Louisiana school board officials on Tuesday signed off on a study that will probe the state’s Teachers Retirement System and the associated costs.
The study will be conducted by Louisiana State University and headed by LSU official Jim Richardson.
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The review is supposed to aid a task force of education groups grappling with the issue, including why costs continue to rise.
“It would be irresponsible for us to not have a third party take a look at the situation,” said Chas Roemer, president of the state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education.
Roemer, of Baton Rouge, said similar retirement problems have driven some municipalities into bankruptcy.
Scott Richard, executive director of the Louisiana School Boards Association, said the key problem for the system is a lack of state aid.
At issue is what is called the Unfunded Accrued Liability, which is the money needed to pay promised benefits to both current and retired members.
The nearly $12 billion UAL for teachers is the largest of the state’s four retirement systems.
The study is supposed to uncover reasons for rising retirement expenses, the ability of local schools boards to handle the costs and the long-term sustainability of the system.
Officials from teacher advocacy groups and unions, as well as some school board officials, opposed the study.
They said the study will only duplicate what other probes have found in the past.
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