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Archive for Sunday, September 10, 2006

A plan for pensions: What’s next for the state’s public employee retirement system?

Legislature faces critical decisions about KPERS

September 10, 2006

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With test scores up and the school finance lawsuit recently settled, Kansas' public school teachers have launched into a new and promising school year.

Most of those teachers, however, have no idea their careers are at the center of a gathering storm in the Statehouse.

That storm has nothing to do with whether to teach evolution or sex education - subjects that have commanded national attention on Kansas.

It has to do with retirement, pensions and fulfilling promises.

The Kansas Public Employees Retirement System needs large infusions of cash.

That need will require tough choices and heavy political lifting. And it will require today's elected officials to show some will because the political payoff for them will be almost nil, and the effects of their decisions won't be felt until most of them are long gone.

"It's going to be one of the more important issues that we try to address during the next year," said Senate President Stephen Morris, R-Hugoton.

The problem

KPERS is a quiet giant in state government that administers retirement plans for state and local public employees.


Deena Burnett, an English teacher at West Junior High School, instructs a class of eighth-graders on how to best write a memoir about something important in their life. The Kansas Public Employees Retirement System, which administers retirement plans for state and local public employees, is in need of additional funding. Currently there is a gap between the value of KPERS' assets and its future obligations to provide pensions to thousands of employees like Burnett.

Deena Burnett, an English teacher at West Junior High School, instructs a class of eighth-graders on how to best write a memoir about something important in their life. The Kansas Public Employees Retirement System, which administers retirement plans for state and local public employees, is in need of additional funding. Currently there is a gap between the value of KPERS' assets and its future obligations to provide pensions to thousands of employees like Burnett.

It has assets of $12.2 billion, which it invests. That amount is more than state government's annual spending budget. KPERS has 250,000 active, inactive and retired members, who represent nearly 1 in 10 Kansans.

As mammoth as KPERS is, there is a gap between the value of KPERS' assets and its future obligations to provide pensions.

That gap is called the unfunded actuarial liability, and it is growing.

In 2004, the unfunded liability was $4.7 billion. A recent report showed that in 2005, the unfunded liability grew by another 10 percent to $5.1 billion.

The major part of that unfunded liability - $3.5 billion - is associated with the school portion of the system.

Why?

"The school system came into KPERS with no assets," said Glenn Deck, executive director of KPERS. "And the contributions have not been at the proper rate for a number of years."

When the old public school retirement plan became part of KPERS in the 1970s, it was in poor financial shape.

Deck emphasized that there is no danger of the current system not paying pension benefits, but the unfunded liability does mean that increased state funding or changes in retirement plans for future employees must be considered.

Ironically, KPERS' strong investment earnings in the 1990s masked some of the funding problems that must be dealt with now.

"We finally got a handle on the problem in 2001 and 2002, and we've been working on it ever since," Deck said.

The solution?

Compounding the problem of the unfunded liability is the always-present potential for volatile investment performance, which is exactly what happened during the recession after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

Another recession would hit the pension fund hard, Morris said.

"With negative earnings in our stock market portfolio, then we could have problems. We are sort of living hand to mouth," Morris said.

Also, because retirees are living much longer now, they receive more benefits. The average female born in 2000 can expect to live 84.2 years versus 78.5 years for a female born in 1950.

Currently, employees in the system can retire with full benefits at age 55 with 30 years of service. KPERS has proposed a plan that would increase the retirement age to 65.

Deena Burnett, an English teacher at West Junior High School, works with eighth-grader Tiana Daniels on how to best write a memoir about something important in her life. Burnett and other teachers hope the Legislature does something to protect the Kansas Public Employees Retirement System, which administers retirement plans for state and local public employees. Currently, there is a gap between the value of KPERS' assets and its future obligations to provide pensions to employees.

Deena Burnett, an English teacher at West Junior High School, works with eighth-grader Tiana Daniels on how to best write a memoir about something important in her life. Burnett and other teachers hope the Legislature does something to protect the Kansas Public Employees Retirement System, which administers retirement plans for state and local public employees. Currently, there is a gap between the value of KPERS' assets and its future obligations to provide pensions to employees.

