Chicago public schools' pension crunch.: "I get annoyed when conservatives talking about the federal government running out of money, but listening to some progressive crowing about the outcome of the Chicago teachers strike it's also frustrating when people don't acknowledge that the city of Chicago most certainly can run out of money. Things like extra money for music and art teachers could be great ideas or could be bad ones depending on where it comes from. But it's not as if Chicago Public Schools is sitting on some giant pile of money that administrations have just been refusing to use. On the contrary, it's actually sitting on a large unfunded pension obligation:
Having skipped its pension contributions for many years, Chicago is supposed to start tripling them in another year under state law. But the school district has drained its reserves. And it cannot easily turn to the local taxpayers because of a cap on property taxes. Borrowing the money would be difficult and expensive as well, because of a credit downgrade this summer. One of the few remaining choices would be to make deep cuts in other services.
Like Chicago, many cities and school districts now face pension pressure after reducing their contributions in recent years to save money. Among the funds for different types of workers, teachers’ plans tend to be shortchanged more often, according to research done by the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College for the New York Times."
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