As used in this Chapter, the following words and phrases have the meanings ascribed to them in this Section unless a different meaning is plainly required by the context:

(1)  “Accumulated Contributions” means the sum of all the amounts deducted from the compensation of a member plus any interest which has been credited to his individual account in the annuity savings fund plus amounts credited to his account.

(2)  “Actuarial equivalent” means a benefit of equivalent value to the accumulated contributions, annuity, or benefits, as the case may be, computed on the basis of interest and mortality assumptions adopted in accordance with the provisions of R.S. 11:834.

(3)  “Annuity” means payments for life derived from the “accumulated contributions” of a member.  All annuities shall be payable in equal monthly installments.

(4)  “Annuity Reserve” means the present value of all payments to be made on account of any annuity or benefit in lieu of any annuity computed upon the basis of mortality tables adopted by the board of trustees, and regular interest.

(5)(a)  “Average compensation” subject to the other provisions of this Paragraph, for any teacher whose first employment making him eligible for membership in one of the state systems occurred on or before December 31, 2010, means the average earnable compensation of a teacher for the three highest successive years of employment, or the highest three successive joined years of employment where interruption of service occurred.  For any teacher whose first employment making him eligible for membership in one of the state systems occurred on or after January 1, 2011, “average compensation” means his average earnable compensation for the five highest successive years of employment, or the highest five successive joined years where interruption of service occurred.  The computation of such average compensation shall be in accordance with the following guidelines:

(i)  The amount for the first through the twelfth month shall not exceed the compensation for the immediately preceding twelve months by more than ten percent for a teacher whose first employment making him eligible for membership in one of the state systems occurred on or before December 31, 2010, or by more than fifteen percent for a teacher whose first employment making him eligible for membership in one of the state systems occurred on or after January 1, 2011.

(ii)  The amount for the thirteenth through the twenty-fourth month shall not exceed the lesser of the maximum allowable compensation amount or the actual compensation amount for the first through twelfth month by more than ten percent for a teacher whose first employment making him eligible for membership in one of the state systems occurred on or before December 31, 2010, or by more than fifteen percent for a teacher whose first employment making him eligible for membership in one of the state systems occurred on or after January 1, 2011.

(iii)  The amount for the twenty-fifth through the thirty-sixth month shall not exceed the lesser of the maximum allowable compensation amount or the actual compensation amount for the thirteenth through twenty-fourth month by more than ten percent for a teacher whose first employment making him eligible for membership in one of the state systems occurred on or before December 31, 2010, or by more than fifteen percent for a teacher whose first employment making him eligible for membership in one of the state systems occurred on or after January 1, 2011.

(iv)  The amount for the thirty-seventh through the forty-eighth month shall not exceed the lesser of the maximum allowable compensation amount or the actual compensation amount for the  twenty-fifth through the thirty-sixth month by more than fifteen percent.

(v)  The amount for the final twelve months shall not exceed the lesser of the maximum allowable compensation amount or the actual compensation amount for the thirty-seventh through the forty-eighth month by more than fifteen percent.

(b)  The thirty-six or sixty months used for average compensation, as the case may be, cannot cover a period when the member receives more than three years or five years of service credit respectively.

(c)(i)  The limitations on the computation of average compensation in this Paragraph shall not apply to any of the twelve-month periods where compensation increased by more than the amount allowable in Subparagraph (a) of this Paragraph over the previous twelve-month period solely because of an increase in compensation by legislative act, by city/parish systemwide salary increase, or by a systemwide increase at a college or university.

(ii)  Any active member or retiree whose average compensation includes or would include earnable compensation received between June 30, 1995 and June 30, 1997, as the result of a legislative act, a city/parish systemwide salary increase, or a systemwide increase at a college or university shall have his average compensation calculated without regard to the limitations on the computation of average compensation imposed in this Paragraph for that period.  The provisions of this Item shall only apply to any such member or retiree whose employer filed with this system on or before July 1, 1998, a written request or application for coverage under this Subparagraph.

