Monday, October 22, 2007

Molly Janczyk: Sample letter to legislators and school boards

From Molly Janczyk, October 22, 2007
Subject: HB 315: Compiled points

My letter to legislators and school boards compiled from different sources. If you like, revise, edit, condense, etc. to print and use for yourself and others. Please forward to educators in any version you feel appropriate.

Dear ______________________,

I am a 30 year retired educator with STRS. I support HB 315 as an equitable proposition allowing educators the ability to prepay for their own health care by creating a stream of revenue for STRS health care. Please consider and research the following points:

1. Employer contributions have not increased in over 20 years to offset the soaring health care crisis and inflationary costs for retirees.

2. If this legislative initiative is not passed with increments of .5% per year for 5 years, most educators will not be able to retire.

*Districts and Local School Boards will be faced with an aging staff in their 60's, 70's etc. at the top of their salary schedules and costly age related medical expenses paid for by the districts.

*Educators will not be able to accept buyouts due to long term health care costs if a district can afford to offer them with the increased costs they will be paying.

*Accrued sick leave used by those educators together with subsitute pay will cost the districts

*Young educators will know they will not have health care in retirement and leave the State or profession. If they stay, they will demand high salaries towards their future health care as there is no retirement without health care.

3. STRS has been conserving for years now but this translates to cuts for retirees while increasing retiree health care costs untendably forcing all able bodied back into the workplace to pay for health care. STRS and retirees have done all they can do for their health care. Many who cannot return to work have stopped or cut medicines, treatments, Dr. visits and some have sold their homes using up their finances.

STRS continues to work hard to meet all the ORSC criteria exercising prudence and responsible oversight to reduce unfunded liability and increase the 85% ration before consideration of any expenditure from pension funds.

Ohio is not nor ever has been ranked high in priority to education. The court has ordered 4 times to properly fund education dismissed by legislators. This is a sad scenario for education in Ohio and the cause for loss of residents while not attracting new residents. Educators are dropping out of the profession and or leaving Ohio. A well educated workforce by highly qualified and motivated educators is what grows an economy and brings business to Ohio creating jobs.

Ohio is proving education and educators are not its priority by refusing to properly fund education fairly vs. simply raising taxes for homeowners. This would allow more latitude and freedom with funding by School Boards as well. This initiative and properly funding education are seperate but connected issues affecting Ohio.

The health care initiative is supported by the majority of educators wishing to help solve the problem of health care in retirement. This is evidenced by keeping track of phone calls, online responses, phone calls, meetings, etc. on this proposal.

There are many needs with Ohio's population. STRS and the Health Care Advocates consisting of many organizations is attempting to solve its own problems. The cost to School Boards is minimal and .5% is about their expected yearly increase. The average cost is $8 per check for an educator earning $40,000 in the first year. After 5 years, this will mean $40 per check from a $40,000 salary. Of course, that educator will be earning more to offset the increase.

Please let educators solve their own problem prepaying for health care in retirement.
Ohio needs to attract and retain the highest caliber of educators. Educators are 400,000+ strong with families and friends who suppor this bill. We remember well our 'friends to education.'

Molly Janczyk
STRS Retiree
OEA, NEA Lifetime
ORTA Lifetime
CEA Lifetime

(Address, phone number, e-mail address)

Larry KehresMount Union Collge
Division III
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