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Advisory letters

In accordance with Education Code section 22326, employers and exclusive representatives, generally local union organizations that represent CalSTRS members, may submit a request for an advisory letter relating to compensation that is included, or is proposed to be included, in a publicly available written contractual agreement. CalSTRS will provide formal written guidance for the proper reporting of the compensation consistent with the Teachers’ Retirement Law and CalSTRS regulations.

Frequently asked questions

What is the difference between an advisory letter and other guidance I receive from CalSTRS? 

Advisory letters provide formal written guidance for employers or unions on specific compensation language that is already included, or proposed to be included, in a publicly available written contractual agreement. Advisory letters may be relied upon only for the specific language and material facts provided to CalSTRS in the request for the advisory letter. CalSTRS will typically need more time to review all the language provided in an advisory letter request than for general guidance.

For general guidance, or Teachers’ Retirement Law training needs, contact EmployerTraining@CalSTRS.com. When these inquiries are received, responses from CalSTRS do not constitute an advisory letter pursuant to Education Code section 22326.

For guidance on a specific member’s compensation, contact the CalSTRS Office of the Ombuds. Responses from the CalSTRS Ombuds do not constitute an advisory letter pursuant to Education Code section 22326.

Who can request an advisory letter? 

Only employers or exclusive representatives may submit a request for an advisory letter.

How long will it take CalSTRS to provide an advisory letter? 

CalSTRS will provide the employer or exclusive representative with an advisory letter within 30 days of receipt of all necessary information, unless CalSTRS requires an extension. CalSTRS will be in contact with the requestor throughout the process to keep the requestor informed of when to expect the advisory letter.

What should I include in the request for an advisory letter? 

All requests must include the completed Advisory Letter Request form and the compensation language included, or proposed to be included, in the publicly available written contractual agreement. Requests must also include any other documentation or information pertinent to the compensation item and necessary to properly analyze the compensation item.

Can I withdraw an existing advisory letter request? 

Yes, a requestor may withdraw an existing request for an advisory letter at any time before the advisory letter is issued.

Can an advisory letter request be denied? 

Yes, an advisory letter request will be denied by CalSTRS if the request involves an issue that is in litigation with CalSTRS and the employer or a member to whom the advisory letter would expressly relate. Litigation includes an administrative hearing, an executive review and an active lawsuit.

What if I want an advisory letter on multiple compensation items? 

A separate Advisory Letter Request form and supporting documentation must be submitted for each compensation item for which an advisory letter is requested.