The Finance Advisory Committee at Oak Park and River Forest High School continued its information-gathering phase with a presentation last week on various scenarios related to pension reform in Illinois.
A key issue for local school districts is whether the state will slowly offload its teacher-pension burden onto the local schools, which actually employ the teachers and administrators. The state, of course, wants out from under that cost. School districts are wary, seeing it as simple cost-shifting with no option to pay that cost outside of hiking local property taxes.
While we understand that worry, the shift is a good step toward essential accountability for all involved. School boards, unions and well-compensated administrators have all grifted the current system in recent years with absurd and unaffordable pension bumps in the years before retirement. Raise a teacher's or superintendent's salary by 20 percent their final two years with the sole goal of juicing pension payouts? Why not when the local district wasn't paying that cost.
Not likely to happen when the local school board has to budget to fund those retirement costs. The time for fun and games is long over.