In other news. The IFT is given an automatic seat on the TRS board.

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With Doug Strand, one of two elected retiree representatives on the TRS board.

The Illinois Teacher Retirement System is governed by a 13-member Board of Trustees.

Trustees include the state superintendent of education, six trustees appointed by the governor, four trustees elected by active teacher or contributing members, and two trustees elected by TRS retirees.

The president of the Board of Trustees, by law, is the Illinois superintendent of education who is appointed by the governor.

The executive director is responsible for daily operations at TRS.

Because there are more Illinois Education Association members in Illinois than members of the Illinois Federation of Teachers, IEA members have always been elected to represent active teachers.

Chicago teachers are represented by the CTU, an affiliate of the IFT,  and have their own pension system with its own trustees.

A bill ready for Governor Pritzker’s signature will change the makeup of the TRS board.

While the bill – SB1300 – mainly addressed down state pension consolidation, it also added a designated IFT member and another appointed member to the board of trustees.

Neither union has been given a designated seat on the TRS board of trustees before.

It is doubtful that the addition of an IFT member will make much difference. The main job of the trustees is to see to it that the dollars that teachers and the state contribute to the fund are appropriately invested and managed.

Currently the TRS pension system is only 40% funded due to decades of underfunding by the state’s legislators.

So long as that remains the status quo, it is hard to see how adding another chair to the TRS table of trustees will much matter.

It couldn’t hurt, I suppose.

The Illinois legislators underfunded the TRS system again this year by over two billion dollars.

5 thoughts on “In other news. The IFT is given an automatic seat on the TRS board.

  1. Thanks, Fred. Let’s stop describing the underfunding by the GA as an actuarial concept. Let’s say instead: Instead of planing for fiscal needs, the General Assembly short-changed the Illinois taxpayers by another $2 million so it will be put on the future payment for Illinois resident with an interest of 8 something percent.

    If there were still debtors prisons, the entire GA would be permanent residents.


  2. Am I missing something here? Just curious, but why the IFT & not the IEA? Is it because the IEA has always had an elected member on the board (as you mentioned)? It’s of no consequence to me (although having a member from the IRTA is &, fortunately, did happen–very grateful to you, Fred, for giving Doug Strand all those mentions &…he won!), but, again, just curious….

    1. The IFT cannot win a statewide election for a seat on the TRS board for active teacher representation because they don’t have enough members outside of Chicago. It is a gift, if a rather meaningless one. Bob Lyons, the retired annuitant rep on the board, was an IFT member when he was active and he tells me the IFT never talked to him.

  3. I respectfully disagree with your statement that adding an IFT member to the board will not make a difference. Let us ask ourselves, why would Governor Pritzger want a member of the IFT on the board of TRS ; other than to weaken our platform and enhance the pension of CPS As a lifelong city resident I trust nothing we are told. Here is the pension platform from CPS ,

    ” At the individual level, employees covered by CTPF are required by statute to contribute 9% of their salary to pensions (“employee contribution”). However, from 1981 through 2017, CPS paid the first 7% on the employee’s behalf in addition to its own employer contribution.”

    As members of IEA contributing to TRS we never had a sweet deal like that!

    IFT never speaking to Bob Lyons is a moot point. Means nothing.

    We cannot, once again , be sheep; ask yourselves why should IFT have a seat at a table that IEA has been running for years ?

    1. As a result of bargaining CPS pays a portion of the member contribution to the Chicago teacher pension fund, the CTPF. This is not unique to CPS. CTPF is separate from TRS and CTU members are not members of TRS. Many IEA contracts around the state have similar language. This type of arrangement usually make the pension contribution instead of a salary increase. It has nothing to do with whether the IFT has a seat on the TRS board.

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