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STRS November Board News Details

(The text below is reprinted from the news release by STRS on 11/19/10.)

HEALTH CARE PROGRAM DISCUSSION CONTINUES
At its November 2010 meeting, the State Teachers Retirement Board continued reviewing the STRS Ohio Health Care Program as part of its initial steps toward developing a strategic plan for retiree health care. As noted in previous STRS Ohio communications, funding for the health care program will be depleted by 2021.

At this month's meeting, Brent Greenwood, vice president of Actuarial Consulting for Ingenix Consulting, noted that the recent national election has created a "foggy future" for health care reform. While he noted that complete repeal of the federal health care law is unlikely, there could be specific repeals of certain sections and mandates, as well as a slowdown in implementation and appropriations. Further, the change in administration in Ohio could influence the state's strategy for health care exchanges, which are currently scheduled to beg…

STRS October Board News Details With Comments

Below is the reprinted news release by STRS from 10/18/2010. This is an important news release that lists revisions to the proposed changes to pension reform.

In my opinion it appears the changes to get the state pension systems in fiscal order are falling short of what is required. While participants are going to have to contribute an additional 2.5% to the pension plan, phased in over time, so too are the school districts. At a time when property taxes in Ohio are already what they are and schools face the funding challenges they do, it hardly seems like a sound fiscal idea to legislate additional funding, regardless of the time over which the changes may be phased in. After all, who knows what the next several years may hold in our era of high unemployment and (current) slow growth.

With the current meager 60% funded ratio of STRS and the reform falling short of what is required, it is a safe assumption that additional changes are going to be needed in the not too distant future. …

STRS September Board News Details

(The text below is reprinted from the news release by STRS on 9/17/10.)

HILL AND PRICE TAKE SEATS AT BOARD TABLE

Mark Hill and Dale Price began their four-year terms on the State Teachers Retirement Board this September, following their election to the board last spring.

BOARD BEGINS HEALTH CARE STRATEGIC PLANNING DISCUSSION

As noted in previous STRS Ohio communications, funding for the STRS Ohio Health Care Program will be depleted by 2021. At the September 2010 meeting, the Retirement Board and staff began a review of the history and current status of the health care program as the first step in developing a strategic plan for retiree health care for adoption next spring.

When the STRS Ohio Health Care Program began in 1974, health care costs were insignificant compared to today. Just as an example, the limit for lifetime health care benefits for an enrollee was just $20,000. In 2010, the lifetime coverage is $2.5 million and it will be unlimited in 2011. During the last 20 years, ST…

STRS August Board News Details

(The text below is reprinted from the news release by STRS on 8/13/2010.)

Ramser Recognized for Board Service
During its August 2010 meeting, the State Teachers Retirement Board passed a resolution recognizing the dedicated and tireless service provided by Conni Ramser during her tenure as a board member. Ramser was selected to fill a contributing member seat on the board in August 2004, and was subsequently elected to a four-year term in May 2006.

Staff Reports 13.54% Investment Return for Fiscal Year 2010
The STRS Ohio total investment fund returned 13.54% for the 12 months ending June 30, 2010, outperforming the composite benchmark return of 13.28% by 0.26%. After all direct internal investment costs and external manager costs are subtracted from this gross active management return, the net value added was 0.15%, or about $50 million. This represents the additional value brought to the STRS Ohio investment fund through active management by STRS Ohio associates and external managers, …

Ohio Attorney General Suing British Petroleum Over Losses to State's Pension Plans

It was announced on July 21st Richard Cordray, Attorney General for the State of Ohio, is jockeying to be the lead attorney in a law suit filed against British Petroleum (BP), seeking class-action status. The law suit was filed on behalf of the state's five pension systems, which incurred substantial losses due to the decline in BP stock after the gulf disaster.

"Institutional investors, and the Ohio Funds in particular, have been greatly harmed by BP's alleged misconduct. By forming a partnership between New York and Ohio, we aim to compensate investors for what we believe was securities fraud and effect real change in the way BP and other companies do business," Cordray said.

Let me first and very clearly state that I am not in any way, shape, or form arguing in defense of BP in writing this. What I am arguing for is common sense and personal responsibility. I'm no expert in deep-see drilling, but it would certainly appear to me that it might be a bit risky dr…

STRS June Board News Details

(The text below is reprinted from the news release by STRS on 6/11/2010.)

JUNE BOARD NEWS

RETIREMENT BOARD CHAIR, VICE CHAIR NAMED; MEUSER RECOGNIZED FOR SERVICE During its June meeting, the State Teachers Retirement Board elected James McGreevy as its vice chair for the coming year. According to Board Policies, Tim Myers, who is currently serving as vice chair, automatically moves into the position of chair. Normally, both Myers and McGreevy would be moving into these leadership positions on Sept. 1, 2010. However, Mark Meuser, the current board chair, has announced his retirement from his position with the Gahanna-Jefferson City Schools and thus is resigning from the Retirement Board. As a result, Myers and McGreevy will assume their new responsibilities on July 1.

