California school districts, which began offering health benefits to retired employees and their dependents decades ago, have about $20 billion in unfunded debt from those obligations. Districts largely have failed to prepare for the increasingly expensive benefits. The five districts below have unfunded liabilities totaling $13 billion but have set aside only about $200 million.
*Los Angeles Unified set aside $90 million last
year and budgeted $78 million this year.
**Sacramento Unified set aside $5 million last year
and budgeted $6 million this year.
Money set aside for
Total unfunded liability
Los Angeles Unified
Cost of retiree
How the current retiree health
benefits costs add up
The school districts' annual budgets
and retirees' health benefit costs
Cost for retiree
benefits as a %
Los Angeles, San Francisco and Sacramento unified school districts offer lifetime benefits. Fresno Unified offers lifetime benefits if hired before July 2005; otherwise, benefits up to age 65. Long Beach Unified offers benefits up to age 67.
Sources: California Dept. of Education, individual school districts
Graphics reporting by Zahira Torres
Lorena Iñiguez Elebee / Los Angeles Times