CalSTRS, the state's pension fund for public school teachers, is running dangerously low on money. Their proposed solution to the problem? To see if the cash-strapped state might have an extra $56 billion laying around somewhere.
As the current legislative session winds down, leaders of the $154-billion California State Teachers' Retirement System have opted to begin a lower-key, multiyear lobbying campaign to convince Gov. Jerry Brown and lawmakers to approve a gradual increase in state, community college and school district contributions for the retirement of 852,000 public school educators.
Without a contributions boost, the pension known as CalSTRS faces a projected $56-billion funding gap and could run out of money in 32 or 33 years, said Chief Executive Ehnes in a meeting Tuesday with the Los Angeles Times editorial board.
The fund now has only 71% of the money estimated to meet pension obligations. That contrasts with 110% it had at the beginning of the decade, more than enough to pay all future pensions.
Experts consider 80% to be the minimum secure level.
A bit of instruction before the teachers come to Sacramento to rattle their tin cups: First, retired educators in California make more on average than active teachers in 28 other states. Second, Golden State teachers haven't seen their own contributions to their pension plans increased in nearly 40 years. Food for thought before yet another financial burden is pushed on to California taxpayers.