During the board meeting, a resolution recognizing Meuser's service was presented. In it the board expressed its deep appreciation for the valuable and tireless service he rendered to the membership and associates of S…

STRS May Board News Details

(The text below is reprinted from the news release by STRS on 5/21/2010.)

CONTRIBUTING MEMBERS MARK HILL AND DALE PRICE WIN BOARD SEATS
Mark Hill and Dale Price were elected to the State Teachers Retirement Board in the recent election. These two individuals will take their seats on the board on Sept. 1, 2010, and serve a four-year term through Aug. 31, 2014.

RETIRING BOARD MEMBER STEVEN M. PUCKETT RECOGNIZED FOR BOARD SERVICE
During its May 2010 meeting, the State Teachers Retirement Board passed a resolution recognizing the valuable and significant service provided by Dr. Steven M. Puckett during his tenure as a board member. He joined the board in January 2003 as the representative of the State Superintendent of Public Instruction. He is retiring from the State Department of Education on June 1.

BOARD REVIEWS ENROLLMENT, COST TRENDS AND IMPACT OF FEDERAL HEALTH CARE LEGISLATION ON 2011 HEALTH CARE PROGRAM PREMIUMS
The factors that affect health care costs nationwide continue to also a…

STRS April Board News Details

(The text below is reprinted from the news release by STRS on 4/16/2010.)

PENSION LEGISLATION NOT LIKELY UNTIL FALL The bill that will contain proposed changes for all five Ohio pension systems, including STRS Ohio, still has not been introduced. Consequently, the Ohio Retirement Study Council (ORSC), which is the legislative oversight body for the five systems, has not provided an analysis. Because of the politics surrounding the November elections, it is becoming more and more unlikely a bill will be introduced before November.

At the April 2010 State Teachers Retirement Board meeting, additional discussion was held regarding the alternative proposal for pension benefit changes presented earlier this year by the Healthcare & Pension Advocates for STRS (HPA). The HPA proposal calls for a longer phase-in of additional service required for full retirement benefits and provides for a different cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) than the plan approved by the Retirement Board last Septem…

STRS March Board News Details

(The text below is reprinted from the news release by STRS on 3/22/2010.)

PENSION COMMUNITY CONTINUES IN HOLDING PATTERN
Though recommendations relative to maintaining long-term solvency were submitted to the Ohio Retirement Study Council (ORSC) from the state's five public plans in September 2009, legislation has yet to be introduced. ORSC staff, however, anticipates having a bill before the council members in April, at which time staff will review the bill and provide its recommendation. A vote by ORSC members regarding their recommendation for passage and/or changes to the bill would then likely take place in May. While formal introduction of a bill and committee hearings in the Ohio House of Representatives could occur this spring, it is more likely that serious discussion on the bill will occur after the November election.

IMPACT OF HPA'S PROPOSED PENSION PLAN CHANGES REPORTED AT MARCH MEETING
At the February 2010 board meeting, the Healthcare & Pension Advocates for ST…

STRS February Board News Details

(The text below is reprinted from the news release by STRS on 2/22/2010.)

PENSION LEGISLATION SPONSORSHIP WILL BE BIPARTISAN

The five Ohio retirement systems, including STRS Ohio, are still waiting for the Legislative Service Commission to finish its work in drafting the legislation designed to keep the systems financially strong and sustainable for all current and future public employees. During the February meeting of the State Teachers Retirement Board, Executive Director Michael Nehf reported that STRS Ohio has learned that the bill sponsorship will be bipartisan. House Assistant Minority Leader Louis Blessing (R-Cincinnati) has agreed to co-sponsor the legislation with Ohio Retirement Study Council Chair Rep. Todd Book (D-Portsmouth). It is anticipated that once a bill is introduced, hearings may occur this spring; however, voting on a bill is not expected until after the November election.

On Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., the focus of legislators and the president appears t…

STRS January Board News Details

(The text below is reprinted from the news release by STRS on 1/15/2010.)

NEW MEMBER JOINS RETIREMENT BOARD
Joining the State Teachers Retirement Board at its January meeting was Dr. Daniel J. Martin, who was recently appointed to the board by Treasurer of State Kevin L. Boyce. Martin is currently the president of Mount Vernon Nazarene University. Before assuming this position in 2007, he served as the vice president for University Advancement at Point Loma Nazarene University in San Diego, as well as in various positions with MidAmerica Nazarene University in Olathe, Kan. He holds two doctorate degrees in higher education from the University of Pennsylvania and The University of Kansas, as well as a law degree and a master's in business administration from The University of Kansas. His four-year term on the board will run through Jan. 7, 2014.

BOARD CONSIDERS CHANGE TO SERVICE CREDIT RULE FOR PARTIAL YEARS OF TEACHING
Currently, STRS Ohio members who are employed on a full-time…