Thursday, September 13, 2012

Retired teachers lose and so all of Ohio loses

From RH Jones, September 13, 2012
To all:
As you may already know, the STRS Ohio bill, Substitute Senate Bill 342, passed in the Ohio House yesterday. It was already passed in the Senate, and Governor Kasich says he will sign.
Webster's Dictionary defines a pensioner as being dependent. Therefore, as this becomes law, its passage means the state of Ohio has gotten away with underfunding our STRS pension; and therefore we dependent pensioners now must bear the burden of an unfair COLA cut even though we have previously, experienced deep HC/Rx severances.
Our COLA is not even being phased in. We will be hit with no COLA at all in the 2013-2014 fiscal year – we were informed by our STRS that the COLA would be nonexistent in 2014. I believe it will be, abruptly, on January 1, 2013, not the fiscal year date of July 1, 2014. Whatever happened to grandfathering?
Because the few of us protesting were ignored, the unions and our STRS, with the exception of Concerned Ohio Retired Educators (CORE), are claiming a consensus in their memberships to the COLA cut. The OEA, in particular, believes that: “ … there was stakeholder support for each plan”. And one of the retired teacher STRS Board representatives, Jim McGreevy, said that STRS had taken a poll of retired teachers, and those polled supported the take-away. No person in our CORE that I know of has ever been polled by our STRS. Could it be that the STRS knows which stakeholders to call on when they want a take-away poll done? Those of us monitoring our STRS know that this has been the case over the last 25 years.
The losers are those of us who are older retired teachers; however, it will also be the children and Ohio’s future economic growth that will be hurt the most. Quality teachers, seeing that it is so easy to sever their retirement “benefits” (better known as delayed compensation), even after paying 14% of their modest salaries into the system, will seek employment elsewhere; as a result, without properly trained public school graduates, businesses will move elsewhere, as well.
It is my thinking that Ohio needs to admit its mistake and to move quickly forward to restore a proper state contribution not only to the STRS but, also, to all Ohio traditional public school districts. In all certainty, this will move Ohio forward economically.
R.H. Jones, an Ohio retired teacher
Larry KehresMount Union Collge
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