Saturday, June 10, 2023

James Carr on STRS: They work for us. They are not the rightful STRS beneficiaries, we are.

From James Carr

June 10, 2023
STRS is trying to relieve some of the pressure we've been applying by shifting their responsibility for providing our COLA onto an actuarial firm. In other words, we don't get our COLA unless the actuaries decide STRS can "afford" to provide it.
Sorry, that's unacceptable. The problem is, the actuarial firm only gets to decide if there's enough money for our COLA after STRS has finished providing for it's own priorities. After STRS has paid for its raises; paid for its multimillion dollar bonuses; paid for its exorbitant perks, and paid for all of its other sundry (and expensive) needs, if there's anything left over, they will consider giving us an ad hoc COLA.
It needs to be turned around 180°.
If there's anything left over after they've reinstated 30-and-out and provided our COLA, the actuarial firm should consider if STRS can afford raises, afford bonuses and afford perks. It's time for STRS to get its priorities straight. They work for us. They are not the rightful STRS beneficiaries, we are.

Friday, June 09, 2023

James Carr: Why STRS really needs our $$$$$

From James Carr

June 9, 2023

According to STRS, one of the most compelling reasons that they can no longer afford to pay for our annual COLA is that "we are living too long".
They have already added an additional 5 years of required service AND they require you to wait 5 years after your retirement anniversary to be eligible for a COLA. If my math is correct, that means they've effectively managed to shorten our post-retirement lifespans by 10 years and they still can't afford to pay for our annual COLA.
The life-span crap is just an excuse, nothing more. Apparently they need our money for more important things. Somebody has to pay for all those perks and bonuses.

Thursday, June 08, 2023

Wade Steen taking STRS Board and the governor to court 

Ousted Ohio teachers’ pension fund board member claims wrongful removal in lawsuit
by: Colleen Marshall, Mark Feuerborn
Posted: Jun 8, 2023 
COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — A member kicked out from overseeing Ohio’s teacher retirement system is now taking his former pension board and the governor to court.
Investment expert Wade Steen filed a lawsuit in the Tenth District Court of Appeals naming the other members of the State Teachers Retirement Board as well as Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine as defendants. The complaint document drafted by Steen’s attorney accused them of one charge of usurpation of office, and disputes claims that he wasn’t regularly attending board meetings, resulting in DeWine replacing him with G. Brent Bishop.
Steen was vocal in calling for changes to STRS — earning support from a teacher’s watchdog group — after the system controversially paid out $10 million in investment staff bonuses in a fiscal year ending in June 2022. In the same period, its pension fund for teachers lost over $5 billion. More recently in April, STRS proposed setting aside another $11.1 million for performance-based bonuses for the staff in 2024 — a 30.6% increase from the prior year’s incentives.
“I do know that I’ve asked a lot of questions about benchmarks, about performance, about our investments and alternatives,” Steen previously told NBC4. “Our investments in hedge funds, the amount of fees we pay, the performance we get, have all raised questions.”
On his removal from office, the lawsuit document said DeWine overstepped his authority as governor, and Steen was denied due process. He has previously denied the idea that his attendance would be an issue with the board.
Read the rest of the article here
See Colleen Marshall's news segment here:  


Maybe we need to hire the president of this institution to replace STRS' executive director; at least HE has the integrity to do what needs to be done! Let's send him our sculpture - it would actually MEAN something in his office!

UT fires 12 employees to cut costs

Toledo Blade
June 7, 2023

At least 12 full-time University of Toledo employees have been terminated this month, and school officials warn there will likely be additional staff and academic program cuts on the horizon to contend with declining enrollment and rising expenses.

Employees from the Center for Success Coaching were informed last week that the university was eliminating the program, said Meghan Cunningham, UT’s vice president for marketing and communications. Those in the program offered individualized support to students. This ranges from time management and technology assistance to advising on course schedules.

The cost-cutting move is part of an effort to reduce spending by at least 7 percent to address an expected $28 million budget deficit, she said. To meet that goal, other cuts will be necessary.

“While efforts are being made to limit the impact on employees with reductions to the work force through attrition and elimination of vacant positions where possible, there will be some employees impacted,” according to a written announcement from UT. “Human resources is providing assistance to individuals impacted by a reduction in force.”

Ms. Cunningham said university officials are moving away from using coaches and are rethinking new ways to offer students support.

Officials are still finalizing the budget for the next academic year, which runs July 1 through June 30, 2024, she said, adding that she couldn’t yet answer questions on what other employees and academic program cuts are being considered.

Don Wedding, vice president and grievance officer for the UT chapter of the American Association of University Professors, on Tuesday released data from multiple administrators. As of May 8, it shows a total of more than $16.8 million expected to be cut from nine of UT’s colleges, with an additional $12 million expected from the administration budget, which would meet the $28 million deficit mark, Mr. Wedding said.

Of those nine colleges, each has proposed cutting between $535,000 and $6 million from their budgets — or between 7 percent and 12 percent.

Mr. Wedding said he doesn’t have data for the university college, college of law, or honors college.

But the proposed cuts have drastic impacts on those colleges. For instance, as part of the college of health and human services’ $1.25 million budget cut, all Ph.D. programs are suspended, and no new students will be accepted. No new graduate students likewise will be accepted in the math department, and some students had offers for those roles rescinded.

Read the rest of the article here

Sunday, June 04, 2023

Trina gets it: "Let’s call STRS what it really is… a rip off, scam, swindle, fraud, abomination."

By Trina Prufer

June 4, 2023

STRS- How they cheat - Instead of fulfilling its mission (retirement security) it just changed its mission ( it now provides a “foundation” for retirement security..whatever that means). From my vantage point, this looks like the very definition of “bait and switch”. Of course, the irony is that STRS has made it IMPOSSIBLE for members to EVER reach retirement security. Let’s not mince words, retirement security is 70% replacement adjusted for inflation. 

Let’s remember that teachers do not make a lot of money during their careers. In fact, many need to supplement their incomes just to make ends meet. As used by STRS, the FAS is a misnomer as a concept, because other than that first year of retirement, the pension benefit diminishes from there. 

No one can live a comfortable life on less than 60%, and that’s a stretch. After ten years without a 3% cola, many retirees are now at less than 50% FAS. The ONLY number that matters is the replacement value, because it factors in inflation. That’s how the younger generation plans for an adequate retirement. There is absolutely NO room for spin, deception, gamesmanship or gaslighting. For teachers, a pension is NOT a joke. 

For those already retired from STRS, it’s impossible to have financial security because we were robbed of the knowledge needed to plan for it. We have no idea of the actual worth of our contributions after years of compounding. For actives, they put in 14%, but only get back 11% in benefits. What happens to the 14% the district puts in, or the additional 3%? Who knows? Let’s call STRS what it really is… a rip off, scam, swindle, fraud, abomination.
They tell us they cheat every day. Just look at the evidence:
1. The propaganda videos
2. The phony satisfaction surveys.
3. Telling us the cola was never guaranteed.
4.The monthly agenda is a dog and pony show. No time for actual information on the plight of membership.
5.Wade Steen’s removal
6. No tax cafe, luxurious building, day care, etc.
7.No oversight or regulation of the fund. The regulatory agency hardly ever bothers to meet.
8. “ But…you get back more than you put in “
9.The retirement contract means nothing. It never will.
10. We worked a lifetime for a defined-benefit sold as retirement security. By not delivering, we have been scammed.
11. We pay for lobbying efforts that are against the interests of membership.
I could go on and on. None of this is normal. It defiles the core mission of a pension system. The deception is in plain sight, for all to see.
Larry KehresMount Union Collge
Division III
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