Friday, May 17, 2019

Dean Dennis to STRS Board: Who are our lobbyists lobbying for?

Dean Dennis' speech to STRS Board
May 16, 2019
My name is Dean Dennis. I paid 35 years into the STRS Defined Benefit Plan. I'm the STRS Chair for Cincinnati's Local 1520-Retirees and spokesperson for the Ohio STRS Member Only Forum on Facebook. 
I paid into the Defined Benefit Plan for 35 years because I had no choice. Ohio is a non-Social Security state and the Defined Contribution Plan wasn't available until after I was vested. Our pension is supposed to be much better that Social Security so isn't it baffling that our pension plan which receives more than double the percent in contributions compared to Social Security, can't provide a COLA, while Social Security can provide a compounded one? 
Ohio is only one of a handful of Non-Social Security States. Our active teachers pay 14% of their salary in employee contributions to STRS. In Social Security states, the rate is 6.2%.  
So let's compare Ohio's Employer Contribution rate to the other Non-Social Security States: Rhode Island employers pay 26.28%, Louisiana 26%, Connecticut 23.65%, Alaska 22%, Colorado 20.4%, Maine 18.49%, CA 16.28%, Texas 15%, Missouri 14.5%, Nevada is tied with Ohio at 14% only Massachusetts employers pay less. It's clear, Ohio's active teachers contribute more than their fair share, while Ohio's employers contributions seriously lag. Interestingly, the Ohio employer contribution rate for Police is 19.5%. The Ohio employer rate for Fire is 24%; imagine, Ohio employer's contribute a full 10% less to their teachers. 
So why have we been at 14% for 35 years, without an increase? That's a great question for our seven elected union peers serving on our Board and our four appointed Board members.  
ORC 3307.14, states that if there is a shortfall in the pension transfer fund (think no COLA), then the shortfall "shall be paid by an additional employer rate of contribution." This shortfall only has to be acknowledged by the Board's actuary and presented to the Ohio Retirement Study Committee (ORSC) comprised of legislators. The problem is that nearly 40 years ago, ORC 3307.28 capped the Employer Contribution at 14%. So, what has STRS been doing for the last 3 decades? They meet monthly with the ORSC and must submit an annual report. This is especially troubling when you consider that our contributions help pay for 6 STRS lobbyist. Who are our lobbyist lobbying for? It doesn't seem to be for us.  
Imagine if for the last 30 years our Employer Contribution Rate had been 2-4% higher? We'd have a COLA and our teachers wouldn't be retiring over the age of 60. In conclusion, why is the Ohio's employer contribution rate frozen in time at 14%, while the employer contribution rate in the other non-Social Security States averages 22.5%? Someone isn't doing their job, and it is not us. Thank you. 

Mary Ronan to STRS Board: Ohio teachers need their COLA restored ASAP, not in 2034 at 100% funding, when many of them won't be alive to see it, as the 4,000 teachers who passed away this past year

Mary Ronan's speech to the STRS Board
May 16, 2019 
My name is Mary Ronan. I retired as the Superintendent of the Cincinnati Public Schools. Today I want to share my observation of the changes that went into effect July 1, 2013, while I was still the Superintendent. 
At the end of the 2012-13 school year, my district, as well as others, experienced a mass exodus of our best and brightest experienced teachers (over 300 in CPS alone). As we all know, one of the incentives was retire before July 1, 2013 or go without a COLA for 5 years. This exodus was triggered by STRS changes. 
This incentive for leaving, when many would have continued to keep teaching, is a testimony to how important a cost-of-living raise is to teachers. As you are aware, you don't go into teaching to become rich. According to the Economic Policy Institute, teachers earn 19% less than those in comparable professions with similar education. Teachers cannot afford to not have a COLA.   
We are now wrapping up the 2018-2019 school year. The teachers who retired after July 1, 2013 have now served their 5 years without a COLA. From what I heard this morning, some members on this Board are now considering withholding a cost-of-living increase until the year 2034. 
Let me ask you this: is it fair for a teacher who retired in 2014 and had been promised a COLA their entire working life to go 20 years without a cost of living increase? 
How are Ohio's superintendents going to be able to sell future college students on the idea that they should consider teaching as a career? How are we going to recruit the best students coming out of colleges to come to Ohio and teach? When current and new teachers understand what can happen to them after they retire, why would any teacher put their trust in Ohio's Defined Benefit Plan? 
My fear is years from now we will be wondering what we can do to attract teachers to Ohio classrooms because of how we are treating our teachers today. I also wonder if this is happening because 77% of our teachers are women, and [because of that] you are assuming you can get away with it. 
The elimination of the COLA was done quickly and without warning, in hopes that Ohio teachers would not realize the huge impact over time this cut would have to their standard of living. Ohio teachers need their COLA restored ASAP, not in 2034 at 100% funding, when many of them won't be alive to see it, as the 4,000 teachers who passed away this past year. 
Thank you for Board members who are considering to review the restoration of the COLA at 85% funding.

