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4 things to know about LAUSD’s pension costs and other benefits obligations for its teachers and other staff

Sarah Favot | September 22, 2016



This graphic from the district's Independent Financial Review Panel's November 2015 report shows the contributions the district must make to CalPERS and CalSTRS under new pension reforms.

This graphic from the district’s Independent Financial Review Panel’s November 2015 report shows the contributions the district must make to CalPERS and CalSTRS under new pension reforms.

*UPDATED

LA Unified is facing a budget deficit that will increase to nearly half a billion dollars within the next three years primarily due to declining enrollment and increased pension and healthcare costs.

Last weekend, the Los Angeles Times, CALmatters and Capital Public Radio published the first of a series of stories examining the effects of the expansion of retirement benefits for the state’s public employees. Here are some things to know about LA Unified’s pension obligations:

  • LA Unified’s total unfunded liability for other post-employment benefits (OPEB) is $13.6 billion (or more than 1.5 times its 2016-17 operating budget of $7.6 billion). 

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  • LA Unified is the only school district on a list of top 10 government entities across the country that can’t afford their OPEB obligations — the top spot going to the city of Detroit.
  • In 2013-14, the district paid $2,621 from its state funding of $9,788 for average daily attendance per student (or 27 percent) for all employee benefits, including health and welfare, other post-employment benefits and pension benefits (19.4 percent higher than the statewide average).
  • According to the superintendent’s 2016-17 budget, the district will pay $566.8 million this year to the California State Teachers Retirement System and $139.4 million to the California Public Employees Retirement System.

*UPDATED: This story has been updated to clarify the costs include other post-employment benefits.

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