(iii)  Any retiree to whom Item (ii) of this Subparagraph applies, whose benefits are based, or by reason of Item (ii) of this Subparagraph would be based, on a calculation of average compensation which includes earnable compensation between June 30, 1995, and June 30, 1997, shall have his benefits recalculated in accordance with this Subparagraph and, if an increase in benefits results, the retiree shall be paid such an amount to restore any prior benefits that would have been paid if the benefits had originally been calculated in accordance with this Subparagraph.

(d)  Provided, however, in any case where a classroom teacher changes employment to that of a classroom teacher in another parish, the amount for the twelve months of earnings in the position of a classroom teacher in the second parish of employment shall not exceed the compensation for the immediately preceding twelve months by more than twenty-five percent.

(e)  Notwithstanding any other provision of law to the contrary, “average compensation” shall not include any amount in excess of the limitation provided in R.S. 11:785.1.

(6)  “Beneficiary” means the eligible recipient of a pension, annuity, retirement allowance, or other benefit provided in this Chapter.  A beneficiary shall be a natural person or the succession of a natural person, except as provided in R.S. 11:762(J).

(7)  “Board of Trustees” means the board provided for in Part V of this Chapter to administer the retirement system.

(8)  “Conduit individual retirement account” means an account which is covered by the provisions of Section 408(a) of the United States Internal Revenue Code, provided the account only contains assets rolled over to the account as an eligible rollover distribution from a qualified plan, plus earnings on those assets, but does not contain any other assets.

(9)  “Creditable Service” means “Prior Service” plus “Membership Service” for which credit is allowable as provided in Part III of this Chapter.  A person may not obtain more than one year of service credit during any fiscal year.

(10)  “Earnable compensation” means the compensation earned by a member during the full normal working time as a teacher.  Earnable compensation shall include any differential wage payment as defined by 26 U.S.C. 3401(h)(2) that is made by an employer to any individual performing qualified military service.  Earnable compensation shall not include per diem, post allowances, payment in kind, hazardous duty pay, or any other allowance for expense authorized and incurred as an incident to employment, nor payments in lieu of unused sick or annual leave, nor retroactive salary increases unless such an increase was granted by legislative Act or by a city or parish systemwide salary increase, nor payment for discontinuation of contractual services, unless the payment is made on a monthly basis. If a member is granted an official leave and he makes contributions for the period of leave, earnable compensation shall not include compensation paid for other employment which would not have been possible without the leave.  The board of trustees shall determine whether or not any other payments are to be classified as earnable compensation.

(11)  “Employer” means the state of Louisiana, any city, parish, or other local school board, the State Board of Elementary and Secondary Education, any board created by Article VIII of the Constitution of Louisiana, or any other agency of and within the state or a political subdivision by which a teacher is paid.

(12)  “Eligible rollover distribution” means a distribution as defined in R.S. 11:792(B).

(13)  “Excess benefit participant” means any member whose retirement benefit as determined on the basis of all qualified plans of the employer without regard to the limitations of R.S. 11:784.1 and comparable provisions of other qualified plans of the employer would exceed the maximum benefit permitted under Section 415 of the Internal Revenue Code.

(14)  “Fiscal year” means the period beginning July first of any year and ending June thirtieth of the next succeeding year.  Teachers employed by year-round schools shall receive a full year of service credit if they work all available days of the fiscal year.

(14.1)  “Internal Revenue Code” means the United States Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended.

(15)  “Maximum benefit” means the retirement benefit a member is entitled to receive from the system set forth in Part IV of this Chapter in any month after giving effect to R.S. 11:784.1 and any similar provisions of any other qualified plans of the employer designed to conform to Section 415 of the Internal Revenue Code.

(16)  “Medical board” shall mean the State Medical Disability Board.

(17)  “Member” means any teacher included in the membership of the system as provided in Part II of this Chapter.

(18)  “Membership Service” means service as a teacher rendered while a member of the retirement system.

