Republican candidate for governor and state Sen. Bill Brady of Bloomington says local schools should pay for state pension costs that result from pay raises given to teachers.
Brady's idea wouldn't have school districts pay toward retirement costs for teachers' existing salaries or the state's debt, but he said school boards should be responsible for the increased pension cost created by future pay raises they award.
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"Every school district and every college that gives a pay raise from this day forward needs to also pay the pension cost of that pay raise," Brady told the Daily Herald editorial board Wednesday.
The idea is a cousin of the controversial proposal to have school districts pay for all of teachers' future retirement costs, which Brady opposes. Opponents say the so-called cost-shift could hamper local schools' budgets and force cuts elsewhere.
Brady says school boards shouldn't be allowed to raise salaries and foist the cost onto the state.
"We have no control over those pay raises."
State law already requires school districts to pay for the increased pension costs that come with end-of-career raises of more than 6 percent.
Brady is facing state Sen. Kirk Dillard of Hinsdale, Winnetka businessman Bruce Rauner and Illinois Treasurer Dan Rutherford of Chenoa in the March 18 GOP primary for governor.
Brady won the nomination in 2010 and has sought to show his experience running against Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn that year as a selling point, asking GOP primary voters for a chance at a rematch.
Brady was the only candidate of the four to vote to approve teacher and state worker pension benefit cuts last month.
Also in Wednesday's discussion, Brady renewed his call to abolish the Illinois State Board of Education, preferring to give most administrative tasks to regional offices of education.
Quinn in recent years has made moves to do the opposite, cutting funding for the regional offices and forcing lawmakers to find alternate ways to pay for them.