Saturday, February 12, 2011

Tom Curtis to Representative Schuring: Please Do Not Support SB 5

From Tom Curtis, February 12, 2011
Rep. Schuring,
Please do not support SB5 as written.
Much of the language within that bill would be devastating to our economy and would permit big money and government to once again break the working class' back.
Thomas Curtis
N. Canton, OH

Tom Curtis to Senator Oelslager: Thank You For Not Supporting SB5

From Tom Curtis, February 12, 2011
Senator Oelslager,
Thank you for standing tall and indicating that you will not support SB5 as written.
The language within that bill would be devastating to our economy and would permit big money to once again break the working class' back.
Thomas Curtis
N. Canton, OH 44720

Mary Ann Fredrick to Representatiave Batchelder: We will be watching how you vote on collective bargaining

From Mary Ann Fredrick, February 10, 2011
Subject: SB 5
Rep. Batchelder, I am a twenty-two year resident of Medina County. I am a teacher, my husband is a retired teacher and we will be watching very carefully how you vote on the SB 5 regarding collective bargaining, There are hundreds of teachers that I personally know in Medina County via my work, my church, etc.
The misconception that unions are the anti-Christ and need to be crucified is merely a scapegoat for the poor economic conditions and lack of fiscal responsibility of legislators throughout this country who feed at the public trough, padding their own pockets, protecting their healthcare, and pension funds while destroying the middle class who make their mere existence possible.
If the goal is to have everyone work at Wal-Mart for minimum wage, without health care, and without full time employment then the tax base will continue to lessen as no one will be able to afford a home, buy a car, purchase goods, or further spur economic growth in Ohio or in the nation.
NO ONE will value education and there will be no need to seek higher education nor have the means to afford college. We can become one big "Appalachia" from sea to shining sea. Feel free to contact me, I will be contacting your constituents. I never miss a primary or general election!
Mary Ann R. Fredrick
Medina, OH

Friday, February 11, 2011

Soon (put your school name here) will have a change in faculty.....

From John Curry, February 11, 2011
.....due to budget cuts! But that's OK according to an STRS spokesperson.....all benchmarks are being met and "everything is beautiful."

Click image to enlarge.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Active educators....want to see how Senator Shannon Jones wants to trash your sick leave?

From John Curry, February 10, 2011

This came right out of Senate Bill 5 introduced this week by Senator Shannon Jones (R) of Springboro, OH......I hope you didn't vote for her!
P.S. Please share this email with all active educators on your email list as they NEED TO KNOW THIS VITAL INFORMATION!
Shannon Jones (R)

