Draining The Pensions

Two decades of underfunding. HB258’s two-tier system risks draining the rest.




– Teachers’ pensions funded at 91% (’00)

– Brent McKim elected to President of JCTA (JCPS Teachers’ Union) (’01)

– Term limits for JCTA Executive Officers removed, changed to 3-year terms

McKim promised to return to the classroom

– Last time Actuarially Required Contributions (ARC) met (’04)

– Pension drops below 80% funding for first time, considered “insolvent” (’05)

– Teachers began to fear pensions would “go up in smoke.” (’05)

– Kentucky’s Pension system already in “dire straights.” (’08)

– Economic recession hit (’08)

– $12-15 MM in “suspicious payments” for $100 MM placement in exotic funds (TRELF Lawsuit, ’10)
$1.2 Billion single day in risky, toxic investments (Aug. ’11)

Interview with Ramsey  – After Steve Beshear’s first term

Looting the Pension Funds, Rolling Stone Magazine (Sept. ’13)

– 1st TRELF lawsuit filed against Blackstone & other managers (Oct. ’14)
All that Glitters Is Not Gold, Roosevelt Institute (Nov. ’14)

“Would you please come to Kentucky and do what you are doing for Illinois teachers?” wrote Randy Wieck.

The Week in Public Finance: Moody About Ratings, the Worst-Funded Pension and Data Disappointment

If you thought Illinois was in rough shape…

Governing, May 22, 2015

– 2nd TRELF lawsuit filed (Aug. ’15)
– Standard & Poor’s lowers credit rating (Sept. ’15)
JCTA blocked transparency of private money (equity) contracts (Feb. ’16)
3rd TRELF lawsuit filed (Nov. ’16)
Cavanaugh McDonald study valued pensions at 35% funded (Dec. ’16)
– As a result, TRS abandoned GASB 67 standards, went to less stringent CAFR instead.
Moody’s downgrades Kentucky credit rating (July ’17)
– McKim quietly re-elected to another term via electronic ballot (Spring ’18)

Kentucky is in a $43 billion pension hole. Here are some reasons why.

The Courier-Journal, Dec. ’18

Furious over “sewer” pension bill, Kentucky teachers storm Frankfort (Mar. ’18)

Surprise pension bill wins final approval in Kentucky legislature. Teachers outraged.

Standard & Poor’s lowers Kentucky credit rating again (May ’18)
Kentucky Supreme Court Strikes Down Pension Law That Sparked Teacher Protests (Dec. ‘18)
State Auditor’s report noted TRS in violation of Kentucky statutes (Feb. ’19)

The Bottom Line: Pension systems out of compliance with state law, auditor says

The Lane Report, Aug ’19

– “The Pension Gamble” aired on PBS, featuring Dr. Randy Wieck (Oct. ’19)
– To ensure election integrity, JCTA members voted to return to paper ballots (PR Meeting, Fall, ’19)
– JCTA leaders justified resurrection of electronic election software due to COVID (according to sources)
Better Schools Kentucky (PAC) election riddled with anomalies (Nov. ’20)

Blackstone CEO led big donors pouring money into super-PAC with ties to McConnellBloomberg, Dec. ’20

Blackstone CEO, McConnell’s largest donor, tied to insurrection? (Jan. ’21)
Two-tiered pension bill introduced. Co-sponsored by “Sewer Bill” Committee Chair, Rep. Jerry Miller (Jan. ’21)

WATCH: Teachers Pensions Swan Song

Guests Chris Tobe and Dr. Randy Wieck


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