William Boone to STRS Board: I hope some of these lingering issues can be addressed before the end of the year

William Boone's speech to STRS Board
May 16, 2019
My name is William Boone and I am the Chairman of the Ohio Federation of Teachers Retirement Committee. I am also an active teacher who is in my 20th year teaching American History at Berea-Midpark High School. I have taken a day off from my duties at the high school to outline the major concerns of the committee and the active and retired members of OFT overall.
I will begin with an issue that has been brought to the attention of this body at every meeting by numerous teachers since the COLA was eliminated. I do not have time to make the case for immediately bringing back some form of COLA right now. I have studied the issue and the members of this body have made their positions very clear. What our committee DOES ask for is shared sacrifice and fairness. At the last STRS [Board] meeting, it was agreed that there would be a 4.8 percent STRS compensation INCREASE for 2019-2020. The mission statement of STRS Ohio is posted on your website. It says that STRS Ohio will PARTNER with our members in helping to build retirement security. With this type of increase as a whole and some of the very generous bonuses of over half a million dollars for the Directors of Investments in particular, it doesn't FEEL like a true partnership. We offer a very simple proposition. There should not be any future raises for STRS employees until there is an adjustment made to the COLA. This is reasonable and simply acknowledges that there should be shared sacrifice across the board.
Next, the OFT Retirement Committee is committed to keeping the actuarial rate of return at 7.45 and believe it should not go below this current rate except in unforeseen circumstances. We believe this is also reasonable, based on the performance of our pension investments over the past decade.
In addition, we urge the STRS Board to review and change "smoothing" policies for the final years of an active member's career as it pertains to pension. Members of the committee that are much smarter than I have pointed out inconsistencies that should be addressed in this area. Slight adjustments in this area can go a LONG way.
Finally, the main reason I am here is to focus on the issue of transparency. True partners are transparent, open and accessible with each other. If you are to live up to your mission statement, some reforms need to be implemented as soon as possible. The good news is they are easy to put in place and do not cost much.
Number one, elected members of the board should have their e-mail addresses available on the STRS website. Active teachers are contributing 14% of their earnings towards a pension fund that is being run by STRS Board Members. With investment assets of over $77 billion, STRS Ohio is one of the largest public pension funds in the country. Consequently, these elected members of the STRS Board have a duty to be more accessible to the people who have put an immense amount of trust in them.
Next, the hedge fund model of "2 and 20" needs to be cut in half to "1 and 10" in order to reverse a transfer of wealth to billionaires, especially since the rate of return has been less than favorable. The OFT encourages the Ohio STRS to conduct an asset allocation review to examine less costly and more effective diversification approaches. There is a need for public disclosures related to the fees for these private equity investments. Illinois and Rhode Island have recently passed bills that require public disclosures related to fees and other expenses tied to private equity investments. The Ohio legislature should follow their example.
Finally, STRS [Board] meetings should be broadcast on the Ohio Channel so that interested members can stay informed more easily. I will conclude with a personal story to explain my frustration in this matter. My father, in the final chapter of his life, has become a devout Baptist. He faithfully attends Sunday service at the Berea Baptist Church EVERY Sunday. This church has less than 100 members whose average age is about 70 years old. The annual budget is less than $100,0000. It is a modest organization. Imagine my surprise last weekend when my father excitedly told me that his church now streams video of their services online so that members of the church who cannot physically make it to church on Sundays will never have to miss a service. I couldn't believe it. The State Teachers Retirement System of Ohio is one of the nation's premier retirement systems, serving nearly 494,000 active, inactive and retired Ohio public educators. It has investment assets of over $77 billion. STRS Ohio has an annual communications budget of nearly $2 million. Yet, the Berea Baptist Church can offer a service that STRS Ohio cannot? There is no need for an educator like myself to drive to Columbus every month to stay up-to-date on my pension plan that I pour 14% of my earnings into. I honestly can't fathom why this has not been addressed yet. It is 2019. Give us the same opportunity afforded to the members of the Berea Baptist Church.
Thank you for allowing me the time to speak on behalf of the OFT Retirement Committee today. I truly hope that some of these lingering issues can finally be addressed before the end of the year.