Majority Whip
Senate Building

1 Capitol Square, 2nd Floor
Columbus, OH 43215

Phone: (614) 466-9737
Sec. 3319.141. Each person who is employed by any (A) The board of education in this state of each city, exempted village, local, and joint vocational school district and the governing board of each educational service center shall be entitled to fifteen days sick adopt a policy to provide leave with pay, for each year under contract, which shall be credited at the rate of one and one-fourth days per monththe employees of the board who are not covered by a collective bargaining agreement. Teachers and nonteaching school employees, upon approval of the responsible administrative officer of the school district, may use sick leave for absence due to personal illness, pregnancy, injury, exposure to contagious disease which could be communicated to others, and for absence due to illness, injury, or death in the employee's immediate family. Unused sick leave shall be cumulative up to one hundred twenty work days, unless more than one hundred twenty days are approved by the employing board of education. The board shall include all of the following in the policy:
(1) The types of leave an employee may use;
(2) The reasons for which an employee may use the types of leave the board grants under the policy;
(3) The amount of each type of leave an employee may receive;
(4) The manner in which an employee accumulates each type of leave;
(5) The maximum amount of each type of leave that an employee may accumulate;
(6) The manner in which any previously accumulated sick leave of a person who has been separated from public service, whether accumulated pursuant to section 124.38 of the Revised Code or pursuant to this section, shall will be placed to histhe employee's credit upon his re-employment in the public service, provided that such re-employment takes place within ten years of the date of the last termination from public service. A;
(7) The manner in which a teacher or nonteaching school employee who transfers from one public agency to another shall will be credited with the unused balance of his the teacher's or nonteaching employee's accumulated sick leave up to the maximum of the sick leave accumulation permitted in the public agency to which the employee transfers. Teachers;
(8) Whether, and the manner in which, teachers and nonteaching school employees who render part-time, seasonal, intermittent, per diem, or hourly service shall will be entitled to sick leave for the time actually worked at the same rate as that granted like full-time employees. Each;
(9) The manner in which the board provides leave under section 3319.08 of the Revised Code;
(10) Any other issue relating to the use and availability of leave.
(B) Each board of education may establish regulations for the entitlement, crediting and use of sick leave by those substitute teachers employed by such board pursuant to section 3319.10 of the Revised Code who are not otherwise entitled to sick leave pursuant to such section. A
(C) An employee of the board may use leave in accordance with the leave policy the board adopts and upon approval of the responsible administrative officer.
(D) A board of education shall, in its policy, may require a teacher or nonteaching school employee to furnish a written, signed statement on forms prescribed by such board to justify the use of any sick leave granted under the policy. If medical attention is required, the employee's statement shall list the name and address of the attending physician and the dates when he was consulted. Nothing in this section shall be construed to waive the physician-patient privilege provided by section 2317.02 of the Revised Code. Falsification If the board, in the policy, requires the employee to submit a statement from a physician, falsification of a statement is grounds for suspension or termination of employment under sections 3319.081 and 3319.16 of the Revised Code. No
(E) The board, in the policy the board adopts, shall not grant or credit sick leave shall be granted or credited to a teacher after his the teacher's retirement or termination of employment.
Except to the extent used as sick leave, leave granted under regulations adopted by a board of education pursuant to section 3319.08 of the Revised Code shall not be charged against sick leave earned or earnable under this section. Nothing in this section shall be construed to affect in any other way the granting of leave pursuant to section 3319.08 of the Revised Code and any granting of sick leave pursuant to such section shall be charged against sick leave accumulated pursuant to this section.
(F) This section shall not be construed to interfere with any unused sick leave credit in any agency of government where attendance records are maintained and credit has been given for unused sick leave. Unused sick leave accumulated by teachers and nonteaching school employees under section 124.38 of the Revised Code, as that section existed immediately prior to the effective date of this amendment, shall continue to be credited toward the maximum accumulation permitted under a policy adopted in accordance with this section. Each newly hired regular nonteaching and each regular nonteaching employee of any board of education who has exhausted his accumulated sick leave shall be entitled to an advancement of not less than five days of sick leave each year, as authorized by rules which each board shall adopt, to be charged against the sick leave he subsequently accumulates under this section.
(G) This section shall be uniformly administered.
The board shall post the policy adopted under this section in a conspicuous location on the web site maintained by the board. The board shall review the policy on an annual basis and shall post any changes to that policy in a conspicuous location on the web site maintained by the board.
Nothing in this section shall be construed as preventing a board and an exclusive representative, as defined in section 4117.01 of the Revised Code, from agreeing to apply the policy adopted by the board under this section to employees covered by a collective bargaining agreement between the board and the exclusive representative.

The firefighters even fight for the teachers but.....

From John Curry, February 10, 2011 the teachers fight for the firefighters? HA-HA...what a joke! They won't even fight for themselves! John
Don't believe it? Click on the link below!

STRSers who fell through the cracks....

From John Curry, February 10, 2011
Q. How many current STRS retirees have Medicare Part B only...that is, those who have fallen through the cracks in the system because their former Ohio employers (school boards) didn't see the need (or just flat out didn't want) to enroll them in conventional Medicare as they were forced (by law) to do so for only "new hires" after 1989?
A. 9,362
Will these 9,362 be forgotten?
Gee.....I wonder why ORTA is not talking about this?

