House Votes to Modify Teacher Retirement Board

OKLAHOMA CITY ( March 7, 2007 ) - Lawmakers voted this week to modify the membership of the board of trustees.

House Bill 1997, by state Rep. Anastasia Pittman, allows the state superintendent of public instruction and the director of state finance to name designees to serve in their place on the board.

Other members of the board can already name designees.

“House Bill 1997 ensures that the people who serve on the teachers' retirement board can fully dedicate themselves to the problems facing the retirement system,” said Pittman, D-Oklahoma City . “Our statewide elected officials often have many duties, and allowing a designee to serve in their place will make it easier for the board to function. This bill will help us prioritize our focus to address additional issues concerning our retired teachers.”

The teachers' retirement system currently holds actuarial assets of $7 billion and has an actuarial liability of more than $14 billion, meaning the system is only 49-percent solvent (it contains less than half of the amount of money owed to current and retired teachers).

Lawmakers and policymakers hope to shore up the system in the next few years.

House Bill 1997 passed the Oklahoma House of Representatives on a 97-3 vote this week. It now proceeds to the state Senate.