Accountable pensions

Opinion

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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.

Reader Comments

3 Comments - Add Your Comment

Comment Policy

muntz  

Posted: August 28th, 2013 4:59 PM

An accountable pension would be one that is subject to the same tax rules as private sector retirement funds, not ZERO.

Done from Oak Park  

Posted: August 28th, 2013 4:31 PM

And it is also time to do the right thing byusing the $110M+ fund balance to make the unfunded pension liability zero. The money has already been received by the district, it is sitting in the bank, and now it needs to make the pension liability of D200 fully funded. Wherever our pathetic reps in Springfield lead us from there, at least D200 has taken an important first step. Use the money!

Village Voice from Oak Park  

Posted: August 28th, 2013 4:05 PM

Grifting is apt term for that outrageous practice, so egregious that it was one of the few things legislators agreed should be outlawed in the first phase of pension reform. Of course, we'll be paying a long time for entire generation of retired teachers who continue to profit from it, including those who ran for the door before that particular form of institutionized fraud was outlawed in 2011. If no restitution, at least a public acknowledgement by the union of such abuses would be nice.

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