Under Senate Bill 281, which was introduced last year but pulled back for further study, KPERS also would offer an optional defined contribution plan like a 401(k) where employees decide how much of their pay to save. Workers then don't have to pay taxes on what they save until retirement, when they withdraw their money.

Getting there

Teachers and public employee groups are closely monitoring the situation.

Mark Desetti, director of legislative advocacy for the Kansas-National Education Assn., doesn't like the proposed solution, nor the implications.

"The argument shouldn't be 'Those teachers are going to drive us bankrupt.'" he said. "Instead it's the failure of Legislature in the past to take care of the system appropriately."

Desetti said it is a tough issue and many lawmakers now confronting it weren't around when the problem started.

"What's difficult is it is a huge amount of money, and we all know that," he said. "Ultimately it will take more than talk, but you don't solve the problem on the backs of the people who have held up their end of the bargain."

Deena Burnett, a 26-year teaching veteran who teaches eighth-grade English at West Junior High School, 2700 Harvard Road, said extending the retirement age would hurt state efforts to train teachers.

"It would be one more strike against going into the field of education," Burnett said. "The reality is that the Legislature hasn't put enough money into the system. It's worrisome. It's a big question mark."

Reader poll
What should the state do to ensure the teacher retirement system remains viable?

or See the results without voting

Whatever the solution, Deck said, work needs to start now.

During the past few years, he said, officials have tried to attack the problem of inadequate contributions from the state by increasing the contributions and approving $500 million in pension obligation bonds. Still, he said, the moves aren't enough to cover the gap.

For example, in the current fiscal year, the state's contribution to the state and school employee retirement groups is $209 million. But the needed amount to take care of future pensions is $319 million - a shortfall of $110 million, and $100 million of that gap is in the school group. That shortfall of $110 million will increase to the $140 million range in the next few years, Deck said.

He equated the KPERS system to steering an oil tanker past icebergs. Adjustments must be made well in advance to navigate safely.

"There is a huge cost over time to the state for delaying funding. It's like not making your credit card or house payment," he said.

What the candidates had to say

How important a problem is the unfunded liability in the Kansas Public Employees Retirement System, and what would you do to solve it? Would you support Senate Bill 281 or something similar to it?

Gov. Kathleen Sebelius, Democrat:

"Problems with KPERS have been confronted and addressed constructively.

"We have taken two very important steps that, over time, should bring the KPERS system back into balance. We issued a $500 million pension obligation bond and agreed to an increase each year in the state employer contribution rate."

Sebelius added that any changes in future retirement plans for state employees would have to be reviewed as they come to her desk.

State Sen. Jim Barnett, Republican:

"During the primary campaign, this was an issue that I would raise voluntarily because no one else would discuss it. It must be addressed.

"It all comes back to the need for Kansas to start living within its means so we can begin to cut taxes to grow the economy. The long-term answer to this is growing the Kansas economy, not raising taxes."

Barnett said he would consider changes to the retirement age and a 401(k)-type benefit, but only for future employees.

What's next

KPERS is crafting a proposal, probably similar to Senate Bill 281, that would establish a new retirement plan for public employees hired in the future.

Senate Bill 281 was introduced in the last legislative session but pulled back for further study. It would have provided a basic, defined benefit plan and an optional contribution plan.

The work product of KPERS officials will be considered by the KPERS board Friday, and then by a House-Senate committee on pensions Sept. 26. The committee will decide whether to introduce a KPERS bill in preparation for the next legislative session, which starts in January.

To read Senate Bill 281, visit www.kslegislature.org/legsrv-bills/searchBillNumber.do.

About 'Crossroads Kansas'

The top issues that affect most Kansans aren't abortion, illegal immigration and gay marriage.

Sure, advocates on all sides of those debates attract more than their fair share of ink, air and cyberspace.

But they also distract attention from the major issues that elected leaders will face during the next four years.

There won't be many campaign ads talking about funding the public employee pension system, fixing crumbling buildings at universities or dealing with the outmigration of large areas of rural Kansas.

But these are the issues that will affect tax rates, personal income and the quality of life in Kansas for generations.

During the next six weeks, the Journal-World will present these issues to readers and call on the major party gubernatorial candidates - Gov. Kathleen Sebelius, a Democrat, and State Sen. Jim Barnett, a Republican - to address them.

