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Pension Tension: School Districts Send Opposition to Springfield

Local school officials are rallying residents against what they're calling the "largest-ever unfunded mandate" in Illinois.

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, 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.

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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mr.joe March 29, 2012 at 02:05 PM
the time has come that we the taxpayers can no longer pay for the teachers pensions. the teachers are going to have to start their own pensions. check some of the web sites and you will be shocked at the pay that teachers make. $100000 and more for 9 months work.. give me a break. . most teachers are overpayed and lazy in my book..
Juvenal March 29, 2012 at 03:02 PM
This article is very misleading. Private employess "pay" 6.2% and then their emploera are absolutely required to pay another 6.2%. The state makes its pension contributions for teachers if and when they feel like it. BUT, teachers and administrators receive substantial pensions -- defined as a percentage as the last few years of salary. 50k annual pensions are common, $100k not unheard of. On the other hand, despite paying as much or more total into the systems (private citizens have to work until 67 for full benefits) no private worker gets more than about $30k from social security. Its a comparison of apples and ... golden apples.
Tom Ritter March 29, 2012 at 08:56 PM
I don't often weigh in on things like this, but I feel I have to. My mother has been a teacher my entire life and the LAST words I would use to describe her are "lazy" and overpaid. Teachers may only be in the classroom 9 months of the year, but it is a 12-month job. They constantly think of things to do in their classrooms, with their students, etc. It's not an easy job to corral a group of 30 sixth graders and teach them how to solve for "x" or the role of Boo Radley in To Kill a Mockingbird. Some teachers make $100K because they have been at it for 30+ years. If someone is in any business for that long, they deserve a larger paycheck. When my mom taught in the private sector, there were times her paycheck bounced. She would work well in excess of 40 hours a week. Even now, she works far more than 40 hours a week for less pay per hour than people with half the education. Secondly, the money that goes to public schools teachers does come from tax payers like you and me, but they pay taxes too. Teachers don't get social security because of systems like TRS. They pay into it as any typical employee would pay into a pension fund, however they don't have the choice.
Old School March 30, 2012 at 03:30 PM
The State of Illinois would not be in this position if it were not for some of the back-door pensions that have been awarded for so-called substitute teachers who have other State or union jobs and taught one day, thus earning them a six-figure TRS pension from the state. This should be challenged in the Illinois Supreme Court and have those individuals tossed out (preferably into a jail cell next to Blago). Next we need to have a serious look at the number of ultra-high paid administrators we have at each of our school districts. Do we really need that many, and why is a quarter-million dollar salary the norm just because someone has "PhD" attached to their name? Have these people actually taught a class anytime in the recent past? Lastly, examine the Illinois State Board of Education website. Read into it carefully, and you'll discover the jumble of testing standards, guides, etc., that have so weakened our school systems with tons of regulation. This is the kind of crap that forces a school district to hire so many staff members just to figure out what we're doing to educate our children. Not to mention, how many people are employed by the ISBE in Springfield to think up this stuff, and how much are THEY being paid and sucking from the system? Time to back up, people, and let's get back to basics! Let the teachers, not stuffed shirts, earn their money and free them up to REALLY teach our children.

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