Thursday, May 16, 2019

Julie Sellers to STRS Board: Until some of our cuts are restored, you must rein in your spending

Julie Sellers' speech to STRS Board
May 16, 2019 
State Teachers Retirement System
Board Meeting
May 2019 
Good Morning Members of the Board, 
My name is Julie Sellers and I am the President of the Cincinnati Federation of Teachers. I am here today to request that the Trustees fulfill their responsibilities of managing the pension funds for Ohio's Teachers in a transparent manner. I also understand the legal necessity to preserve the fiscal integrity of the pension fund and make sure it is solvent for every retired AND active member. But make no mistake, I believe that the STRS Board needs to hold the employees of STRS responsible to make sound investments with our hard earned dollars. I do not believe that this has always been the case; employees for STRS have consistently received bonuses in six figures while active members are working longer, contributing a greater percent of their earned income (14%) and getting less in return. That does not make sense. Until some of our cuts are restored, you, STRS, must rein in your spending. 
Current teachers must now work until they are at least 60 years old AND have 35 years in the system. This means that many teachers begin their careers when they are just 21 or 22 years old, so actually they MUST work 38 or 39 years before they can retire. That adds up to a combined score of 98 or 99 for most people. That is well above other states; most have a required score of 70-80. Teachers' future life expectancy will not be greater than it is today. Currently, members were mandated with the changes would not have received a COLA for 5 years, so their clock was already ticking towards that 5 year marker. The changes to the actives did not seem fair to me when the initial changes took place, and they still do not seem fair. Teaching is a hard job, and it can suck the life out of you. This is making a teaching career one that many are walking away from, which is further destabilizing the fund. 
But on the other hand, as I look around this room, I see many retirees. Is it fair or realistic that they will not receive a COLA increase indefinitely? During the recession and with Ohio's draconian cuts to education, almost everyone in this room went for 5, 6, 7 years without a raise. This was difficult for every family paying into this system. Not only did we have pay freezes, but you were increasing the employee contributions by 1% per year, so employees were taking home less each and every year! Now as these folks are in retirement, you are again mandating for them to take another freeze. 
I attended a board meeting about a couple years ago when you were trying to justify the 5 year COLA freeze; you gave data that most retirees have multiple income streams. I have talked to many teachers since that meeting, and most have not been able to save for retirement like they had hoped, due to the years of employee contribution increases and freezes on our salaries. Many younger employees are in a lifetime of student loan debt, and are still trying to purchase their first home. I do not think that you should make the assumption that the COLA freezes will not impact the lives of our current or future retirees. 
I also believe that you are not using accurate investment returns and actuarial projections. You should not be waiting for five years to revisit the COLA issue. I would like to remind you that the STRS funds are not your money. These funds belong to the current retirees and active members, and we need for you to look out for the financial well-being of us all. 
This must be a delicate balance between actives and retirees. 
1. The mandatory age of 60 AND 35 years of service must be decoupled to address the many diverse options that teachers have; address second careers, young beginning careers or older beginning careers. 
2. The 13th check should not be an option. When this was paid it cost billions of dollars that wouyld have made our current system today more solvent. 
3. It is not realistic to NOT give a COLA for 5 years or more. Check the assumptions annually. 
4. ANY school that receives vouchers of public funds should be mandated to pay into the pension system for their certificated personnel. 
5. Any Charter School which has not paid for their employees' funds into the system should be shut down, and any property or resources should be used to repay STRS, because this disrupts the system. 
6. Stop investing in Hedge Funds. Their fees are too high, and you have to pay if the investment makes money or not. This is not a good return on our investment.

