As a member of the Kentucky Retired Teachers Association, I regularly receive a legislative update during the state legislative session that keeps us posted on teacher issues. Part of the most recent update follows:
“Legislative Update 2-10-20
Our priorities in this session continue to be the following:
1. Fully fund the Teachers’ Retirement System (TRS).
2. Fully fund the Medical Insurance Trust Fund, as agreed upon in the Shared Responsibility Agreement passed in 2010.
3. Ensure that TRS maintains its independence from Kentucky’s other retirement systems and that our board composition and structure does not change.
4. Ensure the Kentucky General Assembly maintains the defined-benefit retirement system for all current and future retired teachers.”
Previous updates going back as far as I can remember had the same four priorities, but they were listed in a different order.
In previous updates, the No. 1 and No. 4 priorities were reversed, which is to say that KRTA listed full funding of the TRS as the fourth priority while keeping a defined-benefit retirement system for all current and FUTURE (my emphasis) retired teachers was listed as the top priority.
I’m hoping that this new rank ordering reflects a change in priorities by the folks at KRTA. Maybe they finally recognize that the most important issue is full funding of the teachers’ retirement system.
One of the major reasons that Kentucky’s TRS is so financially weak (among the weakest in the nation) is because of the state’s systematic underfunding that went on under then-Gov. Steve Beshear’s administration, and all the while state politicians were regularly telling teacher groups that we had one of the best teacher retirement systems in the country. Never mind that the state wasn’t fully funding the system.
Ah well, politicians are what they are.