Me and Fred Schroeder, my former Superintendent.
I had lunch with the my folks yesterday, members of the North Lakeshore Illinois Retired Teachers Association.
TRS trustee Bob Lyons came to make a report. He admitted that there was not much to report from Springfield. Bob could not predict any compromises anytime soon.
He said that with 90% of the state’s obligations being met, it is only the most vulnerable who are getting hurt. Springfield doesn’t have much of a history of caring about the most vulnerable of the state’s citizens.
I asked about the report that TRS investments got a tiny 1% return. Bob smiled and told me that the 1% return put us in the top 10% of large state pension systems.
That’s how bad the market has been this year.
The major problem remains the failure of the state to make their pension payments over decades. Now the Governor is floating the idea of taking another pension holiday.
A few of us got into a conversation about Speaker Madigan and whether he would survive the challenge he is facing in the primary.
I said I didn’t think there was much of a chance that Madigan would be defeated. As much as I dislike (to say the least) the Speaker, the Governor has done a masterful job of handing Madigan a wide range of supporters, now including Chuy Garcia and the CTU.
I also ran into my old friend Fred Schroeder.
During the many years I was President of the Park Ridge Education Association, Fred was the Superintendent for most of that time.
He was a good one.
I joked when I told him that being a good superintendent was a pretty low bar compared to the ones who came before him and the ones that followed him.
We had our battles, Fred and I. It is what you would expect from a union president and a school superintendent.
But there was mutual respect. He respected the union and teachers. He not only listened, but together we created structures that actually encouraged teacher leadership in our building which improved teaching and learning.
Those things are hard to sustain when administrative leadership and the board turn adversarial.