Madigan: downstate schools should pay pension costs

May 9, 2013

The leader of the Illinois House of Representatives says Downstate school districts will eventually have to pay for their employees’ pensions. 

Presiding over a special House panel Thursday, Speaker Michael Madigan said school districts have had a year to consider how to fund their pensions, and it’s time to move forward.

“School districts deserve support from the state government. They do get support from the state government. But this is a government that’s in a lot of trouble, and we have to call upon everybody that comes to the capitol building and asks for financial support, and that’s what we’re going to do.”

Madigan says there’s no timeline for when this might begin. Some past plans have called for gradual phase-in over a number of years.

The Illinois Association of School Boards says it would be in favor of the so-called “cost shift” if schools could choose which state-mandated programs to fund. It says schools could re-direct savings toward paying for pensions.