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Foundation Program

There are two different methods of paying employer charges.

One method is to pay SERS directly, where the employer will follow the same per pay reporting process as outlined for employee contributions.

The second method is through the Ohio Department of Education (ODE) School Foundation Program. As the employer, districts that participate in the Foundation Program have their employer contributions paid from Foundation deductions. All community schools must pay employer contributions through the Foundation Program.

The Foundation Program deductions are calculated annually and can be based on three factors.

The Foundation process starts in the spring with the submission of a salary estimate.

The salary estimate is the first item included for all Foundation-participating districts. This estimate includes any SERS contributions that will be reported in the upcoming fiscal year. This figure is entered through eSERS by district staff during a predetermined window. Until this “window” closes, a district can make as many corrections and comments as necessary. If an estimate has not been provided, SERS will calculate an estimate for you.

The SERS-calculated estimate will take the current year’s estimate and add 3%. SERS will take this estimate and multiply it by the current employer rate, which is 14%, to calculate the estimated annual employer charges.

Adjustments to this figure can be made throughout the year if sizable differences are an issue. A district representative must contact Employer Services to initiate this process.

The second item addresses the fact that districts can elect to “pay” their annual surcharge directly or through the Foundation Program. SERS accounts for this based on what the district did in the previous year. The SERS Employer Services Department needs to be notified of any changes to this pattern.

Once all of the information is compiled, the deduction is calculated and SERS uploads the Foundation Deduction Letters onto eSERS. The letters list each item that is being collected through the Foundation deduction. Not every school elects to have the surcharge paid through the Foundation Program.

Once the letters are uploaded, a district will again have an opportunity to make any adjustments before SERS certifies the new annual amounts to the ODE.

If there are insufficient Foundation Program funds available to satisfy the SERS Foundation Program deduction, the employer is responsible for remitting the difference directly to SERS.

Periodic adjustments may be made during the year based on the changing circumstances of each employer. Such adjustments may be initiated by either the employer or SERS.