Wednesday, February 27, 2013
The House Republican joined Democrat Elaine Nekritz at a press conference Wednesday to introduce new legislation.
House Republican Leader Tom Cross (R-Oswego) joined Northbrook Democrat Elaine Nekritz at a Wednesday morning press conference to unveil a new bill they say is the answer to Illinois' state pension woes. “This legislation is the most complete, fairest bill we could come up with that will solve our pension crisis. When it passes and becomes law, it will also loosen the pension squeeze on our state budget,” Cross said of House Bill 3411 in a statement. “We’ve filed and supported many bills and concepts along the way, but we believe this is the answer.” The bill includes the following new provisions for Tier I state employees, or those hired before 2011: Click here to read the full text of the bill. Related stories:
Tuesday, September 11, 2012
District 202 Superintendent John Harper's first monthly column of the 2012-13 school year.
Tuesday, September 11, 2012
We start the 2012-13 school year with same high hopes and expectations for great teaching and learning for all of our students that makes our schools so strong and vibrant. However we also begin the year with the same financial challenge which has plagued us for the last several years: unreliable state funding. Unfortunately to make matters worse Governor Quinn wants to shift teacher pension payments, which the state now pays, to local school districts to help clean up the state’s own financial mess. Shifting teacher pensions to local districts would cost District 202 $10 million or more each year. District 202 is doing everything we can to keep this from happening. In July, a group of suburban educators and elected officials including …
Wednesday, August 22, 2012
Pension reform appears stalled once again following an Aug. 17 special session.
Legislators left Springfield Friday without taking any action to resolve what is now estimated at a $130 billion unfunded state pension liability. Lawmakers failed to reach an agreement on how to reform the public pension system during a special session called by Gov. Pat Quinn. The inaction led Standard & Poor’s to start the process of reviewing the state’s credit rating, and drew a reaction from Plainfield trustee Garrett Peck, a Republican seeking election to the 49th District State Senate Seat. “This was unfortunately another missed opportunity by our state leaders to sit down and try and get to the root of our pension problem and publicly address it. Instead, they used it as an excuse to merely say they tried tackle the problem for …
Friday, August 17, 2012
A special session on state pension reform is slated to start Friday.
A day before lawmakers were due back in Springfield for a special session on pension reform, Gov. Pat Quinn signed legislation aimed at preventing lawmakers from cashing in on the state pension fund. House Bill 3969, sponsored by State Rep. Tom Cross, R-Oswego, will prevent outgoing and former state legislators from boosting their pensions by taking another government job at a higher salary once they leave office. The new law will require former lawmakers to either opt out of the higher pension at the new job, or require the hiring government agency’s pension fund to take on the additional cost. Currently, General Assembly members who began serving before Aug. 22, 1994 and obtain a higher-paying job at the state, county or municipal level …
Tuesday, June 5, 2012
Board of education president weighs in on state education appropriations bill, impact it could have on Plainfield schools.
School officials may have breathed a sigh of relief last week after Illinois House Speaker Mike Madigan scrapped a plan to shift part of the state’s massive pension liability onto local schools, but it could be short lived. On Monday, Plainfield School District 202 Board of Education president Roger Bonuchi weighed in on education funding cuts, passed by the General Assembly two days after Madigan’s plan was dropped. The $6.5 billion education appropriations bill is expected to slash $161 million in school funding. “They say the foundation level is going to remain unchanged,” Bonuchi said, referring to the per-student allotment school districts receive from the state, currently set at $6,119. But the rate at which funding is doled out to …
Thursday, May 31, 2012
Under pressure from Illinois Republicans and Gov. Pat Quinn, House Speaker Michael Madigan announced he's dropping his proposal to shift teacher pension costs to local school districts.
Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan (D-Chicago) on Wednesday dropped his controversial proposal to shift the costs of teacher pensions from the state to local school districts, universities and community colleges. The announcement came after two days of spirited debate over pension reform in both the House and Senate. Madigan's plan, which was part of Senate Bill 1673, was widely criticized by Republicans, and threatened to derail other legislation to address the state's massive pension shortfall. Madigan said he reached the decision after Gov. Pat Quinn asked him to drop the amendment, the Associated Press reports. “He agrees with the Republicans. He thinks that we ought to remove the issue of the shift of normal cost out of the bill…
Thursday, May 24, 2012
Educators say they want the chance to have their say before any big changes are made.
Several dozen teachers, both current and retired, rallied outside House Republican Leader Tom Cross’ office in Plainfield Wednesday with one message: Don’t mess with our pensions. Organized by Educators United for Strong Public Schools and partner Northern Illinois Jobs with Justice, the event was held in protest of proposed changes that some educators fear would gut the pension system. Dennis Grosskopf, president of the Minooka Education Association and former Will County Democratic Party chairman, said teachers just want to make sure their voices are heard. “We’re turning in a petition asking for hearings on any pension changes,” he said, pointing out that lawmakers held weeks of hearings before voting on legislative redistricting last …