RH Jones: OH STRS Defined Benefits, HC/Rx & 3% fixed COLA is a good investment

From RH Jones, February 10, 2011
To the Honorable Representative Lynn R.Watchman (R), District 51, and all:
As you stated in your Feb. 2 sponsor testimony, you noted the importance of preserving Health Care (HC) coverage for retired public employees. However, the words you used “if possible” and “coverage” left me wondering. Of course, retired teachers can purchase their own coverage for HC/Rx, but we were promised such when we accepted the lawful contract to retire. A COLA is an important part as well. The yearly very fairly calculated Supplemental Check always helped.
Without these inflation fighting programs, a proper pension is impossible for the retired teachers. Yet, even, the non-compounding 3% COLA does not keep us up with the compounding living expenses. Everyday the media tells of rising costs. Today, it is corn prices raising the costs of food - that is being due to corn purchases for ethanol; yesterday, it was the +14% in airfare; even McDonald’s is raising the price hamburgers. And everyone knows that oil is high, and that has an affect on all prices.
The fact being, that almost everyone has a mother, sister, or cousin, who is a retired teacher – not many men in the profession – should awaken a sense of responsibility to provide employer contributions to the STRS that would make it sustainable for the requirement of the 30-year fiduciary goal set by law.
It is an exaggeration for an average citizen to think Ohio is not coming out of the Great Recession and cannot afford an employer increase for the STRS. The sales of motor vehicles are currently reported to be at an all-time high and this is a wealth-producing industry of high paying jobs. Related to that, in today’s new high-tech economy, we will always have citizens who, for whatever reason, are unemployed. A “dumbing down” of Ohio, by cutting public investment in education to the bone, can only result in hyper-recession, or worse; but, for the real fact of the matter Sony of America says, that technology doubles every 2-years.
Therefore, Ohio needs to come on strong in support of traditional public education. Traditionally, education is and has been the driving force behind a thriving business community, which is continuing to ask for even more highly educated workers. Much of the manual labor is being replaced by robotics. Note: the Ohio Turnpike is now using machines rather than people to collect fees; additionally, Sony even says that by 2013, a supercomputer will be invented to surpass the human intelligence of our entire species.
Going forward, then, Ohio must maintain a strong Defined Benefits (better known as deferred compensation) in the STRS in order to maintain and garner the best professional educators, both men and women, for Ohio’s youngsters Pre-K-16. A healthy, thriving STRS defined benefits program is a key part of the total education package. Changing to defined contributions will only help demolish a great STRS that has existed and served Ohio’s retired educators since 1920.
Thanks again, any increased costs of traditional public education and its retirement system will benefit Ohio in meeting the challenge of the new computer age -- a revolutionary change as large and as dynamic as the industrial revolution.
Robert H. Jones, a proud retired teacher member of the OH STRS
CORE to meet March 17
Details here.

STRS scheduled to meet March 17, 18
Details here.

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Police and Fire GRANDFATHER the COLA for THEIR (15 years service time and more) retirees...and STRS???

From John Curry, February 9, 2011
This chart was taken off the Police and Fire Pension site today....

From Representative Schuring: Pension Subcommittee Hearing Schedule

Click image twice to enlarge.
February 9, 2011..........................

STRS Board to meet February 16-17, 2011

From STRS, February 9, 2011
(Revised 2/10/11)
The State Teachers Retirement Board and Committee meetings currently scheduled at the STRS Ohio offices, 275 East Broad Street, Columbus, Ohio 43215, are as follows:
Wednesday, February 16, 2011
...8:30 a.m. Final Average Salary Committee/Disability Review Panel/ Final Average Salary Committee (Executive Session)
Thursday, February 17, 2011
...9:00 a.m. Retirement Board Meeting
The Retirement Board meeting will come to order at 9 a.m. on Thursday, February 17, 2011, and begin with a report from the Investment Dept., followed by a report from the Finance Dept., the Executive Director's Report, public participation, a report from the Member Benefits Department, routine matters, old business, new business or any other matters requiring attention.

