SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois Education Association (IEA) today encourages the Illinois General Assembly to consider SB 3622, a bill introduced by State Sen Dale Fowler (R-Harrisburg) that will revert the end-of-career retirement benefit for educators in the Teachers’ Retirement System (TRS) and State Universities System (SURS) from three percent back to six percent.
“Governor Rauner and the Illinois General Assembly did a disservice to our educators by capping end-of-career benefits at three percent,” said IEA President Kathi Griffin. “Passing SB 3622 is one step to address the issue. We encourage lawmakers to stand with Senator Fowler in support of our teachers’ and our students’ futures.”
The TRS and SURS shift to three percent was hidden on page 741 of the BIMP bill (HB 4332) and passed along with the budget back in May sparking immediate outcry from teachers across the state. Because educators can qualify for retirement benefits after five years of employment, the three percent cap encourages school districts to limit all educator salary increases to three percent. The cap limits financial compensation and deters teachers from furthering their education and taking on additional coaching or tutoring roles. All of this makes the teaching profession a less desirable career choice and ultimately lowers the quality of education our students receive.
“Many parts of Illinois are in the midst of a teacher shortage crisis – and I believe lowering the cap will only make that worse,” said State Sen. Dale Fowler (R-Harrisburg). “This is why I’m sponsoring this legislation.”
Additionally, the three percent threshold shifts the state’s financial responsibility onto already cash-strapped school districts, limiting their ability to fund the educational needs of their students without considering other revenue options, like raising local property taxes, to alleviate the new financial burden.
The IEA remains committed to repealing the three percent threshold. To date, we have collected more than 11,250 signatures from IEA members and community supporters on our petition demanding the Illinois General Assembly rescind the three percent.
Contact your lawmakers and tell them to support SB3622. Click here to send an email now.
The 135,000 member Illinois Education Association (IEA-NEA) is the state’s largest education employee’s organization. IEA represents preK-12 teachers outside of the city of Chicago and education support staff, higher education faculty, retired education employees and students preparing to become teachers, statewide.