top of page

Change of Date for Next
General Meeting Announced:
April 25, 2023 Is the New Date.

Beatrice North

Bea North.image.jpg

Quilt and logo created by Bea North for ACRTA in 2008.

With deep sadness, we have to share the passing of Beatrice North.  Bea dedicated an enormous amount of time, talent (especially artistic), treasure and service to the Ashland County Retired Teachers Association.  She served decades in key leadership roles in our association and remained so committed to supporting retired educators to the very end of her life.  She dedicated her life to helping others through her faith and numerous community service organizations.  Bea's kindness and generosity was a blessing to countless thousands of students and friends in her life.  At the time of her passing, she was serving as ACRTA Vice-President.  Following is Bea’s obituary:

Beatrice North, 72, of Ashland passed away following a period of declining health on Sunday, January 22, 2023 in her home and with her family by her side. 

She was born on May 1, 1950 in Cleveland, Ohio to the late Charles “Chuck” and Monna (nee Evans) Gudel.

Bea graduated from Charles Brush High School, class of 1968. She earned a bachelor's degree of science in education in 1972 from Bowling Green State University. She later earned a master’s degree of education in curriculum and instruction from Ashland University. 

She married the love of her life, Bruce North on June 7, 1975.

Bea was an art teacher in the Ashland City Schools for 33 years, retiring in 2005. Following her retirement, she supervised student teachers from Ashland University and also worked as the Kroc Center Art Program Coordinator.

Bea received recognition for her years of contribution to the community, receiving a regional outstanding art teacher award from the Ohio Art Education Association in 1989 and volunteer of the year in 1999 and 2000 from the Boy Scouts of America, Johnny Appleseed District. 

Throughout her life, Bea was a devoted member of Christ United Methodist Church. She was also active in other organizations including P.E.O. (Philanthropic Educational Organization), Ashland County Retired Teachers Association, Beta Chapter of Delta Kappa Gamma, Ohio Art Education Association, North Central Ohio Art Education Association, and as a board member of the Ashland Symphony Orchestra.

Bea is survived by her loving husband of 47 years, Bruce North of Ashland; one daughter, Julianna (Ben) Richard of Painesville; one son, Eric (Lauren Macfarland) North of Hoquiam, Washington; four grandchildren, Simon, Graham, Oliver and Laurel Richard; one sister, Cindy Gudel of Columbus; and one brother, Bill Gudel of Columbus.

In addition to her parents, Bea is preceded in death by one brother, Charles Evans Gudel.

Funeral services will be held on Saturday, February 4, 2023 at 11:00 a.m. at the Christ United Methodist Church with Reverend Tom Snyder presiding. Following the service a meal and time of fellowship will be held in the fellowship hall at the church. 

Friends may call one hour prior to the service from 10:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.

Interment will take place in the Mansfield Memorial Park.

In lieu of flowers memorial contributions may be made to: P.E.O., Ashland Charter FJ scholarship fund or to Christ United Methodist Church, 1140 Claremont Avenue, Ashland, Ohio 44805.

For those unable to attend, online condolences may be shared on the funeral home’s website at denbowfh.com.  

Denbow-Gasche Funeral Home & Crematory is handling the arrangements.

Ohio STRS Undermines Its Own Trust and Integrity - Again

COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH - FOX8) — Ohio’s teacher retirement system paid out $10 million in staff bonuses the same year its pension fund lost over $5 billion, according to updated figures released Thursday.

 

Two months after the State Teachers Retirement System of Ohio (STRS) Board awarded its 100-member investment staff with hefty performance bonuses, the pension fund announced its net investment losses totaled $5.3 billion in the fiscal year ending in June 2022 — a 75% increase from the $3 billion in investment losses initially calculated, according to a copy of STRS’ unaudited financial statements.

 

“It was bad enough that STRS rushed to award $10 million in staff bonuses after only losing $3 billion last year,” Robin Rayfield, executive director of the Ohio Retired Teachers Association, said in an email. “With this new data, we know now that STRS actually lost $5.4 billion last year and still awarded millions of dollars in bonuses to almost 100 bureaucrats.”

 

In August, the board voted 9-2 to approve the bonuses because its investment staff outperformed the board’s performance benchmarks, according to STRS spokesperson Nick Treneff. The bonuses — which have been awarded every August for the past three years in accordance with STRS policy — are part of a five-year performance model, he said.

Some retired teachers in Ohio said the hefty bonuses awarded to investors felt like a slap in the face to retirees who have not received a cost of living adjustment in their pensions for years. The board, however, approved a one-time 3% COLA for retirees in May.

 

At Thursday’s meeting, Rayfield demanded STRS leadership return the $10 million in bonuses he claimed were “seemingly approved on misleading and incomplete financial data” that at the time indicated $3 billion in losses...

