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Illinois school funding bill provides more state help toward Chicago teachers’ pension contributions

A school funding bill passed by the Illinois General Assembly on Tuesday would help prop up the $9.8 billion Chicago Public School Teachers' Pension & Retirement Fund with an additional $209 million contribution from the state.

Under the bill, the state will contribute $221 million to the Chicago teachers' pension fund in fiscal year 2018, up from $12 million last year. The bill also authorizes the Chicago Board of Education to increase its property tax levy by at least $120 million to help with its rising pension contributions. The required employer contribution to CTPF in fiscal year 2017 was $733 million. The expected contribution for the current fiscal year is $773 million.

A spokeswoman for Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner said he expects to sign the bill Thursday. The governor vetoed a previous school funding bill earlier this month.

A spokeswoman for the Chicago teachers pension fund said that the $221 million state contribution will cover the normal cost for pensions — the contribution required to cover active teachers — and the state will continue to cover the normal cost beyond fiscal year 2018. Chicago Public Schools previously covered this portion.

As of June 30, 2016, the Chicago teachers' pension fund had a funded status of 52.4% on an actuarial basis.

A spokeswoman for the Chicago Public Schools could not be reached for additional information.