In his letter of April 6, Neal Patterson might have pointed out that under the Maine Public Employee Retirement System, the average benefit for all retired teachers is $19,300.

Only 13 percent of teachers make it through 25 years or more to receive an average pension of $26,000.

Since teachers are not covered by Social Security, their pension comes only from this retirement system.

Patterson also might have mentioned that his employer also provides a private pension that he will receive in addition to his Social Security. School systems and the state of Maine do not have private supplements to teacher pensions.

It is unlikely that a teacher living on $19,000 to $26,000 a year, paying state income tax on all but $6,000 of that pension by state law (remember that the state does not collect income tax on Social Security), would consider their pension too generous.

By the way, in order for that teacher whose retirement is $26,000 per year to collect $1 million over a lifetime he would have to live to about 95.

To get information about the sustainability of the retirement system, go to

Philip A. Gonyar