(b) The Legislature finds and declares that the State of West Virginia is privileged to be the home of some of the best teachers and education service personnel in this nation and that our teachers and education service personnel are dedicated and hard-working individuals. The Legislature further finds and declares that our teachers and education service personnel deserve a retirement program whereby they know in advance what their retirement benefit will be, a defined benefit retirement program where our teachers and service personnel will not have to bear the risk of investment performance to receive their full retirement benefit. The Legislature notes that uncertainty exists in the investment markets, especially in the post-September eleventh era, and that placing this risk and uncertainty upon the state in the form of a defined benefit plan will protect and ensure a meaningful retirement benefit for our teachers and educational service personnel.
(c) The Legislature declares that it is in the best interests of the teachers and public education in this state, and conducive to the fiscal solvency of the State Teachers Retirement System, that the Teachers' Defined Contribution Retirement System be merged with the State Teachers Retirement System.
(d) The Legislature also finds that a fiscally sound retirement program with an ascertainable benefit aids in the retention and recruitment of teachers and school service personnel and that the provisions of this article are designed to accomplish the goals set forth in this section.
(e) The Legislature has studied this matter diligently and in making the determination to merge the two plans has availed itself of an actuarial study of the proposed merger by the actuary of the Consolidated Public Retirement Board and has engaged the service of two independent actuaries.
(f) The Legislature further finds and declares that members of a defined contribution system who must bear the attendant market risk and performance of their investments are truly being provided a significant and greater benefit where the defined contribution system is replaced with a defined benefit system in which the employer bears the risk of market fluctuations and investment performance, especially where those members decide through an election process whether to trade the defined contribution system for a defined benefit system.