OEA’s recommended candidate is dedicated to the financial security of our pensions and acting in the best interest of all STRS members.
All educators deserve the ability to retire with financial security. Strong pensions provide a predictable, guaranteed benefit for educators when they retire.
That is why OEA continues to advocate for policies and support board members on the State Teachers Retirement System (STRS) Board who have the best interest of members in mind and that ensure the financial security of the system.
The STRS Board makes critical decisions that affect both active and retired teachers. That’s why a panel of active and retired OEA members interview prospective candidates for the STRS Board based on their knowledge and experience on retirement issues. The screening committee makes recommendations to the educators who serve on the OEA Board of Directors who then vote on these recommendations.
In 2023, OEA members have the opportunity to elect an active seat representative to the STRS Board. For the active seat on the STRS ballot this year, OEA has recommended Arthur Lard for re-election.
Lard is a business education teacher in Portsmouth City Schools with 30 years of experience and has served as treasurer of his local association for more than 20 years. This background has served him well as an OEA representative on the STRS Board since 2019.
As an OEA member, Lard knows what retirement security means. It means having a retirement system that is stable and well-funded so that members can afford to retire comfortably knowing their benefits will last the rest of their lives. Now that he is completing his first term on the STRS Board, Lard wants to continue to be a voice for all teachers.
Like many teachers, Lard wanted to be sure that the people making decisions about his retirement money had the best interests of educators at heart. To ensure this, he ran for the STRS Board. As a member of the STRS Board—which now includes only two OEA members—Lard has advocated for the best interests of OEA members and educators across the state. He has fought for and supported policies that have kept STRS financially secure, worked to return benefits to members, and opposed initiatives that would put the pension at risk.
As a member of the Board, he helped remove an age 60 requirement so many teachers can retire earlier and secured a three percent cost-of-living increase for retirees. Today, the STRS pension and healthcare plans are stronger.
“It has been my honor to represent you on the STRS Pension Board and to work to protect our STRS pension—the cornerstone of our financial security in retirement as educators,” Lard said.
“Beginning in 2019, when I started on the Board, the plan’s funding status improved from 75.5% to 80.9%, with an estimation at being 100% funded by 2044. This improvement ensures that all Ohio educators’ pensions will be there for them in the future.
“Under my watch, the retiree health care benefit’s solvency improved enough that we could lower health care premiums and provide hundreds of dollars in rebates to each retiree on their medical premiums. This fiscal year, we were able to pay a 3% cost of living (COL) increase to current retirees and eliminate the age-60 retirement eligibility requirement for future retirees allowing educators to retire earlier.”
Lard’s opponent, and his supporters on the STRS Board, continue to make empty promises for policies that would put our pension at risk. OEA members need to re-elect Lard to the STRS Board because he is dedicated to keeping our pension financially secure long into the future.
For Ohio’s teachers, the benefits provided by STRS are crucial to our economic security in retirement. It is important that we ensure that the members elected to the STRS Board are prepared, dedicated, and will protect our interests.
Lard is dedicated to ensuring all OEA members have secure, reliable pensions and access to health care benefits in retirement. What drives me to seek reelection as an STRS Board member is to ensure that all educators, and those who have yet to enter the profession, have a safe, reliable pension that they cannot outlive,” Lard said. “That’s something that all Ohio educators deserve and need.”
Ballots for the STRS Board election will be mailed in early April to eligible voters at their home address. When your ballot arrives, vote right away to re-elect Arthur Lard to the STRS Board so we can continue to build a strong pension for all Ohio educators. Votes can be cast by mail, phone, or online. The deadline for voting is May 1, 2023.
Why should you vote for Arthur Lard for the STRS Board?