Let me help some of our colleagues understand what really happened here. This is just another example of how no good deed goes unpunished. The benefit payment helped the school board, not the teachers.
Whether compensation was paid in dollars to the teachers or dollars to the pension fund didn’t seem to matter at the time. (We know better now.) Total money in paid compensation didn’t change at all. Other public employees should be thankful they never accepted a similar arrangement that their employers could later turn against them.
There was less than adequate money available to the school board from the state to fund schools. Instead of increasing funds to schools, the General Assembly changed a law so school boards could reduce tax withholding payments to the state and federal government by compensating employees with a non taxable benefit ( in this case a pension “pick up”) INSTEAD of higher pay. That money would then be available to spend on other things.
Teachers agreed to this arrangement to help the board. Now the board wants to use that agreement to lower teacher compensation. How nice! They only want to count what they supposedly “gave” teachers, not what teachers gave up. They really didn’t give teachers anything. Where compensation was paid was changed. Compensation was NOT increased.
Someone was running a scam when pension pickups began in the 1980’s. but it wasn’t teachers. It was the General Assembly and C.P.S. How total compensation is paid has a great effect upon how much tax withholding C.P.S. has to pay the state and federal government. The law you mentioned was passed to reduce that amount, allowing money to be spent elsewhere by school boards. It didn’t increase compensation given to teachers at all.
Now C.P.S. says that teachers compensation should be reduced by that amount? Nothing like using the willingness of teachers to try to help against them. I’d strike too. Nothing like kicking teachers in the teeth because they agreed to try to help solve a cash flow problem.