Fiscal Year 2015 News Archive

Returning to Work

The Illinois Pension Code provides that a CTPF retiree may return to work as a temporary and non-annual employee for the Chicago Board of Education and/or one or more Chicago Charter Schools (“Employer”) under certain limited circumstances. The CTPF Board of Trustees recently issued an administrative rule interpreting the re-employment limitations. The new rule will be enforced effective July 1, 2015.

Summary
If you plan to return to work for an Employer, you must meet certain restrictions, or your pension will be cancelled.

The complete return to work policy can be found here.

Chicago Teachers' Pension Fund Thanks Lawmakers for Supporting Spring Legislative Agenda

CHICAGO - The Chicago Teachers' Pension Fund (CTPF) thanks a group of Illinois legislators who sponsored legislation on behalf of the Fund during the spring session of the General Assembly. "We want to reflect on the work that was done by our legislators and recognize their effort on behalf of the 63,000 active and retired members of CTPF," said Charles A. Burbridge, CTPF executive director.

The CTPF Board of Trustees continues to advocate for legislation that will increase state support and bring steady contributions to the Fund. CTPF thanks the lawmakers who sponsored the Fund's 2015 legislative agenda:

SB 1235/HB 1406:
Sponsors: Sen. Donne E. Trotter (D-Chicago) and Rep. Elgie R. Sims, Jr. (D-Chicago)

SB 783:
Sponsor: Sen. Michael E. Hastings (D-Matteson)

HB 3846:
Sponsor: Rep. Elgie R. Sims, Jr. (D-Chicago)

SB 812/HB 2502:
Sponsors: Sen. Martin A. Sandoval (D-Cicero), Rep. Daniel J. Burke (D-Chicago), and Rep. Kenneth Dunkin (D-Chicago)

SB 1587/HB 1454:
Sponsors: Sen. Mattie Hunter (D-Chicago) and Rep. Marcus C. Evans, Jr. (D-Chicago)

SB 1302/HB 2472:
Sponsors: Sen. Emil Jones, III (D-Chicago) and Rep. Monique D. Davis (D-Chicago)

HB 3695:
Sponsors: Rep. Marcus C. Evans, Jr., (D-Chicago) and House Speaker Michael J. Madigan (D-Chicago) with Chief Co-Sponsor House Majority Leader Barbara Flynn Currie (D-Chicago); additional Co-Sponsors included: Rep. David Harris (R-Mount Prospect), Rep. Anthony DeLuca (D-Chicago Heights), Rep. Joe Sosnowski (R-Rockford), Rep. Arthur Turner (D-Chicago), Rep. Christian L. Mitchell (D-Chicago), Rep. Elgie R. Sims, Jr. (D-Chicago), Rep. Camille Y. Lilly (D-Chicago), and Rep. John D'Amico (D-Chicago) Senate Sponsors: Sen. Mattie Hunter (D-Chicago) with Co-Sponsors Sen. Don Harmon (D-Oak Park), Sen. Ira I. Silverstein (D-Chicago), Sen. William Delgado (D-Chicago), Sen. Napoleon Harris, III, (D-Harvey), Sen. Kwame Raoul (D-Chicago), Sen. Martin A. Sandoval (D-Cicero), Sen. Heather A. Steans (D-Chicago), Sen. Donne E. Trotter (D-Chicago), Sen. Emil Jones, III (D-Chicago), Sen. Michael Noland (D-Elgin), Sen. Kimberly A. Lightford (D-Westchester), and Sen. Michael E. Hastings (D-Matteson)

"We had tremendous support this year for many of our measures, especially HB 3695, which had bi-partisan support in the Illinois House," said Burbridge. "We want to thank the legislators who have worked on behalf of the Fund and our members, and look forward to continuing the discussion and promoting these initiatives."

SB437 HA1 Fails in Illinois House

Legislative Update: SB 437 House Amendment #1 passed the Illinois House Executive Committee this morning, but then failed in the full Illinois House on a vote of 53-47. It would have needed 71 votes to pass. This amendment would have delayed the CPS payment due to CTPF from June 30, 2015, to August 10, 2015.

