How will this affect your district?

Currently, the state pays the “employer” portion of teacher pension normal costs. How would shifting this cost back to the true employer – school districts – affect local school budgets?

“He’s essentially freezing our revenue and increasing our cost. It’s akin to tying the school districts’ hands and feet together and throwing them over the side of a boat and telling them to swim for it.”

 – Dean Casper, former president and member of Community Consolidated School District 146

“Adding another $730,000 annual responsibility to District 210’s budget would have catastrophic effects on the quality of education that is provided to Lemont High School students.”

–press release from Lemont High School District 210

“District 113A and many other school districts have already made dramatic cuts. We simply cannot afford this; it would destroy public education.”

– Robert Madonia, interim superintendent at Lemont-Bromberek Combined School District 113A3

School districts say they will face financial disaster if the state asks them to pay the employer portion of normal pension costs. But the reality is that costs to individual school districts will increase by an average of just 3.7 percent of total expenditures.

The graphic below show the distribution of increased costs that districts will face, expressed as a percentage of total expenditures. For the majority of districts – 468 out of 866 – paying the normal cost would amount to between 3 to 4 percent of districts’ total expenditures. In only seven school districts would the cost exceed 5 percent of total expenditures, with 5.3 percent of expenditures being the highest percentage of any district.

These costs could be significantly reduced of eliminated if school districts end the practice of paying the teachers’ portion of pension contributions. Today, 64 percent of school districts pick up some of all of the teachers’ portions of pension contributions. By eliminating the pick-ups, districts could then use those funds to pay the employer normal pension cost. In 482 school districts, doing this would produce net savings. Or as Governor Quinn put it: “Everybody is going to get a haircut. No one will get scalped.”