Consolidated High School District 230 has sent word to the state capitol opposing legislation that would force Illinois' schools to bear the full burden of paying staff pensions.
And the district's officials are urging residents to do the same. They sent a letter earlier this month asking community members to contact senators Edward Maloney, Maggie Crotty and Christine Radogno, as well as state representatives Roberta Rita, William Cunningham, Monique Davis, Charles Krezwick and Renne Kosel. School officials said the pension legislation would tack an extra $14 million in annual expenses onto the district.
"It is important for the District 230 community to understand this issue and the potential impact that shifting the state’s portion of these pension contributions onto local school districts would have on our students and community," the letter says.
Teachers’ Retirement System, or TRS, pension covers certified employees including teachers, administrators, social workers and counselors. Currently, a TRS employee pays 9.4 percent of his or her salary into the pension system.
By comparison, typical U.S. workers pay 6.2 percent of their pay into Social Security. TRS employees pay 1.45 percent into Medicare, as other U.S. workers do. The local school district then pays another portion of the pension contribution and the state pays its share.
State legislators are proposing that the portion that would typically be paid by the state become the responsibility of local school districts and in turn, that of local taxpayers. If the legislation goes through, D230 would have to cut personnel and programs, the letter says.
Orland School District 135 has made similar claims. The board voted last week to also send its disapproval for the legislation to the state, according to a story in Orland Park Patch.
"We want to encourage as many people as possible to call Springfield about this," Interim Superintendent Dennis Soustek said. "We really think it's a foregone conclusion that this will be presented."
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