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posted: 10/29/2012 5:00 AM

Pension amendment far from real reform

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It's "trick or treat" season, so don't be tricked into voting for a constitutional amendment that does nothing to fix pensions. There will be no treat for middle class families or local school districts if voters fall for the amendment on the ballot.

Though the amendment is being pitched as the answer to the state's pension crisis, it will have no impact on the underfunding of state pensions, the cause of the pension problem. It is a power grab by the same politicians who caused the problem in the first place.

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The amendment would interfere with local control of schools by allowing a school board's minority to control what the majority wants to do. It would handcuff teachers and school boards -- and any other type of governmental board -- trying to negotiate fair contracts. The amendment is supported by the aforementioned politicians, along with the prominent millionaires and billionaires who do all they can to avoid paying their fair share to support education, the same people who regularly attack retirement security for teachers, police officers and firefighters.

Opposing the amendment are Citizen Action/Illinois, the state's largest public interest organization, and the Illinois League of Women Voters, which said the measure conflicts with the League's commitment to "make our democracy more, not less, representative." Also opposed are the Illinois Education Association and the Illinois Federation of Teachers, organizations that advocate for quality teaching and learning conditions in Illinois schools.

Even conservative groups oppose the amendment. Changing the Illinois Constitution is a serious act, one that should only be taken if the change will mean an improvement in the quality of life for our state's citizens. This amendment fails that test. Don't be fooled. Vote "no" on the constitutional amendment.

Cinda Klickna

President

Illinois Education Association

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