Commentary

California Budget Insanity: Education Pension Edition

The California Foundation for Fiscal Responsibility (CFFR) has obtained and posted “The CalSTRS $100,000 Pension Club” — a list of more than 3,000 retired educators who are receiving pensions of $100,000 or more per year. You can access the list in PDF here.

These large lifetime pension promises are one explanation for why school districts have less money to spend on current employees even as per-pupil funding has increased and enrollment has decreased. These pension obligations will continue to encroach on the operating funds of these districts.

This is compounded by Golden handshakes where teachers get to retire early with lucrative pensions, thus extending the long-term obligation for short-term gain.

See Reason on the Gathering Pension Storm here.

Lisa Snell is the director of education and child welfare at Reason Foundation, a nonprofit think tank advancing free minds and free markets.

Snell has frequently testified before the California State Legislature and numerous other state legislatures and government agencies. She has authored policy studies on school finance and weighted student funding, universal preschool, school violence, charter schools, and child advocacy centers.

Snell is a frequent contributor to Reason magazine, School Reform News and Privatization Watch. Her writing has also appeared in Education Week, Edutopia, The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, San Francisco Chronicle, Orange County Register, Los Angeles Times, and numerous other publications.

Ms. Snell is also an advisory board member to the National Quality Improvement Center for the Children's Bureau; is on the charter school accreditation team for the American Academy for Liberal Education; and serves as a board member for the California Virtual Academy.

Before joining Reason Foundation, Snell taught public speaking and argumentation courses at California State University, Fullerton. She earned a Master of Arts in communication from California State University, Fullerton.