(19)  “Minor child” means an unmarried child under the age of twenty-one years or an unmarried student under the age of twenty-three years who is the issue of a marriage of a member of this system, the legally adopted child of a member of this system, a child born outside of marriage of a female member of this system, or the child of a male member of this system if a court of competent jurisdiction has, pursuant to the provisions of the Civil Code rendered a judgment of filiation declaring the paternity of such member for the child.  An unmarried child who acquires a mental disability or a total and permanent physical disability prior to age twenty-one, as certified by the medical board, shall be considered a “minor child” for the purposes of the benefit provisions of this Chapter and shall remain a “minor child” provided the medical board certifies he has a mental disability or a total and permanent disability and provided he remains unmarried.

(20)  “Natural person” means a human being.

(21)  “Pensions” means payments for life.  All pensions shall be payable in equal monthly installments.

(22)  “Pension Reserve” means the present value of all payments to be made on account of any pension or benefit in lieu of any pension computed upon the basis of mortality tables adopted by the board of trustees, and regular interest.

(22.1)  “Plan Year” means the fiscal year.

(23)  “Prior Service” means service rendered prior to the date of establishment of the retirement system for which credit is allowable under Part III of this Chapter.

(24)  “Public School” means any school conducted within the state under the authority and supervision of a city, parish, or other local school board and any educational institution supported by and under the control of the state.

(25)  “Qualified plan” means a trust which is covered by the provisions of Section 401(a) of the United States Internal Revenue Code.

(26)  “Regular Interest” means interest compounded annually at such a rate as shall be determined by the board of trustees in accordance with R.S. 11:851.

(27)  “Retirement” means withdrawal from active service with a retirement allowance granted under the provisions of this Chapter.

(28)  “Retirement allowance” means the sum of the annuity and the pensions or any optional benefit payable in lieu thereof.  These benefits are paid in advance on the first of the month that they are due.

(29)  “Retirement System” means the Teachers’ Retirement System of Louisiana as defined in R.S. 11:702.

(30)  “Service” means service as a teacher within the meaning of Paragraph (33) of this Section.

(31)  “Spouse” shall mean a person who is legally married to a member of this system and shall not include a person who is legally separated from a member of this system by a judgment of separation, unless such person has voluntarily reconciled with the member and which reconciliation is established by a court of competent jurisdiction.

(32)  “Student” means a person who satisfies all of the provisions of this Paragraph.

(a)  The student must be enrolled in a high school, vocational-technical school, or a college or university, any of which must be duly accredited or approved by the appropriate educational agency of the state in which it is located.

(b)  The student must be enrolled in a sufficient number of courses and classes in such institution to be classified as a full-time regular student under the criteria used by the institution in which he is enrolled.  The educational institution shall provide written notification to the retirement system that the student is in full-time status.

(33)(a)  “Teacher”, except as provided in Subparagraph (b) of this Paragraph, shall mean any of the following:

(i)  Any employee of a city, parish, or other local school board, any parish,  city, or other local superintendent, or any assistant superintendent of public schools.

(ii)(aa)  Any president, vice president, dean, teacher, guidance counselor, or unclassified employee at any state college or university or any vocational-technical school or institution or special school under the control of the State Board of Elementary and Secondary Education, or any educational institution supported by and under the control of the state or any city, parish, or other local school board.

(bb)  Notwithstanding the provisions of Subitem (aa) of this Item, the person who is the director for the Louisiana State University Laboratory School on the effective date of this Subitem shall not be included in this definition.

(iii)  Any full-time unclassified employees of boards created by Article VIII of the Constitution of Louisiana who became employed on or after July 1, 1991, provided that such persons employed on and after July 1, 1991, who are members of the Louisiana State Employees’ Retirement System shall remain members of the Louisiana State Employees’ Retirement System.

(iv)  The president and staff of the Louisiana Federation of Teachers who were members of the Teachers’ Retirement System prior to such employment.

(v)(aa)  The president or secretary and staff of the Louisiana Association of Educators.

