IL House advances pension plan

May 30, 2013

Colleges and universities would assume the cost of their employees' pensions under a proposal advancing in the Illinois House Thursday.

The plan has the backing of state universities and community colleges, which say they can afford the gradual phase-in. They also negotiated for looser purchasing rules they say will let them operate more efficiently.

But Nick Yelverton, with the Illinois Federation of Teachers, says he's "puzzled" by the universities' support ... especially following years of arguing for more state funding.

 "This will clearly impact students' tuition, and further limit the availability to lower-class individuals to have access to higher education." The measure was approved by a House committee on a party-line vote, with Republicans opposed. In addition to the tuition increases, they predict the added costs will force community colleges to raise property taxes.There was a similar plan to shift pension costs from the state to suburban and Downstate school districts -- but stronger political opposition has shelved that idea for now.