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

CORE meeting scheduled for February 17, 2011

From CORE, February 8, 2011
CORE (Concerned Ohio Retired Educators) will hold its February meeting on Thursday, February 17th at the STRS building at 275 East Broad Street in Columbus. Parking is free in the STRS parking garage located behind the building. We encourage you to also attend the STRS Retirement Board meeting on the same day which usually begins around 9:00 a.m. in the Board Room on the 6th floor, though this time can vary from month to month. Lately the STRS meetings have been held most of the day on the following Friday as well as Thursday. For this reason, we suggest you check the STRS website ( to confirm the time.
Please remember that CORE meeting attendees usually leave the STRS meeting around 11:30 a.m. in order to go to the cafeteria on the 2nd floor to get our lunches. We then take our lunches to the small cafeteria room behind the Sublett Room on the 2nd floor where the CORE meeting begins promptly at 11:45.
This February meeting will be an "extended" meeting to work on talking points for possible actions which the new legislature may have in mind for us. We will ask for volunteers to return to the STRS Board meeting room around 1:00 while the rest of us will remain to brainstorm ideas. If you have additional suggestions for the February CORE meeting agenda, please send them to CORE Vice President John Curry at curryjo@watchtv,net.
The membership form may be found on the CORE website:

Please share this with any OPERS retirees that you know

From John Curry, February 8, 2011

OPERS retirees who are 65 and older........ If you think you are a victim of the OPERS change in insurance policy, we want to hear from you. E-mail Ron at

Monday, February 07, 2011

Click image to enlarge.


John Curry: Ann...I am still awaiting an answer....

From John Curry, February 8, 2011
Ann....possibly the emails got mixed up but I sent you the letter below back on Jan. 28, which was ten days ago, and I still haven't received a letter from you stating whether or not ORTA has taken an official position on the latest STRS Board's recommended plan that passed at the January Board meeting by a vote of 7-3. I think you are aware that the OEA is against this most recent board approved plan.
From looking at your ORTA website, it appears that ORTA has not made a position statement re. this vote and this plan. Please inform me if, in fact, ORTA has or has not taken a stand re. this most recent STRS board action. If they have, what was that stand? Thank you.
John Curry
a Proud CORE member
From: John Curry
To: Ann Hanning
Sent: Friday, January 28, 2011 8:18 AM
Subject: So, Ann, where does ORTA stand on yesterday's vote at STRS?
It is apparent, from the news article below and other news articles, that the OEA does "not support the plan." What is ORTA's position on supporting the plan or not supporting the plan?
Ohio Education Association spokeswoman Michele Prater said the state’s largest teachers’ union does not support the plan.
“We understand the timeline and the constraints the STRS board was under to put their plan together, but this proposal includes cuts that are too deep and that don’t offer sufficient flexibility to teachers who are nearing the end of their careers,” she said.
Ohio teachers' board votes to raise retirement age
January 27, 2011
The Associated Press
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Ohio public school teachers would pay a larger share of their retirement costs, work until they’re older and see pension benefits cut under changes approved Thursday that aim to keep their primary pension fund solvent by saving $10.9 billion.
The State Teachers Retirement System board approved a host of changes to the benefit program that serves the bulk of the pension fund’s 470,000 members. The changes must be approved by lawmakers and the governor.
Spokeswoman Laura Ecklar said the package marks the end of a two-year effort to find a way to keep the pension fund afloat for the long haul.
“The bottom line is, without changes, sometime in the future the fund wouldn’t be able to pay benefits. And, difficult as it was to develop this plan and recommend reducing benefits, it is necessary to do,” Ecklar said. “And it still provides a reasonable, reliable pension for our retirees.”
The plan calls for increasing minimum age and service requirements necessary to qualify for retirement benefits and requiring teachers to pay 13 percent of their salaries into the system while receiving reduced benefits and smaller cost-of-living increases. Those payments are made in lieu of paying into Social Security.
Ohio Education Association spokeswoman Michele Prater said the state’s largest teachers’ union does not support the plan.
“We understand the timeline and the constraints the STRS board was under to put their plan together, but this proposal includes cuts that are too deep and that don’t offer sufficient flexibility to teachers who are nearing the end of their careers,” she said.
Board recommendations call for reducing retirees’ cost-of-living increases from 3 percent a year to 2 percent a year beginning July 1, 2012. Member contributions would also begin to rise on that date, increasing 1 percent a year to a total of 3 percent above the current 10 percent level between 2012 and 2014.
Other changes are scheduled to kick in Aug. 1, 2015 — assuming they are approved by the Legislature.
Republican state Rep. Lynn Wachtmann, chairman of the House Health and Aging Committee, said Wednesday that he plans to introduce a pension reform bill next week. The legislation is slated to include proposed eligibility and benefit changes to all five of Ohio’s public pension funds.
Gov. John Kasich has signaled he could play hardball on the issue, including opposing pension reforms he does not see as going far enough.
Ecklar said a combination of factors made current pension formulas unsustainable — including the hit to investment losses during the recent economic downturn and longer lives for retirees and their survivors.
Recommendations approved Thursday would reduce the difference between assets held by the pension fund and what it owes in pension payments to $27.9 billion — an amount the fund could feasibly pay off in the legally required 30 years.
To get there, the board voted to set a minimum age of 60 with 35 years of service as the new threshold for full pension eligibility. Under current rules, teachers can retire at any age once they’ve served 30 years. Members could still be eligible for partial early retirement benefits at 55, but after 30 years of service rather than the current 25.
The new age and service requirements will be phased in over eight years. Members will still be able to retire at age 65 with 5 years of service.
Teachers retiring after 35 years at age 60 or older would receive 77 percent of their final average salary as pension, a reduction from the current rate. The average salary would be calculated over five years rather than the current three, which could reduce payouts further.
The plan does not include any changes to the amount teachers’ employers, including school districts, colleges and universities, pay into the retirement system.