(bb)  Notwithstanding the provisions of this Item or any other provision of law to the contrary, any non-bargaining employee whose initial effective date of employment occurred on or before June 30, 2001, shall be eligible to irrevocably elect to terminate his membership in this system, provided such election to terminate membership is exercised on or before September 30, 2001.  Any non-bargaining employee whose initial effective date of employment occurs on or after July 1, 2001, shall have the irrevocable option to not participate in this system, provided that such option to not participate must be made within sixty days after the effective date of his employment and any such employee who fails to exercise the option not to participate shall become a participating member of this system.  For purposes of this Subitem, the phrase “non-bargaining employee” shall mean any employee of the Louisiana Association of Educators whose employment is not covered by a collective bargaining agreement.

(cc)  Notwithstanding any other provision of law to the contrary, any non-bargaining employee who retires from the Teachers’ Retirement System and later is reemployed in a position covered by the provisions of this Chapter shall not have his retirement benefits reduced or suspended during such reemployment.

(vi)  The employees of the Teachers’ Retirement System of Louisiana, provided that persons employed by the Teachers’ Retirement System on and after July 1, 1991, who are members of the Louisiana State Employees’ Retirement System shall remain members of the Louisiana State Employees’ Retirement System.

(vii)  The director and staff of the Associated Professional Educators of Louisiana.

(viii)(aa)  Except as otherwise provided in this Item, the director, secretary, staff members, or any other individual employed by the Louisiana High School Athletic Association on or before June 30, 2011.

(bb)  Notwithstanding the provisions of this Item or any other provision of law to the contrary, any director, secretary, staff member, or any other individual employed by the Louisiana High School Athletic Association on or after July 1, 2000, and on or before June 30, 2011, who does not have a valid Louisiana teacher’s certificate shall not be required to participate in the system.

(cc)  Any individual employed by the Louisiana High School Athletic Association on or before June 30, 2011, who has a valid Louisiana teacher’s certificate shall be required to participate in the system provided the person satisfies all other eligibility criteria set forth in this Chapter.

(ix)  For purposes hereof, staff personnel involved in the administration of a health and welfare program for the benefit of employees of a school board, which program is coordinated by the school board and a teacher association, and which staff personnel are so designated by the school board, shall be considered to be employees of the school board provided that such employees were previously members of this system.

(x)  The director and staff of the Louisiana Resource Center for Educators.

(xi)  An alien holding a J-1 visa who is teaching in a Louisiana public school through a J-1 exchange visitor program.

(xii)  All nonclassified employees of the state who are administrators, faculty members, or other professional employees at the New Orleans Center for Creative Arts.

(xiii)  Any person who has retained membership in the system pursuant to R.S. 11:723.

(xiv)  In all cases of doubt, the board of trustees shall determine whether any person is a teacher within the scope of the definition set forth in this Paragraph.

(b)  “Teacher” shall not include any of the following:

(i)  Any employee of a city, parish, or other local school board who is employed as a school bus driver, school janitor, school custodian, or school maintenance employee, school bus aide, monitor, or attendant, or anyone who actually works on a school bus helping with the transportation of school children.

(ii)(aa)  Any classified state employee at any state college, university, vocational-technical school, or institution or special school under the control of the State Board of Elementary and Secondary Education, or any educational institution supported by and under the control of the state.

(bb)  The person who is director for the Louisiana State University Laboratory School on July 11, 2005.

(iii)  Any employees of the State Department of Education except that persons employed by the State Department of Education on and after July 1, 1991, who are members of this system shall remain members of this system.

(iv)  Board members and employees of any board created by Article VIII of the Constitution of Louisiana, except as provided in Subparagraph (33)(a) of this Section.

(v)  Aliens who teach in Louisiana based on J and F visas, except as provided in Item (a)(xi) of this Paragraph.

(c)  Repealed by Acts 2010, No. 861, §22.

(34)  “Unrestricted benefit” means the monthly retirement benefit a member, or the spouse or child of a member, would have received under the terms of all qualified plans of the employer, except for the restrictions of R.S. 11:784.1 and any similar provisions of any other qualified plans designed to conform to Section 415 of the Internal Revenue Code.

