Tuesday, June 29, 2038
Thursday, June 24, 2038
Friday, May 28, 2038
Wednesday, February 27, 2036
Wednesday, April 11, 2035
Thursday, March 10, 2033
Monday, September 15, 2031
Note from this blogger.....
Monday, February 24, 2031
Tuesday, May 15, 2029
Gettin' a little tired.....
Saturday, April 29, 2028
I know, it's weird.........
Wednesday, February 24, 2027
This is an abbreviated version of the original 'Handy links' post. Click here to view a more complete list. (Some of it is old.)
Tuesday, February 24, 2026
Dennis Leone's STRS Report to ORTA, March 2007
Sunday, February 23, 2020
Tuesday, March 28, 2017
Dayton Daily News: Pension cuts looming for Ohio teachers and retirees
Pension cuts looming for Ohio teachers and retirees
STRS Ohio is the retirement system for 490,000 teachers and retirees. It had $72.1 billion as of June 30, 2016.
Tuesday, March 21, 2017
Bob Buerkle on the STRS funding crisis
Points made by Bob Buerkle in his February 2017 speech to the STRS Board
Here are a few of the points I brought up. I did not give the STRS a written copy of my speech.
Monday, March 20, 2017
Bob Buerkle's speech to STRS Board, March 16, 2017
Dean Dennis’ speech to STRS Board February 16, 2017
On February 16, I drove from Cincinnati to present before the Board. Having paid into the STRS Defined Benefit Plan for 35 years, I was quite upset over the mismanagement that caused the 1% deduction in the COLA for retirees who planned on the 3% promise. Worst was the COLA freeze teachers now retiring will have to endure, not to mention the entire revamping of the retirement schedule. It was my understanding that under the Defined Benefit Plan, STRS assumed all the risk. Changing the language to effect benefits after one retires I believe to be illegal. I'll share my wife also taught for 35 years. We were not expecting to lose half-a-million dollars in our retirement; especially after a combined 70 years of funding our pensions. The expectation under the Defined Benefit Plan, especially once retired, is that a benefit would stay the same, or increase, but would never be reduced (ORC 3307.67 states COLA's shall increase 3% annually). I believe past practice also establishes this. That said:
On February 16, I presented before STRS. It is my very strong belief that over the years our Board's have allowed a smaller and more efficient investment staff to grow and become a bloated less efficient financial operation. We also are spending unnecessary monies on consultants as a result. From a person who understands investments, STRS has become upside down. Instead of managing the investment department, you now are reacting to their inefficiencies. They need to be reacting to your management. Due to their mismanagement, you are once again considering cutting member benefits. Don't over react too soon. You need to give the market time to recover. We set our goals for 30 years, why do we not trust the 30 year market cycles?
Please listen; if you see a team that sets a benchmark goal that shoots for less than 8% annually, then you don't need that team. It shouldn't take a staff of 70 plus investment professions to find the symbols (VOO), (SPY), or (VFINX) and invest in the S&P 500 index. You are tolerating too many unnecessary investments using target assumptions that underachieve our benchmark needs. With 8% returns we can easily meet our funding goals. We should not be using the monies of our members to pay people to experiment by trying to beat the market indexes. It is very well documented that over 66% percent of money managers consistently under-perform the S&P 500 index. Employing over 70 people, paying them, and then giving them bonuses to under perform an index that has been around since 1926 is both irresponsible and reckless. I'll share again what I shared at the meeting (with3 minute time restraint). I'll state it in bold.
There has never been a 30 year period in the long proven history of the S&P 500, where the S&P 500 index hasn't gained at least 8% annually. In fact, over 60% of the time it averages over 10%. There have been 60 such thirty year periods. This should be easy to understand. In fact ask your investment advisers from Callan, like I did. I spoke with three individuals from Callan and they seemed to be in agreement with my premise. If you have any doubts please set a meeting, I'm happy to drive to Columbus again. To farther drive home my point, I can also show you that over the last 20 year period that the S&P Mid Cap index has nearly doubled the S&P 500. We should be doing better and spending less in doing so.
