by Jonathan Ingram
Senior Policy Analyst
So, the Chicago Teachers Union is on strike.
You may remember that they were demanding a 30 percent raise earlier this year and that they rejected a package that included a 16 percent raise. The union's demands would spike the average teacher's salary to nearly six-figures, and that's before you tally up the generous benefits they get on top of their salaries.
But taxpayers are tapped out. These taxpayers lost an entire week's worth of pay to the state's massive income tax hike. They've been nickeled and dimed to death by their local governments. And earlier this year, Chicago Public Schools hiked property taxes to the maximum extent allowed by law.
If that weren't bad enough, it's about to get a whole lot worse. If nothing changes, the school district's contribution to the Chicago teachers' pension fund will more than triple next year. Money meant for the classroom will instead go to pay for the retirement benefits of former Chicago teachers. By next year, these retirement costs will eat up nearly half of the education funding Chicago receives from the state.
CPS pension contribution will more than triple in fiscal year 2014
And let's remember that when the Governmental Accounting Standards Board's new pension accounting rules kick in, the City's contribution will skyrocket even higher. Why? The Chicago Teachers' pension fund is currently hiding more than 70 percent of its pension debt.
Chicago teachers' pension fund debt to more than triple
under new accounting rules (fiscal year 2010)
The crisis is already here. Taxpayers are tapped out and Chicago's financial outlook is about to get a whole lot worse. Our education system is also in serious need of reform. Why don't we start by ensuring that our education system caters to the children, not to the adults?