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

  • Play Practice
    DRAMA—Fayette schools, in conjunction with the Opera House Theater program, will present two plays Friday night at the Fayette Opera House. From the left is Autumn Black, Wyatt Mitchell, Elizabeth Myers, Jonah Perdue, Sam Myers (in the back) and Lauren Dale. Other cast members are Brynn Balmer, Mason Maginn, Ashtyn Dominique, Stephanie Munguia and Sierra Munguia. Jason Stuckey serves as the technician and Trinity Leady is the backstage manager. The plays will be performed during the day Friday for students and for the public at 7 p.m. Friday.
  • Front.F.school
    PROGRESS continues on the agriculture classroom addition at Fayette High School. The project will add 2,900 square feet of space and include an overhead door that would allow equipment to be driven inside. The building should be ready for the start of school in August. Work on ball fields and a running track is also underway.
  • Front.rover
    CLEARING THE WAY—Road crossings in the area on the construction route of the Rover natural gas pipeline are marked with poles and flags as preliminary work nears. Ditches and field entry points are covered with thick planks in many areas to support equipment for tree clearing operations. Actual pipeline construction is progressing across Ohio toward a collecting station near Defiance. That segment of the project is expected to wrap up in July. The 42-inch line through Michigan and into Ontario is scheduled for completion in November. The line is projected to transport 3.25 billion cubic feet of natural gas every day.
  • Front.geese
    ON THE MOVE—Six goslings head out on manuevers with their parents in an area lake. Baby waterfowl are showing up in lakes and ponds throughout the area.
  • 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).
  • 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.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.
  • Face Paint
    FUN NIGHT FUN—Savanna Miles sits patiently while Abbie White works on a face paint design Friday during the Morenci PTO Fun Night. Gracie Snead watches the progress after having spent time in the chair. Abbie was one of several volunteer painters, each creating their own unique look. Additional photos are on the back page of this week’s Observer.

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