Thank you,, if Ohio educators (both active and retired) would only have a little intestinal fortitude and BROADCAST these facts.........

From John Curry, February 7, 2011
.....we'd be a whole lot better off AND the public (as well as some lawmakers) would be given an education as to the true meaning of a public pension system and the nature of a "public" servant and their lawful benefits. However....and a big "however," teachers, both active and retired, need to realize that the 88%/35 years was far above and beyond any other Ohio public retirement systems' pay-outs. None of the "other systems" ever paid over 77% for those same 35 years of service. STRS is due a "reality check" on this issue and I think the Ohio legislature will see to it that they will receive it....sooner rather than later. Thanks to this 88%/35, STRS's health insurance premiums for retiree and spouse are 16 times greater than the premiums charged by OPERS for the same non-Medicare aged retiree and his/her spouse.
Yes, there will be some, in the management at STRS, who will say that I am comparing apples to oranges as they are two different retirement systems. I say to them, "30 years (or more) of public service given to the public by a human being is 30 years (or more) of public service....regardless of what state retirement system that the benefits recipient paid into.
John Curry
From Molly Ganz, February 7, 2011
Subject: Stand tall
Hello fellow educators,
This is what some may call "enough is enough" mini-rant.
As teachers in the local public school systems, our salary was paid for by taxpayers in the community so that their children received a free education.
Fellow teachers know well that our salaries and benefits were resolutely earned.
Now, as retired educators, we are members of the State Teachers Retirement System (STRS); it is a Pension Fund. During our service years for the community, part of our pay was contributed to this pension system.
We gave up some of our income so it could be invested for our future.
Retirement money is not a gift from the taxpayers of Ohio, as many politicians are implying. It is our money, just the same as any money they invested in their 401K is their money. Neither is part of the state budget - none.
Our state pension is NOT due to citizens' generosity. It is the result of us working for much less than our skills are truly worth so that we may have a retirement that we deserve and paid for during our working years in the public school classroom.

Sunday, February 06, 2011

Have OPERS retirees been shortchanged with their health coverage?

From John Curry, February 6, 2011
Click on the link below and view the Channel 5 (Cleveland) investigative report video at this site! Until now, OPERS has had a stellar reputation for not "weaseling" and nickel and diming its retirees with unpaid medical bills.......until now!
Ohio Department of Insurance - Consumer Services

A little more re: OPERS and Humana

From John Curry, February 6, 2011
Click on THIS OPERS link....yes, OPERS retirees of Medicare age were forced into a Humana Medicare Advantage program....sound familiar, STRS retirees?
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