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Lawyer to State: ‘Shifting the Cost Isn’t Pension Reform’ (Live Blog Transcript)

Community Consolidated School District 146 held a summit for school board members and administrators from districts across south suburban Cook County, to make sure taxpayers know what is at stake when Illinois government pushes for pension reform.

Update, 5:58 a.m. Thursday, April 12

Superintendents, attorneys and school district advocates offered a simple suggestion to school board members from around south suburban Cook County Wednesday night.

“We're suggesting to board members to reach out to the tax payers and simply say these are the implications for change,” said Peg Agnos, Legislative Director for the South Cooperative Organization for Public Education. “We do have to have pension reform and someone has to pay for it, but at what cost and to whom?”

With murmurs from Springfield that the state will be looking to shed its agreed-upon financial obligation to the Teacher’s Retirement System, school officials gathered at Central Middle School in Tinley Park Wednesday night to learn more about how the state came to have $43 billion in unfunded pension obligations. The summit was held to encourage district officials to build awareness among taxpayers, and to let legislators know their opinions on the matter.

“Shifting the cost is not pension reform. If you're going to reform pensions you have to do other things,” said attorney Ares Dalianis, who spoke during the summit. “But people need to know what this could mean, as far as possible programs cut and other forms of cutting back.”

Dalianis complimented for their Call to Action message listed on their website, which includes contact information for local state legislators.

Original Post, 5:55 a.m. Wednesday, April 11

District 146 is hosting a “Joint Educational Summit” at 6:30 p.m. tonight at Central Middle School, 18146 S. Oak Park Ave. in Tinley Park, to talk about expected legislation that will put part of the state’s financial obligations to educators back on the local school districts.

The following six speakers are scheduled to offer their input on the matter.

  • Dean Casper, D146 Board Member
  • Peg Agnos, SCOPE Legislative Director
  • Ares Dalianis, Attorney from Franczek Radelet
  • Scott Uhler, Attorney from Klein, Thorpe and Jenkins, Ltd.
  • Dr. Margaret W. Longo, Forest Ridge Elementary School District 142 Superintendent
  • Dr. Jeff Stawick, D146 Superintendent

Agnos will be offering an update on the pending legislation, as much as is known by SCOPE. Dalianis and Uhler will be speaking on the legal and financial impact, and the superintendents will present advocacy options.

After the speakers, attendees will be invited to ask questions about the situation.

Join our live blog for real time updates from the meeting.

Sue1 April 12, 2012 at 03:28 AM
I just read the blog. I wish that I had known it was live. To the person that says the administrator's pensions are the problem, they are incorrect. There are way less administrators than there are teachers. I am not sure the school districts bump up the salaries at the end, before someone retires, every school, I think does the same thing, are we sure it isn't some kind of law from the state? Consolidation? I sure don't want it. We can't only look at the number of schools in a district, we need to look at the number of students. The problem is that at one point in history teachers were underpaid, things were put in place to correct that. Then when the salaries were caught up, it was never corrected. I remember hearing about a teacher making over $130,000 a year. Not bad for working what 175 days a year? With somewhere around 18 sick days. Meanwhile every year we hear how American students are falling behind students in other countries. Why aren't we going to school year round? Make use of our buildings. No summers off to forget things then having to come back to revisit last year's material for a month or more. The constitution says the state must provide education, they should then have to provide the pension. So are they saying, if the districts take on the pensions, they want the ability to increase the taxes on homeowners?
Moonglow April 12, 2012 at 12:57 PM
I pay enough property taxes already and I don't have any kids in school! Where has the idea of "free public education" gone? When I had kids in area schools, I STILL had to pay hundreds of dollars to enroll them even though my PROPERTY TAXES were already funding the school district! Double dipping?? It's ridiculous! With all the stores in the Orland area, you'd think they could pay the lion's share of property taxes! I'm going to be taxed right out of my house!!! I agree that if teachers were promised pensions as part of their hiring, then they should get what they were promised! Teachers pay a lot of "out of pocket" expenses for various items for their students during the school year and no one cares about that either!
Michael M. April 25, 2012 at 03:30 AM
The teachers should pay for their own pension, just like the rest of us in the private sector do. Why should my tax dollars go to pay their pension? No one is funding my retirement but me.
Larry August 18, 2012 at 01:46 PM
My pension was paid for from my earnings.Teachers need to pay for Their own pensions!! Remember people keep voting for the same political factions that have been in office for 20-40 years,thats right 20-40 years,and everyone wonders why we have troubles in ILL. .We need NEW politicians ,not career politicians ,And we need to demand TERM LIMITS ON THE NOVEMBER BALLOTS!!! Enough is Enough!!!
Larry August 18, 2012 at 01:53 PM
I paid into my own pension 8 1/2% every pay day.The taechers should be contributing also,we the tax payers are not responsible for their pensions no-one other than myself is responsible for mine,although I forgot that the General Assembly differed my pension(BORROWED IT TO THE C.T.A.)and I still do not know where it is???We need Term Limits in ILL.We do not need political parties to serve 20-40 years as a State legislature???

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