More forums to be held on shifting pension cost to local school districts – Illinois Education Association

30 Jul

The IEA is encouraging members to attend forums in your area that are focusing on shifting the cost of pensions from the state to local school districts.

The forums are being conducted by the Illinois Policy Institute, an anti-taxes/anti-public employee pension organization. IEA members are asked to attend the forums to hear different points of view on pensions and to support IEA and/or IFT panelists.

“Districts are already strapped for cash and have cut staff and programs for students. A cost shift could lead to more cuts,” said Cinda Klickna, IEA president.

“In addition, the cost shift is one piece of a proposed bill. The other part is getting lost in the discussion and would affect current retirees and active workers who are working hard in our schools and higher education institutions.”

The IPI describes itself as a “non-partisan” and non-ideological “think tank.” In fact, the conservative organization has a long record of opposition to public employee pensions and public employee unions. The IPI also does not disclose how it is funded.

The main topic of the “Local Pension Accountability Forums” is the possible pension cost shift and the panel is usually made up of a moderator, a state lawmaker, someone from the IPI, someone from a local school district and a representative of either the IEA or the IFT.

The next forum is slated for Thursday at the Lemont Township Community Center at 16300 Alba St. in Lemont from 7-8:30 p.m.

The following forum will be Aug. 6 at Richland Community College at 1 College Park in Decatur from 7-8:30 p.m.

Other forums are scheduled for:

Aug. 14 in Cary, location to be determined.

Aug. 16 in Rockford, location to be determined

Aug. 21 in Kane, location to be determined.

Sept. 10 in Skokie, location to be determined.

Other forums have already been held in Springfield, Carbondale and Quincy. Check the IEA website for new information about dates and times for the other scheduled forums as the information becomes available.

IEA has not yet taken a position on the proposal. On one hand, if implemented, a cost shift could ensure that the employer’s pension contribution, which is currently the state’s and has often been ignored, would actually be paid.

On the other, if not done in the right way, passing the state’s costs to local districts would place additional financial hardships on districts, many of which are already suffering due to underfunding by the state. And, a shift could increase the already wide funding gap between wealthy and poor districts throughout Illinois.

via More forums to be held on shifting pension cost to local school districts – Illinois Education Association.

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