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updated: 4/25/2012 5:26 PM

Teacher pension debate coming to Naperville

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The executive director of the Teachers' Retirement System of Illinois will be in the suburbs Thursday to discuss pension issues with system members and the public.

Dick Ingram has been hosting a series of town hall meetings statewide to explain what's happening with teachers' pensions and answer questions about funding and possible legislation that could affect retirement benefits. On Thursday, there will be a 4:30 p.m. presentation in the cafeteria at Naperville Central High School, 440 Aurora Ave., in Naperville.

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"We expect the big topic this week to be the governor's pension proposal," said Dave Urbanek, Teachers' Retirement System spokesman. "We just try to give as many answers as we can and give people facts."

Gov. Pat Quinn wants teachers and other state employees to pay more toward their own retirements and says local schools should take on the state's share of teacher pension costs. It's all part of an effort to ease the state's escalating pension debt.

"Whether there's an issue out there or not, we're going to be talking to our members in person," Urbanek said.

TRS members expected to attend Thursday's gathering in Naperville include teachers, administrators and retirees. Anyone from the community is welcome to attend.

Urbanek said the crowds at the meetings have grown since the first one was held last year. Three meetings last week drew a total of about 675 people.

"What's going on in Springfield is driving people's attendance because they have a lot of questions," Urbanek said.

Ingram will give a roughly 30-minute presentation before taking questions from the audience. The Naperville meeting is slated to end at 6 p.m. Another meeting will be held 7:30 to 9 p.m. at Carl Sandburg High School in Orland Park.

Future TRS meetings in the suburbs include one in Schaumburg on May 9 and another May 10 in Des Plaines.

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