Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Ryan L. Holderman
A dedicated founding member of CORE (Concerned Ohio Retired Educators), Ryan served as its Secretary and Treasurer. His unflagging commitment to his responsibilities and his keen sense of fairness made him a valued leader for Ohio's retired educators. Many will also remember his ready smile and his beautiful singing voice. He will be greatly missed by his many friends in education.

Robin Rayfield to STRS Board: The lack of "shared sacrifice" is difficult for retirees to understand when they have lost a promised benefit

STRS comments August 15, 2019 
Robin Rayfield, ORTA Executive Director
Greetings STRS Board of Trustees and Staff. My name is Robin Rayfield and I represent the Ohio Retired Teachers Association. I am a STRS beneficiary, having retired in 2011 after 30+ years of service.
As you may recall, in my comments to the STRS Board of Trustees in June, I commended the board for its decision to revise the funding policy at STRS to consider benefit enhancements at the 85% funding level. I also urged the board to consider ‘ad hoc’ benefit enhancements as the STRS retirement system is restored to a healthy funding level. I hope that the leadership at STRS, along with the trustees, are exploring ad hoc benefit enhancement, especially for the retirees in most need of assistance. 
Over the last few months I have visited several local chapters of ORTA and attempted to provide information regarding the pension system, with a focus on the loss of COLA. As trustees you are very familiar with the health of our system, but for many retirees, it is difficult to understand the changes at STRS that resulted in the loss of a promised benefit.
What is more difficult for retirees to understand (and for actives that continue to fund our system) is the lack of ‘shared sacrifice’ on the part of STRS employees. The recent salary increases, and enrichment of the performance-based incentives has created a lack of trust and confidence in the pension system. Speaking from experience as a teacher and as an administrator I can say that this mistrust and angst are common when others in the system are not feeling the pinch of unfavorable economic conditions.
I am convinced that the Board of Trustees for STRS does want all STRS members, active and retired to have confidence in the STRS system and to trust STRS with their retirements. I am concerned that the actions of the STRS Board of Trustees regarding salary increases and performance-based incentives will have the opposite effect regarding the confidence of STRS members.
Larry KehresMount Union Collge
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