Town hall meeting to discuss changes to teacher pensions

By Paul Strater

May 2, 2012 Updated May 2, 2012 at 10:31 PM CDT

NORMAL, Ill -- One of governor Pat Quinn's proposals to fix the state's budget crisis would change the state teacher's retirement system.

Close to 200 people, many of them upset with the proposal, were at a town hall meeting Wednesday to discuss the changes.

Quinn's proposal would increase teachers' contributions by three percent to 12.4 percent of every paycheck.

It would also raise The retirement age to 67 over several years and eliminate private organization employees from taking part in the plan.

The agency's executive director says the problem didn't appear overnight.

"Two-thirds of the appropriation that TRS receives is to catch up on funding shortfalls from the past decades. Not just the last few years, but the past decades," said Dick Ingram after the meeting.

Union officials say the state legislature needs to fund the pensions fully.

"The message that the general assembly needs to be making its contribution needs to be made loud and hard to the general assembly. By contacting representatives, by contacting senators, going down to Springfield and talking to them there," said Rich Baldwin, president of the Bloomington Education Association.

Right now the system is under funded by 44 billion dollars.

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