State payment to teacher pensions grows by $300M

State payment to teacher pensions grows by $300M

More than 70 cents out of every new education dollar already goes to teacher retirement costs.

Quickly growing pension costs for the Illinois Teachers’ Retirement System, or TRS, are crowding out funding that’s meant for the classroom.

More than 70 cents out of every new education dollar already goes to teacher retirement costs. At the rate pension costs are expected to increase, by 2029 the state will spend more on retirement costs than on aid to schools.

And despite investment returns exceeding 13 percent last year, the state’s TRS pension payment increased yet again. Illinois taxpayers are slated to pay an additional $300 million more into the Teachers Retirement System, or TRS, than they did last year.

According to the State Journal-Register:

“The Illinois Teachers’ Retirement System board of trustees has given preliminary approval to a state contribution to the system of $3.72 billion for the budget year that starts July 1. That’s a $307 million increase from the state’s contribution for downstate teacher pensions in the current budget.”

The problem is the state is unwilling to stop the trend, leaving money meant for the classroom at the whims of unpredictable and growing pension costs.

The only way to protect funding for the classroom is to end the pension crisis by taking state politicians out of the retirement business, and giving workers control and ownership over their own retirements through 401(k)-style retirement plans.

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