Friday, May 17, 2019

Dean Dennis’ Speech to the STRS Ohio Retirement Board on 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 lobbyists. Who are our lobbyists 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.

Mary Ronan's Speech at the STRS Ohio Retirement Board Meeting on 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

Mary Ronan
May 16, 2019

Thursday, May 16, 2019

William Boone's Speech to the STRS Ohio Retirement Board on 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.

William Boone
May 16, 2019

Until Some of Our Cuts are Restored, You Must Rein in Your Spending

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.
  
Recommendations: 
  
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 would 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.

Jullie Sellers, President
Cincinnati Federation of Teachers
May 16, 2019

End Those Bonuses Now!

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.

Suzanne Laird
May 16, 2019

Remember the Six STRS Board Members and the Executive Director who were Convicted in Court and Removed from STRS Forever!

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 it...no 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.

Dennis Leone
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 legislatively 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!

Bob Buerkle’s speech to STRS Ohio Retirement Board on May 16, 2019

Monday, May 6, 2019

Ohio STRS Board Members Need To Hear From You

Our trustees are not representing us or listening to us. They know we are not a Social Security state and will have to rely upon our contributions we provided to STRS to invest for our pension and COLA; yet they rob us of our COLA after we retire.
Effectively, our trustees have eliminated our COLA until 2034, the year they are projecting to reach their ridiculous goal of becoming 100% funded. This would mean having enough monies set aside to pay for both retirees and active teachers. Active teachers are in the process of working their way through the system and still have decades of contributions to make to fund their pension. By 2034, nearly 40% of Ohio's retired teachers will be dead. Their goal is ridiculous, not because they want to get to 100% funding, but because they aren't even trying to hide the fact they are stealing our money to reach their goal.
At the May 2019 Board Meeting there is supposed to be a discussion as to whether they should give us some of our money back, in the way of a COLA, if they reach being 85% funded versus 100% funded. STRS has only been above 80% funded 4 times in the 48 years since the COLA began. That's a ratio of 1 COLA every 12 years. The whole debate of being 100% funded or 85% funded should outrage you. Make note of the Board Members who argue for 100% funding and let's vote them out first. We definitely need to vet who OEA supports next election. It's frustrating that our trustees can't come up with a long range plan. Their plan is no COLA until we reach "our" 100% goal. It's like not sending your children to college until there's $100,000 set aside for each child. Who plans like that? If only we knew.
Currently, our funding level is above 75% funded. A COLA has always been paid at this level. Most state teacher pensions are 69% funded. Being 75% funded for a public pension system is considered good. 
While our Trustees are not representing us, they are certainly taking care of the people who work for STRS. Our trustees have increased the STRS 2020 operating budget by 2.6%. We watched last year as STRS trustees granted STRS investment department employees, already making hefty six figure salaries, individual bonuses as large as $783,834. Over $5,000,000 alone went to only 10 people.
Contact our trustees and share your thoughts. They've been told they have a 90% approval rating. A bus of retirees from Cincinnati will be coming to the May 16th Board Meeting.
Robert Stein, Chair: steinr@strsoh.org
Carol Correthers, Vice Chair: correthc@strsoh.org
Taiyia L. Hayden: haydent@strsoh.org
Dale Price: priced@strsoh.org
Rita Walters: waltrr@strsoh.org
Wade Steen: steenw@strsoh.org
Robert McFee: mcfeer@strsoh.org
Jeffrey Rhodes: rhodesj@strsoh.org
Yoel Mayerfield: mayerfey@strsoh.org
David Gruber : gruberd@strsoh.org
Paolo DeMaria: superintendent@education.ohio.gov

Dean Dennis
May 5, 2019

Sunday, May 5, 2019

Sign the Petition to Restore the STRS Ohio COLA

Teachers in Ohio were always promised a simple Cost-of-Living-Adjustment (COLA) upon retirement. It is only through a COLA that  retired teachers can keep up with inflation. Many of Ohio's teachers teach in rural areas and retire with very modest pensions. They rely heavily on their promised and earned COLA. The State Teacher Retirement System (STRS) and elected official have broken their promises to Ohio's retirees and have placed an unfair burden on Ohio's current teachers.



Currently, the COLA is suspended for all retired teachers indefinitely. STRS stated they will not review their actions until May of 2022. There isn't any promise the COLA for retired teachers will ever be reinstated again. The Ohio Legislature created the problem when they relinquished their control of the COLA to the STRS Board of Trustees. The Legislature gave the STRS Board of Trustees the authority to "adjust the COLA." The trustees however, eliminated the COLA. Taking away a promised benefit after teachers have retired is wrong and arguably in violation of Ohio law (see Article II, Section 28). 
The Ohio State Teacher Retirement System (STRS) is not a broken system, far from it. STRS is in good financial condition having 77 billion dollars for investment purposes. In fact, STRS is a 75% fully funded system which is above the national norm. STRS Ohio does well, consistently averaging over 8% returns on their investments for each and every 30 year rolling funding period. Additionally, STRS Ohio has a revenue stream.  They receive 14% from every active teacher's paycheck, which is the highest teacher employee contribution in the nation. Additionally they receive a 14% match from each and every teacher's employer; thereby receiving a whopping 28% in contributions from every teacher's salary. STRS is so well off that they seemingly can afford to provide numerous large annual performance bonuses of over $100,000 plus to 37 members of their investment staff.  Eight individuals receive bonuses over $250,000 dollars, one over $330,000. This is in addition to their six-figure salaries. This one individual's performance bonus alone could pay the average annual COLA for 330 of Ohio's retirees. 
In the years 2013 through 2017, STRS took actions that drastically impacted Ohio's teachers. During these years STRS  first decreased the COLA for retired teachers and then froze the COLA for what will effectively amount to at least 8 years of COLA losses. STRS also sought to make active teachers work 5 additional years in order to receive a full pension. Ohio's Legislature allowed this so Ohio teachers will have to be 60 years of age and work at least 35 years for a full pension. Many of Ohio's teachers will have to work 38-39 years to meet the requirements for a full pension. As if this wasn't enough, STRS  sought action (which was granted by Ohio's Legislature) to withhold their COLA for their first 5 years of their retirement. No other state in the nation has such stringent requirements. 
If the STRS cannot grant Ohio's teachers a simple COLA upon retirement then all STRS salaries should be frozen and all STRS bonuses should be suspended until they can provide a COLA to retirees. Teachers and the public demand that STRS come up with a plan to restore our COLA. TEACHERS will only support legislators and STRS board members who value the profession of teaching!
Note: If you are an Ohio teacher, or retired teacher, these groups have shown their  support, Ohio STRS Member Only Forum (found on Facebook), Ohio's Retired Teacher Association (ORTA), Ohio's American Association of University Professors, the Ohio Federation of Teachers (OFT) and their affiliates. In addition, many of Ohio's retiree chapters have shown support.  If eligible, please consider joining and supporting these organizations.