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Mon May 12, 2014
Public School Teachers Mulling Pension Lawsuit Against Legislature
A group of Louisville teachers are planning to file a class-action lawsuit against the governor and leaders in the Kentucky General Assembly, claiming they violated the state's contract with teachers by deliberately underfunding teachers' retirement fund by billions of dollars.
Lebanon attorney Theodore Lavit said he will name Governor Steve Beshear, Senate President Robert Stivers and House Speaker Greg Stumbo as defendants in a suit worth over $11 billion dollars in order to restore money to the underfunded Kentucky Teachers Retirement System.
Manual High School social studies teacher Randolph Wieck says lawmakers have broken their promise to teachers by using their retirement fund to balance the budget.
“What we see happening, is the Legislature turning its back on the state teaching force," Wieck said. "It's rather demeaning to have that promise broken when we go in and keep our promises every day to the children.”
Lavit, says the case’s success will depend on how teachers across the state respond to the action.
“The question is what sort of statewide reaction we're going to have from the teachers. We have to test the waters there," he said. “Some experts believe that in four maybe five years at the present funding rate it will be impossible to recapture what's needed.”
The case will affect the pensions of the approximately 140,000 current and retired public school teachers across the Commonwealth.