Respect Ohio's Retired Teachers, Restore Their Promised COLA

Respect Ohio's Retired Teachers, Restore Their Promised COLA

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Dean Dennis started this petition to Ohio House of Representatives and

Teachers in Ohio were always promised a simple Cost-of-Living-Adjustment (COLA) upon retirement. It is only through a COLA that  retired teachers can keep up with inflation. Many of Ohio's teachers teach in rural areas and retire with very modest pensions. They rely heavily on their promised and earned COLA. The State Teacher Retirement System (STRS) and elected official have broken their promises to Ohio's retirees and have placed an unfair burden on Ohio's current teachers. Inflation is increasing, it is projected to increase to 5% for next year and then to 4% for the following three years. Even if the COLA is restored, teachers will lose 9% of their pension to inflation over the next 4 years. This is on top of the fact that the average retiree has now lost the equivalent of 8 years of promised COLA. Retirees are suffering.

 ALERT:   If you are a friend of a teacher, a retired teacher or an active teacher please click this link for more updated information: https://www.strsohiowatchdogs.com/

The Ohio Legislature created this problem when they relinquished their control of the COLA to the STRS Board of Trustees. The Legislature gave the STRS Board of Trustees the authority to "adjust the COLA." The trustees however, eliminated the COLA. Taking away a promised benefit after teachers have retired is wrong and arguably in violation of Ohio law (see Article II, Section 28). 

 Active teachers are being hurt too. STRS receives 14% from every active teacher's paycheck, which is one of the highest teacher employee contribution in the nation. Additionally, STRS receives a 14% match from each and every teacher's employer; thereby receiving a whopping 28% in contributions from every teacher's salary. However active teachers will only receive 75 cents for every dollar they contribute when they retire. In 2013, at the request of STRS, legislators passed legislation that requires active teachers to work 5 additional years in order to receive a full pension. Ohio teachers will also have to be at least 60 years of age and work at least 35 years for a full pension. Many of Ohio's teachers will have to work 38-39 years to meet the requirements for a full pension.  So how is STRS management impacted?  It seems they are not.  

STRS is doing so well that they seemingly can afford to provide numerous large annual performance bonuses of over $100,000 plus to many members of their investment staff.  Eight individuals receive bonuses over $250,000 dollars, one over $330,000.  Performance bonuses alone total over 7 million dollars. This is in addition to their six-figure salaries. One individual's performance bonus alone could pay the average annual COLA for 330 of Ohio's retirees. 

If the STRS cannot grant Ohio's teachers a simple COLA upon retirement and active teachers a fair value for their contribution, then all STRS salaries should be frozen and all STRS bonuses should be suspended. Teachers and the public must demand that the Legislature and STRS come up with a plan to restore retirees COLA and make sure our active teachers don't work longer and pay more for less. TEACHERS will only support legislators and STRS board members who value the profession of teaching!

Note: If you are an Ohio teacher, or retired teacher, these groups have shown their  support and contributed to the recent forensic audit: Ohio STRS Member Only Forum (found on Facebook), Ohio's Retired Teacher Association (ORTA), Ohio's American Association of University Professors, the Ohio Federation of Teachers (OFT) and their affiliates and the STRS Ohio Watchdogs. In addition, many of Ohio's retiree chapters have shown support.  If eligible, please consider joining and supporting these organizations. 

 

0 have signed. Let’s get to 50,000!
At 50,000 signatures, this petition becomes one of the top signed on Change.org!