Respect Ohio's Retired Teachers, Restore Their Promised COLA
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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) has broken their promise to Ohio's retirees.
Currently, the COLA is suspended for all retired teachers indefinitely. STRS stated they will not review their actions until May of 2022. There isn't any promise the COLA for retired teachers will ever be reinstated again. The Ohio Legislature must intervene and pressure the STRS's Board. Taking away a promised benefit after teachers have retired is wrong and arguably in violation of Ohio law (see Article II, Section 28).
The Ohio State Teacher Retirement System (STRS) is not a broken system, far from it. STRS is in good financial condition having 77 billion dollars for investment purposes. In fact, STRS is a 75% fully funded system. STRS Ohio does well, consistently averaging over 8% returns on their investments for each and every 30 year rolling funding period. Additionally, STRS Ohio has a revenue stream. They receive 14% from every active teacher's paycheck with an additional 14% match from the teacher's employer; thereby receiving a whopping 28% in contributions off every teacher's salary. STRS is so well off that they can afford to provide numerous large annual bonuses of over $100,000 plus to 37 members of their investment staff. Eight individuals receive bonuses over $250,000 dollars. This is in addition to their six-figure salaries.
In the years 2013 through 2017, STRS took actions to further enrich themselves. During these years STRS decreased and froze retired teachers simple COLA for what will effectively amount to 8 years of COLA losses. STRS also sought to make active teachers work 5 additional years in order to receive a full pension. Current Ohio teachers will now have to be 60 years of age, or older, and work at least 35 years for a full pension. As if this wasn't enough, STRS took action to withhold their COLA for the first 5 years of their retirement. However, they reserved the right to never pay current teachers a COLA!
Ohio's Legislature needs to intervene with the STRS Board to restore the promised COLA under Ohio's Defined Benefit Plan. All STRS salaries should be frozen and all STRS bonuses should be suspended until the COLA is restored and retirees are made whole. Teachers demand STRS come up with a plan to restore our COLA. TEACHERS will only support legislators who support us!
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