Sat | Jul 21, 2018

Puerto Rico church strips teachers of pension amid crisis

Published:Wednesday | April 13, 2016 | 12:00 AM
Catholic school teacher Norma Cardoza talks on her mobile phone to another teacher about losing her pension, in Guaynabo, Puerto Rico.
Former Catholic school director and teacher Isabel Casanas talks about losing her pension, in Guaynabo, Puerto Rico.


After 36 years teaching English at a Roman Catholic school near Puerto Rico's capital, Norma Cardoza planned to retire with a modest pension she trusted she would get from the Archdiocese of San Juan.

Her faith was misplaced.

Archdiocese officials in recent weeks informed Cardoza and several hundred other current and retired teachers that their pensions will be eliminated because payouts exceeded contributions. Enrollment at Catholic schools in Puerto Rico has plunged with so many families leaving the island for the US mainland amid the island's economic crunch.

It has been a devastating blow to Catholic school teachers who had counted on those pensions to supplement the Social Security checks they'll be getting.

The church noted in the letter that its contract with employees allows it to terminate the pension plan at any moment and said the remaining money would be distributed among retired teachers. Officials signed off with, "May God bless you all."