Today’s headline in the Chicago Tribune is, “Taxpayers socked twice: Pensions and penalties” (May 24 2015.) The article goes on to tell how some teachers and administrators are given raises in their final few years of work, which helps boost their retirement income (since retirement pay is based on the average of the employee’s salary their last four years). The Trib says that increasing the salary socks local taxpayers and boosting the retirement income socks Illinois taxpayers. Guilty as charged. So what’s the problem?
School boards negotiate the teachers’ contracts that spell out end-of-employment salary boosts. School boards agree to administrator salary increases. The Teacher Retirement System (TRS) spells out the rules for the penalty school districts must pay if the end-of-employment salary boost exceeds 6% – presumably calculated to recoup the additional payout the employee would received during retirement. Districts pay that penalty. Those are the clearly stated rules.
Don’t like the rules everybody has been following for almost a decade, Trib? Then lobby to get them changed. But don’t waste more ink describing how everybody is following the rules.