May 5, 2017 - The CalSTRS board recently acted to change assumptions used to estimate its unfunded liabilities, including the key assumption about future investment returns--sometimes referred to as the "discount rate." These and other recent developments have eroded CalSTRS' funding situation. This brief details these changes and describes how they will affect the state, school and community college districts, and teachers
February 2, 2016 - This post is the fifth in a series looking at the implementation of the CalSTRS funding plan. In this post, we describe how the state’s share of CalSTRS’ unfunded liabilities will be more sensitive to investment gains and losses than the district share.
February 2, 2016 - This post is the sixth in a series looking at the implementation of the CalSTRS funding plan. In this post, we describe how the plan might fall short of meeting the principle of “shared responsibility,” a key goal of the Legislature in passing the plan. Specifically, we explain how the state may not incur higher costs under the funding plan.
February 2, 2016 - This post is the third in a series looking at the implementation of the CalSTRS funding plan. In this post, we describe how the abstract calculation upon which the funding plan is based has increased the district share of CalSTRS’ unfunded liabilities while decreasing the state share.
November 18, 2021 - This post provides an update on the progress of the California State Teachers’ Retirement System (CalSTRS) funding plan. The post: (1) describes the changes to unfunded actuarial obligation and contribution rates in 2021-22, based on the most recent actuarial valuation; (2) describes the potential effects of the 2020-21 investment returns; and (3) revisits the recommendations we raised in our March 2021 publication, Strengthening the CalSTRS Funding Plan, using the extreme volatility in investment returns to illustrate how those recommendations would strengthen CalSTRS’ ability to successfully pay down unfunded actuarial obligation—both the state’s share and employers’ share—by 2046.
March 20, 2013 - Last year, the Legislature asked CalSTRS to submit a report detailing at least three options for addressing the unfunded liabilities of the pension system's Defined Benefit (DB) Program, which are now estimated by system actuaries to total about $70 billion. This handout for the Legislature's Public Employment and Retirement Committees (1) describes the risks of waiting to address CalSTRS' unfunded liabilities, (2) compares CalSTRS' unfunded liabilities to California's other long-term liabilities, (3) and examines possible sources for additional funding. We recommend that the Legislature adopt a plan that aims to fully fund CalSTRS' unfunded liabilities in about 30 years. A companion video further explains our findings and recommendations.
March 10, 2021 - This report provides an overview of the 2014 California State Teachers’ Retirement System (CalSTRS) funding plan, and analyzes the various challenges and complexities of the plan that have come to light that may impede CalSTRS’ ability to successfully eliminate the system’s unfunded actuarial obligation (UAO) by 2046. We offer several short- and longer-term recommendations for the Legislature to consider to help strengthen CalSTRS’ ability to eliminate current and future UAO, achieve long-term savings, and improve legislative oversight.
March 10, 2020 - Over the next decade, the state will be required to allocate an additional $12 billion to $21 billion to accelerate the pay down of state retirement liabilities under the provisions of Proposition 2 (2014). This represents a key and unique opportunity for the state. The Governor offers one strategy to prioritize these funds over the next few years. Notably, the Governor focuses on the state’s share of the unfunded liability for teachers’ pensions. While we agree this focus makes sense, the amounts the Governor proposes dedicating to this purpose are not connected to the specific actuarial needs of the teachers’ pension system. In this report, we present a method the Legislature could use to tie these payments to the system’s actual needs, which would better target the funding.
July 19, 2018 - In May 2018, the California State Teachers’ Retirement System (CalSTRS) released an update on the financial position of the pension system, which was largely in line with expectations. This post summarizes the update, which contains the latest estimates of the unfunded liability and contribution rates required for districts, employees, and the state.
February 17, 2006 - The costs of providing health care to retired state employees and their dependents—now approaching $1 billion per year—are increasing significantly. Many other public employers (including the University of California, school districts, cities, and counties) face similar pressures. This report discusses health benefits provided to retired public employees, focusing on state retirees. We find that the current method of funding these benefits defers payment of these costs to future generations. Retiree health liabilities soon will be quantified under new accounting standards, but state government liabilities are likely in the range of $40 billion to $70 billion-and perhaps more. This report describes actions that the Legislature could take to address these costs.