The Illinois Senate Wednesday failed to pass a bill that would have allowed shortchanging contributions to the Chicago Public School Teachers’ Pension & Retirement Fund for the current and next fiscal years.
The bill required 36 votes for adoption but received only 32 votes; 22 voted present and two were recorded as not voting, Rikeesha Phelon, press secretary to Senate President John J. Cullerton, said in an e-mail. No one voted against the bill.
Under the bill, as amended Wednesday by the Senate Executive committee in an 11-3 vote, the teachers’ fund would come up $536 million short in contributions over the next two years, said Frances Radencic, director of member and office services for the fund.
“We oppose it because it still puts us in a position of being underfunded” in required contributions, Ms. Radencic said of the modified bill. “Another pension holiday.”
The Senate Executive Committee Wednesday sent the newly amended bill to the full Senate for a vote.
The bill would require the state and the Chicago Public Schools Board of Education to each contribute an estimated $215 million, for a total of $430 million, in the current fiscal year, which ends June 30, 2016, and about $227 million, for a total of $454 million, in the following fiscal year. Over the two years, those contributions would total $884 million.
The requirements would leave the teachers’ fund short of its actuarial required contributions of $700.1 million for the current fiscal year and $720.7 million for the next fiscal year, Ms. Radencic said. The required contributions total $1.42 billion.
In addition, the bill extends the time frame for reaching a 90% funded level for the teachers’ pension plan to 2063 from 2059.
For each of the following fiscal years, 2018 through 2063, the amendment requires CPS to fund at a level determined by the teachers’ fund to reach the 2063 funded objective.
The teachers plan is 51.5% funded, Ms. Radencic said.
If the bill had passed the Senate, it would go to the House for committee assignment, said Ian Watts, communications aide to state Sen. Don Harmon, chair of the committee.