"For the Fund, this vote does not change the reality that we must meet our monthly obligation to pay the benefits that have been earned by our members," said CTPF Executive Director Charles A. Burbridge. "We hope that the Board of Education lives up to its obligations as well. Full payment is required by state statute, and is part of the promise CPS makes to the teachers. Everyone needs to come together for the sake of our schools, not just in Chicago but across Illinois. Education funding is critical to all."

Click here for the roll call vote.

Burbridge Statement on SB 437, House Amendment 1

On June 23, 2015, House Amendment 1 was introduced to SB 437 by Representative Barbara Flynn Currie (D-Chicago), and passed out of the Illinois House Executive Committee on a vote of 8-2. This amendment delays the CPS payment due to CTPF from June 30, 2015, to August 10, 2015.

Charles A. Burbridge, CTPF executive director said, "We are disappointed, because we will have to liquidate assets to make pension payments to our members. It's unfortunate that CPS is in a situation where they need to ask for relief from their legally required obligations. While this current legislation delays a payment, it leaves our long-term funding plan in place which is vital for the health of our Fund and for the financial security of our members. Our Fund will continue to deliver services and benefits to members, as we continue to stress the importance of a full payment to CTPF."

Q&A With Chuck Burbridge, CTPF Executive Director

Pensions are a primary form of financial security for the 63,000+ members of the Chicago Teachers' Pension Fund who do not contribute to Social Security during employment. CTPF Executive Director Charles A. Burbridge answers some common questions about CTPF pensions, how they are funded, and why full funding is so important to members.

CTPF has been asking members to help educate lawmakers about the importance of full funding. How is CTPF funded?
CTPF receives funds from four main sources: employees who contribute 9% of their salary, the employer who makes contributions on a schedule determined by Illinois law, the State of Illinois, and income from investments. When all sources contribute to the fund, pensions provide an efficient and cost-effective way to deliver retirement benefits.

Why do members need to contact Illinois legislators to ask for full funding?
CTPF is governed by Illinois law and changes to the fund or its funding schedule have to be made by statute. We know from past experience that when CPS has difficulty with their finances, they have turned to the Illinois legislature for "relief" or a "holiday" to avoid making payments to the Fund.

For example, legislation passed in 1995 allowed CPS to postpone payments to the fund from 1996-2005. Additional legislation passed in 2010 allowed CPS to make reduced payments for a three-year period, from 2010-2013, and extended the payment schedule to 2059. Together these holidays and reductions cost our fund more than $3.2 billion in revenue.

The problem with these "holidays" and reductions is that the amount of money we pay our retirees doesn't change just because CPS doesn't pay. We still have to pay pensions every month. The Fund currently liquidates between $80 and $100 million each month to make payments to our retirees.

We ask our members to educate legislators because we can't afford another pension holiday. We need regular, stable, predictable payments to the Fund.

Why is it important for CPS to make a full payment to the Fund?
The easiest way to think of it is like a credit card. If you skip a payment, or just pay a minimum amount, you still owe the amount you borrowed, plus interest, and that interest builds up over time. It doesn't get any easier to pay. We know from the past that promises from CPS haven't been kept and we can't allow the mistakes of the past to be repeated.

Click here to read more about the mistakes of the past.

How does CPS decide how much to pay?
The amount CPS must pay each year is determined by Illinois law. The law currently includes a funding schedule that brings our funded ratio up to 90% by the year 2059 (we're currently at 51.5%). CTPF can't negotiate or change the payment amount, it's determined by Illinois law.

Why is CTPF calling for full pension funding if there's a financial crisis at CPS?
CTPF pensions provide the primary form of financial security for our members who do not contribute to Social Security during employment. Our trustees have a fiduciary duty to protect the Fund so it can continue to provide these benefits. Our duty is to our members and our Fund. We must also continually remind CPS of their moral and legal obligation to fund pensions.