Comments

Shardwurm 8 years, 4 months ago

Can we not go one week without an article on teachers and how much more money they want?

Look, I know you want to make $100,000 to work 9 months a year and then retire at 50 with 75 percent of your salary. We would all like that.

But we can't afford it. Remember when your freshman teacher told you not to go into teaching for the money? It was the only time he was telling you the truth.

bondmen 8 years, 4 months ago

A competency test must be performed by a responsible, outside third party on the pension consultants hired by the Board of Trustees as to their investment advisor recommendations and the subsequent investment performance.

A great deal of money for the retirees and taxpayers of Kansas has been left on the table over at least the past 10 years by making poor choices in pension consultants who recommend asset managers whose results have underperformed major market indices. These same pension consultants have also steered some KPERS investments into underperforming asset classes.

Address this problem (pension consultants & investment management results) first as it is a very good place to start!

blessed3x 8 years, 4 months ago

Maybe the gov't workers should join the real world. You know, the one where pensions are a thing of the past and we all poor money into our 401k's and private investments. The KPERS thing is a pretty sweet deal. Far better than you would recieve in the real world unless you are Wittig or the CEO of a major corporation.

tell_it_like_it_is 8 years, 4 months ago

Lets have the minimum retirement age for teachers at 65. And then for the other people it will effect like city crews-who actually work 12 months out of the year-keep it at 55. These are the people who are out climbing the light poles in thunderstorms to fix the lights. And out clearing the roads when its 10 below. Or out fixing water lines when its 105. It seems only fair to me.

Kookamooka 8 years, 4 months ago

It isn't about teachers. It's about all state workers. All of the people who work on the hill are effected. And their impending poverty in old age will negatively effect the entire city of Lawrence. I hate this state. I'm outta here.

admireed 8 years, 4 months ago

Forget your pensions. The KNEA and their associated groups have sold our repersentative on giving all (will not quite all) of the States monies to USDs. There is nothing left for other state workers. This will continue so make other plans for retirement.

Jeff Kilgore 8 years, 4 months ago

Unfortunately, many Kansans share the view of Shardwurm. In fact, teachers don't expect to make $100,000 a year. How about half of this? It's taken me 22 years to top 50K. What's the point of exaggeration if it's untrue?

One simple solution would be to require that all KPERS retirees pay a much higher rate--somewhat closer to 10% so that retirement doesn't change. Arkansas employees pay 14% of their pay!!!!

Now, about teaching. . . looks pretty good from the outside. Consider the truth:

1) Those who don't teach don't know that teachers work throughout the year, many preparing for the fall, 2) must buy books and tuition during college w/no pay, 3) Work many 12+ hour days,
4) Its sharpest critics couldn't teach, and 5) many candidates look at the reality of teaching and leave.
6) Finally, Kansas ranks 49th in pay increase for teachers.

What does Shardwurm propose to keep Kansas test scores at the top while half of our teachers retire? Lower wages? Stripping retirements? Does no one have the slightest appreciation for what teachers do?
I thought that Lawrence was a progressive town. Tell it like it is-- you don't teach. Most teachers work 12 months out of the year. Believe me, I know more teachers than you do and they work harder than most people I know. You have no idea.

kugrad 8 years, 4 months ago

Shardwurm, This article is not about how much more money teachers want as you suggest. It is about money our teachers are already entitled to under agreements made by LAW with the state. As the article makes fairly clear, this problem is not just with the teacher retirement portion of KPERS, but with the entire program. 10% of all Kansans are effected. The LJW just focused on the teachers because controversy sells papers. The poll that the LJW posted is ridiculous. It only asks about teachers, then posts only 3 solutions. Certainly there are more solutions exhibiting more creativity than this. This is another example of the state government failing to live up to their obligations and deal with long-term problems. Instead they think short-term and focus on their own re-election and political grandstanding. It is the result of a lack of leadership by both parties over a large number of years. There is no sense in playing the blame game, it is clear the blame lies in Topeka. The question is, who will step forward to help be part of the solution?

Jeff Kilgore 8 years, 4 months ago

KUgrad's observations are dead on. More is at stake than teachers, but since they dredge up the argument. . .

