Proposal Would Have Ill. Schools Take on Teacher Pensions

Monday, February 13, 2012

As suburban school officials remain skittish about the idea of paying more toward teachers’ retirements, Illinois Senate President John Cullerton said a proposal he’s considering would spare local districts the cost of covering the immense pension debt the state has racked up.

“The underfunding of the past, we’re not asking them to do that,” said Cullerton, a powerful Chicago Democrat.

But the proposal would require local schools to pick up the actual cost of a teacher’s pension going forward — an estimated $800 million among all the suburban and downstate schools this year. Chicago schools fund their own pension program.

The details, though — including how much individual school districts would have to pay — remain under review as lawmakers work the numbers and eventually look for political support.

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