So, the S&P 500 index should be your baseline annual investment benchmark utilizing an 8% return objective. If you feel compelled to consider other investments, then they should always be above this benchmark. Listening to our investment team get rewarded while the rest of us are getting punished should be a red flag. It wasn't lost on some of us that while the investment team was getting positively acknowledged during the presentation for exceeding the performance of some of their peers; we were aware that our investment staff's performance lagged the market by nearly 2%. Last year the S&P 500 returned 9.8%, why would we even consider moving our benchmark down from 7.75%? The only reason that makes sense is that the investment staff can't be trusted to keep up with the market indexes or invest in them.
Lastly at this point the 30 year unfunded liability needs to be adjusted to 35 years. Unfortunately due to under performing investments future teachers will have to work 35 years to qualify for full retirement. Having to entice future teachers into our system when they have to work for 35 years and then wait until the age of 60 to retire jeopardizes our retirement system even farther. However, there is hope if we don't react hastily and get back on track. I for one am willing to help.
Please find attached the S&P 500 document referenced during my presentation. It breaks down annual investments in 5 year increments up to 25 years.
Retired CFT Field Representative
Dennis Leone’s speech to the STRS Board February 16, 2017
Recipients of 88% Benefit and COLA Related to Same
Sunday, March 19, 2017
RH Jones: Tell retired teachers to attend the April 20 STRS Board meeting
Friday, January 27, 2017
Handout to STRS Board members at their Education and Planning meeting 1/26/17
January 26, 2017
Tuesday, January 13, 2015
RH Jones: ORSC to try to take back 13th check?
On page 2 of the Winter 2015 ORTA Quarterly, Ann Hanning reports last in her list of the Ohio Retirement Study Council (ORSC): “removing the authority of the STRS board to issue a 13th check.” This is not the first time that the ORSC has considered backing the 13th check take away legislation. In 2004, the ORSC tried to “take back” this lawful benefit; and, if you readers would remember, on 10/19/2001, ORTA’s Executive Director of that time, David P. Travis, spoke before the STRS board in support of the 13th check (the Year-end [Christmas] Supplemental Clean-up check).
Bob Jones, retired OH teacher
Saturday, January 10, 2015
RH Jones: Retired teachers owe Attorney General DeWine our thanks
Please read Attorney General Mike DeWine’s press release below. We retired and active educators owe him our thanks for going after the American Capital Properties (ARCP) for their alleged “cover-up” of accounting fraud causing our OHSTRS to lose millions of dollars.
Thursday, December 11, 2014
Ohio's Spineless State School Board
Instead of taking a stand for the value of nurses, counselors, social workers and the arts in education and pushing back against the Kasich administration’s funding cuts and increased testing mandates, the School Board voted to eliminate the “5 of 8″ rule from Ohio Administrative Code, setting the stage for the further decimation of these services in our schools.
It is appalling that the majority of the current members of Ohio’s School Board don’t recognize the value of the positions in our schools. Every single one of these highly-qualified and specially-trained professional positions are not only vital to the education of the whole child, but in many instances are crucial to the survival of children. The notion that these positions should only be available to those children in communities that can afford them is akin to educational malpractice on the state level.
Instead of Ohio’s Board members shrugging their shoulders and throwing up their hands and blaming school funding, this was an opportunity for the State Board to say, “Enough is enough!” At some point, the Board needs to stop taking direction from the General Assembly and act like the independent body they are supposed to be.
Today, the State School Board opted to lower the bar in order to accommodate Governor Kasich and the GOP majority in Ohio’s General Assembly who continue to under-fund schools while passing a seemingly endless stream of unfunded mandates like OTES, OPES, the Third Grade Reading Guarantee, the Resident Educator Program, diagnostic testing in the primary grades, the new Kindergarten Assessment, and the latest and greatest version of standardized testing via PARCC that will soon require schools to have all the latest technology simply to administer more tests. Instead, Ohio’s School Board members could have taken this opportunity to draw a line in the sand and raise the bar on what a meaningful educational environment truly looks like for all of Ohio’s children.
They could have listened. They plugged their ears.
They could have stood strong. They cowered.
They could have held the line. They retreated.
They could have fought for children. They surrendered to politics.
