Teachers plan to sue over pensions - 14 News, WFIE, Evansville, Henderson, Owensboro

Teachers plan to sue over pensions

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Randolf Wieck Randolf Wieck

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Kentucky teachers are preparing to go to court over what they say is rightfully theirs. They believe their retirements are in danger due to pension funds being slashed.

"It's rather demeaning to the teachers who put in their hearts into this profession," Manual High School teacher Randolf Wieck said Monday.

Wieck has been in front of a class for 25 years. He said lawmakers haven't kept their promise, failing to fund their pensions in recent years. He's part of a class-action lawsuit set to be filed later this summer.  

The projected shortfall is estimated in the billions.

"The system begins a death spiral, and the debt becomes too big to bail," Wieck explained.

Wieck has formed the Teacher Retirement Legal Fund to pay for their fight. The group's attorney, Theodore Lavit, said the Kentucky Teachers' Retirement System is under funded by so much, that it could collapse. He also said the lack of funds violates teachers' contracts, state and federal constitutions.

Meanwhile new teachers putting in to the pension fund will get nothing out.

"But they will not get their retirement. They are paying for the others who have been there along time, but they won't get paid," Lavit said.  

Teachers contribute about 13 percent of their paychecks into their pensions, but it's not just themselves they're worried about.

"It comes down to a moral question," Wieck said. "If the money is not there, people will suffer."

The Jefferson County Teacher's Association is not involved in the lawsuit. The Union's president, Brent McKim said they understand the frustration, but them joining the class action lawsuit would be counterproductive to all the progress they've made solving the issue. McKim said the lawsuit could jeopardize other benefits like post-retirement health insurance.

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