Grandstanding aside, I am puzzled by those who criticize teachers, their high pay, incompetence, etc. Why, if teaching is such a great deal, aren't colleges bursting at the seams with teacher candidates? They aren't. Instead, Asians are being recruited to teach in the US. It's fairly obvious why:

1) Down deep, people understand the personally rewarding but difficult job of teaching. 2) They aren't interested in the hard work it entails. 3) They aren't capable in the first place. 4) A few had bad school experiences and hate school, i.e. teachers.

It seems that the public has it out for teachers. I will never know why.

My own children have had outstanding teachers. My oldest daughter will graduate from ESU. . . in education. . . my son is a KU junior, and another daughter plans to enroll at KU in 2007. They were all very well prepared by hard working teachers.

Hopefully, these fine people, who, unlike politicians, REALLY ARE PUBLIC SERVANTS, will be able to retire, having devoted their lives to the improvement of both individuals and the society they will comprise.

Godot 8 years, 4 months ago

In the early 90's, KPERS was one of the few state pension funds that was over funded; then KPERS took on"professional" management, and changed from a course of prudent and conservative investments to taking big risks in the market, and the result is that now KPERS is underfunded.

In 2001, KPERS added a new option for new retirees: they could choose to take a partial lump sum distribution at retirement, rather than receive their payments monthly, over their life time. See the calculation here:

http://www.kpers.org/plsobrochure.pdf#search=%22KPERS%20partial%20lump%20sum%20distribution%22

It is unfortunate for KPERS that this was first implemented when the fund had taken a huge hit in the market. I wonder how many retirees have taken advantage of this, and how much this has contributed to the shrinking of the fund.

justthefacts 8 years, 4 months ago

Teachers are not the only ones who are tied into the KPERS retirement system. All state employees, and many local/county employees, have (for years) had part of every pay check mandatorily paid into this retirement plan. What is going on now is that there are fewer employees paying into the fund, more retirement age folks taking out of it, and a really bad market (almost all retirement funds tied to the stock exchange are doing poorly). The result is the unfunded portion that is the topic of this article.

The employees who are part of the KPERS system are well advised to never expect to be able to retire (unless they are independtly wealthy or have put back other funds). The KPERS fund is liable to be bankrupt by the time people who are now in the their 40's turn 65 or 67. The same is true of Social Security. What will happen then? Just picture a society where 70 year olds can't keep working and/or can't retire unless they can survive on cat food and dandelion greens....

Those of you who are younger - pay heed. If you hope/expect to retire one day, you will have to come up with a plan that works better then those two systems.

Jeff Kilgore 8 years, 4 months ago

just the facts, There are answers!!!!

The situation isn't hopeless at all. Here are two really important steps to take. First, return to conservative investing, and secondly, ask those in the system to increase their monthly contributions. I would double my investments today if asked to do so. Why not? I think most teachers would. I hope that most KPERS employees would do the same.

Godot 8 years, 4 months ago

jkilgore, I agree, and add that the early retirement option needs to be eliminated. Allowing full retirement at age 55 with 30 years of service is unreasonable. At that rate, you will have many people living longer in retirement than they worked and paid into the system.

By the way, I do not understand the suggestion about adding a 401-K. Employees already have the option of making tax-deferred contributions to a 457 or 403(b) plan. Adding, or changing to, a 401-K would only benefit the vendor who is pushing it; it would add to the administrative costs, and limit investment choices for the employees. This is definitely a bad idea.

pz5g1 8 years, 4 months ago

To say that KPERS will be unavailable for young state workers might be inaccurate. Unlike SS, most state pension systems (I assume KPERS as well, though possiply not) are protected and ensured by state constitutions. Therefore, states will have a constitutional obligation to provide promised benefits. Where those monies come from is, of course, the states' problem.

blessed3x 8 years, 4 months ago

Godot, I feel you missed the point of my post. What I was trying to say is that pensions are a thing of the past. Unless you are a gov't worker or in a union, you probably do not have a pension. You must rely upon your own investments and possible matching funds from your company (i.e. a 401k). The pension system seems antiquated. People need to be responsible for their own retirement. Finish the ones out that are already in the system, but end the pensions for new hires. Offer matching retirement contributions (or something similar instead).

