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.