Senate District 11
Teresa Fedor
Fedor Participates in ORTA/STRS Town Hall
February 3, 2022
Today, state Senator Teresa Fedor (D-Toledo) participated in a town hall with members of the State Teachers Retirement System (STRS). This event, organized by the Ohio Retired Teachers Association (ORTA) and the Ohio STRS Member Only Forum, allowed current and retired state teachers an opportunity to ask questions concerning the STRS Ohio pension system.

“It seems Ohio teachers get the worst return on their investment, receiving only 76 cents for every dollar they save for their retirement,” Fedor said. “This happens while STRS employees get a base pay raise and a bonus with no indexed bench marks. This is not good business or fair for anyone. We must do better for our teachers, current and retired.” 

Senator Fedor was joined by Wade Steen and Rudy Fichtenbaum of STRS Ohio Trustees; Dean Dennis and Bob Buerkle of STRS Ohio Watchdogs, who are also members of the ORTA Executive Committee; Robert Davis of the Ohio Education Association (OEA), and Darold Johnson of the Ohio Federation of Teachers (OFT). 

The meeting opened with discussion around Senate Bill 280, Senator Fedor’s bill to reinstate the cost of living adjustment (COLA) for STRS retirees. Currently, STRS is the only state retirement system not providing a COLA. 

Chris DeMarco shared that he and his wife, both retired teachers, hoped this forum would help enlighten people on this issue. “I am one of those people who have the dubious distinction, having retired December 1, 2013, to have never received a COLA,” said Demarco. “We are finding ourselves having to make adjustments in our lifestyle that I thought we’d might have to make 10 years from now, but we’re making them now and that’s a very uncomfortable position to be in.”  

Other topics included gradually increasing the employer contribution rates over time and reducing the length of service required for active members, as well as ways to improve the STRS pension income stream and the 2022 STRS board elections. 

“We need a fair school funding formula so we can have better learning conditions, more learning interventions,” Darold Johnson, director of legislation for OFT, said “You hire more people, you have more people paying into the fund. You make the fund stronger. There’s millions, hundreds of millions, going into every county coming from retired teachers. It’s an economic stabilizer. The retirees are the backbone of the Ohio economy. We are sustaining the Ohio economy. That’s why it’s important there’s a payback for every Ohioan when we have a sound, safe, and secure retirement.”

You can watch a recording of the town hall on the ORTA Facebook page here

S. B. 280 is cosponsored by all eight Democratic senators. You can follow the status of this legislation here.
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