Kentucky Educators unveil Shared Responsibility Plan for Pensions


A group of Kentucky educators, unveiling their plan to save the state’s teacher pension system.

It’s called the “Shared Responsibility Plan”, and supporters say it will make the pension system stable for current and future teachers.

This Shared Responsibility Plan was introduced just weeks after Governor Bevin introduced his own separate plan. But supporters of this one say it better protects retired teachers and those about to retire.

“We’re trying to minimize the risks as well as the costs going forward,” says Daviess Co. Public School Superintendent Matt Robbins.

The shared responsibility plan includes new tiers for new teachers and employees, a ‘Rule of 85’, with workers needing their age and years of service add up to 85 to get unreduced benefits. The state would not be responsible for any unfunded liability. The plan also limits the state’s cost to a fixed contribution. KTRS would administer the system if approved. Robbins says the plan is reasonable and as cost effectives as Governor Bevin’s plan.

“It’s really a share on all three components to the employee being the teacher as well as the board of education being the employer as well as the Commonwealth of Kentucky. All three share in the cost of this,” he says.

Among the risk controls for the new tier: if funding is below 95%, employee and school district contributions may go up. Russ Frederick has family and friends working in education. He says the plan appears reasonable at first glance.

“It looks like the superintendents are standing up for their folks, which they need to be doing and they appear to be looking for the legislature to do their part,” Frederick says.

But State Senator Joe Bowen says two problems he has with this plan are that it does nothing with the accrued liabilities in the billions of dollars and that if changes have to be made when there’s less than 95% of the funding available, then what happens if it becomes much lower.

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(This story was originally published November 6, 2017)

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