by-step procedures for implementing the new regulations
? A wall chart that visually demonstrates what a required 403(b) written plan looks like and how it functions
? A glossary of terms related to 403(b) and 457(b) plan administration
? A 30-minute video for school leaders on their roles and responsibilities in implementing the new regulations
? A 30-minute video for teachers about the significance of the new regulations
? Quick links to relevant forms and information on the IRS website

AASA will mail the toolkit to every school superintendent in the country shortly after the regulations are released. According to the IRS, the regulations will be released in the coming days and will take effect Jan. 1, 2009.

"AASA is pleased to take the lead in helping superintendents comply with the forthcoming IRS requirements," said Paul D. Houston, AASA executive director. "Many superintendents have limited resources with which to achieve compliance with these new rules. The Blueprints toolkit will offer easy-to-use tools to help superintendents meet this challenge."

"AASA is stepping out in front and meeting a significant challenge facing school leaders," said Sarah D. Jerome, AASA president and superintendent of schools in Arlington Heights, Ill. "The Blueprints toolkit will be a critical resource for superintendents nationwide."

The Blueprints toolkit is made possible by grants from AIG Valic, AXA Equitable, Horace Mann Companies and ING.

About AASA
AASA, founded in 1865, is the professional organization for more than 13,000 educational leaders across the United States. AASA´s mission is to support and develop effective school system leaders who are dedicated to the highest quality public education for all children. AASA´s major focus is standing up for public education. For more information, please visit www.aasa.org.

About the Author:

eSchool News