Schools to foot Illinois' pension costs?

By Anna Yee

June 20, 2012 Updated Jun 20, 2012 at 6:42 PM CDT

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. -- State lawmakers are still debating how to curtail the public pension problem.

According to a recent Pew study, Illinois ranks dead last in funding its pension liability, worth billions of dollars.

Now, the General Assembly may be looking to shift the cost of teachers' pensions from the state to local school districts.

According to reports, Governor Pat Quinn said the impact on property taxes would be "imperceptible."

Mark Jontry, the Regional School Superintendent for DeWitt, Livingston, and McLean Counties, disagrees.

"It is a real concern," said Jontry on Wednesday, "because most of our districts are maximizing their local revenue streams now, and combine that with reduces state support, there really is no place to turn."

"Is it good to have school districts with some skin in the game, yeah you bet, because that's where a lot of the abuses came from in the past," said Illinois Senator Dave Koehler, (D) 46th Dist.

"They kick up some of the higher salaries right before retirement, because they don't have to pay the bill," continued Koehler. "Do we just dump the whole pension issues on the schools? No."

Senator Koehler said no official plan is yet in place.

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