|California State Teachers' Retirement System|
California State Teachers' Retirement System Logo
|Agency executive||Jack Ehnes, CEO|
|Parent agency||Government Operations Agency|
The California State Teachers' Retirement System (CalSTRS) provides retirement, disability and survivor benefits for California's 868,493 prekindergarten through community college educators and their families. CalSTRS was established by law in 1913 and is part of the State of California's Government Operations Agency.
CalSTRS members, as of June 30, 2013, include employees of approximately 1,700 employers:
- School districts
- Community college districts
- County offices of education
- Regional occupational programs
Teachers' Retirement Fund
The Teachers’ Retirement Fund is a special trust fund established by law that holds the assets of the following programs:
The assets come from contributions by members, employing school districts, investment earnings and appropriations from the State of California's General Fund. The fund’s investments create a stream of income to add to those assets.
Teachers' Retirement Board
The Teachers’ Retirement Board sets policies, makes rules for and administers CalSTRS. The board is also responsible for ensuring benefits are paid by the system in accordance with law.
The 12-member Teachers’ Retirement Board is made up of:
- Three member-elected positions representing current educators
- Five members appointed by the Governor of California and confirmed by the California Senate
- A retired CalSTRS member
- Three public representatives
- A school board representative
- Four ex officio members:
In February 2002, the board appointed Jack Ehnes as Chief Executive Officer of CalSTRS to administer the system consistent with the board’s policies and rules. The board also selects a Chief Investment Officer, currently Christopher J. Ailman, to direct the investments of the Teachers’ Retirement Fund in accordance with board policy.
Investments and corporate governance
The Teachers’ Retirement Board is responsible for maintaining the Teachers’ Retirement Fund in order to pay benefits to CalSTRS members and their survivors. The board has supported a variety of corporate governance initiatives and actions aimed at keeping the fund stable. A few of the actions taken include:
- Support of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 that brings dramatic new standards to the corporate board rooms and accounting profession.
- Encouragement of the SEC's efforts to adopt tough regulations to rein in lax business practices
- Discussions with individual corporate leaders to express CalSTRS interest in good corporate governance practices.
- Litigation to pursue both financial remedies for the system as well as governance reforms
On May 28, 2009, CalSTRS announced that individual proxy votes will be publicly available online through a partnership with ProxyDemocracy.org, a nonprofit organization that offers free online investment information about portfolio companies.
Like other large pension plans, CalSTRS had previously announced its proxy-vote intentions on selective companies. The addition of online disclosure opens the process to all CalSTRS portfolio companies, allowing other shareholders to know how the pension fund will vote.
As of May 2009, CalSTRS holds stock in over 3,800 North American companies.
On December 17, 2012, after the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, the Los Angeles Times reported that California's treasurer, Bill Lockyer, may order CalSTRS to eliminate investments in gun manufacturers.
On January 9, 2013, the Teachers’ Retirement Board Investment Committee directed staff to "begin the process of divestment from firearm companies that manufacture weapons that are illegal in California."
Opened in June 2009, the CalSTRS headquarters building in West Sacramento is expected to meet members' needs through 2049. Growth in membership, the difference and complexity of the needs of a new generation of retiring teachers, and the need to operate more efficiently and sustainably led to the decision to build a new headquarters.
The building, a $266 million, 13-story office tower above two levels of public space, is part of the Sacramento Riverfront Master Plan.
LEED certified building
A few of the features designed into the building to qualify for LEED Gold certification are:
- Water: low-flow plumbing, efficient irrigation to water native plants that don't need a lot of water.
- Materials: At least 10 percent of construction materials include recycled content.
- Reduced construction greenhouse gas emissions: At least 20 percent of construction materials come from within 500 miles (800 km) of the project site.
- Natural light: At least 90 percent of people in the building have a direct line of site to a window to reduce lighting needs and attempt to increase productivity.
In October 2011, the building received USGBC's Platinum certification in Existing Building and Operations Maintenance.
It is expected that construction of the CalSTRS headquarters will add momentum to former California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s push for “green” buildings and speed up a similar movement in private construction.
- "CalSTRS at a Glance". CalSTRS. Retrieved January 31, 2014.
- "U.S. Plan Sponsors". Pensions & Investments. September 30, 2011. Retrieved September 20, 2012.
- "Table: P&I/Towers Watson World 300". Pensions & Investments. September 3, 2012. Retrieved September 20, 2012.
- "aiGlobal 500". aiCIO. Retrieved September 20, 2012.
- "2012 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report". CalSTRS. Retrieved January 31, 2014.
- "Corporate Governance Overview". CalSTRS. Retrieved September 13, 2013.
- Ehnes, Jack. "RE: File No. S7-10-03." Letter to Jonathan Katz, Secretary of SEC. June 4, 2003. Retrieved on September 13, 2013.
- "CalSTRS Pushes for Executive Pay Policies". Compliance Week. May 6, 2009. Retrieved June 12, 2009.
- "CalSTRS Improves Proxy Vote Transparency" (Press release). CalSTRS. May 28, 2009. Retrieved September 13, 2013.
- Burr, Barry B. (May 28, 2009). "CalSTRS to disclose proxy votes in advance". Pensions & Investments. Retrieved June 12, 2009.
- Hsu, Tiffany (December 17, 2012). "Gun company's shares are in line of fire". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved September 13, 2013.
- "CalSTRS Statement on its Decision to Divest of Certain Firearms Holdings" (Press release). CalSTRS. January 9, 2013. Retrieved January 14, 2013.
- "CalSTRS Headquarters Facts". CalSTRS. Archived from the original on August 21, 2012. Retrieved September 13, 2013.
- "New Headquarters Project". CalSTRS. Archived from the original on July 17, 2008. Retrieved September 13, 2013.
- Ortiz, Jon (July 13, 2008). "CalSTRS' new building goes for 'green' gold". The Sacramento Bee. Retrieved June 12, 2009.[dead link]
- "CalSTRS Headquarters Achieves Platinum Certification for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design" (Press release). CalSTRS. Retrieved September 13, 2013.