Dr. Randy Wieck (Social Studies) filed a lawsuit on Monday, Nov. 10 against the Kentucky Teachers’ Retirement System (KTRS), claiming that the KTRS has been remiss in addressing the chronic underfunding for teacher pensions. Dr. Wieck is one of the founding members of the Teacher Retirement Legal Fund (TRELF), a nonprofit dedicated to ensuring that the Kentucky Teacher Retirement Contract is upheld and that the government contributes regularly to KTRS.
The class-action suit represents the 146,000 teachers who have been required to pay a portion of their salaries into the KTRS. As of Aug. 12, the KTRS is underfunded by approximately $14 billion, or about 51.9 percent.
According to Wieck, the state and KTRS have proposed a bond to cover the missing funds, but Dr. Wieck is not optimistic about this plan.
“In my opinion, this is simply covering debt with debt,” Dr. Wieck said. “As the situation has deteriorated, and as Kentucky has a very low credit rating of AA-, proposing more debt is simply kicking the can down the road. As we have waited for some solution to come forward—something to solve this problem—we have been disappointed.”
Additionally, even if it were effective, Dr. Wieck said he is not convinced that a bond bill could pass the legislature.
Dr. Wieck said he admits that he is not an expert on state finances, but he has proposed the possibility of gaming taxes, user fees or rebudgeting as a means for financing the KTRS.
Numerous lawyers and financial advisors are working with Dr. Wieck, and Attorney Ted Lavitt is the primary representative.
A copy of the lawsuit is embedded below.