CalSTRS Works to Show the True Facts About Public Educators’ Service and Pay

Blog entry Jack Ehnes

Just recently, a CalSTRS retiree wrote to me to express his frustration that members’ professionalism and Defined Benefit pension are being tarnished by news reports of some exorbitant pensions and government salaries. He’s witnessing what he describes as ‘private and public slander,’ likely a result of guilt by association with the agencies and local governments currently under public scrutiny.

It’s a cause for concern. The recent press about lavish public pensions and salaries paid to some government officials has some people believing all public pensions and public employees are the same.

For instance, news outlets have reported cases of alleged salary spiking to inflate pensions. The law governing CalSTRS is designed to prevent spiking. We have a very aggressive audit program to detect and remedy any efforts to spike pensions.

The fact is, California’s educators work long careers at modest salaries and fully earn the pensions they receive. The CalSTRS retirement average is a pension of $37,968 after more than 26 years of service at nearly 61 years of age. For more about that, see my latest answer to Ask Jack.

CalSTRS Actions

We’re working hard to protect members from an inaccurate public perception of their service and retirement benefits.

We’re taking proactive steps to publicly share and discuss our Defined Benefit Program, the members it serves and what is being done to ensure it will remain financially strong. To keep the record straight, we have:

  • Engaged in active media relations efforts by CalSTRS staff who monitor the news and quickly respond to inaccurate press and regularly communicate to the media CalSTRS latest news and information.
  • Launched to keep you, the public and media up to date with the accurate news and facts.
  • Created the Speakers Bureau to meet face to face with members.
  • Begun an educational effort with the Legislature, informing them of the truth regarding your public service and the Defined Benefit Program.
  • Held annual audio town hall meetings for retired members to separate fact from fiction.
  • Updated CalSTRS publications with the most current facts and figures about you and your Defined Benefit pension.

Most importantly, we’re keeping the dialogue going. That’s why it’s important to read my blogs and send questions you have to Ask Jack.


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