The Pennsylvania Public School Employees’ Retirement System was created in 1917 and commenced operation in 1919 with a seven member Public School Employees’ Retirement Board. Prior to the establishment of a statewide system, there were local teacher retirement systems in thirteen school districts. During the period 1919-1975, the Retirement System operated within the Department of Public Instruction, which was renamed the Department of Education in 1969. In 1975, the Pennsylvania School Employees’ Retirement System became an independent state agency. At that time the board membership was increased to eleven members to include three ex-officio members, three members to be elected by the active professional members of the system, one member to be elected by annuitants, one member to be selected by the active non-professional members of the system, one member to be elected by the members of the Pennsylvania public school boards, and three at-large members. In 1991, the voting membership of the board was further increased to include two senators and two representatives.

Administrative and Board Action File, 1918-1965. (2 cartons) Grouped by type of record. Administrative and legal records of the executive offices of the Public School Employees’ Retirement System. The records consist primarily of opinions issued by the attorney general from 1927 through 1965 which relate to the implementation of the Public School Employees’ Retirement Act. The opinions are numbered consecutively from 2 to 384, although not inclusively. Also included are a summary list of legal opinions, 1918-1945, a log of requests for legal opinions, 1932-1944, and excerpts from board minutes and opinions of the Justice Department, with an index, for the years 1918-1954. Registers contain retirement data on teachers, including African American dating from the early 1900s. Examples include: James Garfield Young, born in 1881, retired in 1947 from the Carlisle School District after forty years of teaching; and Emma Thompson McGowan, born on January 26, 1876, retired on July 1, 1943 after thirty years of teaching.

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