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.little Ball
    Fayette's Demetrious Whiteside (left)Skylar Lester attempt to keep the ball from going out of bounds during Morenci's recent basketball tournament for fourth and fifth grade teams. Morenci's Andrew Schmidt stands by.
  • Front.tug
    MORENCI pep rallies generally end with a tug of war. The senior class entry, shown above, did not advance to the finals. Griffin Grieder, Alaina Webster, Kyle Long and Jazmin Smith are shown at the front of the rope, giving it their best effort.
  • Accident
    FAYETTE resident Patricia Stambaugh, 64, was declared dead on the scene of a single-vehicle accident Friday morning south of Morenci. Rescue units were called around 9 a.m., but as of Tuesday, law enforcement officers had not yet determined the time of the accident. According to Ohio State Highway Patrol, Stambaugh was driving west on U.S. 20 when her Chevrolet Malibu traveled off the north side of the road and down a steep embankment, coming to rest in Bean Creek (Tiffin River).
  • Athletic Fields
    SPORTS COMPLEX—Fayette’s outdoor athletic facilities will include three ball fields for summer recreation leagues at the southwest corner of the school. The baseball and softball fields, along with the running track, will be constructed on the east side of the school. Outdoor athletic fields were not part of the new school project from 2007, but voters approved a $1.4 million levy for a school addition and the sports fields last August. Both projects are scheduled to be complete by July 20.
  • Front.teacher Leading
    PRESCHOOL MUSIC—Fayette band director Jeffrey Dunford spends the last half hour of the day leading the full-day preschool class in musical activities. Additional photos are on page 7 of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.F.band
    TROMBONISTS Jake Myers (left) and Max Baker perform Friday at the annual Senior Citizens Luncheon at Fayette High School. The National Honor Society and the FFA chapter teamed up to serve a meal to area seniors and to provide musical entertainment. Both the school band and choir performed. Additional photos are on page 7 of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.poles
    MOVING EAST—Utility workers continue their slow progress east along U.S. 20 south of Morenci. New electrical poles are put in place before wiring is moved into place.

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