Patricia Pedro Carmean to STRS Board: Restore our COLA NOW!

Patricia Pedro Carmean's speech to STRS Board
May 16, 2019 
I am Patricia Pedro Carmean; I am a retired teacher from Washington Local Schools located in Toledo, Ohio. I am also a former Washington Local School Board member. My husband, who is deceased, was a retired teacher and superintendent. He had 36 years in teaching. 
I chose to be here today to support my fellow educators. I had the opportunity to attend a naturalization ceremony this morning at Gibsonburg High School. I have attended many ceremonies, and every ceremony is like the first time I attended. Happy and grateful people, happy to be citizens of the United States. The league I belong to helps register these new citizens to be able to vote.
I was born a United States citizen. I believe I take my citizenship for granted until I speak with these new citizens about the oppression in their country and not having the right to vote. Truly unreal to me. Not being able to vote or have representatives' support to have my best interest in government. 
But I am here before this board, who are supposed to have my best interest. I don't feel I have your support or respect. I feel disrespected and angry. I trusted this board and the people working here to have my back. This has not happened. 
With "freezing" the COLA for possibly 30-35 years, I will be 96 years old, if I am still alive in 30 years. However, you still believe that it is right to give STRS employees raises and bonuses. II am not sure how you feel that this is ethical. 
I am asking that you restore our Cost of Living Adjustment NOW. 
Thank you.

Sharon Wiehe to STRS Board: DO THE RIGHT THING!

Sharyn Wiehe's speech to the STRS Board
May 16, 2019 
What you are doing to our COLA is unconscionable. I am a retired teacher and guidance counselor. I was told by a STRS counselor that part of my retirement package was a COLA. Your STRS employee told me that. I planned my retirement based on my pension and COLA. The absence of this promised COLA has affected my buying power. 
My husband has a medical condition that has required him to be on a medication for the last 9 months that costs between $500.00 and $600.00 a month. You do the math to see how my promised COLA would have affected my buying power for this medication. When I retired I factored in unexpected health costs that my pension and COLA would hopefully cover what our health insurance would not. I planned. You did not. 
There is money to reinstate our promised COLA as part of our retirement package. If you have to make adjustments, make them to future retirees. They will have time to adjust their retirement plans.DO THE RIGHT THING. It is within your power to do so.