[the rest of the news report may be found here: 

https://fox8.com/news/ohio-retired-teachers-pension-fund-suffers-5-3-billion-loss-as-staff-get-bonuses/   ]

{Editorial: I consider Mr. Treneff's defense of the board as misleading or maybe deceitful. The majority of the board cowers in the presence of the staff and rubber stamps whatever they are told by the staff.  The benchmarks are set by the staff itself so as to guarantee the bonuses are earned.  Does the staff ever fail to meet its own benchmarks and receive bonuses?  They rewarded by themselves this year because the losses suffered were supposedly not as bad as some other pension funds' losses, but now we see that they were as bad or worse.  They expect us to believe that not one of over 100 "incredible" and extraordinarily well-paid investment managers had any idea of the real losses.  This is only a symptom of the sad culture at our retirement system.  While I won't question Mr. McFee's description of the staff as "incredible, hardworking, dedicated professionals" - I don't know any of the investment team - I sense a case of the inmates running the asylum.  I have worked under boards of education who individually were wonderful, committed, knowledgeable, etc., but as a team provided terrible decisions and leadership.  I never worked in a school where the teachers and staff - the employees - dictated to the administration and board - the employers - what to do.  A lack of transparency, honesty, integrity, and accountability and the right relationship between the board and staff are the problem.}

We’ve Only Just Begun!

With the election of two ORTA-supported STRS Board members, we have won only one battle in a much larger war.  We must get one more active teachers Board member elected next May.  NEA and OEA will spend millions of dollars against us – even more than they did in the last election - to retain control of the Board, to keep the status quo, and to protect their Wall Street alliances and current unjustifiable staff benefits.

This is not an effort to just re-establish an already-state-lay mandated COLA.  The STRS Board must begin to value the welfare of retirees. 

The current majority on the Board employs the STRS staff which should be there to the benefit of us retirees and future retirees.  Unfortunately, the Board has totally surrendered to the dictates of the staff, which with the support of the current majority on the Board, will fight to protect their own outrageous benefits and self-interests.   We must continue to demand an open, honest, and transparent board that has the will to represent the interests of those who paid/pay into the system.

In addition to making contact with legislators, writing editorial letters, and sharing information with other retirees, we need to make contact with active teachers and help them understand what is happening to their future retirements.

Many of our ORTA/ACRTA members are also supporting two other independent groups who are fighting to change the culture of the STRS Board and turn what should one of our greatest advocates back to showing as much honest concern for our welfare as they do for their own.  There is NO COST to join either one.

1. STRS Ohio Watchdog.  These fighters for retirees have researched and accumulated a wealth of resources documenting and trailing the misfeasance (or maybe malfeasance) of the Board and actively fight for our benefit: 

STRS Ohio Watchdogs  https://www.strsohiowatchdogs.com/                              

and also on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/groups/STRSOhioWatchdogs/members/

 

2. The Ohio STRS Member Only Forum provides an information exchange for members who are doing extensive research into the activities of the STRS and its Board members, past and present.  They have identified many incriminating documents and data. 

Ohio STRS Member Only Forum  (moderated by John Curry) at

https://www.facebook.com/groups/OhioSTRSMemberOnlyForum

Click HERE to read a sample of articles shared from these two websites.

Finding Your COLA

Many of our ORTA/ACRTA members have asked how to find their COLA amount and effective date.  Here are the steps to follow:

1.  Log onto STRSOH.org

 

2. Login (username/password) 

If you have never logged onto your retirement account, you will create your account first.

 

3. Complete "Multifactor Authentication" process.

 

4. Click on “My Home Page”.

 

5. Click on "Recipient Account".

 

6. Scroll down to access “Cost of living adjustment (COLA)”.

 

7. Your “Anniversary date” and “effective date” of your COLA will be posted.

 

8.  Your retirement base (Benefit Base for COLA) on which the 3% will be determined is shown.  All COLA increases are calculated on the original benefit amount (base) and are not compounded.

 

9. Your monthly increase (before taxes and deductions) is shown.

ORTA
Success

You made a difference.jpg

All Ohio Retired Teacher Association endorsed candidates were elected to the STRS Board.  You indeed have made a difference and proved again that "Together we can" - and did.  This is just the first battle in a long war, but there may be hope that the benefits retirees have long been due will finally begin to be re-established and that common sense and integrity will again guide our STRS.  

Please click below to see official results: 

https://www.strsoh.org/news/2022/retirement-board-election-results.html

Ohio State Senator Teresa Fedor introduces Senate Bill 280 which would restore STRS COLAs

Call, write, email your state senators NOW to demand they support this bill.

Edward Siedle

https://www.forbes.com/sites/edwardsiedle/2022/01/26/ohio-lawmaker-wants-to-end-wall-street-wealth-transfer-at-state-teachers-pension/?sh=2cc34292376e    Jan 26, 2022,  02:30pm EST

 

                                                                          Ohio Senator Teresa Fedor would like to see COLA                                                                                  benefits promised to teachers restored and end this                                                                              unconscionable secretive assault on teacher                                                                                            retirement security. Ohio Democrat John Cranley                                                                                  recently picked Fedor, a  long-time legislator from                                                                                Toledo and a former school teacher, as his                                                                                                 lieutenant governor running mate. 

