2011.09.14 Russ Griggs: What you don't hear about retirement

Written by David Green.

Earlier this month, the Buckeye Institute issued a report entitled, “Taxpayers on the Hook: Taxpayer Contribution Rates for Ohio Government Pensions Outpace National Averages.” The report claimed that the Ohio Teacher Retirement employer rate (the part the board pays) was ninth highest out of the 34 states with teacher retirement programs. The Report left out the fact that 22 of those states contribute to Social Security in addition to teacher retirement plans.

Ohio teachers do not belong to Social Security. They contribute 10 percent of their earnings to the state system, STRS. Combined with the 14 percent paid by the school board, as part of their compensation, adds up to 24 percent going into their retirement plan. Social Security members pay less than half that amount, and their employers pay less than 50 percent, soon to be further reduced.

When you compare Ohio to other states with retirement plans, not participating in Social Security, Ohio is 20th out of 34 states, being well below average. Of the 22 states with both Social Security and retirement systems, 18 are above the 14 percent paid in Ohio. It takes more than modern math to make 20 out of 34 and 18 out of 22 above average. (Unless you hold the chart upside down)

I started teaching in Maryland in 1974. My starting pay was twice what teachers were starting at in Ohio. During my entire career I made significantly less than educators in Michigan and Pennsylvania. The difference was Ohio having a retirement system that invested a much greater percent of my compensation resulting in a much better retirement. 

STRS has recommended changes to the legislature to keep the system solvent for many years to come. Can the same be said of Social Security? 

(Statistics above are from the Ohio State Retirement System) 

– Russ Griggs

Fayette Superintendent

  • Front.bridge Cross
    STEP BY STEP—Wyatt Stevens of Morenci makes his way across a rope bridge Sunday during the Michigan DNR’s Great Outdoors Jamboree at Lake Hudson Recreation Area. The Tecumseh Boy Scout Troop constructed the bridge again this year after taking a break in 2016. The Jamboree offered a variety of activities for a wide range of age groups. Morenci’s Stair District Library set up activities again this year and had visits with dozens of kids. See the back page for additional photos.
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    LEADING THE WAY—The Morenci Area High School marching band led the way across the pedestrian bridge on Morenci’s south side for the annual Labor Day Bridge Walk. The Band Boosters shared profits from the sale of T-shirts with the walk’s sponsor, the Morenci Area Chamber of Commerce. Additional photos are on the back page.
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    LOOKING UP—More than 200 people showed up at Stair District Library Monday afternoon to view the big celestial event with free glasses provided by a grant from the Space Science Institute. The library offered craft activities from noon to 1 p.m., refreshments including Cosmic Cake from Zingerman’s Bakehouse and a live viewing of the eclipse from NASA on a large screen. As the sky darkened slightly, more and more people moved outside to the sidewalk to take a look at the shrinking sun. If you missed it, hang on for the next total eclipse in 2024 as the path comes even closer to this area.
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    TAKE A BREAK—Last Wednesday’s session of Stair District Library’s Summer Reading Program ended with a quiet period in a class presented by yoga instructor Melany Gladieux of Toledo. Children learned a variety of yoga poses in the main room at the library, then finished off the session relaxing. Additional photos are on page 7. Area children are invited to visit the library today when the Michigan Science Center presents a flight program at 11 a.m. and roller coasters at 1 p.m.
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    THE DERBY—Tyler “Smallpox” Flakne of Minnesota’s Home Run League All-Stars goes for the fence Friday night during the National Wiffle League Association’s home run derby in Morenci. This year the wiffleball national tournament moved from Dublin, Ohio, to Morenci’s Wakefield Park. During the derby, competitors had two minutes to hit as many home runs as possible. The winner this year finished with 21. See page 6 and 7 for additional photos.
  • Front.green Screen
    OUT OF THIS WORLD—Elizabeth McFadden and Elise Christle pose in front of the green screen as VolunTeen Noah Gilson makes them appear as though they are standing on the Moon. More photos from the Stair District Library’s NASA @ My Library program are on page 12.
  • Front.fireworks
    FIREWORKS erupt Saturday night over Morenci’s Wakefield Park during the waning hours of the Town and Country Festival. Additional festival photos are inside.
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