Suzanne Laird to STRS Board: End those bonuses now

Suzanne Laird's speech to the STRS Board
May 16, 2019 
Good Morning, Members of MY Board: 
My name is Suzanne Laird. 
I retired in June, 2013, with 30 years' experience. 
I am but one of the many retirees who felt they must retire rather abruptly, based on the actions of this Board and the advice given me by employees of STRS. As I approached my 28th and 29th year of service, I began to hear rumors. Rumors that my Board was reducing the Cost of Living Adjustment mandated for educators in the state of Ohio. 
I made an appointment and was assigned a counselor, Jennifer Sharpe, who sent me a nice little booklet, “Retiring With Confidence.” At my first meeting with Jennifer, her personalized retirement estimate for me was predicated on a 3% COLA. But soon after, Jennifer broke the news to me: the rumors were now true: by the time I could retire with 30 years' experience, my Board had decided I was only worth of a 2% COLA. And it got worse: the first year of retirement, I would receive NO COLA. She also admitted that the Board was considering removing the COLA altogether, but that I could “save” my COLA by retiring before that dire decision was enacted. 
In disbelief, I asked her to run the numbers for me: what would happen if I worked just one more year? Oh, she said, over the course of your retirement you would lose first hundreds, then thousands of dollars. Almost $15,000.00 in the first 12 years. I met two more times with my counselor, your employee, and went over the numbers she provided, again. 
I brought with me today the statistics provided to me — the data upon which I made my decision. The data I took to my financial advisor, who, after studying it, told me I must retire or lose thousands, but at least I’d have my 2% COLA!I I retired with confidence. Confidence in my Board, that they were doing all they could to preserve my pension system, my financial future. 
Page 16 from my little booklet : “Sleep in, read the paper at your leisure.” 
I read in the paper that the stock market is enjoying the longest bull run in history. Is my pension system, with more than 80 advisors, meeting and exceeding the averages many folks are seeing, or are they constantly revising their own projections downward? 
I read that many in this lovely building receive astounding yearly bonuses, while we, who toiled for years, receive no cost of living adjustment! Oh, but I’m told, we couldn’t possibly retain the best and brightest advisors without those bonuses. The best and brightest?! Give me an average return over your best and brightest any year. 
This morning, we heard about solutions in case of a catastrophic event. The obvious solution? NO MORE BONUSES. Immediately! 
This is not my first time speaking to this Board. I cannot attend as often as I like since I must substitute teach in order to offset the lack of a COLA and the spiraling Healthcare premiums, copays and deductibles. 
I know I will never recoup the thousands I have already lost, but please, find your conscience. Find your …… guts. You have the power. 
End those bonuses now. Put that money, our money back into our pension system and restore the COLA.

Dennis Leone to STRS Board: Remember the six STRS Board members and the executive director who were convicted in court and removed from STRS forever!

Dennis Leone's remarks to the STRS Board
May 16, 2019 
Members of the Board, my name is Dennis Leone. I am an STRS retiree and a former member of the STRS Board [2005-2009]. I have a couple of questions for you today: 
Does it bother any of you sitting here in front of me that there are over 100,000 STRS retirees, me included, who were told by STRS counselors that a 3% COLA would be statutorily awarded annually, it was something we could count on, it was something we could plan on receiving each and every year? It was a way we could make a stab at paying for increased costs for things like groceries, gasoline and -- believe it or not -- even school levies! I wonder if anyone has thought about this one: retired STRS members voting no on school levies because their pensions are frozen for life. Does it bother any of you that the COLA elimination was a promise broken? It was a promise broken. It was a promise broken! 
So you got the state legislature to change the law that commanded you to give us an annual 3% COLA. Perhaps you need to be reminded that the new law said you could adjust the COLA, not eliminate it. And perhaps your legal counsel is telling you that the words "adjust" and "eliminate" in this instance can be one and the same. I beg to differ with that posture. Reducing the COLA temporarily, and even cutting it for one year, perhaps meets the definition of adjusting the COLA. But eliminating the COLA as representing an adjustment? No, it doesn't pass the smell test. 
And, as everyone here knows, while you say there is not enough money to provide a COLA, you have concluded that there certainly is enough money, thanks in part to teacher and school board contributions, for a bunch of staff members to get huge bonus checks each year. I know what you have heard as Board members. Giving the bonus checks insures that you have the best and brightest employees, it parallels what happens on Wall Street, and not giving the bonuses will cause your best people to get out of Dodge. I heard the same stuff when I served on this Board. 
I know a teacher in southern Ohio who volunteered to take the lower level kids in her school, because it was something she wanted to do, and guess what? She had success in helping her whole class increase their state report card scores! Did she get a bonus? Hardly. She got a pat on the back and a public thank you at a school board meeting, but that was bonus. You know what she said that night? "I just feel like I was doing my job." How about that? 
Okay, I am finished here today. You have broken a promise to over 100,000 retirees. You have decided to use a new law that says you can adjust the COLA to mean that you can eliminate it. And you are giving out giant bonuses to staff annually, even though your members who made contributions for over 30 years never saw anything like a bonus, even when they did exemplary work. 
Thank you. Hey, guess what today is? Sixteen years ago, on this day in this room, when I was a school superintendent for Chillicothe City, I gave the Board ad 13-page report that outlined poor decision-making on the Board's part. Six Board members and the executive director here were convicted in court and removed from STRS forever. Some of you may need to refresh your memory about what happened then. 
[View this page: for an idea of what was contained in those 13 pages in 2003]

