New legislation is being crafted for the pension shift to districts. (flickr photo)
By The Associated Press
SPRINGFIELD - House Speaker Michael Madigan is moving forward with a plan to require local school districts to pay their share of teacher pensions.
Currently the state covers pension payments for teachers in suburban Chicago and downstate Illinois.
Madigan says it's a ``free lunch'' for those districts. He says the practice has exacerbated Illinois' nearly $100 billion crisis and ``should come to an end as soon as possible.''
The Chicago Democrat is convening a panel that will meet Thursday to work on legislation.
Republicans oppose shifting the cost to local districts because they fear if each district is responsible for its own retirement fund, property taxes will increase. The so-called cost shift doomed several pension reform proposals. Madigan left it out of a bill he sponsored that passed the House last week.