Rebel Media: Quincy School District ending pension sweetners...will more follow?
7 months, 1 week ago by Scott Reeder, Illinois Policy Institute
“Pension sweeteners” have become a ubiquitous part of how local government works in Illinois.
It’s practically standard for teachers and school administrators facing retirement to get pay bumps during their final three years on the job. The idea is to artificially inflate the pensions they receive by making their final salaries bigger.
But at a time when our state pension systems are facing fiscal crisis, does it really make sense for local school districts to game the system to see how much more can be milked from the faltering Teachers’ Retirement System?
Last month, the Quincy school board said “no.” It gave notice to both administrators and teachers that beginning next summer, Quincy schools will abandon this practice.
Quincy School Board member Jeff Mays says he doesn’t know of any other school district that has done this.
Typically, school boards feel compelled to endorse such plans when negotiating contracts with teachers unions.
Interestingly enough, it’s those same unions who have pushed for paying teachers based on their longevity rather than their performance. The argument goes that “performance” is one of those intangibles that can’t be measured, while years of service can.
They contend teachers get better at their jobs the longer they do it.
Well, some teachers are like wine, they just get better with time. On the other hand, some are like bananas – leave them sitting around too long and it’s time to let them go.
But just for arguments sake, let’s say the unions are right and teachers just keep getting better with age.
Why then would it be an appropriate public policy to pay the most experienced and allegedly “best” teachers extra to retire?
Shouldn’t they be fighting to keep them in the classroom rather than fighting to pay them to leave?