CalSTRS Compelled to Disclose Pension Amounts
CalSTRS responded to the Governor’s office request for the state transparency website on August 25, 2010. The request was for the names, employers and monthly benefit amount of CalSTRS benefit recipients who were paid at least $100,000 in monthly benefits in 2009-10.
Public Information Must Be Told
Benefits already paid to public employees are considered a matter of public record. Therefore, CalSTRS was compelled to release this information. CalSTRS operates at the highest level of integrity and transparency in accordance with the law.
Years In Classroom Earn Solid Benefit
The retiree statistics released by CalSTRS highlight the importance of the benefit structure and of longevity on the job to the retirement benefit.
CalSTRS currently has approximately 232,617 benefit recipients. Of that group, about 1.8 percent, or approximately 3,674 benefit recipients, receive pensions of $100,000 or more. Nearly that entire group worked at least three decades; almost 80 percent worked in education between 35 and 45 years.
The CalSTRS defined benefit pension formula is based on:
- An educator’s age at retirement.
- Years of employment.
- Highest average salary, called final compensation.
At age 60, retiring members receive 2 percent of final compensation for each year worked. They can receive up to an additional 0.4 percent of final compensation for each year they work past age 60, or if their career lasted 30 years or more.
CalSTRS Is Main Retirement Income
The CalSTRS pension is the primary source of retirement income as California’s educators do not pay into or receive Social Security for their public school employment.
Of the 12,753 California educators who retired in fiscal year 2008-09, the median number of years on the job was 29 years. The average CalSTRS pension was equal to about 62 percent of the average highest salary.