Find your next job fast at the Jan. 28 Virtual Career Fair. Register now.
Opinion
Education Funding Letter to the Editor

St. Louis Pension System ‘Doing Just Fine’

July 09, 2013 1 min read

To the Editor:

Wading into the debate over defined-benefit public-pension systems is complex. Two points regarding the article on St. Louis’ defined-benefit pension plans (“Retirement Headaches Take Root,” June 5, 2013), in which I was quoted extensively:

First, the enrollment of the St. Louis public schools has been increasing because of the closing of six charters schools last year and two others the year before, and the increase of pre-K enrollment to approximately 2,200 students (the overwhelming majority of whom have moved on to kindergarten). That increase and the increase in the number of public school employees, as well as charter school teachers, reflect a climb in overall enrollment (and new members of the pension fund).

Because the pension fund covers employees of the St. Louis public schools and the city’s charter schools, the chart accompanying your article should have included charter school enrollment and charter employers’ pension contributions to give a clearer picture. Including charters, the total projected public school enrollment of students for 2013-14 is 37,347 —more students equals more employees equals more members of the pension fund.

Second, the Public School Retirement System of the City of St. Louis is doing just fine, thank you. With a market value of nearly $1 billion, the system has a 9.3 percent investment return for one year and 9 percent over three years. In the first quarter of 2013, the fund ranked in the top 48 percent of similar funds, and it served its 10,580 active and retired members very well (even through the recent recession).

The recent attempt to privatize the school retirement system is a disservice to the loyal employees and the public trust. Taxpayers and the community benefit from a stable, professionally run defined-benefit fund. If it ain’t broke?

Byron Clemens

St. Louis, Mo.

The writer is a former elected trustee of the Public School Retirement System of the City of St. Louis and currently serves as the director of an American Federation of Teachers Innovation Fund pre-K grant. He is the co-chairman of aft St. Louis Local 420’s committee on public education.

Related Tags:

A version of this article appeared in the July 11, 2013 edition of Education Week as St. Louis Pension System ‘Doing Just Fine’

Events

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
School & District Management Webinar
Branding Matters. Learn From the Pros Why and How
Learn directly from the pros why K-12 branding and marketing matters, and how to do it effectively.
Content provided by EdWeek Top School Jobs
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
School & District Management Webinar
How to Make Learning More Interactive From Anywhere
Join experts from Samsung and Boxlight to learn how to make learning more interactive from anywhere.
Content provided by Samsung
Teaching Live Online Discussion A Seat at the Table With Education Week: How Educators Can Respond to a Post-Truth Era
How do educators break through the noise of disinformation to teach lessons grounded in objective truth? Join to find out.

EdWeek Top School Jobs

BASE Program Site Director
Thornton, CO, US
Adams 12 Five Star Schools
Director of Information Technology
Montpelier, Vermont
Washington Central UUSD
Great Oaks AmeriCorps Fellow August 2021 - June 2022
New York City, New York (US)
Great Oaks Charter Schools
Director of Athletics
Farmington, Connecticut
Farmington Public Schools

Read Next

Education Funding Congress Could Go Big on COVID-19 Aid for Schools After Democrats Take Control
Education leaders hoping for another round of coronavirus relief might get their wish from a new Congress.
2 min read
The U.S. Capitol Dome
Sun shines on the U.S. Capitol dome, Monday, Nov. 2, 2020, on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
Patrick Semansky/AP
Education Funding How Much Each State Will Get in COVID-19 Education Aid, in Four Charts
This interactive presentation has detailed K-12 funding information about the aid deal signed by President Donald Trump in December 2020.
1 min read
Education Funding Big Picture: How the Latest COVID-19 Aid for Education Breaks Down, in Two Charts
The massive package enacted at year's end provides billions of dollars to K-12 but still falls short of what education officials wanted.
1 min read
Image shows an illustration of money providing relief against coronavirus.
DigitalVision Vectors/iStock/Getty
Education Funding Education Dept. Gets $73.5 Billion in Funding Deal That Ends Ban on Federal Aid for Busing
The fiscal 2021 deal increases K-12 aid for disadvantaged students, special education, and other federal programs.
3 min read
FILE - In this Nov. 8, 2020, file photo, the Washington skyline is seen at dawn with from left the Lincoln Memorial, the Washington Monument, and the U.S. Capitol.
In this Nov. 8, 2020, file photo, the Washington skyline is seen at dawn with from left the Lincoln Memorial, the Washington Monument, and the U.S. Capitol. (File Photo-Associated Press)<br/>
J. Scott Applewhite/AP