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The California State Teachers' Retirement System (CalSTRS) provides retirement, disability and survivor benefits for California's 950,000 prekindergarten through community college educators and their families.[1] CalSTRS was established by law in 1913 and is part of the State of California's Government Operations Agency. As of February 2017, CalSTRS is the largest teachers' retirement fund in the United States. CalSTRS is also currently the eleventh largest public pension fund in the world.[2] As of August 31, 2019, CalSTRS managed a portfolio worth $238.3 billion.[3]

Teachers' Retirement Board
CalSTRS logo.png
Agency overview
Headquarters100 Waterfront Place, West Sacramento, California
38°35′04″N 121°30′34″W / 38.584426°N 121.50948°W / 38.584426; -121.50948Coordinates: 38°35′04″N 121°30′34″W / 38.584426°N 121.50948°W / 38.584426; -121.50948
Agency executives
  • Jack Ehnes, CEO
  • Sharon Hendricks, Chair
Parent agencyCalifornia Government Operations Agency


CalSTRS members, as of June 30, 2018, include employees of approximately 1,740 employers:[4]

  • School districts
  • Community college districts
  • County offices of education
  • Regional occupational programs

Teachers' Retirement FundEdit

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.[1] The fund's investments create a stream of income to add to those assets.

The CalSTRS investment portfolio includes stocks, bonds, real estate and short-term investments.


As of August 31, 2019, CalSTRS managed a portfolio worth $238.3 billion at market value.[3] As of June 30, 2012, CalSTRS' assets were $143.1 billion at market value ($152.5 billion actuarial value), giving CalSTRS an unfunded liability of $80.4 billion at market value ($71 billion actuarial value).[5][6]


The Teachers' Retirement Board is responsible for maintaining the Teachers' Retirement Fund in order to pay benefits to CalSTRS members and their survivors.

Teachers' Retirement BoardEdit

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:[7]

Executive staffEdit

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 selected a Chief Investment Officer, (CIO) Christopher J. Ailman, to direct the investments of the Teachers' Retirement Fund in accordance with board policy.

Advisory committeesEdit

Two advisory committees meet regularly to provide forums for active participation in the formation of CalSTRS policies and procedures. The Employer Advisory Committee is composed of county and district employer representatives and CalSTRS staff and meets quarterly, and the Client Advisory Committee includes CalSTRS staff and members from various organizations representing CalSTRS members and benefit recipients and meets regularly coinciding with Board meeting dates.


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:[8]

  • Support of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 that brings dramatic new standards to the corporate boardrooms and accounting profession.[9]
  • 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.[10]
  • 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, a nonprofit organization that offers free online investment information about portfolio companies.[11][12]

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.[11]

After the December 14, 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, California's treasurer, Bill Lockyer, considered ordering CalSTRS to eliminate investments in gun manufacturers.[13] 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," and CalSTRS divested from Sturm Ruger and the American Outdoor Brands Corporation, (formerly Smith & Wesson).[14][15]

In January 2018, CalSTRS issued a public letter to Apple Inc. alongside JANA Partners, LLC called "Think Differently About Kids". The letter encouraged Apple to find new ways to limit the effects of smartphone use on children.[16]

CalSTRS is among the signatories of the "Principles for a Responsible Civilian Firearms Industry," which seeks to engage firearms manufacturers, dealers, and retailers in promoting gun safety.[17][18][19]


CalSTRS headquarters in West Sacramento, 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,[20] is part of the Sacramento Riverfront Master Plan.

The headquarters was designed to meet the Gold certification LEED designation set by the U.S. Green Building Council.[21] Its construction was done by numerous Local Unions and with the aid of Architectural Glass and Aluminum which served as the Glazing Contractor on the project.[22] 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.[23] A few of the features[23] 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 sight 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.[24]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b "CalSTRS at a Glance" (PDF). CalSTRS. Retrieved February 21, 2019.
  2. ^ "The P&I/Willis Towers Watson World 300: Largest retirement funds". Pensions&Investments. Retrieved November 21, 2017.
  3. ^ a b "Current Investment Portfolio". CalSTRS. Retrieved May 2, 2019.
  4. ^ "Comprehensive Annual Financial Report". CalSTRS. Retrieved February 21, 2019.
  5. ^ Ehnes, Jack (February 4, 2014). "Why does Governor Brown say CalSTRS' unfunded liability is $80.4 billion and CalSTRS say it is $71 billion – which is correct?". CalSTRS.
  6. ^ Calefati, Jessica (2014-01-26). "California's 'wall of debt' is only a slice of its liability problem". Mercury News.
  7. ^ California Education Code § 22200
  8. ^ "Corporate Governance Overview". CalSTRS. Retrieved September 13, 2013.
  9. ^ Ehnes, Jack (June 4, 2003). "RE: File No. S7-10-03" (PDF). Letter to Jonathan Katz, Secretary of SEC. Archived from the original (PDF) on August 21, 2012. Retrieved September 13, 2013.
  10. ^ "CalSTRS Pushes for Executive Pay Policies". Compliance Week. May 6, 2009. Retrieved June 12, 2009.
  11. ^ a b "CalSTRS Improves Proxy Vote Transparency" (Press release). CalSTRS. May 28, 2009. Retrieved September 13, 2013.
  12. ^ Burr, Barry B. (May 28, 2009). "CalSTRS to disclose proxy votes in advance". Pensions & Investments. Retrieved June 12, 2009.
  13. ^ Hsu, Tiffany (December 17, 2012). "Gun company's shares are in line of fire". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved September 13, 2013.
  14. ^ "CalSTRS Statement on its Decision to Divest of Certain Firearms Holdings" (Press release). CalSTRS. January 9, 2013. Retrieved January 14, 2013.
  15. ^ Noguchi, Yuki (February 26, 2018). "Pension Funds Under Pressure To Sell Off Investments In Gun-Makers". All Things Considered. NPR. Retrieved April 2, 2019.
  16. ^ Benoit, David (2018-01-08). "iPhones and Children Are a Toxic Pair, Say Two Big Apple Investors". Wall Street Journal. ISSN 0099-9660. Retrieved 2018-05-22.
  17. ^ Moyer, Liz (November 14, 2018). "Funds managing $4.8 trillion press the firearm industry to accept new principles on gun safety". CNBC. Retrieved April 2, 2019.
  18. ^ McElhaney, Alicia (November 14, 2018). "$5 Trillion Investor Coalition to Pressure Gun Companies on Safety Measures". Institutional Investor. Retrieved April 2, 2019.
  19. ^ Wood, Christianna; Ailman, Christopher; O’Hara, John; McCauley, Michael; Reali, Peter; Kumar, Rakhi (December 6, 2018). "Principles for a Responsible Civilian Firearms Industry". Harvard Law School. Retrieved April 2, 2019.
  20. ^ "CalSTRS Headquarters Facts" (PDF). CalSTRS. Archived from the original (PDF) on August 21, 2012. Retrieved September 13, 2013.
  21. ^ "New Headquarters Project". CalSTRS. Archived from the original on July 27, 2008. Retrieved September 13, 2013.
  22. ^ DC16 The Pride, "CalSTRS Goes for Gold By Building Green ", DC16 The Pride, page 10, Feb 2009
  23. ^ a b Ortiz, Jon (July 13, 2008). "CalSTRS' new building goes for 'green' gold". The Sacramento Bee. Retrieved June 12, 2009.[dead link]
  24. ^ "CalSTRS Headquarters Achieves Platinum Certification for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design" (Press release). CalSTRS. Retrieved September 13, 2013.

External linksEdit