La Crosse diocese terminates employee pension plan

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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU)-- Regis Catholic Schools President Mark Gobler says the announcement on pensions from the Diocese of La Crosse came as a shock.

Cropped Photo: 401(K) 2012 / CC BY-SA 2.0

"When we saw that it was going to be terminated, initially, it's like 'Oh my lord', what's going on? However, as you read through the letter, there is some money available for them at the end. It's probably not to the amount that they thought they were going to get, but there will be some that they can decide what to do," says Gobler.

All funds in the pension plan prior to 2007 will be distributed as a one-time lump sum payment to eligible participants at the end of May. Employees under the 403(b) retirement plan will continue to make contributions.

LA CROSSE, Wis. (AP) -- The bishop of the Diocese of La Crosse has informed hundreds of current and former employees they won't be getting all the pension benefits they were counting on for their retirement.

In a letter to members of the Lay Employees' Retirement Plan, Bishop William Patrick Callahan says the diocese is terminating the pension plan, which was frozen in 2007 and had been underfunded for years. The plan covers Catholic school teachers, rectory workers, custodians, secretaries and other employees in 19 west-central Wisconsin counties.

An estimated 1,000 people could be affected by the decision. The bishop's letter says funds in the plan will be distributed as a one-time lump sum payment to eligible participants. Monthly payments will continue until the final payout is made, likely sometime this summer.

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