403(b) Retirement Savings Plan

  • ISD 728  (the “District”) offers a 403(b) plan to all employees of the District.  Please review the District's 403(b) Universal Availability Notice.

    What is a 403(b)?

    The term 403(b) refers to the section of the Internal Revenue Service Code that defines tax deferred accounts. Only certain  non-profit organizations that have established a 403(b) program may contribute to a 403(b) plan. Contributions are made through payroll deduction. The District has established such a program to encourage employees to take greater control of their retirement and enable them to use pre-tax dollars to fund their own supplemental retirement account.

    Aside from being a savings vehicle for retirement, 403(b) deductions are tax deferred; the wages reported on an employee’s W-2 are reduced by the amount of their contribution into the plan. The earnings from the investments in such accounts are also tax deferred. Taxation occurs upon withdrawal of the funds, which usually occurs at the time of retirement. Withdrawal of funds is regulated and does involve penalties and fees in addition to taxation if done prior to retirement.

    The District maintains a list of approved 403(b) vendors and appropriate contact information for each vendor.  Employees should contact the vendor for information about the 403(b) products and services it offers.

    Opening a new account? Ask Questions!

    • What fees are involved?  Start up fees?  Annual fees (they all have some type of fee!)
    • How often will the agent contact you to review your investment portfolio?
    • What are the surrender fees?
    • How long must you keep your funds with the vendor for the surrender fees to expire?
    • What investment products are available?
    • What services are provided?  Is an agent or customer service representative available to answer questions?
    • Does the agent know the laws regarding IRS maximums to ensure compliance?

    How do I enroll?

    Enrollment can be completed anytime during the year.  Choose a vendor from the Approved Vendor List and contact an agent or broker licensed to sell for the vendor you have chosen.  Every attempt should be made to meet offsite and outside of work-day hours.  Please review the District's Guidelinesregarding solicitation materials and individual appointments.

    Together with your agent, complete the paperwork necessary to establish the 403(b) account (vendor's paperwork).  Once the 403(b) account is fully established and ready to accept contributions, complete the District's Salary Reduction Agreement (SRA) and submit it to the HR/Benefits Department. CAUTION:  Do NOT submit the SRA to the HR/Benefits Department prior to the 403(b) account being fully established.

    The District has established policies that enable the Employee to increase or decrease his/her contribution, stop his/her contribution or change from one authorized 403(b) vendor to another at any time by submitting a subsequent SRA.

    The SRA may be submitted to the HR/Benefits Department via US Mail, inter-school mail, faxed to 763-274-3194 or scanned and attached to an email to benefits@isd728.org.  The District does not require an original copy.
     

    What is a 403(b) match?

    Many employee Master Agreements include a dollar-for-dollar match after satisfying an established service credit requirement.  In addition to the contribution you make to your account, the District will "match" your contributions up to the maximum benefit amount stipulated in your Master Agreement.  Click here to view the District's Master Agreements.

    The match does NOT occur automatically.  When you become eligible for the match, a new or subsequent SRA must be completed and submitted to the HR/Benefits Department electing the match.  Both you and your agent must sign the SRA.  The match benefit runs on a fiscal year basis in coordination with delivery of pay for the respective fiscal year. This means that employees whose compensation is paid September through August will see the matching amount paid accordingly. Both personal and District match contributions are deducted two times per month -- 24 times for individuals receiving 24 pay deposits and 18 times for those receiving 18 pay deposits (typically during the school year only).

    Stay informed about your match benefits amount.  The amount could increase with a new contract year or a new contract settlement.  The District will adjust the annual match maximum if there is an increase, but cannot change the amount you are contributing per paycheck.  If you are not contributing enough per paycheck to reach the new annual match maximum, you will need to complete a new SRA  requesting a change in the per paycheck amount.

    Third-Party Administrator

    Effective July 1, 2008, ISD 728 contracted with Educators Benefit Consultants (EBC) as a third-party administrator for the 403(b) plan. The District works jointly with EBC to uphold compliance with established regulations.  EBC facilitates the electronic remittance of funds to the approved vendors, as well as all transfer, exchange, rollover, loan and hardship transactions.

    To initiate a transfer, exchange, rollover, loan or hardship transactions, contact your 403(b) vendor.  Once the appropriate paperwork is completed with your vendor, submit it to EBC for signature (contact information below).  Please include instructions as to where the paperwork should be routed once signed by EBC.

    EBC Contact Information
    Barbara Peterson
    Educators Benefit Consultants
    3125 Airport Parkway
    Cambridge, MN  55008

    barbara@ebcsolutions.com

    Phone:  855-369-5518, Option 1
    Fax:  763-552-6055

     

    Questions regarding the District's 403(b) plan should be directed to benefits@isd728.org.

    Disclosure to employees: The District has no liability for any employee’s election to participate in the 403(b) plan, choice of 403(b) vendor(s), or expected tax consequences resulting from participating in the 403(b) plan.  The District does not provide tax, legal or investment advice and recommends that employees seek advice from professionals who specialize in these areas.