Pennsylvania Capitol with flag

This Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2015, file photo shows the Pennsylvania Capitol building in Harrisburg. 

HARRISBURG – The board of Pennsylvania’s largest public pension system on Monday night voted to raise contribution rates for tens of thousands of public school employees after a mistake in a calculation of the fund’s long-term investment performance was revealed last month.

The board of the $64 billion Public School Employees’ Retirement System voted to raise pension contribution rates starting next July 1 for about 94,000 public school employees – all hired in 2011 or after – as it works to straighten out what it has called a consultant's mistake that also has drawn queries from federal investigators.

The board voted nearly unanimously to change rates it had originally certified in December.

The lone “no” vote came from Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Pat Browne, who warned fellow board members that current state law does not allow the board to recertify employee contribution rates.

The consultant's error apparently affected a calculation that helps determine the balance of payments into the system by taxpayers and school employees.

If the higher rates take effect, most of those 94,000 school employees would see their contribution rate rise by 0.5% of their salary. A smaller number of them would see their contribution rate rise by 0.75% of their salary.

The system last week confirmed that it had been served with a grand jury subpoena for documents and that it is cooperating fully with the request by the U.S. attorney’s office in Philadelphia.

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