About GRS

About GRS

Gwinnett County Public Schools withdrew from the federal government Social Security retirement plan in 1983, upon the request of the Gwinnett County Public School employees. The School District provides a replacement retirement plan called the Gwinnett Retirement System.  The objective of the Plan is to “hold in trust and soundly invest all funds contributed to the Plan in order to provide defined retirement and long term disability benefits for all covered employees".

Membership:  All regular active, full-time employees are automatically members of this Plan.  All employees, except student, seasonal, and intermittent employees, who are regularly scheduled to work at least 20 hours per week are considered full-time.

· It is a defined benefit retirement plan and a long term disability plan.

· The retirement portion of the Plan is funded by the Board of Education.

· The long term disability portion of the Plan is funded by employee contributions.

· For a more detailed explanation of the GRS Plan, please refer to the Gwinnett Retirement System Handbook.

Administration of the Plan

Under the authority of the Gwinnett County Board of Education, GRS is administered by a nine member Administrative Committee consisting of teachers, local school and central office administrators, and a retiree of the Plan.

Current GRS Administrative Committee members:

Mr. Joe Heffron, Chairman GRS
   Chief Financial Officer, Division of Business and Finance
Dr. Frances Davis, Vice-Chairman GRS
   Associate Superintendent, Division of Human Resources and Talent Management

Mr. Jim Barbee
   Teacher, Peachtree Ridge High School
Mr. Keith Chaney
   Principal, Mountain View High School
Mr. Roger Clark
   Assistant Director of Transportation, Division of Facilities and Operations
Mr. Eric Spoto
   Director, Strategy and Operational Support
Mr. Jeff Burmester
   Teacher, Gwinnett School of Mathematics, Science and Technology
Mr. Gary Petmecky
   Teacher, Parkview High School
Mrs. Sara Lee

Day to Day Operations

The GCPS Retirement Services Department supports the GRS Administrative Committee in performing the day to day functions required to operate the Plan. The mission of the Retirement Services Department is "to provide Gwinnett County Public Schools employees and retirees with the information, guidance, support, and service they need to plan and achieve a comfortable, secure, and independent retirement; and to manage the assets of the Plan to ensure the promise of life long benefits".

What We Do

Retirement Services

  • Provide Member Counseling
  • Manage Enrollment
  • Manage Benefits
  • Manage Participant Data
  • Provide Member Statements

Financial Operations
  • Manage Contributions
  • Provide Accounting Services
  • Provide Financial Statements
  • Manage Disbursements
  • Manage Banking Operations

In addition to the in-house services provided by the Retirement Services Department, our staff also oversees the services of professional firms who provide necessary support to the Plan in the areas of investment management, actuarial services, auditing, custodianship of assets and legal affairs.


Each year, in accordance with state law, the Plan’s actuary determines the amount necessary to fund all current and future benefits plus all other expenses of the Plan. This annual amount is contributed by employees and the Board of Education. Unlike Social Security, which currently taxes participating employees at 6.2% of salary, employee contributions to GRS are currently only 1% of earnings and have remained the same since the plan began in 1983.

This 1% non-refundable deduction from your paycheck goes to provide long term disability coverage in case you become disabled before retirement. Your GRS retirement benefits are funded entirely by the Board of Education.

As a result of the way GRS provides and funds these two benefit programs, your take-home pay is 5.2% higher than if GCPS participated in Social Security. To make your retirement even more secure, employees are encouraged to invest this difference in your future by participating in other benefit programs available to you at GCPS, such as one of the tax deferred investment plans.

Eligibility for Participation in the Plan

All regular active, full-time employees are automatically members of this Plan. All employees, except student, seasonal, and intermittent employees, who are regularly scheduled to work at least twenty hours per week, are considered full-time.


Eligibility for Retirement and Determination of Benefits

Retirement benefits are paid from the Plan if you retire on one of the following dates:
 • Your Normal Retirement Date: This is the first day of the month coincident with or immediately following your 65th birthday.
 • Your Early Retirement Date: This is the first day of any month that you choose after you are eligible for early retirement under one of the following applicable State Plans.
   1. Teachers Retirement System of Georgia (TRS), or
   2. Public School Employees Retirement System of Georgia (PSERS),or
   3. Employees Retirement System of Georgia (ERSGA)

 • Your Postponed Retirement Date: Retirement benefits may be postponed if you remain employed with GCPS after age 65.

When you are preparing to retire, it is IMPORTANT to advise the Retirement Services Department as soon as possible prior to the date your pension is to begin. You must file a written application with the Gwinnett Retirement System for benefits no later than seventy-five (75) days before retirement benefits are to begin.

Calculation of Your Retirement Benefits

Your retirement benefit is calculated by a formula, which produces a basic benefit. Your basic benefit is payable for as long as you live. Assuming you retire according to the GRS Plan Normal Retirement Date of age 65, the amount of your monthly retirement income is determined by using the following calculation for each year of participation and adding the years together:

2.2% of Earnings up to $9,000, plus
1.6% of Earnings in Excess of $9,000,
Divided by 12.