Bob Buerkle: STRS is bullying our members

Bob Buerkle’s speech to STRS Board
May 16, 2019
The Bullies at 275 East Broad Street
From FY 2003 through FY 2011 STRS used an earnings assumption rate of 8%, which was reasonable since our 30-year average investment returns were over 8.6%. Our unfunded debt in 2003 was $17 billion and we were 74% funded. Today we are 76-78% funded. Of course, a 3% COLA was always paid during these years. For FY 2012 STRS decided that the investments could only earn 7.75%. This unnecessary lowering of our earnings expectations added more than $15 billion dollars to our debt! Can I really say unnecessary? Well, I think so, since we averaged 12.82% between 2010 and 2012, why did we have to lower the Earnings Assumption Rate downward from 8% to 7.75% on 07/01/2012? Then for the next 5 years STRS averaged a 9.2%return, but STRS chose to lower the EAR again, this time to 7.45%. In the 2 years since then we’ve earned 11.93%. In six weeks and for the last 10 years, as of 07/01/19, STRS will have averaged just over 10%. That’s more than 25% greater than your current EAR! 
After 41 straight years of COLAs, STRS sought and was legislativelly granted the authority to adjust and pay or not pay future COLAs. We all know how disastrous that has turned out.
On March 19, 2015 the STRS Board voted to pursue 100% funding. The actuary said that at the current 7.75% expected investment return at the time and at 29 years remaining in the funding period, STRS could expect to meet its goal over a 30-year time frame (think 2045), improving the funded ration by about 1% per year and reducing the unfunded period by about 1 year each year. Two years later STRS was making such rapid progress that they had to act to slow their progress down by lowering the earnings assumption rate again, this time to 7.45%. This worked to slow their progress towards 100% funding because this move created another $11 billion of debt. To solve the new debt liability STRS chose to eliminate the COLA. By the way, since 1981, when more of our STRS Portfolio was allowed to be invested in stocks, our current 7.45% Earnings Assumption Rate is the lowest it has ever been.
The historical cost of COLA payments to all retirees is about 25% of total pension payments. STRS has been keeping most of our COLA since 2013, but now they are keeping all of it. Without COLA payments your pension will never increase. The only account that will grow is the STRS account.
I have a question for our retirees here today. Do teachers like bullies? NO! In fact, we loathe bullies. Let’s face it, STRS is bullying our members. They are forcing their will upon us. Bullies take, take, take and are never satisfied. Look at what they have done to us. Soon teachers will need to work 5 to 9 years longer and also be age 60, have 5 to 9 fewer pension years, pay much more in contributions, receive no COLA until age 65 (IF EVER, LIKE US!), and receive 25-50% less in total pension payments than retirees received over the past 30 and 40 year periods.
Teachers stand up against bullies, and we are standing up against you today. We will not let you continue to run roughshod over us and our colleagues. Expect more reactions from us, our colleagues and our fellow retirees because FOR EACH OTHER, WE CARE, WE SHOW UP, WE FIGHT AND WE VOTE!

