Myers reports on state laws affecting the pensions of Chicago Public School teachers. He discusses the politics behind unions involved in the decision making process and their important role in determining a balanced budget. According to Myers, the Caucus of Rank and File Educators (CORE) is a recent contender "whose members say the Pension Board needs better...
Teacher Retirement Benefits
"The ongoing global financial crisis is forcing many employers, from General Motors to local general stores, to take a hard look at the costs of the compensation packages they offer employees. For public school systems, this will entail a consideration of fringe benefit costs, which in recent years have become an increasingly important component of teacher compensation. During the 2005–06 school year, the most recent year for which U.S. Department of Education data are available, the nation’s public schools spent $187 billion in salaries and $59 billion in benefits for instructional personnel. Total benefits added about 32 percent to salaries, up from 25 percent in 1999–2000. The increase reflects the well-known rise in health insurance costs, but it also appears to include growing costs of retirement benefits, which have received much less attention.
Conventional wisdom holds that teacher pensions (along with other public pensions) are more costly than private retirement benefits, for reasons dating to an earlier era of low teacher salaries over lifelong careers. In spite of dissent from this view by some researchers (see sidebar), in this case we find that conventional wisdom is right: the cost of retirement benefits for teachers is higher than for private-sector professionals."