At this point I need to admit something. I (Greg) was wrong. To be blunt, I royally [screwed] up. In an article I wrote leading up to the elections, I recommended that you vote for School Board Candidate Ron Rudduck based on his extensive knowledge of Ohio’s messed up history of school funding. I erroneously thought that such knowledge would ave benefited us all in circumstances exactly like this that are a direct result of that screwed up funding process. I now wholeheartedly regret that recommendation and apologize to you, our readers. Instead of using his knowledge and experience to push back against a legislature that isn’t meeting the needs of our students, Rudduck has been at the forefront of pushing the elimination of the “5 of 8″ rule with statements defending his action that simply make no sense.
Here’s one of Rudduck’s statements: “I’ll tell you the truth, a lot of the superintendents I talk to, especially the young ones, didn’t even know there was a rule called the 5 of 8. So it leads you to believe it wasn’t involved in their decision making to begin with.”
Paraphrasing: “Some people in positions of highest authority are completely ignorant of the laws for which they are to be held accountable, so we can go ahead and get rid of them.”
The true story: You can be damn sure that the teachers and the unions that represent them in negotiating contracts are aware of the requirements.
Here’s another Rudduck zinger: “It happens a lot when districts fail levies, unfortunately, the first positions that are cut are these education service personnel positions.”
Paraphrasing: “Since schools are overly reliant on local tax dollars due to the absence of an equitable public school funding model at the state level, I do expect that many of these specialist positions will end up getting cut.”
The true story: Since schools are overly reliant on local tax dollars due to the absence of an equitable public school funding model at the state level, I do expect that many of these specialist positions will end up getting cut.
Finally, if you sense that I’m a bit ticked off, it’s because the elimination of this requirement is personal. My youngest son is:
- Type-1 diabetic and insulin-dependent since 4th grade (a school nurse has never been optional)
- Has played either strings or percussion since 4th grade, and is now in marching band & orchestra
- Had an outstanding, licensed, professional art teacher in elementary school that fostered his love of the visual arts
- Has had guidance counselors throughout his years of schooling who have been integral in coordinating intervention/enrichment services and will benefit from having guidance counselors at the high school level to assist him in looking at post-secondary education
- Despite being identified as gifted in every core subject area over the years (based on test scores, of course), he is tired of wasting school time on standardized tests, has told me he “hates Common Core” because it messed up his math classes, quickly adjusted to high school because of his previous musical experience and welcome acceptance into the marching band community, and has become increasingly independent at managing his diabetes with the daily encouragement of nurturing school nurses in elementary, middle, and now high school.
- And personally, my senior year of high school consisted of six music courses (men’s glee, marching/concert band, senior choir, handbell choir, jazz band, and ensemble) and only three core subject courses. And damn if I don’t use that ability to work collaboratively in a group while managing my independent responsibilities on a daily basis…
Don’t tell me these specialists will only exist when a community can afford them.
Don’t tell me about living in the “right” Zip Code.
Thursday, October 30, 2014
RH Jones: Time for that 13th check
Congratulations on being elected as our STRS OH Board President. I wish you good luck in your new leadership role.
All of us retired teachers have received the happy news that our OH STRS has now reached the 29.5 year funding level that will enable the board members to once again vote to authorize the very fairly calculated “Supplemental 13th Check”. It is my understanding that this vital supplemental check is still on the law books; and, since retired teachers have been especially hit at an alarming level with high medical and costly prescription medications this coming 2015, it is essential for those of us which have been retired over 20-years. Some did not even get their non-compounding COLA this year and its been 1/4-century since the state has issued an Ad-Hoc increase to keep us even with inflation.
As the “Holiday Season” fast approaches, it is incumbent that this be introduced to the board, voted upon, and passed by the STRS OH Board in the mid-November meeting. As our Retired Representative and our new board president it will be delightfully appreciated by many of us who have felt that there has been a lack of caring by our STRS OH over the past few years.
Most humbly requested,
Bob Jones, a retired STRS OH teacher
Thursday, May 29, 2014
Cleveland teachers, YOU are getting screwed BIG TIME!
