Retaining Effective Teachers Policy
The state should ensure that excessive resources are not committed to funding teachers' pension systems.
As of June 30, 2010, the most recent date for which an actuarial valuation is available, Ohio's pension system for teachers is 59.1 percent funded and has an infinite amortization period. This means that if the plan earns its assumed rate of return and maintains current contribution rates, the state would never pay off its unfunded liabilities. Neither the state's funding ratio nor its amortization period meets conventional standards, and the state's system is not financially sustainable according to actuarial benchmarks.
In addition, Ohio commits excessive resources toward its teachers' retirement system. The mandatory employer contribution rate of 14 percent is slightly high. This rate is set by the State Teachers' Retirement Board. While part of this rate is used to pay off liabilities, it does so at great cost, precluding Ohio from spending those funds on other, more immediate means to retain talented teachers. The mandatory employee contribution rate of 10 percent is reasonable.
State Teachers Retirement System of Ohio, Comprehensive Annual Financial Report https://www.strsoh.org/about/CAFR10.html
Ensure that the pension system is financially sustainable.
The state would be better off if its system was over 95 percent funded and had an amortization period of 30 years or less to allow more protection during financial downturns. However, Ohio should consider ways to improve its funding level without raising the contributions of school districts and teachers. In fact, the state should work to decrease employer contributions. Committing excessive resources to pension benefits can negatively affect teacher recruitment and retention. Improving funding levels necessitates, in part, systemic changes in the state's pension system. Goals 4-G and 4-I provide suggestions for pension system structures that are both sustainable and fair.
Ohio maintained that it is a non-Social Security state, and when compared with the combined rate of Social Security and the state pension plan in other states, it is at the mid-point.
NCTQ maintains that Ohio's employer contribution rate is slightly excessive and prevents districts from spending those funds on more immediate ways to attract and retain effective teachers. Many states contribute excessive resources to teacher pension plans, and thus being at the mid-point may not justify the state's current contribution levels. See Figure 121 for a state-by-state comparison including Social Security contributions and Figure 120 for a rationale on acceptable contribution levels.