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OFT Congratulates Michelle Flanigan on Her Election to the STRS Board and Responds to STRS News Reports


May 11, 2024

Contact: Neil Bhaerman, 412-266-4899,

OFT Congratulates Michelle Flanigan on Her Election to the STRS Board and Responds to STRS News Reports

COLUMBUS — Melissa Cropper, President of the Ohio Federation of Teachers (OFT), released the following statement congratulating Michelle Flanigan on her election to the STRS Ohio Board and responding to recent news reports about STRS Ohio: 

“Congratulations to Michelle Flanigan on her election to the STRS Board! OFT endorsed Michelle because she pledged to focus on restoring member benefits by asking STRS actuaries to reexamine assumptions for rates of return, funding goals, and timelines; and by looking at other funds and states for best practices that give the greatest returns for the lowest cost and risk.

We are concerned about recent reports regarding STRS, but we caution OFT members – and all STRS members – to avoid reacting to politically motivated rumors and insinuations. If Board members have acted inappropriately, we expect those actions to be addressed by official investigations from the Ohio Ethics Commission, the attorney general, and/or the state auditor. 

Our focus has been, and continues to be, supporting retirement advocates for the STRS Board who are focused on making concrete changes that improve transparency and accountability at STRS and restore member benefits in a fiscally responsible manner.”

OFT also released the following list of member-focused improvements at STRS that have been spearheaded by OFT’s endorsed STRS Board members: 

  • Increased transparency. Meetings are now video recorded and materials are available online prior to the board meeting.
  • Reduced the 35 years requirement for a full pension to 34 years for a full retirement. (OFT and our allied board members will continue to fight to lower this requirement.)
  • Provided a benefit enhancement for retirees. After 10 years without a cost of living adjustment, eligible retirees received a three percent enhancement in 2022 and a one percent enhancement in 2023.
  • Provided a healthcare enhancement for pre-Medicare retirees.
  • Changed the Performance-Based Incentive (PBI) Program, which determines how bonuses are awarded. Changes include: removing more than 30 positions from the PBI Program; reducing the maximum incentive possible; and adjustments when the pension fund has a negative absolute return and in any year where the board’s actuary determines there is not sufficient funding to enhance member benefits.
  • Improved disclosure of fees and board governance by hiring a parliamentarian, a governance consultant to implement recommendations from the 2022 Fiduciary Performance Audit, and a new consulting firm to outline STRS fees.


The Ohio Federation of Teachers (OFT) is a state federation of 60 local unions of active and retired public school teachers and staff, charter school teachers and staff, higher education faculty and staff, social workers, library workers, and public employees. OFT works to advance quality public education, intellectual freedom, and a voice in the workplace for Ohio’s education & public service professionals. OFT is affiliated with the American Federation of Teachers. 

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