I am David Quolke and I am the President of the Cleveland Teachers Union. There are many issues that I could talk to you about today. Many issues that I – and my members – think should be brought to your attention. However, today, I need to talk about Non-Reappointments.The first week in May, 70 of my members received notice that they were being recommended for non-reappointment. Now that number could be off because these were the numbers that I was given by the media after they spoke with CEO Gordon or someone from the District. When talking to the media – I explained that many of my members were blindsided when they received this news and that the CTU was blindsided also. You see, I have many cases of members who had good evaluations – developing and skilled all year long, who were taking on leadership roles in their schools, who have increased student achievement, who have a composite evaluation with developing and skilled ratings. So, yes, when these teachers were suddenly told in May that they were going to be recommended for non-reappointment they were indeed blindsided.Before you say to me – David, you know that state law does not require poor evaluations in order to non-reappoint a limited contract teacher. I know. I know. However, when the media came to the CEO regarding the teachers that were being recommended for non-reappointment – here are some of the quotes directly from CEO Gordon:“We have a few people that either can’t or won’t. These are the people that our principals say are not meeting the expectations for our kids.”“At some point if you are not getting the job done, we shouldn’t continue to pay you to do it.”“It’s new for us to evaluate this thoroughly. It’s part of the Cleveland Plan to make sure that we have the right people in front of kids.”So I ask you –Is it a part of the Cleveland Plan to non-reappoint teachers with Skilled evaluations?Is it a part of the Cleveland Plan to non-reappoint teachers with Skilled evaluations who have made a year’s worth of growth with their students in just 5 months?Is it a part of the Cleveland Plan to non-reappoint teachers that were hired in October, November, December and are Developing (where a new teacher should be) or a combination of Developing and Skilled?Is it a part of the Cleveland Plan to non-reappoint teachers that are Developing or a combination of Developing and Skilled who are taking on leadership roles, such as AR Champion or in servicing staff on SLOs (at the request of the principal) or who are accepting students from the local universities to observe their classes?Is it a part of the Cleveland Plan to non-reappoint teachers that start in September, score Developing and Skilled on evaluations, and take over 100 hours in voluntary professional development?Is it a part of the Cleveland Plan to non-reappoint teachers that are described like this by an administrator “His relationship with scholars and teachers resulted in one of the most successful classrooms in the district. I placed some scholars in his classroom knowing that it would be their last chance for success within CMSD.I hope that none of this is a part of the Cleveland Plan. If it is – this should serve as a dangerous warning to all people enrolled in local teacher preparation programs – Come work in Cleveland where we ignore teacher Development and get rid of you simply because we can.I know what you are thinking and what some people are already saying. The teachers union protects bad teachers. David Quolke wants bad teachers teaching kids no matter what the cost. I know that these words are already echoing in city hall, at 1111, and throughout the community. Let me be very clear – THAT IS NOT TRUE. It is a lie. I am furious about these non-reappointments. The officers of the CTU have worked around the clock in hearings for members over the last two weeks. There are good teachers that are doing the things that I want my daughter’s teachers to do. There are good teachers doing the things and the good work that our development and evaluation system ask for. There are good teachers doing what is needed to increase student learning and student achievement. They do not deserve to be recommended to this Board for non-reappointment.So obviously a logical question would be – why are these people being recommended for non-reappointment? I have no answer for you. I can only speculate, but it is certainly a question that must be asked and answered by the people who engineered this massive non-reappointment of good and qualified teachers.I think some people will look at tonight’s Board agenda and see that one of the items is a resolution to approve $400,000 to hire Teach For America teachers. Are these non-reappointments to make room for Teach for America? I will not bash Teach for America. They are our colleagues and once hired work shoulder to shoulder with us trying their very best to educate our students. But the irony of non-reappointing new teachers in order to replace them with Teach for America is that TFA does what the district should be doing – provide mentors and support. That is the actual Developing of a teacher that CMSD has completely abandoned.Great way to recruit and develop a talented work force.Sounds more to me like the beatings will continue until the morale improves. Not a good strategy for real reform.
Wednesday, May 21, 2014
If your hospital tells you they want 'cash up front', tell 'em to 'take a hike!'
Some other service providers, such as the travel industry, expect payment upfront, so it’s not unprecedented for the health-care industry to do the same, said Debra Lowe, the hospital’s administrative director of revenue cycle.