NotesFAQContact Us
Search Tips
ERIC Number: ED567810
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2016-Feb
Pages: 25
Abstractor: ERIC
Pennies on the Dollar: How Illinois Shortchanges Its Teachers' Retirement
Kan, Leslie; Fuchs, Daniel; Aldeman, Chad
Bellwether Education Partners
Illinois' pension plans have sent the state on a downward spiral. One out of every four dollars that state taxpayers send to Springfield goes toward pensions, and the vast majority of these contributions go toward paying down large pension debt, not the actual retirement benefits given to state and local workers like teachers. The teacher pension system alone makes up over half of the debt, with a total unfunded liability of $57.9 billion. The existing pension structure backloads benefits and disproportionately favors teachers who stay for 30 or 35 years, at the expense of everyone else. The state plan assumes, and depends upon, the fact that the majority of teachers will not stay long enough to collect full benefits. This brief examines how and why Illinois teachers are negatively affected by the current system, and it concludes with recommendations for what policymakers can do to ensure "all" teachers--not just some of them--are given a path to a secure retirement. By adopting a different retirement plan for teachers, the state could better maintain its own finances "and" provide better benefits for teachers. In the face of growing pension debt that eats away at state resources, Illinois direly needs reform. Rather than fight to preserve a system that leaves the majority of its members without adequate retirement benefits, Illinois should use this time of financial unrest to carefully consider its options for sustainable and equitable pension reform.
Bellwether Education Partners. e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: Joyce Foundation
Authoring Institution: Bellwether Education Partners;
Identifiers - Location: Illinois
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A