“The steps by the STRS Board to restore some benefits is a welcome step forward for all, which was made possible because of the improved funding level of the pension plan,” OEA President Scott DiMauro said. “It is absolutely essential to ensure reliable retirement benefits for current and future STRS retirees. The promise of a solid pension is a critical incentive to attract and retain high-quality, experienced teachers our students deserve in their classrooms.”
While celebrating the news that some benefits will be restored, OEA also acknowledges the active and retired teachers whose sacrifices over the years, including higher contributions and suspended COLA payments, have helped to return the STRS fund to a healthy position, enabling the restoration of some benefits now. “After the Great Recession, STRS was projected to run out of money, which would have been devastating for Ohio’s teachers and our public schools,” DiMauro said.
“Like many of our members, OEA’s ultimate wish is to have the COLA permanently restored when the fund is able to manage that. Unfortunately, at this point, that would add more than a $13 billion unfunded liability and would put future benefits at risk. Active teachers could again be asked to work longer, pay more and receive less in retirement, and that would not be fair,” DiMauro added. “OEA has high hopes for continued growth in the fund that will allow adjustments that benefit both active and retired teachers.”