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posted: 3/17/2013 5:00 AM

Make pension system fair for all districts

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Isn't it a bit ironic that school districts in the greater metropolitan Chicago area are bristling at having the cost of teachers' pensions shifted from the state level back to the respective districts, expecting taxpayers throughout the state to shoulder the burden of these pensions while at the same time howling that any change in how local districts spend their money within their own school systems would be unconscionable?

The taxpayers of Illinois subsidize wealthy school districts by absorbing the cost of generous teacher pension benefits due to large compensation contracts, allowing these districts to pour additional monies into programs poorer school districts can only dream about. Spreading the "wealth" to all schools to assure a minimum standard, would go along way to balance the opportunities available to all students throughout the state.

You can't have it both ways. Illinois taxpayers should not be asked to foot the bill for the pension costs of well-off school districts while many of these taxpayers can't afford the programs for their children these prosperous districts afford their students.

Fair is fair. Equitable treatment of pension costs throughout all districts should be balanced by equal opportunities for all students in Illinois.

We have minimum standards throughout the educational process. Why don't we have minimum standards for what students may enjoy without concern to where they live?

Pension costs don't recognize school district boundaries. Why should equal access to educational opportunities be stymied by district boundaries?

Steve Sarich


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