Ohio Governor to Approve Law on School Benefits Changes

February 1, 2008 (PLANSPONSOR.COM) - Ohio Governor Ted Strickland is expected to sign legislation next week that would raise the retirement age for bus drivers, custodians, and attendance clerks - and would cut benefits for early retirees.

The Columbus Dispatch reported that the law would allow newly hired employees to retire with 10 years’ tenure at 62, or 25 years’ tenure at 60, or 30 years’ tenure at 55.Now, employees can retire with five years’ tenure at age 60, or with 30 years on the job at any age. The bill also reduces pension benefits to employees who retire before the normal age of 65.

The newspaper said the bill is intended to bring retiree health-care costs under control. The Ohio School Employees Retirement System projects that its health-care fund would go bankrupt in 2014 without such a change.

“This is a very pressing issue,” state Sen. Kirk Schuring, the chairman of the Ohio Retirement Study Council said, according to the newspaper. “There are a lot of dynamics afoot that affect our pension systems in Ohio and the country as a whole, for that matter.”

The bill dealing with nonteaching employees drew no organized opposition. Groups representing current and retired school employees supported it, noting that it would affect only new hires.