Jeff Kilgore 8 years, 4 months ago

With all due respect, if Kansas teachers must teach 40 years, they will be the ONLY ones in the nation to do so. If this is true, if we are going to be asked to teach for 40 years, then I will have had taken from me after 23 years, the most attractive perc of teaching. If this happens, I will become self-employed. What a farce. It isn't unreasonable for me to retire after 30 years when I have paid in my fair share.

Teaching should not be thought of as a profession anymore. I'm not sure it ever was. What a joke.

A cement worker I know has recently retired at age 51. Perhaps I should have strived to become a concrete worker and just skipped the 20-30 dollars I wasted getting an education. Who was smarter?

tell_it_like_it_is 8 years, 4 months ago

Yes jkilgore maybe you should have become a cement worker. You would have some idea of what real physical labor is. Does it occur to you that perhaps the man you refer to had to retire because his back was shot after all those years of hard labor. Its hard to understand when you sit in an air conditioned/heated classroom and don't lift anything much heavier than a textbook.

Kuku_Kansas 8 years, 4 months ago

One would assume that a state that contains almost less than 1% of the country's total population, can actually operate and properly run its government, services and citizenry.

What a joke.

And then its own citizen base points fingers at each other, rather than at those ELECTED.

Maybe, like natural selection, Kansas will just fade away. It can become a protected national park perhaps.

Kuku_Kansas 8 years, 4 months ago

tell it like it is--Thank you for confirming my exact point.

Provide a solution...worry less about others' lives and choices, eh.

whistlestop75 8 years, 4 months ago

"We have taken two very important steps that, over time, should bring the KPERS system back into balance. We issued a $500 million pension obligation bond and agreed to an increase each year in the state employer contribution rate."

Gov. Kathleen Sebelius,

Democrat

What I can't believe is the poll LJW is conducting...If the state has issued an obligation bond it means in effect that the state has already raised taxes to pay for that bond... our taxes are funding this bond now and we are paying a higher percentage to contribute to the fund (The teachers are paying more in taxes as well as John Q. Public)...Gov. Sebelius did not say over how many years the state will be paying for this...wonder why?

Kuku_Kansas 8 years, 4 months ago

Longtime teacher wills district $1.3M

Items compiled from Tribune news services Published September 10, 2006

DAVISON, MICHIGAN -- A woman who spent 29 years as a teacher and counselor at the city high school has left $1.3 million to the school district.

Edna Diehl left the money when she died at age 88 in July. The Davison Educational Foundation will hold the money in trust with the interest to be used to fund scholarships.

Maybe KPERS can count on some generous retirees to kick-the-can and leave some behind for their overall pot.

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/nationworld/chi-0609100193sep10,1,999087.story?coll=chi-news-hed

FastEddie 8 years, 4 months ago

Under KPERS, full retirement doesn't mean that I am eligable for 75% of my previous income after over 31 years of service (age 54)--it wouldn't even be 30% (for the rest of my life). If I retired after 44 years (age 67), I believe that I would receive close to 70% of my previous income.

Jeff Kilgore 8 years, 4 months ago

Hey, tell it like it isn't

Yeah, I know something about physical labor. I've coached sports, lifted weights, paid for my own schooling, worked 16 hour days--plenty of them. And I am in damn good shape now. To me, physical labor is enjoyable.
Most of us build houses, work on vehicles, run businesses. You know, with all the spare time we have. I've seen "laborers" work, holding shovels, four guys watching one dig a hole. Yeah, I'm familiar with physical labor. . . it would be fair to pay teachers what they're worth so that they weren't holding down several jobs.

And you have no answer to my earlier question: if teaching is such a deal, why the teacher shortage?

Godot 8 years, 4 months ago

blessedx3, sorry, I did not even read your post about 401-K. I was referring to this, from the article:

"Under Senate Bill 281, which was introduced last year but pulled back for further study, KPERS also would offer an optional defined contribution plan like a 401(k) where employees decide how much of their pay to save."

There is no need for a 401-K in the KPERS system; options that are much less expensive to administer and that offer more choice to the employees already exist. Senate Bill 281 needs much more study, possibly even deserves to be tanked, if it scraps the current tax deferred annuity system for a 401-K. It would be a huge expense resulting in no gain for the taxpayers or for the employees.

Godot 8 years, 4 months ago

jkilgore, you are right, you should quit teaching and go into business for yourself. Then you will never get to retire. Best wishes, and good luck.

