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Public Employees Retirement System says district prepayments exclude it from contributions in 2023-25.

PMG PHOTO: PETER WONG - The Oregon Public Employees Retirement System board at a meeting Friday, Sept. 30, to set contributon rates for about 800 member employers for the 2023-25 budget period, which starts July 1, 2023. Portland Public Schools have set aside enough to offset future pension liabilities, so the district is among the very few employers whose contribution rates are zero.Portland Public Schools has set aside enough money to offset its future pension liabilities, according to the Oregon Public Employees Retirement System.

The PERS staff clarified an item listed in a story on page A7 of the Portland Tribune edition Oct. 5. (The response was received after the Tribune's press deadline on Tuesday.)

The district's "side accounts," as these lump-sum prepayments are called, contain enough money to bring its contribution rates to the public pension fund at zero for the 2023-25 budget period. It is among the very few government employers in Oregon with low or no rates.

The PERS board voted Friday, Sept. 30, to adopt new contribution rates for 800 member governments for the two years starting July 1, 2023. In virtually all instances, the rates went up, although healthy investment earnings at the end of 2021 did cushion what could have been even higher rates.

Pension payouts are drawn from the contributions by government employers plus investment earnings from the PERS fund, one of the nation's largest public pension systems. The Legislature sets the level of benefits for public employees, the PERS board sets the contribution rates, and the Oregon Investment Council oversees investments by the Oregon State Treasury and outside firms. The state treasurer is a member of the council, but the governor appoints the other members.

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