GRS calculates your annual earnings based on the calendar year, not the school year.

Example 1 – Normal or Full Retirement Benefit at Age 65
Assume an employee (Ann Smith, a Teacher) began employment September 1, 1989 and decides to retire on July 1, 2012 at age 65. The GRS Plan provides full retirement benefits at age 65. Assume her earnings were as follows:

Earnings for:
2012 =$ 25,000 (6 months)
2008 – 2011 =$ 40,000 (per year for 4 years)
1990 – 2007 =$ 35,000 (per year for 18 years)
1989 = $ 9,000 (4 months)

Ann Smith’s retirement benefit calculation is the sum of each year of participation as follows:
Year 2012:
.022 x $9,000 = $198
.016 x $16,000 = $256
Amount for these six months $198 +$256 = $ 454

Years 2008-2011:
.022 x $9,000 = $198
.016 x $31,000 = $496
Amount for each of these four years $198 + $496 = $694
Four years amount 4 x $694.00 = $ 2,776

Years 1990-2007:
.022 x $9,000 = $198
.016 x $26,000 = $416
Amount for each of these eighteen years $198 + $416 = $614
Eighteen years amount $614 x 18 Years = $ 11,052

Year 1989:
.022 x $9,000 = $198
Amount for these four months $ 198

Annual Benefit at Age 65: Total is $454 +$2,776 + $11,052 + $198 = $ 14,480

Ann Smith's basic annual retirement benefit at age 65 is $14,480.
The monthly benefit would be one-twelfth (1/12) of this amount or $1,207. No adjusting calculations for age are needed to her benefit because she is 65. (The GRS Plan assumes the “normal” retirement age is 65.)

Early Retirement Benefits

If you retire on an Early Retirement Date, your benefit is determined using the same formula as for the benefit beginning at Normal Retirement Date. However, the following things are different:
 1. Benefits are calculated based on your earnings to your Early Retirement Date.
 2. Early retirement factors are applied if benefits begin before age 65. The factors, to be multiplied by the benefits determined in Step 1, are as follows:
Age   Factor
65    1.0000 or 100% of the computed benefit
64    .9158 or about 92%
63    .8406 or about 84%
62    .7733 or about 77%
61    .7127 or about 71%
60    .6581 or about 66%
55    .4532 or about 45%
50    .3228 or about 32%
Factors for other ages may be obtained from the GCPS Retirement Services Department.

Example 2 – Early Retirement Benefits at Age 60
Assume an employee (John Smith, a Teacher) began employment on September 1, 1990 and decides to retire before the normal or full benefit age of 65. He chooses to retire at age 60 on July 1, 2012. Assume his earnings were as follows:

Earnings For:
2012 =$ 25,000 (6 months)
1991 – 2011 = $ 39,000 (per year for 20 years)
1990 = $ 9,000 (4 months)

John Smith’s early retirement benefit calculation is determined in two steps.

Step 1 Determine the Base Calculation Amount:
The base retirement benefit calculation is the sum of each year of participation as follows:
Year 2012:
.022 x $9,000 = $198
.016 x $16,000 = $256
Amount For These Six Months $198 + $256 = $454

Years 1991-2011:

.022 x $9,000 = $198
.016 x $30,000 = $480
Amount for each of the twenty years $198 + $480 = $678
Amount for Twenty Years $678 x 20 years = $13,560

Year 1990:
.022 x $9,000 = $198
Amount for these four months $198

Annual Base Benefit Amount is $454 + $13,560 + $198 = $14,212

Step 2 Calculation of Benefit for Retirement at Age 60:

Base Amount $14,212 multiplied by the .6581 Age 60 Factor = $9,353

Mr. John Smith's early retirement benefit at age 60 is $9,353 annually.
The monthly benefit would be one-twelfth (1/12) of this amount or $779.

Planning to Retire Soon?

The Retirement Services Department staff is at your service. To get the most current information and begin your retirement application process, please contact us at 678-301-6269. Our staff will provide all the information needed to get the process started. We will confirm your eligibility date, go over the Gwinnett Retirement System benefit options, provide you with benefit payment estimates and help you complete any forms that will be needed. Your decisions are important and your privacy is respected. We take pride in providing individual retirement counseling sessions, so that you can make informed decisions about your retirement benefits. Our staff will assist you every step of the way.

Since employees of Gwinnett County Public Schools are also members of the State of Georgia Teachers Retirement System or the State of Georgia Public School Employees Retirement System we can assist you with completing these applications too.

Former Gwinnett County Public Schools Employee

If you are a former Gwinnett County Public Schools employee and you have any questions about your eligibility for a retirement benefit please call us at 678-301-6267 for assistance.