Employees with 30 or more years of service can retire at 55, and even employees with as little as five years of service can retire with full benefits at age 60.
Enrollees in the state Teachers' Retirement System contribute 6 percent of their total monthly salaries into the retirement system. Employers, whether it is a county school system or the state Department of Education, also contribute 7.5 percent of their employees' monthly salary to the fund.
Employee's yearly benefits are determined using the same formula as the public employees' plan, although final average salary is calculated differently. Here it is an average of the five highest salary years out of the last 15 years of employment.
Teachers' pay goes up slightly after each year of service. So, while a Kanawha County teacher with a master's degree and 30 years of service would earn $55,348 per year, his or her final average salary would be $53,702. Using the formula, that teacher would draw $32,221 per year.
Some participants in the Teachers' Retirement System draw much more, however.
Olen Jones, former Marshall University provost and president of the West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine, draws $169,674 a year.
Kenna Seal, a former Braxton County superintendent and head of the state Office of Education Performance Audits, draws $116,955 per year from the Teacher's Retirement System.
Former state superintendent Jorea Marple, who was controversially fired last year, pulls down $107,062 per year, while her predecessor Steve Paine makes $101,063 in retirement.
Retirement system for state judges
West Virginia's judicial retirement plan is different from its other pension programs, because judges' benefits are based on their successors' current salary.
Prior to 2005, state law required retired judges receive 75 percent of the current judges' salary.
Current Supreme Court of Appeals justices are paid $121,000 per year. So, according to state law, justices Elliott Maynard, Thomas McHugh, Richard Neely, George Scott and Larry Starcher each receive $102,000 per year in retirement.
That law eventually will expire, however. Judges appointed or elected after July 1, 2005 will receive 75 percent of their own final average salary when they retire. Judges' final average salaries will be based on the highest 36 consecutive months of compensation they receive while on the bench.
No judges appointed after 2005 are eligible for retirement yet, so all enrollees in the Judges' Retirement System still fall under the old rule.
Judges can retire with full benefits at any age, as long as they have 24 years of service to the state, or at age 65 with 16 years of service. In either case, 12 of those years must have been spent as a sitting judge.
That also will eventually change. Those appointed or elected after July 2005 will be required to serve 14 years on the bench before drawing retirement benefits.
Retirement systems for State Police
West Virginia has two State Police retirement systems. Plan A, which allowed troopers to retire earlier and make smaller contributions to the retirement fund, was closed in March 1994 because of a large unfunded liability.
Any trooper hired on or after March 12, 1994 is part of Plan B.
This plan allows troopers to retire at age 50 with 25 years of service, or at age 52 with 20 years of service.
Active employees contribute 15.5 percent of their base salary - not including overtime - to the plan. The State Police also contributes 17.5 percent of employees' base salary to the plan.
Upon retirement, troopers' annual benefit is determined by a formula: final average salary, multiplied by years of service, multiplied by 2.75 percent.
"Final average salary" is an average of an employee's five highest-paid years over the last 10 years of service, including overtime pay.
Retired troopers also are eligible for a 1 percent cost-of-living adjustment for each year after they turn 63.
More than two-dozen retired state employees draw pensions of more than $100,000 a year, while 79 others get more than $80,000 per year. For a complete list, and for more information about state pensions, visit blogs.dailymail.com/CapitolNotebook/Pensions.