The Oklahoma Teachers Retirement System is a bad news-good news-bad news story.
The bad news: The fund, previously rated among the nation’s worst-funded, saw its unfunded liability increase last year. The system is now only 54.8 percent funded; its unfunded liability grew from $7.6 billion to $8.4 billion.
The good news is that the system is still expected to eliminate its unfunded liability in 22 years, thanks in large part to a law requiring full funding of benefit increases.
The bad news: That projection relies on 8 percent market growth on investments each year — something that hasn’t occurred recently and may not occur for some time. In fact, this year’s decline is tied to investment losses in 2008 and 2009.
Lawmakers have done much to improve the system, but its future and the long-term security of teachers remains uncertain without broad national economic recovery.