COLUMBUS, Ohio — The commission that administers Ohio’s Retired Teachers Pension Thursday voted to increase the cost of living for beneficiaries by 1% on Retirement Day during the fiscal year beginning July 1.
The Ohio Teachers’ Retirement System also resolved to defer the extension of years of service required for pension eligibility by five years.
The board was moving toward requiring teachers to have 35 years of service from August 1 to be eligible for a full pension. However, a bill passed by the STRS board on Wednesday extended the eligibility period by 35 years until Aug. 1, 2028.
Toledo Public Schools Employee Dale Price, Board Vice Chair, said the 1% cost-of-living adjustment and delay in eligibility would cost pensions $825 million, but this would be a significant loss to the $88.1 billion endowment’s financial health. He said it was not an amount that would materially impair his sexuality.
The STRS board (often pronounced “stirring”) was due late Thursday to discuss whether to pay its investment staff about $11 million in bonuses.
Read: Retired Teachers Criticize $11.1 Million Bonus Offer for Pension Staff
Thousands of teachers, who formed an organization called the Ohio Teacher Retirement Association, have rallied with the board over the austerity measures the pension has implemented over the past decade, including reducing the annual cost-of-living adjustment and then abolishing it. have been fighting
Last spring, retirees received a 3% cost-of-living adjustment for the first time since 2017.
READ: Retired Ohio public school teachers receive first cost of living increase since 2017
The STRS Board also discussed 1.8% and 2% hikes in addition to the 1% hike this year, when inflation was high.
They also discussed whether to cut the amount of donations that active teachers are required to put into the fund. Teachers contribute 14% of her salary and employers contribute 14% of her salary.
Arthur Lard, a member of the Portsmouth City Schools staff, said teachers could receive donations to invest in the stock market.
However, the Board ultimately decided to reject the proposal to reduce contributions and consider the number of years of eligibility.
They received hundreds of emails from retirees. “What members want is not less contributions, they want less years,” said Rudy H. Fichtenbaum, a board member and professor of economics at Wright State University. Stated.
Ms. Carole Correzas, chairman and educator of the Lolland Municipal School, agreed.
“People are looking at the door, not the bank account,” she says.
The bill passed by the board says the board will consider annually whether the pending 35-year requirement can be extended or eliminated.
Laura Hancock covers state government and politics for The Plain Dealer and cleveland.com..