Godot 8 years, 4 months ago

" it would be fair to pay teachers what they're worth so that they weren't holding down several jobs."

At least teachers get summers off, paid, so they can work "several jobs."

weeslicket 8 years, 4 months ago

godot and redneckgal, teachers do not "get paid" for "not working" in the summer.
that's why many teachers work at other occupations during these months.
if you didn't have a job in june and july, would you consider it having the summer off, or unemployment?

anyhoo, this article describes legislators shirking their constitutional duties, and really really bad management. whether you or i or mr. merckle the history teacher work in the summer doesn't change that situation one bit.

bmwjhawk 8 years, 4 months ago

LOL @ AMEN.

I really did. I LOL'd.

Attached to every "teacher has it easy" post, I wish the writer would post his or her occupation so that the teachers on this board can take swipes at how easy those anti-educator posters have it. The grass is ALWAYS greener, and most of this sounds like jealousy.

There does seem to be a lot of posting going on during the weekdays, when people are supposed to be working. I'll wager that a lot of that isn't coming from the school house. I'll bet that it's not coming from the cement-pourer either.

Here's a concept: we're all going to end up in the same place when we're done working (dead), and who is going to give a crap whether or not teachers worked 10 or 12 months?

I agree with the poster who said that we need to fight the real enemy: the Pope.

No, I mean the worthless legislators only concerned with self-preservation and politically popular decisions.

Again, LOL @ AMEN.

Godot 8 years, 4 months ago

"Attached to every "teacher has it easy" post, I wish the writer would post his or her occupation so that the teachers on this board can take swipes at how easy those anti-educator posters have it"

Are you saying you cannot distinguish, by the nature of their posts, the entrepeneurs from the employees of private businesses from the government-employed?

Godot 8 years, 4 months ago

Very few, if any, private industry employers in Lawrence offer a pension.

Early retirement, in private industry in Lawrence, is a euphemism for being fired, disabled, or dead.

Wilbur_Nether 8 years, 4 months ago

blessed3x raised up that "The KPERS thing is a pretty sweet deal. Far better than you would recieve in the real world...." That is not consistent with what my friends who work for the State have told me. First, my employer matches my 401K penny for penny up to a limit (OK, in my case it's 6%) and allows me to contribute even more. I get to choose whether I even want to contribute. I also get to choose which accounts my 401K go into (cash holdings, stocks, bonds, high-tech, blue chip, what-have-you). My pals at the State tell me that their contributions are fixed, they cannot contribute more if they want, they have to live with the investments KPERS makes even if they want to be more/less aggressive than KPERS, and the State matches nothing of their contributions. I wouldn't trade the system my employer uses for KPERS for the world.

Just looking at the way the legislature has managed KPERS, and the actuarial estimates, and the view the legislature appears to take on providing for its employees, my best guess is that only those who retire within the next 8-12 years will even see benefits from KPERS. I have a suspicion (and, again, based only on what a friend who works part-time for a certain State Senator whose District is south and west of here a ways has told me) that a quiet movement is underway in the legislature to eliminate KPERS altogether. Again, this came to me from a part-timer who may be kind of disenfranchised, but this person tells me there is no real plan among the involved legislatures to even replace KPERS with anything because of the feeling that State employees get enough as it is and need to be responsible for themselves without relying on the taxpayers.

Oh, and to bmwjhawk's reminder that "the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence" I would point out that the grass opposite the fence still must be mowed, no matter how green.

Godot 8 years, 4 months ago

"No, I mean the worthless legislators only concerned with self-preservation and politically popular decisions."

Speaking of which, I saw a yard sign supporting Barbara Ballard for legislature this afternoon.

Crikey! She is a government employee who gets paid leave to represent KU in the Kansas legislature (a position for which she is paid.)

She is running unopposed, yet she has yard signs?

I guess she wants to be darned sure she gets to keep double dipping on the backs of Kansas taxpayers.

Wilbur_Nether 8 years, 4 months ago

Hmmm. Not sure how Ballard is double-dipping. She represents a District, not the University. The State Ethics Commission rules that there isn't a conflict of interest. She doesn't collect KU salary for the time she's legislating. Your reasoning is missing a few links, Godot. Help me understand what they are.

