Teacher pension spending in Illinois is yet another way that less money is spent on low-income students and students of color. Also, the fact that there is a state pension fund and a Chicago pension funding complicates the problem and cause inequities to increase even more than might have been expected.
After we created a rubric to grade state teacher retirement plans, we found a mostly depressing picture: States have set up expensive, debt-ridden systems where most teachers fail to qualify for decent retirement benefits.
Pension legacy costs can restrict the amount of resources available for current public education and make it more difficult to attract and retain high quality teachers. Oregon provides a useful case study in pension legacy costs because many school districts in the state are now reallocating General Fund expenditures to cover sizeable past pension promises. This paper first describes how Oregon’s past pension promises, as compared with nearby Washington’s, affect the level of resources available to compensate new teachers.