Letters to STRS Board Members
After years of witnessing financial mismanagement, reduced benefits and blatant obfuscation, Ohio’s retired and active teachers overwhelmingly rejected all three status quo candidates in May’s Board election in favor of ORTA-endorsed reform challengers.
Since that time, the lameduck STRS Board pushed through 6% staff raises, $10 million in staff bonuses and accelerated reduction in teacher benefits.
Despite teachers delivering a mandate for change, we continue to see more of the same. STRS leadership had a chance to change course, but they refused to do so.
In the coming weeks, a new STRS board will meet which will include three newly elected ORTA-endorsed members. Based on the new composition of the board, there is an opportunity for it to take real action and institute reform. By beginning the process of fixing STRS, the board will be keeping its promise to provide a safe and secure retirement for teachers.
To remind board members of that promise, we are asking as many teachers as possible to send personal letters to a select group.
You can handwrite or type a letter using some combination of the points below. There’s no need to use these points word for word, they should only serve as a guide. These letters should be polite but firm in a call for action.
Please mail your letter(s) to any of the board members below at the address listed. Thank you for doing your part to help reform STRS and protect our retirement.
Faced with massive unfunded liabilities resulting from poor fund management and investment strategies, STRS has been forced to cut teacher benefits and make riskier investments.
Ohio teachers were forced to pay more and work longer for their pension. Their employee contributions increased from 10% to 14% and the minimum years of service to retire rose from 30 to 35 years.
In 2017, STRS eliminated the annual cost of living adjustments for retired teachers. Since that time, retirees have seen inflation increase by 22% while STRS has paid tens of millions of dollars in bonuses to its staff.
By approving $10 million bonuses for STRS employees after losing $3 billion last year, current STRS staff told retired teachers struggling with record inflation that their concerns didn’t matter.
STRS are the highest paid staff in the nation despite the fact that they’ve lost billions of dollars in investments and teachers have seen reduced benefits.
Retired teachers voted overwhelmingly for change in May of this year by electing three pro-reform candidates. Teachers sent a loud and clear message that we want new leadership, transparency, and the safe and secure retirement we were promised.
At the next board meeting, we hope every returning board member will hear the message retired teachers sent in the May election. Keeping the status quo and the same tired leadership is simply not an option.
It is essential that the posture of informed decision-making and active oversight be returned to the board for it to execute the changes necessary to institute real and lasting reform required by its fiduciary duty.
The board must implement transparency initiatives, a staff compensation and bonus overhaul, and end the outrageous investment fees paid to Wall Street.
These actions are necessary to keep the promise made to Ohio’s active teachers planning for their retirement security and retired teachers who deserve to have their annual cost-of-living-adjustment (COLA) reinstated.
One of Ohio’s largest newspapers, the Cleveland Plain Dealer, called for a “complete turnover at the top” of STRS to begin to fix its problems. We couldn’t agree more.
Feel free to personalize the letter and make it your own. However, you should take care to keep your letter to about one page.
Mail your letter(s) to:
1328 28th Street
Portsmouth, OH 45662
26406 Fort Meigs Road
Perrysburg, OH 43551
310-11 Wood Ridge Drive
Aurora, OH 44202
5790 Canyon View Drive
Painesville, OH 44077