Fedor has introduced legislation to bring back the COLA: “This bill fulfills a promise made to retirees years ago,” Fedor said. “With inflation at an all-time high, retirees living on a fixed income need this adjustment more than ever. Though this increase does not make up for all the money they have lost over the years, it is still the right thing to do."   Fedor's bill has support from fellow Senate Democrats but no Republicans have signed on as co-sponsors.

Ohio Lawmaker Wants To End Wall Street Wealth Transfer At State Teachers Pension

Cost of living benefits promised to retired teachers in Ohio were slashed a decade ago and then totally eliminated 5 years later, as payments by the state teachers’ pension to Wall Street’s highest cost money managers secretly skyrocketed. Retired teachers have suffered over the past decade as Wall Street has prospered. An Ohio lawmaker wants to end this audacious wealth transfer by trimming payments to Wall Street and restoring the promised COLA benefits to deserving teachers. If she’s successful, legally-mandated transparency (which STRS Ohio long abandoned to facilitate the wealth transfer scheme) may finally return.

Retired teachers in Ohio saw the 3 percent cost of living adjustments they had been promised slashed a decade ago and then totally eliminated in 2017. Over the years retirees were told that cutting and then eliminating COLA benefits was necessary to shore up the pension’s finances. It sounded simple enough: reducing benefits paid to teachers—cutting costs—would result in more money in the pension, i.e., increasing the pension’s funding level.

Not surprising, retirees weren’t told that cutting their COLA benefits by 3 percent to secretly pay Wall Street money managers ever greater fees—often in excess of 4 percent (even when they underperform)—does nothing to strengthen the pension. It’s simply a blatant wealth transfer scheme—the retirement security of hundreds of thousands of retired teachers is undermined to secretly enrich a handful of politically-connected Wall Street billionaires.

Local media has unfairly criticized Fedor, claiming she doesn’t have a plan to pay for restoring the promised COLA, even as Fedor has suggested the STRS Ohio board look at reducing fees paid to Wall Street and possibly increasing the employer contribution rate.

That sure sounds like a plan to me.

In fact, a June 2021 preliminary forensic investigation of Ohio STRS I conducted on behalf of the 20,000- member Ohio Retired Teachers Association concluded there is ample reason to believe “the total fees the pension pays to Wall Street are nearly double what it is reporting, amounting to almost $1 billion annually. To put the hidden, unreported fees—alone—into context, they amount to $2.75 million per school day, and more than twice the $210 million required to pay STRS COLAs annually. Further, assuming STRS pays fees of 2 percent on total unfunded capital commitments, aka “money for nothing,” this amounts to an annual waste of approximately $143 million—enough to restore the COLA benefit to 2 percent.”

In short, my forensic investigation of STRS Ohio revealed ample evidence to establish that reducing investment fees paid to Wall Street for secretive, esoteric “alternative” investments, such as private equity, hedge, venture and real estate funds (that have massively underperformed well-established passive indices) could easily cover the cost of restoring the COLA benefits. In addition to reducing investment expenses and improving investment performance, shedding costly, secretive alternative investments in favor of passive index funds would also restore much-needed transparency to the pension.

I am accustomed to local media utterly lacking pension expertise regularly failing, for a host of reasons, to grasp and report on complex pension matters. Local reporters are usually generalists and that’s why they are well-advised to interview experts on these matters, as opposed to merely printing assurances from defensive pension officials seeking to protect their fat salaries.

Rest assured, end the Wall Street wealth transfer at Ohio STRS and there will be plenty of money to enhance teacher retirement security by restoring promised COLA benefits.

 

(Italics in the article indicate emphasis placed by the webmaster.)

*****************************************************************************

-Edward Siedle

Check out my website or some of my other work here. 

I have been called "the Sam Spade of Money Management," “the Financial Watchdog,” "the Pension Detective" and "the Equalizer" for my work pioneering over $1 trillion in forensic investigations of the money management industry. The founder of Benchmark Financial Services, I am a former SEC attorney who, in 2017, I secured the largest SEC whistleblower award in history ($48 million) and in 2018, the largest CFTC award in history ($30 million). I am the co-author of the bestseller, Who Stole My Pension? (with Robert Kiyosaki, author of Rich Dad, Poor Dad) and the author of How To Steal a Lot of Money--Legally. I am an active member of the Florida Bar.

Cols State House.jpg
About us

As an affiliate of the Ohio Retired Teachers Association, we help retired educators maintain identity with the teaching profession

senior male and female protesting.jpg

Save our Cola

Save our retirement

Programs & events

Review presentations and information around the social, political, service and economic welfare of members.

Meet our officers

- and committee chairpersons.

We have team of dedicated leaders who volunteer time and talent to fostor our mission.

Contact us

We are now accepting memberships for 2021 - 2022

Questions?

bottom of page