KPERS in stronger position

A combination of Kansas legislative investments and market growth have helped move the Kansas Public Employees Retirement System (KPERS) into a much stronger position and out of the bottom third ranking of state funded pensions. 

At the Joint Committee meeting on Pensions Monday, KPERS Executive Director Alan Conroy reported that through a combination of a strong market year, additional investments from the Legislature and the benefits of the pension obligation bonds issued in 2004 and 2015 the State/School Funded Ratio Projection is higher than it was projected to be back in 2008. 

Original projections had the fund crossing the 60 percent Funded Ratio in roughly 2026, but that was achieved 12 years faster, crossing that line back in 2014.  With continued efforts at investment, the fund is now on a path towards an 80 percent funded ratio by 2026, a full six years ahead of the initial projection in 2008. 

At the end of 2017, the actuarial funded liability was at 68.4 percent, up from 66.8 percent just 12 months earlier at the end of 2016.  According to KPERS staff, this would now put Kansas’s retirement system somewhere in the middle third of State Funded Pensions as far as funding ratio, a significant improvement over where Kansas was during the depths of the most recent recession. 

The Legislature appropriates funding for school district’s employer share of KPERS contributions, which “pass through” the district budget and is considered part of total education funding at both the local and state level. These funds increased from $213 million in 2009 to $385 million in 2018, but are not available for general operating purposes. 

For a further explanation and detail of the most recent report join us for a special edition of KASB Live at 3 p.m. Thursday when Mark Tallman, KASB Associate Executive Director for Advocacy, sits down with KPERS’ Conroy to review the recent report and discuss what impacts this news may have on future budget years.

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