Welcome to the latest edition of This Week in Pensions! We have gathered the best stories about pensions and retirement security from the previous week. This is the news you need to know in the fight for a secure retirement.

Before you dive into our top stories from this week, make sure you check out stories of public employees helping their communities.

Here are our top stories:

The market meltdown threatening pensions for millions of Americans by Nicole Goodkind. In this article for CNN, Nicole Goodkind raises concern over the fact that the country’s public pension systems’ funding levels decreased due to the economic impacts of the pandemic. According to an analysis by Milliman, 100 of the largest pension funds dropped from 85.5%  funded to 78.6%.  While the funding levels have dipped, these pension systems are not in crisis. As we have covered before, pension plans are designed to weather market volatility and recover because of their ability to invest over a long period of time and pool investment risk, unlike defined-contribution plans.  Instead of focusing on systems’ unfunded liabilities, the focus should remain on the government’s funding discipline. By implementing and sticking to a funding plan, a system can pay out benefits to retirees as it earns investment returns from the contributions both employers and employees make to the plan.

Weeks from restarting, schools across Alaska are struggling to find teachers by Lisa Phu. As teacher shortages continue to affect schools across the country, Alaska presents itself as a special case.  Just weeks away from the start of the school year, the state still has an alarming number of positions to fill. Human Resources Director at the North Slope Borough School District, Bobby Bolen, is on a mission to fill 50 teaching positions for the school district. The shortage of educators has the district considering options such as using a work-based exchange program to source from overseas or offer distance learning. After the state closed its pension system in 2005, recruiting and retaining employees has been a struggle. This past legislative session, House Bill 220 sought to reopen the state’s pension program. However, it didn’t pass.  While there is no easy fix, pensions support recruitment and retention in the educational workforce.

Be sure to check back next Friday for the latest news in the fight for a secure retirement!