Here is an update on Kentucky teacher pensions from Randy Wieck: Kiss it good-bye.


Exclusive to this blog from Kentucky teacher and pension activist Randy Wieck.

Here is an update on Kentucky teacher pension: KISS IT GOOD-BYE

Kentucky public school teachers were recently told by Governor Matt Bevin, that if the Kentucky Supreme Court rejected recent Senate Bill 151, (known in Kentucky as the Sewage Bill – all mentions of sewage were replaced with wording referring to teacher pensions in order to rush the bill through the legislature in the waning hours of the previous session) the teachers “could kiss your pension good-bye.”

The Supreme Court then proceeded to kiss SB 151 good-bye on procedural grounds.

Shortly after the Supreme Court ruling, the national credit rating agency Moody’s held that the court ruling was considered a “credit negative” for the pension as there was really no indication new funding was envisioned for the pension.

And as if that were not enough, Fitch rating agency stated in the last few days (January, 2019) that Governor Bevin’s proposed pension fix didn’t really address the underlying problem of underfunding.

This was a rebuke to the Governor’s claim that the “reforms” he had attempted to push through in the Sewage Bill 151 would “save” the Kentucky teacher pension, primarily by placing new hires in a 401K-style plan (effectively cutting off funding to the current plan).

Now, Republicans – who hold super majorities in both houses of the Kentucky legislature – have formed a working committee to “study” the teacher pension – and arrive at solutions to the problem.

This comes after actuarial study after expensive actuarial study (all effectively ignored by several Kentucky governors and legislatures) during the past 14 years have told Kentucky it needs to honor the ARC, (actuarial required contribution).

This new working committee can extend its working mandate if it so chooses, all the way to December, 2019.

Many would call the committee a new Flimflam Machine designed to forestall any hard decision that might result in properly funding the Kentucky teacher pension. How many more “studies” must be made? There is really only one determination that this committee could HONESTLY arrive at: FULLY fund the ARC of the Kentucky Teacher Retirement System, which – to restore the plan to a healthy level (around 90% funded) after years of plundering it to fund other projects – is estimated at roughly $2 billion per YEAR (GASB 67 rules) for the next 20 years or so, and this must be done WITHOUT taking money from the retiree health trust fund, $500 million of which was skimmed in the last budget, robbing Peter and repay Paul.

Will we Kentucky teachers ever learn?




7 thoughts on “Here is an update on Kentucky teacher pensions from Randy Wieck: Kiss it good-bye.

  1. Why was there never legal action taken against Democratic governors (haven’t been many Republicans) or ANY legislator who diverted any money that was legally earmarked for KTRS?? I’ve been drawing my pension for 20 years. Surely to God my pension will not “disappear”. If it does I wonder if WPO or GEP would get repealed.

  2. Fred, Confused. How were legislatures (KY, IL, who else?) or city govts (such as Chicago, where else?), EVER legally (or illicitly) allowed to steal from teacher pension funds? Or to renig or avoid installments that are/were meant to continue to build funds for teacher pension funds, both retired and working? Do state legislators and alderpersons or city reps have pensions and funds that are compounding each year? How are they safeguarded but teacher pension funds are vulnerable to these elected pirates and their raids? This does not compute! Seems criminal. Public thievery. Playing games with the futures of current teachers (some of my younger, former colleagues are already fearful). Abusive. Causing severe stress and worry for the retired. Including me, close friends, former colleagues. I don’t get it! Best, Barbara (Retired CPS; a veteran of 9 teacher strikes. and one layoff in Chgo; a supervisor/coach for student teachers since I retired in ’05)

    Dr. Barbara Randolph Columbia College Chicago ________________________________

    1. It can be confusing. In Illinois most of the public employee pension funds are underfunded. Not jus teachers. Except for IMRF (Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund) for reasons I’m not going into here. While the courts have ruled that public employees (again, not just teachers) are contractually and constitutionally guaranteed their pensions, there is no constitutional requirement that they be funded. A contradiction? Yes. As for your stress, I can only say that as long as the courts require our monthly payment, I wouldn’t let the stress get to you.

  3. Clearly there is less to stress if one is already retired drawing pension and health benefits from a vessel that diminishes year by year no matter how much is poured into it by taxpayers. Those who should stress are the ones in their 40s and 50s who will face pay-as-you-go from a state that is further in the red. Seldom have so many owed so much to so few.

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