Sunday, May 12, 2019

Important Message to all STRS Active and Retired Members from Bob Buerkle

From Bob Buerkle
May 11, 2019
To all STRS Active and Retired Members:
By using the two links below you can find the telephone numbers for any Ohio State Legislator or any Ohio State Senator in minutes.
To find out who represents you simply enter your street address and zip code and your representative/senator will populate on your computer screen in seconds.
To send any one of them an email you just click on their email address and start writing.
Please get involved.
Bob Buerkle
STRS Member Only Forum Moderator
Retired CPS Teacher and
Former CFT Retirement Chair 
Go to STRS Member Only Forum and join us

Connecting with STRS Board Members is as easy as clicking on their email address, paste your personalized story to them when it opens and send. Take the time to write one good story and then send send it to multiple people in seconds.
Robert Stein, Chair :
Carol Correthers, Vice Chair: 
Taiyia L. Hayden:
Dale Price: 
Rita Walters:
Wade Steen: 
Robert Mcfee:
Jeffrey Rhodes: 
Yoel Mayerfield:
David Gruber: 

How much have you lost without that COLA? Bob's chart will give you an idea!

From Bob Buerkle
May 11, 2019
(Click image to enlarge)
Additionally, even if STRS restores your original 3% COLA amount in 2020, you will continue to lose the value of FIVE 3% COLA's forever, since they were never added to your pension base. For someone who retired with a $40,000 pension, that equals a permanent $6,000 annual loss. If you live another 25 years you will lose another $150,000.
To figure your cumulative losses for another FIVE YEARS multiply your first five-year loss by 3.6667. For example, a retiree who started with a $40,000 pension and a $1200 COLA promise would lose $66,000 over a ten-year period. (3.6667 X $18,000 = $66,000)
This loss amounts to 165% of your beginning pension amount!
Note: The 3.6667 multiplier can't be used to calculate the next five-year loss from 10-15 years.
Post 08/01/2013 Retiree COLA losses
Retirees after 08/01/2013 have never received their 2% COLA promised by STRS. They were told they would receive a 2% COLA after five years due to the changes in Ohio Revised Code 3307.67. However, as of 08/01/19 these retirees will have gone SIX YEARS without a COLA.


From Cindy Murphy
May 11, 2019
(Click image to enlarge)
September 2012: Ohio Legislators approve Sub. Senate Bill 342, which gives the STRS Ohio Retirement Board sole authority to adjust the COLA.
July and August 2013: STRS Ohio reduces the COLA from 3% to 2% for all current and future retirees with a one year COLA freeze after July 1, 2013 for 07/01/2012 retirees and before, followed by 2% COLAs for the 2014, 2015 and 2016 Fiscal Years; while retirees on and after August 1, 2013 must wait 5 years before receiving their first COLA. UPDATE: The five year mark has passed and post 08/01/2013 retirees have yet to receive their first COLA and earlier retirees will have lost 5 promised COLA values as of 07/01/2019, each originally valued at 3%. That is 7.5 years worth of 2% COLA values.
2017: STRS Ohio announces the suspension of the COLA. [April 20, 2017: STRS Board votes to suspend the COLA]
May 2017: Joe Lupo creates the Ohio STRS Member Only Forum.
July 2017: The STRS COLA is suspended.
May 2018: Dean Dennis launches the petition to Respect Ohio’s Retired Teachers, Restore Their Promised COLA.
May 2018: Dean Dennis becomes the Spokesperson for the Ohio STRS Member Only Forum.
August 2018: Ohio Retired Teachers Association (ORTA) posts information about the petition and the Ohio STRS Member Only Forum on their website.
September 2018: Ohio Federation of Teachers (OFT) posts information about the petition on their website.
September 2018: Ohio Retired Teachers Association (ORTA) and Ohio STRS Member Only Forum (OSMOF) send letters to all members of the Ohio General Assembly requesting their support in restoring the COLA and preserving our retirement benefits.
September 2018: Toledo Federation of Teachers (OFT) invites members of the STRS Ohio Retirement Board to attend a meeting with members of TFT to discuss the suspension of the COLA. The meeting is cancelled. [STRS Board members do not agree to attend such a meeting.]
Larry KehresMount Union Collge
Division III
web page counter
Vermont Teddy Bear Company