Columbus Dispatch, January 8, 2010
Teachers are drawn to retirement plan
The Sunday Dispatch articles "Good as gold," on the Ohio public-pension systems, are thorough and try to give both sides of the argument. I'm a retired teacher and going through my second year of retirement. My wife still teaches, and we were digesting your facts and figures.
Here are some of our thoughts. The State Teachers Retirement System is one of the bright spots in choosing a teaching career. If STRS is changed by the legislature to mirror corporate America, it will cause some teachers to rethink their commitment and seek employment elsewhere. Both of our safety forces are asking for a larger tax outlay from collected taxes than the STRS. What makes them more special or more deserving than teachers?
Teaching is not the safe job it used to be. Why can't there be more than one way to retire? Does the establishment always have to jump on board and do the cheapest thing possible? One way school systems could save taxpayers' money is to have their administrators pay for their own retirement.
In our systems in Perry County, often the administrator's part of his retirement is paid by the board of education as a part of his contract. Administrators should pay their percentage of their own retirement just as the teachers and bus drivers do.
So far, the discussion on pensions in the public-service sector is good, and I'm sure through our democratic processes a good solution will make itself known. We need to keep the channels of communication open among all layers of the tax-paying public.
DAVID A. KUNKLER