Keeping retirement weird. As usual, teachers did the heavy lifting.


The blogger working while retired.

My retired colleague Jack Tucker sent me a note yesterday.

“10 – 0 and still counting! Fred, we should have become lawyers for lost causes, such as these. We could assure our clients they would lose and keep the billable hours clock running.”

Jack was talking about the latest court win for the pension protection clause of the Illinois Constitution.

Every new win for public employees occurs now because of our win before the Illinois Supreme Court. They ruled unanimously that the constitution means what it says.

Repeat after me: “Membership in any pension or retirement system of the State, any local government or school district, or any agency or instrumentality thereof, shall be an enforceable contractual relationship, the benefits of which shall not be diminished or impaired.”

Jack knows that while many, even some of our union leaders and self-proclaimed pension warriors, were willing to compromise on the promise and on the law, a few of us not only said no, we said we would win.

And we keep winning.

Another friend sent me a list from the corporate-funded website Reboot Illinois that had the top 50 pension earners in TRS.

The list is all administrators, mostly retired superintendents, and one retired union president.

Nobody who retired as a teacher is on that list. Plus Reboot Illinois does not provide a list of the bottom 50, those retired teachers, mostly downstate, whose retirement income is far less than the average $50,000 a year TRS pension payout. What the  administrator retirement salaries do  is skew the average up and in no way paints an accurate picture of what a retired teacher lives on after 35 years in the classroom

Nobody should begrudge what those 50 folks get. The law is the law, a promise a promise and a contract a contract.

I just wonder where all these top 50 certified type-75 pencil warriors were when we were down in Springfield, writing checks for Illinois Retired Teacher Association  and union lawyers and meeting with legislators in their home district offices.

As usual, teachers had to do all the heavy lifting.

By the way, here’s another list a reader send me today.

8 thoughts on “Keeping retirement weird. As usual, teachers did the heavy lifting.

  1. Well, here is another one for the win column. If only a partial win. Judge Neil Cohen ruled against city for lifetime healthcare for employees hired on or before 8/23/1989. It appears though some statute that came about in mid 80’s will not cover those that started after above date.

  2. Fred, why the last snarky paragraph? Seems you have the utmost respect for most people, that list just doesn’t seem to include a whole class of people: school administrators. Not fair. Beneath your beliefs -it seems to me. Why not think about letting that anger toward all school administrators go? Or learn how to manage the anger without putting down a whole category of people? Sure, just like teachers, physicians, accountants, bartenders -there are all kinds of school administrators ranging from stellar to poor.

    And, yes, I am a retired school administrator who taught for 16 years, had a pretty fine track record for my 40 years in education, am married to a wonderful retired teacher. And, yes, regarding protecting teachers’ pensions in IL, I was in Springfield on several occasions -working the legislative relationships in Springfield I had developed over lots years -and opening my wallet to IRTA.

    Enough said. Don’t you think there’s plenty of conflict to go around in IL? the US? and the world?We certainly don’t need to pit teachers and administrators against one another. Terrible modeling for kids. Takes us no where. Such negative energy. Time to let it go -on your very informative blog.

    Fred, thanks for listening.

    Sent from my iPhone


    1. No doubt it’s because administrators compared to teachers earn way too much. And often there are too many of them. In my his district of 2 schools with a combined population of just under 4000 kids there is a superintendent , 2 principals are 4 assistant principals plus department heads who don’t teach.

    2. It was not intended to be snarky. Just factual. You are among the rare administrators, particularly high-paid school superintendents, who supported teacher-led efforts to secure our constitutional pension rights. I defended the rights of all members of state pension systems to receive their contractual and constitutionally guaranteed pensions. But I was a teacher and a union president, not unaware of the power heirarchy that exists in school organizations. When district superintendents are earning three and four times that of the highest paid teacher and sit on the other side of the bargaining table during contract negotiations, I remember their role. Let it go? Nope. I always remember where I came from.

      1. Fred. Have you forgotten all the retired administrators playing significant rolls in the IRTA? Our just elected President is a retired superintendent. I am a retired principal who spent many hours and dollars on the pension fight. “Good” administrators aren’t as rare as you may think.

  3. Thanks to all that led the way to the courts rulings in our favor.
    It’s another dagger in the squatters back on the 5th floor.
    Also more proof that his “I dream of Jeanie budget” is so grossly underestimated and imaginary that any school child would laugh at his totals. It didn’t include any pension or court cases lost. No mention of teachers raises.The only thing mentioned was police and fire pensions. And how 50 or so other so called intelligent people in that council could ok that budget is beyond me.
    Someone had mentioned earlier that his theft of taxpayers money on the hushfund isn’t a felony because he may have saved us money. This person forgot that they convicted Elvis Blago to 14 years just because he talked stupid. I’m sorry but he needs to be charged. Again let me repeat, the theft of taxpayers money for ones self gain. If you think anything else you need to go back to your planet of URANUS…….RESIGN AND THEN DO TIME!

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