Jefferson County teachers urge lawmakers to add pension funding - wave3.com-Louisville News, Weather & Sports

Jefferson County teachers urge lawmakers to add pension funding

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Teachers unions, including the Jefferson County Teachers Association, have sent emails to members urging them to contact their representatives in Kentucky's General Assembly. Teachers unions, including the Jefferson County Teachers Association, have sent emails to members urging them to contact their representatives in Kentucky's General Assembly.
Stephanie Winkler Stephanie Winkler

FRANKFORT, KY (WAVE) - Kentucky teachers are asking lawmakers to restore more than $850 million in funding for their pension system, as it slowly runs out of money.

Lawmakers haven't provided the funding Kentucky Teachers Retirement System administrators have been requesting since 2008. Administrators said the shortfall continues to compound, and the fund will go bankrupt by 2036 if nothing happens.

The state's teachers don't get Social Security and are relying on the system to pay their benefits when they retire, said Stephanie Winkler, president of the Kentucky Education Association.

"The problem is going to get considerably worse," she said. "We want to make sure we do something to stop that, so we can take care of the people who work in our classrooms everyday."

Teachers unions, including the Jefferson County Teachers Association, have sent emails to members urging them to contact their representatives in Kentucky's General Assembly.

The Kentucky Education Association is sending members to the Capitol twice a week to talk with lawmakers about restoring $386 million next year and $487 million the year after, Winkler said.

"They are aware of the problem, but there's only so much money -- or a piece of the pie -- to give out," she said. "We know there's not $400 million to give necessarily, but that's what we need to make it stable for generations to come."

Gov. Steve Beshear has signaled that he will add about $100 million a year to the Kentucky Retirement System's fund. But Beshear has not indicated his position on additional funding for KTRS, and a spokeswoman for the governor declined comment Monday.

The governor gives his budget address at 7 p.m. Tuesday, during which he'll lay out his funding proposals.

State revenue analysts predict about $500 million in additional tax revenue over the next two years, although most of that money is already committed.

A good investment market over the past year hasn't made up for 13 years of flat funding, so KTRS needs additional funding from lawmakers to remain stable, said Beau Barnes, the agency's general counsel.

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