New data detail soaring costs of California school pensions

California school expenses for employee pensions on average doubled to about $1,000 per student over the past four years according to newly released state data. Those increases will continue to rise for two more years. The Legislature mandated the increases, partly to make up for the sharp decline in the value of the pension funds for school employees and other public workers during the Great Recession in 2008.

“By assuming too high a rate of return, California has consistently under-reported the level of funding that is required to pay for promised benefits,” wrote Cory Koedel, Associate Professor of Economics and Public Policy at the University of Missouri, in Pensions and California Public Schools, a report for Getting Down to Facts II, a 2018 research project by Policy Analysis for California Education (PACE), on California’s education policies and needs.


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