The current teacher pension program is fundamentally and financially unsound. Both candidates for governor know this, but one of them is willing to tackle the unpopular task for trying to improve the situation. The other one is using it as a wedge issue for political gain.

The state pension program is pretty much like the national Social Security program. It is a defined retirement benefit that depends largely on assumptions made many years ago. Unfortunately, over time, those assumptions come up short: financial demands escalate beyond actuarial expectations, earnings targets are not reached, the ratio of receiving beneficiaries versus paying participants becomes unfavorable, state funding is not adjusted proportionately, the law of unintended consequences kicks in and now there is, like Social Security, a state system that will inevitably fail in short order without major changes.

Any candidate or organization who "fights" to save such a system is pretty much like the oft-repeated definition of a fool: someone who keeps doing the same thing and expecting different results. The pension system is sadly in need of reform and should not be a partisan issue used to shape an election. If you want to vote for the candidate who refuses to be honest about pensions, you are voting to kick this can down the road again. This does not benefit schoolchildren, teacher recruitment, teacher retention or teacher retirees (like myself).

I encourage everyone to vote in the November election, but I also encourage you to ignore the self-serving and deceptive political advertisements about education when you make your choice.

Douglas Fugate

Bowling Green

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