Wondering why Illinois schools aren't getting all the money they need? Ask the retired teachers.

Almost 40 percent school funding goes to pensions, not to the classroom, teachers wages or other needs

Illinois Policy Institute

Not enough money for special education? Are there too many kids per classroom? Not enough for art supplies, textbooks, teachers’ aids, gym equipment, extracurricular activities and all the rest?

Ask the teachers.

Every year, the call goes out for more money for education. Every session of the Illinois legislature features a debate for more money for the schools. We’re often reminded that the state doesn’t come close to fulfilling the Illinois Constitution’s requirement that the “state has the primary responsibility for financing…public education.” Sick and tired of endless property tax increases to fund the perpetually “underfunded” schools?

The Illinois Policy Institute dug out the numbers and discovered the horrifying fact that retired teachers are eating up money that should be spent on actual education. It said:

Since 2010 alone, spending on educators’ pensions more than doubled in nominal terms, jumping to nearly $6 billion in the 2022 budget from less than $2.1 billion. Education spending, including administrative costs, grew modestly to $9.2 billion from $7.3 billion.

Simply put, pension costs commanded just around 20% of the state’s total education spending only a decade ago, before doubling to nearly 40% of education spending today.

Maybe this ought to be kept in mind the next time that the likes of the Chicago Teachers Union whines about not enough money is spent on education, that teachers aren’t being paid enough and–oh, yes–the claim that money is so short that teachers have to spend their own money to buy pencils and toilet paper.

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  • Retired CPS teachers, of whom I am one, are entitled to their pensions. The solution to fiscal shortfalls is not to reduce their pensions but to raise revenue by, for example, having a graduated income tax in Illinois, just as there is in a majority of the states.

  • Oh sure. Do you really think that a higher income tax will cover the $140 BILLION of unfunded pensions in Illinois? Or more like $200 billion if you use honest accounting procedures? It seems odd that you would ignore how teacher pensions are cutting into money that otherwise could be used in the classroom. Why are you entitled to a pension that in many cases pays you more than what you made when you were actually teaching? Greed.

  • Teachers deserve their pensions however they must be fair to all those who are paying them. They should be relatively similar to the few private pensions that are left, ie. no COLA clauses, no double dipping permitted, etc

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