Teaching Profession Federal File

In Supreme Court, Pension Funds Join Battle on Fraud

By Mark Walsh — October 16, 2007 1 min read

A U.S. Supreme Court case about corporate fraud may not seem like a school law matter. But the case the justices heard on Oct. 9 attracted the attention of several of the nation’s largest teacher-retirement funds.

In Stoneridge Investment Partners v. Scientific-Atlanta Inc. (No. 06-43), the high court must decide whether federal securities laws permit private shareholders to sue the business partners of companies engaged in fraud.

The California and New York state teacher-retirement funds, as well as some other large state pension funds, filed or joined friend-of-the-court briefs on the side of shareholders. The shareholders are seeking to hold two big companies that were the business partners of Charter Communications Inc. liable for allegedly helping the St. Louis-based cable-TV company in a fraudulent scheme that helped inflate its cash flow in 2000.

The teacher-retirement funds note that they have become some of the most active institutional investors in trying to improve the integrity of publicly traded companies in the wake of Enron and other recent high-profile corporate-fraud cases.

“The membership of our organization is highly attentive to these frauds and are concerned that ultimately it has an impact on their pensions,” said Jack Ehnes, the chief executive of the California State Teachers’ Retirement System. The teachers’ system, based in Sacramento, has some 800,000 active and retired members and assets of $171 billion, and is the second-largest public-pension fund in the country.

See Also

For more stories on this topic see Law and Courts.

Meanwhile, Wayne T. Schneider, the general counsel of the New York State Teachers’ Retirement System, expressed similar views.

“We’re concerned with the integrity of the stock market,” he said. “There are some risks we can’t control. But being lied to and defrauded [by companies] is not one of the risks we care to take.”

The Albany-based fund has more than $100 billion in assets and serves nearly 400,000 active and retired members, excluding the New York City school system, which has its own retirement funds and also joined a brief in the case.

A ruling is expected by the end of the court’s term next June.

A version of this article appeared in the October 17, 2007 edition of Education Week

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
Student Well-Being Webinar
Equity, Care and Connection: New SEL Tools and Practices to Support Students and Adults
As school districts plan to welcome students back into buildings for the upcoming school year, this is the perfect time to take a hard look at both our practices and our systems to build a
Content provided by Panorama Education
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
Classroom Technology Webinar
Here to Stay – Pandemic Lessons for EdTech in Future Development
What technology is needed in a post pandemic district? Learn how changes in education will impact development of new technologies.
Content provided by AWS
School & District Management Live Online Discussion A Seat at the Table: Strategies & Tips for Complex Decision-Making
Schools are working through the most disruptive period in the history of modern education, facing a pandemic, economic problems, social justice issues, and rapid technological change all at once. But even after the pandemic ends,

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Teaching Profession 4 Ways Districts Are Giving Teachers More Flexibility in Their Jobs
After a year-plus of pandemic schooling, some experts are seeing momentum for district leaders to reimagine what teaching can look like.
11 min read
Teacher working at home in front of camera.
Getty
Teaching Profession Why Teachers Leave—or Don't: A Look at the Numbers
New EdWeek survey results reveal why teachers consider leaving the profession, and how the pandemic has changed their decisionmaking.
6 min read
v40 32 Teacher Retention INTRO DATA
Stephanie Shafer for Education Week<br/>
Teaching Profession We Asked Teachers How They Want to Be Appreciated. Here's What They Said
All they need is respect, independence, a break, and a heartfelt word of thanks after a difficult year.
3 min read
Image shows a teacher in a classroom.
skynesher/E+
Teaching Profession New Teaching Jobs May Emerge With Continued Demand for Virtual Learning
As school districts plan for online learning to continue beyond the pandemic, they'll need teachers to staff those virtual classrooms.
4 min read