Illinois Pension Scam

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This book is not the typical boring policy book of statistics. It is a series of short stories with fascinating facets of the dysfunctional pension system.



 Forward byJack Roeser

 The Situation

For 15 years the Family Taxpayers Foundation and the have made available online the salaries and resulting pensions of all the teachers and administrators inIllinois.  Since 2006 Bill Zettler has been presenting his very readable analysis of the unfolding financial lurch, stumble and fall of the K12 school system’s 870 Districts.

I, Jack Roeser, was President of anArlington Heightshome owner organization over 40 years ago when District 59 went for a referendum to raise taxes.  We opposed it and defeated that tax increase, but it opened the door to the massive mismanagement of the public schools.  I continued the analysis of District 59 and others who were wasting our taxes and giving the kids a poor education. It’s been a fascinating trip going to school board meetings and being a skunk at a picnic.  The IEA (Illinois Education Association) emerged as the driving force of the ever increasing cost to the taxpayers.    The kids are the excuse for the spending of all the ever increasing taxes, and the parents were there to pay the taxes.  The teachers became victims by the mismanagement by the IEA, and AFT Unions.  You will see in Zettler’s articles the woeful mismanagement by the IEA in salaries, pensions, buildings, etc, everything they touch.  The system runs at all because about 50% of the teachers have brought their personal integrity to the job, while all too many others surrendered to mismanagement and retired while still on the payroll.  The tragic result of all this mismanagement was exposed long ago in 1993 in Forbes Magazine in a revelatory article named the National “Extortion” Association, Parent of IEA.

Graphs showed how student achievement went down as the Union presence and salaries went up.  The trends continue to these days.

Zettler points out that the K12 system has run the cost of educating one student one year is $16,000.  Imagine, an average class of 25 students costs $400,000 per year.  The teacher is paid about $60,000.  Overhead of $340,000 is inexcusable.

A clue to the Union management style is in the frank statement of the President of the AFT, “When school children pay union dues I’ll represent the interests of the school children.”

The Result

The State cannot pay the promised teacher pensions which are over $80 Billion in deficit and growing worse quickly.  Zettler will show you salaries and pensions over $200,000 per year, some over $300,000.

Follow the Money

The teachers pay dues to the IEA and other Unions ranging from $500 to over $1,000 per year.  This amounts to about $80 million a year in Illinois.

In 1986, the U. S. Supreme Court ruled in Chicago Teachers Local 1 v Hudson112 that a union must explain to nonunion workers the purposes for any fees it collects from them. The Court considered it essential for unions to provide adequate information about the portion of financial cost charged for collective bargaining to employees who object to fee payments. School boards must therefore establish contractual agreements which minimize any possibility the objecting employee is subsidizing any union political or ideological activities.

The Hudson decision (and the Beck decision in 1988) proclaims that 80% of those dues are spent on Union politics, on the politicians in Springfield and locally as they please.  The large majority goes to the Democrats and Michael Madigan, Speaker of the Illinois House got over a $1,000,000 in recent years, as did his daughter, the Illinois Attorney General.

All that money has corrupted the political process well beyond just the K12 schools.  So what we have to face now is thatIllinoisis basically bankrupt, cannot pay its bills, and that includes the pensions promised the teachers.  Many teachers are aware that the IEA Union is their enemy who has used their dues to ruin their pension and to bankrupt the State as well.

Illinois has the worst credit rating of any State.  Democratic Speaker Mike Madigan passed $3.7 billion bond issue to pay those outrageous pensions one more year.  That can’t continue.

Madigan and the IEA say the Illinois Constitution says that the promised pension cannot be reduced.  Well we think that shows how desperately incompetent the IEA and Madigan are.

They may claim that a state can’t technically go bankrupt, but they can’t stop the financial crash that has already arrived.

Illinois has the reputation for being the most corrupt State of all, and also the most bankrupt.

Madigan, the Democrats and the IEA have caused this financial mess, they have lied to us for years.  The facts of their mess are revealed in Zettler articles in this book.

It is now apparent that the IEA and their Union have dominated the politics of Illinois by using that 80% of the dues that was used only for political purposes according to the Hudson decision of the U.S. Supreme Court.

The IEA Union has bankrupted Illinois and thereby become the enemy of the teachers who expected a pension that they now know can’t be paid.

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