From Molly Janczyk, July 4, 2007
Subject: ORTA Reports: Ohio Future Campaign;Charters;HCA legis;HB151; Fordham report
From the ORTA QUARTERLY for those of you who do not receive it:
*Legislative Day went well with over 70 legislators participating or represented.
*Petitions were circulated for the "Coalition for Ohio's Future" campaign.
400,000 signatures are needed by the first of August for the fall ballot. This amendment also supplies property tax relief for seniors. Go to : www.orta.org or to www.ohea.org for info on this important issue. You can also type 'Coalition for Ohio's Future' in search to learn more and request petitions. Jim Betts, co chair.
*CPE: ORTA, an active participant of CPE (Coalition for Public Education) welcomed Barbara Shaner, OASBO and Chair of the CPE, who spoke of concerns about the operation of charter schools and the effect on public schools. Darold johnson, (OFT) works with the CPE as well , and stressed that charters should be required to adhere to the same standards as public schools with academic and financial accountability and vouchers should be ended.
*HCA legislation: Felicia Bernardini, Project Direc. and Bill Leibensperger, Co-Chair of the HCA, related the relationship between HCA and STRS with one issue" Health Care. OSBA (Ohio School Boards) find it difficult to support the issue that could cost districts more money. They have stepped away.
GO TO YOUR LOCAL SCHOOL BOARDS: Bernardini encourages retired teachers to go directly to individual school districts to explain benefits of the initiative as provided in earlier emails and which can be accessed on the OEA and ORTA websites.
Leibensperger stated he feels no national relief is in sight.
Directives for EFFECTIVE communications established by HCA for STRS approved by ORTA on HCA Legislation:
ORTA is participating in various coalitions working on passage or against certain legislation. It is important that once HCA legislation is reintroduced that membership of all groups communicate feelings and opinions to representatives and senators. ((All groups are working of these issues but as with all issues, legislators need to hear from constituents as well: numbers matter. m.j.)).
Determined to be Effective: courtesy; personalize; succinct; one page to the point immediately; commend them for a past or present action; give ((clear and well supported)) reasons for your position.
Determined to be futile: unrealistic; form letters; addressing multiple subjects; assuming legislations know all details; threaten or attacking; degrading or impugning their motives.
TALKING POINTS: -ask for their position on our issue -include your address, name, phone and sign your name -follow up after they respond and thank them -if they agree with our position, suggest they take a leadership role -if they disagree, send additional information
-Keep communicating with legislators:
-divestiture puts foreign policy objective above fiduciary duty to invest in the sole interest of membership and sets a dangerous precedent of using TRUST fund money to try to achieve a political or social objective
-investment decisions should be made by a retirement board and financial investment experts, not legislators
-ORSC DISAPPROVES of HB151
-estimated that STRS would lose about $75 million in 5 yrs.
-STRS holds nearly $19 BILLION in global internat'l investments BUT NO DIRECT HOLDINGS in governments of Iran or Sudan or businessses based in those countries
-We all condemn terrrorism but passage of this bill makes members of the pension systems victims of such terrorism
*Fordham report: STRS rebuffs this report:
-STRS is far from obselete and is one of the only a few pension plans offering 3 options for its members : DC, DB, reselection on 5th anniv. of teaching
-no statistical data to support suggestion that STRS undermines school efforts to recuit and retain high quality teachers; in fact, defined contrib. (DC) addresses needs of a mobile teacher. 75% of each years retirees at STRS have 30+ years of service; since 2000, number retiring with
30 years has declined by almost 30% (with educators staying longer) and 35 yr retirements have increased by more than 330%.
-STRS is NOT seeking any contribution increase for funding its pension plan; employer contributions has NOT INCREASED from 14% since 1984; employee increased from 9.3% to 10%.
-STRS is seeking contribution increase for a dedicated stream of revenue for health care from employee/employer (from their funding towards their HC)
-most of pension income (75%) comes from investments
-once an STRS member begins receiving psnsion checks IT CANNOT BE CHANGED and the State of Ohio is NOT bound to bail the system out nor do taxpayers bear liability. Legislators or STRS can address issues of changing benefits for those NOT yet receiving benefits ((as is true with all systems and companies)).
- STRS is not covered by Soc Sec and receives no benefits for disability or survivor benefits from S.S. thru spouse or self as this benefit is offset thru GPO and WEP. -STRS is transparent in governance, operations, structure, finance. Reviews by a third party, annual reports, results are all provided to members, media, legislators. -approx. 13% not 19% return to an STRS position after retirement and 70% of these are subs or part time earning an average of $20,000 or less. -STRS has taken a leadership role in adopting plans to meet needs of mobile teachers, find solutions for a stream of revenue for HC, insure transparancy with accurate data and objective analysis.
MANY RTA , OEA, ORTA, etc. leaders were mentioned and pictured.
CORE'S PRESIDENT DAVE PARSHALL WAS IN ATTENDANCE AND CLEARLY PICTURED IN PHOTO 5 on page 4! NO MENTION OF HIS ATTENDANCE OR PARTICIPATION! (Again, TYPICAL!)