Godot 8 years, 4 months ago

Wilbur, maybe things haved changed in the last few years. Last time I checked, Ballard was given paid leave to be in the legislature, due to her status as a non-classified professional at KU. This contrasts with the status of a classified employee of the State, who would not be allowed such leeway, if he or she were elected to state office.

As for my remark that Ballard represents KU, just take a gander at her voting, and lobbying, record. She represents KU, not her district. Yet Kansans pay her twice - first as a professional at KU, and then as a legislator. And she gets the benefit of both retirement programs, which leads us back to the topic of this thread.

If I am wrong, please prove it with facts and links.

Wilbur_Nether 8 years, 4 months ago

Godot, I'll be happy to go do some research and either verify or disprove your statements. First, I'd ask you to initiate the process by finding and sharing citations that support you, though. Since I'm taller and have more gray hair than you likely are/do, I'm going to submit that gives me a slight advantage over you on truth and I therefore don't have to start the process.

bmwjhawk 8 years, 4 months ago

Are you saying you cannot distinguish, by the nature of their posts, the entrepeneurs from the employees of private businesses from the government-employed?


I want to know who's a venture capitalist, who's a checkout girl, and who's in middle management. And, I want copies of their W-2 forms.

Godot 8 years, 4 months ago

Wilbur, everyone is taller, though not grayer, than me.

Wilbur_Nether 8 years, 4 months ago

bmsjhawk, you may have a copy of my W-2 form when you pry it from my cold, dead hands....

Or successfully subpoena it, whichever comes first.

Godot 8 years, 4 months ago

And, Wilbur, if you dispute my statements, please, feel free to prove them wrong. Otherwise, I will let my statements stand as truth as I know them. After all, I am of the "entrepreneur" type, and my resources and free time, unlike those of a government employee or pensioner, are limited.

ASBESTOS 8 years, 4 months ago

State of Kansas benefits, schedule here at:

http://www.kdheks.gov/employment/

This is a LOT better than ANYTHING in the PRIVATE SECTOR.

Godot 8 years, 4 months ago

Asbestos, good post. Privately employed Kansans must pay and pay and pay to provide better pay and better benefits for state/school district/county/municipal employees than they can ever hope to earn for themselves. Now, add in the mix the taxpayer provided benefits for those eligible for Medicaid, and we discover that there are many, many more people living off the state than there are contributing to it.

Kansas really is red. It is a socialist state. It just does not realize it...yet.

Linda Endicott 8 years, 4 months ago

"Attached to every "teacher has it easy" post, I wish the writer would post his or her occupation so that the teachers on this board can take swipes at how easy those anti-educator posters have it. The grass is ALWAYS greener, and most of this sounds like jealousy.

There does seem to be a lot of posting going on during the weekdays, when people are supposed to be working. I'll wager that a lot of that isn't coming from the school house. I'll bet that it's not coming from the cement-pourer either."

I also contribute to KPERS, and I'm not a teacher. I work at a residence for developmentally disabled adults. I am required to clean the whole house, top to bottom, whenever it needs to be done, including cleaning up all body fluids.

I am required to shovel snow and make sure ice melt is on all sidewalks around the property. I am required to prepare meals, three a day every day I work, and to clean the dishes and the kitchen after meals. I am required to inspect the van we use every day before using it.

I am required to attempt to stop any and all altercations between consumers, or between consumers and other staff. If this involves me being hit, spit on, knocked down, etc., then so be it. If I am abused by a consumer, I am expected to just put up with it and keep quiet about it.

Yes, teachers also have to deal with someone else's little darlings, and they have to show remarkable patience while doing it. They are also subject to abuse by the little darlings, and can do little about it if they're physically hurt.

But they don't have to bathe them, they don't have to feed them, or clean up after them (you have custodians for that), or do their laundry, or grocery shop for them, or transport them wherever they need to go.

As for posting on weekdays (gasp! shudder!), I LIVE at my job all weekend. I am not allowed to leave at all, though I may be off the clock sometimes. I go in on Fri. afternoon, and don't get home again until Mon. morning. Because, unlike a school, group homes have to be staffed 24/7.

My job is grueling, sometimes very physically demanding, and especially emotionally draining. I shudder to think that I'll have to wait til age 65 to retire from this profession.

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