The 6 percent salary increases in the final four years of a retiring teacher’s salary is due to the district’s “retirement benefit” provision. The “retirement benefit” provision is another name for “pension spiking.”
With pension spiking, districts all over the state raise teacher salaries to the maximum extent allowed under the law. This results in much higher pension incomes for retired teachers at the expense of the taxpayers. Additionally, pension spiking hurts the state’s Teachers’ Retirement System, or TRS – and TRS is currently only 42.1 percent funded
; one of the worst funding rates in the entire country.
District 102’s new contract also provides for a “post-retirement award” equal to $1,000 for every year of service to the district.
Add a $30,000 “post-retirement award” to the retiring teacher scenario above and the final year salary is equal to $156,391, an astounding 31.1 percent increase over the previous year. Luckily, this retirement perk is not used in the calculation of an employee’s pension.
Additionally, the new contract has lots of other perks and benefits in it, including:
- A 182 day work year
- 14 sick days and three personal business leave days
- Maximum sick leave of up to 340 days
- 7 ½ hour teacher work days
- Paid sabbatical leave granted at the discretion of the board
- Health and dental insurance
- Life insurance
- Long-term disability insurance
- Tuition reimbursement
Being a resident, taxpayer and parent of a future student who will most likely go to District 102 schools, I would have loved the opportunity to be an active, educated participant in the collective bargaining negotiating process.
Sadly, this problem isn’t isolated to District 102. This lack of transparency and misleading analysis of contract provisions is a scene being played out time and time again all over the state of Illinois. Statewide reforms are needed to give citizens the opportunity to directly participate in an open, transparent and accurately represented collective bargaining process.
The time for passing a “Truth-in-Collective Bargaining Act” to address these issues is long overdue.