Acts 1971, No. 5, §1; Acts 1972, No. 589, §1; Acts 1975, No. 339, §1; Acts 1975, Ex.Sess., No. 3, §2, eff. June 1, 1975; Acts 1978, No. 648, §1, eff. July 13, 1978; Acts 1978, No. 727, §3, eff. Jan. 1, 1979; Acts 1982, No. 174, §1; Acts 1982, No. 579, §1, eff. July 22, 1982; Acts 1983, No. 17, §1, eff. July 1, 1983; Acts 1984, No. 34, §1; Acts 1984, No. 471, §1; Acts 1985, No. 652, §1; Acts 1986, No. 786, §1; Acts 1986, No. 439, §1; Acts 1987, No. 591, §1; Acts 1988, No. 930, §1, eff. July 26, 1988; Acts 1989, No. 279, §1; Acts 1990, No. 631, §1, eff. July 1, 1990; Acts 1991, No. 216, §1, eff. July 1, 1991; Redesignated from R.S. 17:571 by Acts 1991, No. 74, §3, eff. June 25, 1991; Acts 1992, No. 160, §1, eff. June 5, 1992; Acts 1992, No. 212, §1, eff. July 1, 1992; Acts 1993, No. 597, §1, eff. July 1, 1993; Acts 1993, No. 739, §1; Acts 1995, No. 571, §1, eff. July 1, 1995; Acts 1995, No. 577, §1, eff. July 1, 1995; Acts 1995, No. 592, §1, eff. July 1, 1995; Acts 1995, No. 1268, §1, eff. June 29, 1995; Acts 1997, No. 78, §1, eff. July 1, 1997; Acts 1997, No. 812, §1, eff. July 1, 1997; Acts 1997, No. 1353, §1, eff. July 1, 1997; Acts 1999, No. 40, §1, eff. July 1, 1999; Acts 1999, No. 47, §1, eff. July 1, 1999; Acts 1999, No. 356, §1, eff. July 1, 1999; Acts 1999, No. 943, §1, eff. July 9, 1999; Acts 1999, No. 1330, §1, eff. July 12, 1999; Acts 2000, 1st Ex. Sess., No. 60, §1, eff. July 1, 2000; Acts 2001, No. 1046, §1, eff. June 28, 2001; Acts 2001, No. 1172, §1, eff. July 1, 2001; Acts 2001, No. 1174, §1, eff. July 1, 2001; Acts 2003, No. 536, §1, eff. July 1, 2003; Acts 2003, No. 559, §1, eff. June 27, 2003; Acts 2004, No. 26, §6; Acts 2005, No. 455, §1, eff. July 11, 2005; Acts 2009, No. 412, §1; Acts 2010, No. 525, §1, eff. June 24, 2010; Acts 2010, No. 637, §§1, 2, eff. July 1, 2010; Acts 2010, No. 861, §4; Acts 2010, No. 992, §1, eff. Jan. 1, 2011; Acts 2010, No. 999, §§1, 3; Acts 2011, No. 75, §1, eff. July 1, 2011; Acts 2012, No. 298, second §2; Acts 2012, No. 510, §1, eff. July 1, 2012; Acts 2013, No. 220, §3, eff. June 11, 2013; Acts 2014, No. 727, §1, eff. July 1, 2014; Acts 2014, No. 811, §4, eff. June 23, 2014.

NOTE:  SEE ACTS 1990, NO. 355.

NOTE:  SEE ACTS 1990, NO. 631, §2.

NOTE:  See Acts 1999, No. 943, §2, relative to remedial nature of Act and retroactive application to July 1, 1995.

NOTE:  See Acts 2001, No. 1172, §2 (2nd) relative to funding and accountability and see Acts 2001, No. 1172, §3 relative to nonseverability.

NOTE:  Acts 2014, No. 811 changed terminology referring to persons with disabilities throughout the La. Revised Statutes and codes of law, and included a listing of terms that were deleted and their respective successor terms (See Acts 2014, No. 811, §36). The Act provides that it is not the intent of the legislature that changes in terminology effected therein alter or affect in any way the substance, interpretation, or application of any law or administrative rule; further provides that nothing in the Act shall be construed to expand or diminish any right of or benefit for any person provided by any law or administrative rule (See Acts 2014, No. 811, §35(C) and (D)).