Teacher Pension Debt Hits a Whopping $11.1 Billion
Louisiana’s retirement debt costs the state $1 of every $4 in annual state aid allocated to public schools, according to a report from the state auditor. The report found that pension commitments due to retired teachers totaled 23.9% of state spending on K-12 education in 2019-2020, or $852.5 million. That works out to a little over $1,300 per student enrolled in the state’s public schools.
In total, teacher pension debt has accumulated to a whopping $11.1 billion. The legislative auditor isn’t the only one paying attention to this problem. Louisiana recently earned a D rating in fiscal health from a nonpartisan fiscal watchdog group.
The Advocate’s Will Sentell has more:
The debt is called the unfunded accrued liability, or UAL, which is the difference between what the state owes teachers and what it has to pay that debt.
In 1987 voters approved a constitutional amendment that required the Legislature to come up with a plan to pay off the teacher and state employee debt that existed in 1988 by 2029.
State laws enacted in 2009 and 2014 require that retirement obligations for teachers built up between 1988 and 2009 had to be paid by 2040 and by 2044 for former state employees.
Public schools make a dent in that debt annually by paying a percentage of their employees’ salaries.