Lawmakers return to Springfield Nov. 27-29 and Dec. 4-6 for the Fall Veto Session. (Ryan Denham/WJBC)
By Stephanie Pawlowski
BLOOMINGTON - It's possible lawmakers might consider pension reform packages during the Fall Veto Session this week and next.
But, Unit 5 Superintendent Gary Niehaus said he's heard lawmakers say it's more likely during the lame duck in two months or next spring. He said one bill that's just starting to get attention is from State Rep. Mike Fortner, (R-West Chicago). He has a B.A. in math and physics from Carleton College in Northfield, Minnesota, and M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in physics from Brandeis University in Massachusetts. He also teaches physics at Northern Illinois University.
"The concept of it is, basically the state and the employee would pay half-and-half. And, I really think that's something we ought to consider because the employee is the one that gets the benefit from it," Niehaus said.
Governor Quinn is still sticking with the plan to raise the retirement age, increase employee contributions and require school districts to pay in.
"It would give us a chance to see how it works," Niehaus said. "It would also give teachers a chance to negotiate, if they chose to, with their individual districts versus having a choice between healthcare and a compound in COLA is one of the options, passing it back to the school districts is another option."
"The one thing that it does have in it that teachers and administrations don't like is it does have a cap in it, there's a cap of $106,000 in it currently and there's a lot of teachers and administrators that wouldn't be happy with a cap," Niehaus said.
HB6204 was introduced in July 2012 and was referred to the Rules Committee.
Stephanie Pawlowski can be reached at Stephanie.Pawlowski@Cumulus.com.