The La Mesa Citizen Oversight Group strongly advocates that public sector governing bodies practice sound financial management. Among other things that means paying for current services with current revenues. It is far too easy for public officials, when money is tight, to avoid making tough decisions by deferring costs into the future. One instance of this practice is the promise to provide health care for retirees - without setting aside funds to pay for it.

            The La Mesa Spring Valley School District provides full medical benefits to retirees (not families) from the time they retire (as early as age 55) until they become eligible for Medicare at age 65. No money is put aside to pay for this post-retirement benefit so its' cost becomes an "unfunded liability". The most recent audit of the LMSV post retirement health benefit account estimates the unfunded liability for post retirement health care to be almost $24,000,000.

            Whether or not it is necessary or appropriate to pay for medical benefits after teachers choose to retire is not the subject here. Rather, our purpose is to make the case that when promises of future benefits - in this case post retirement health care - are made, they are paid for as they are earned and not made the responsibility of tomorrow's taxpayers.

            The audit mentioned above recommends that LMSV "…consider taking steps to establish a retiree fund … as soon as possible". It outlines the benefits of doing so: (1) improved return on investments (2) healthier District financial statements (3) lower (payments) in future years (4) more predictable and manageable cash flows and (5) greater economic security for District employees and retirees.  We would add another: it is only fair for those receiving the benefit of a teachers' efforts pay for them.

            The La Mesa Citizen Oversight Group strongly urges that as long as the LMSV school District maintains a policy of providing post retirement benefits (of any sort), the advice of the auditor - to establish and fully fund an account to pay for them - be followed. It is wrong to leave future taxpayers holding the bag.

 

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Tags: La Mesa Citizens Oversight Group, La Mesa Spring Valley School District, Pensions

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Comment by Kevin G George on August 14, 2013 at 10:31am

That's right Midge.

Teachers can do a lot of good things. Unfortunately the ones that do get paid the same as the ones who fail miserably without any fear of being dealt with no matter how bad a job they do.

As seen in recent cases a teacher has to do something extremely heinous to get fired but even if they do they still get their retirement or a severance settlement. 

http://articles.latimes.com/2012/feb/12/local/la-me-cap-pensions-20...

http://www.scpr.org/blogs/education/2012/02/09/4616/lausd-paid-4000...

Comment by midge hyde on August 13, 2013 at 9:19pm

I know many teachers who do quite well  and benefit greatly from an over zealous retirement fund, Teachers can do a lot of good and I have seen that as well but we have to get real here. Our taxes keep rising without any consideration for the taxpayers who are being asked to give more4 and more to all these govmt. jobs.  Stop, already! 

Comment by David Stanley on August 13, 2013 at 7:45am

Holy Hamhocks, Batman! You sound as though I am challenging you in this issue. Nay, Nay. You and I are on the same side. I am no fan of teachers, in general and teacher's unions in particular. I view them as "The Indoctrinators" rather than "The Educators".  Their radical liberal attitudes, from Kindergarten through University, have perverted and radically altered and fatally damaged any hope for a true education in many instances. Their unions seeming always back and support the most radical and extreme concepts and goals. The children are the true losers and ultimately our society. They are always quick to plead, "For The Children" but always find rapid ways to siphon away monies we voters have, in the past, put forward to reduce class sizes, to obtain good teaching material, to everything. Suddenly, pay raises are given to "administrators" and the unions come out pleading once again, "For The Children". I consider them a blight and damn government for not given vouchers to allow parents to give their children real educations instead of the stead flow of socialist and environmental crap we see today. And School Boards are just as bad. They are either weak and flimsy and fold when confronted with union demands or rigid and unyielding, handing out highly questionable decisions and decrees like fiats with little of no regard for children or events. I say "Pah" to most of them.

Comment by David Stanley on August 12, 2013 at 1:23pm

Well, Jeepers, Batman. I am really confused here. Why then do we, at each election, hear the constant whining of teachers and their unions about how poor they are and how they must address the size of classes and how teachers have gone for so long with no pay raises and how teachers must buy school materials themselves to teach? I am just scratching my head! You dont suppose the unions have actually been lying to the citizens for all these years do you? Why, with the recent pay raises awarded to Administrators, the money, I might add, which was stolen from the bond their union begged for and suckered the voters to pass on the condition that said money goes to improve classes and NOT for pay raises, you dont suppose this could all be a charade? Jeepers. And people tell me I am wrong to have NO respect for teachers and their unions. Get out of town!

Comment by David Stanley on August 12, 2013 at 6:34am

Like many, perhaps most municipalities regarding "retirement benefits" promises are made by politicians who then turn their heads and go play where the votes are. The La Mesa/Spring Valley school district is playing with fire if they have already made the promises but, like San Diego, Stockton, Detroit, New York, Chicago and on and on, the politicians do not follow through with their part of the deal. San Diego made those promises about retirement and benefits but, rather than put in the money owed to cover the "promises, played with it. Making grand profits from investments and "Playing the market" for a short time rather than putting the "promises" in the pot each month, month after month, year after year, put that city where it is today - staggeringly close to financial ruin. All this because of politicians on the City Council and bureaucrats advising them. Detroit is in ruin and all but gone today because of these people. Many other cities are also on the edge. Better hope the LMSV school district is being steered by smarter people but then when playing with other people's money it is highly doubtful.  Citizens all about the country are screaming, "Pay today's bills with today's money and not tomorrow's" but, of course, being politicians, they are far smarter. Witness the economy!

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