Casper: Stop Hiding Efforts to Put Teacher Pensions Back on Municipalities
Dean Casper, member of Community Consolidated School District 136, expresses concerns over recent movement in Springfield to put the state's commitment to teacher pensions back on local governments in full.
March 16, 2012
I read press accounts of the summit held Thursday, March 15 at South Suburban College that was hosted by Governor Pat Quinn’s Budget Director David Vaught and State Senator Donne Trotter
The attendees were ”local elected officials” and among the subjects was the state’s plan to abandon the commitment the state has made to the Teacher’s Retirement System (TRS) and saddle suburban homeowners with the bill.
I have spent this morning reaching out to several fellow school board members in a variety of districts, and the response was universal. None were aware of this summit until the media reports were published.
It is common sense if the Budget Director of the State of Illinois were holding a summit to discuss dumping tens of millions of dollars of financial obligations on local school districts that the elected members of those school districts also be consulted. However, common sense has always been in very short supply in Springfield.
The pension funding crisis created by Governor Quinn, Senate President Cullerton, and House Speaker Madigan threatens to diminish the quality of education our children receive. I cannot imagine a reason why local education leaders were not consulted.
There were two additional remarks by Budget Director Vaught and Senator Trotter that were disturbing. First, Budget Director Vaught stated he had spoken to “members of an education group representing school administrators and school board members have told him that such a cost-shifting solution would be acceptable, but he didn’t name those people or say where they were from.”
Again, I am completely dumbfounded as to whom Mr. Vaught could be referring to. The Illinois Association of School Boards (IASB) represents most, if not all, Southland school districts and IASB has is certainly not agreeing to the Governor’s proposal. Whatever pet advocacy group Mr. Vaught spoke to does not speak for me, our district, and the districts of the Southland.
The second disturbing quote was from Senator Trotter who stated the current system (established by the state by the way) was “unfair to Chicago.”
Please Senator Trotter, give it a rest.
South suburban property tax payers have the greatest burden of the entire state. We are at our breaking point. I could write a book of the aid Chicago receives through the fiscal mismanagement both in Chicago and Springfield. There is a reason the suburbs, especially the south suburbs, are mostly populated by former Chicago residents (myself included). Enough said.
If the Governor’s proposal to stick homeowners and commercial owners with yet even higher property taxes, the quality of education will decline, businesses will cut jobs or close, foreclosures will skyrocket as the homeowners cannot make their tax bills and cannot sell as their property values are falling.
Governor Quinn, Senate President Cullerton, and Speaker Madigan need to bring in all local officials, school board members included, and work with us to avoid The Coming Catastrophe.
Member, Community Consolidated School District 146