Pension Contributions 12/16/09
Pension Contribution Rates for Federally-funded
State law allows the Teachers’ Retirement System (TRS) to charge an additional 23 percent of a teachers’ salary in annual pension costs. The cost to the District this year is nearly $1.1 million for teachers who are paid out of federal funds that are intended to support low-income, bilingual, and special education students.
Districts, like U-46, that are dependent of federal education funds must divert additional dollars from at-risk students to fund this additional contribution.
According to TRS, the employer contribution percentages have nearly doubled since the 2007-2008 school year when the rate was13.11 percent contribution to 23.38 percent today. To compare, the District pays only 0.58 percent for teachers whose salaries are paid from state or local education funds.
State Law: 40 ILCS 5/16-158 (c)
State regulations require school districts to staff bilingual classrooms at a ratio that does “not exceed 90 percent of the average student-teacher ratio in general education classroom.” Should this waiver be approved, the District estimates a savings over $500,000 annually.
According to District data, the average bilingual class size is currently less than 22 students, smaller than the district’s current staffing standards of 25 students per teacher.
Drivers Education -12/2/09
Beginning this week, School District U-46 will begin sharing the impact of unfunded mandates on school districts. This week’s unfunded mandate is drivers education.
The district subsidized driver education last year by over $700,000. In this current economy, these funds could be used to help in offsetting cuts to other budget areas, including jobs.
Last year, Dr. Torres urged members of the General Assembly to end this mandate, along with many others. He shared that the state can retain the $200,000 School District U-46 receives in reimbursement for driver education to provide incentives for private businesses to begin offering driver training.
Please consider contacting members of the Illinois legislature to encourage them to issue a moratorium on unfunded mandates, and review existing laws and regulations to reduce the number of mandates placed on schools and school districts.