A press release from the Illinois Policy Institute:
Illinois Policy Institute to host debate on teacher pension reform
Debate 7 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 14 at McHenry County College in northwest suburban Crystal Lake
CHICAGO (Aug. 13, 2012) – On Tuesday, Aug. 14, the Illinois Policy Institute will host a debate aimed at exploring who should pay the employers’ share of teacher pension costs: local school districts or the state.
Tuesday’s debate will be held in the auditorium at McHenry County College, 8900 Route 14, Crystal Lake. The debate starts at 7 p.m., and is free and open to the public.
The Crystal Lake debate will be moderated by state Rep. Tom Morrison and Kevin Lyons, news editor at the Northwest Herald newspaper in McHenry County. Panelists will include:
- Mike Sayre on behalf of the Illinois Education Association;
- District 47 school board president Jeff Mason; and
- the Illinois Policy Institute’s Diana Sroka Rickert, an award-winning journalist on the topic of pensions.
In June, the question of who should pay the “employer” portion of teachers’ pensions prompted legislative talks over pension reform to come to a standstill. The results of a new poll commissioned by the Illinois Policy Institute finds that public opinion on this issue is mixed, not only across the state but across the political spectrum.
The poll found that nearly half of likely Illinois voters oppose asking school districts to pay the employer share of teachers’ pension costs, while the other half of likely voters are split between indecision and favoring this proposal.
“The Institute’s poll indicates that the public needs more information on how local pension accountability would affect schools and taxpayers, and that they’re confused about who owns this policy in the statehouse,” said Kristina Rasmussen, executive vice president of the Illinois Policy Institute.
“To improve understanding of this issue, the Institute is launching this statewide tour to engage stakeholders and move toward consensus on much-needed pension relief.”
In addition to Monday’s stop in Crystal Lake, the Illinois Policy Institute is planning debate stops in Rockford, Skokie and Kane County. Debates already have been held in Quincy, Carbondale, Lemont Springfield and Decatur.
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