What has the Fund done to protect pensions?
Our Trustees have spent years educating our Illinois lawmakers about the importance of full funding, and fighting for revenue for our members. We began sounding the alarm about pension funding with a letter to legislators in 2007, and have continued ever since.

Prior to 1995 CTPF did not have to depend on CPS making payments, we received revenue directly from a tax levy. This past spring we made great progress on HB 3695 which would have restored the dedicated tax levy to CTPF and provided a stable source of revenue for our Fund.

This legislation passed Illinois House and Senate Executive Committee in the spring, but wasn't called for a vote in the Senate. We will continue to educate lawmakers and to advocate for stable and predictable funding from CPS and the State of Illinois.

If CPS doesn't make their payment by June 30 will I still get my pension check in July?
Yes. Payments for July will be made on time and on schedule. CTPF currently has more than $10 billion in assets, and we will make regularly scheduled pension payments.

The Fund will celebrate its 120th Anniversary on July 1, 2015. We have never missed a pension payment and we will continue to work with our employer, the Illinois legislators, and our members to make sure that we have the resources to provide pensions for the next 120 years.

Bloomberg Stresses Importance of Full Payment

"Any deferral of the pension contribution could provide short-term budgetary relief, but it would also provide for a much worse picture down the road," Rachel Cortez, a Moody's analyst in Chicago.

Click here to read the story.

Time Is Running Out - Take Action Today

Time is running out, please take action today. The Board of Education must make a $634 million payment to CTPF by June 30. This payment is required by law and CTPF cannot afford another pension "holiday" or reduced payment.

Please take five minutes today to protect your pension for tomorrow. Take these three steps:

  1. Call, visit, or send an e-mail to your State Senator and Representative asking him/her to reject any legislation calling for a pension "holiday" or underfunding. Find your legislator's information and send an e-mail from the Legislative Action Center or print out a copy of CTPF's Mistakes of the Past Flyer in color or black and white and share it with your local lawmakers in person.
  2. Reach out to Alderman William Burns of Chicago's 4th Ward. Alderman Burns is a former state representative who chairs the City Council's Education Committee. Use the Legislative Action Center to send an e-mail thanking Alderman Burns for his work on education and share additional information about CTPF pensions.
  3. Reach out to State Rep. William Davis (D-Hazel Crest), chair of the Illinois House Appropriations Committee on Elementary and Secondary Education. Legislative Action Center to send an e-mail thanking Rep. Davis for his work on education and share additional information about CTPF pensions.

Protecting pensions and educating stakeholders is a responsibility we all share. Thank you for your support.

CPTF Executive Director Charles A. Burbridge Calls for Full Pension Funding

CHICAGO - June 17, 2015 - As the due date for the Chicago Board of Education's pension payment to the Chicago Teachers' Pension Fund approaches, Charles A. Burbridge, CTPF Executive Director, is calling for full payment to the Fund.

"We recognize that there are tough choices to be made," said Burbridge. "These choices are consequences of the education funding policies of the past 20 years and we must collectively set a new course if we are to fully fund the education our children deserve. Our members are expecting the full payment required by statute and we have no authority to negotiate payments with CPS."

A 10-year pension holiday from 1996-2005, combined with reduced payments from 2011-2013, cost CTPF more than $3.2 billion in revenue. As a result, the Board of Education has to make a payment of $634 million to the Fund before June 30.

"Beginning July 1, 2015, the Fund will celebrate its 120th anniversary. If pension obligations are to be fulfilled for another 120 years, we must make changes," said Burbridge. "We must have an adequate, stable and guaranteed source of employer contributions to pair with the existing reliable stream of employee contributions and investment earnings."

Ensuring the long-term viability of employee pensions is not only critical to Chicago's education system, it is also important to the city and state economy. Roughly 85 percent of CTPF retirees continue to live in Illinois with about 50 percent of those residents in Chicago. In 2014, the Fund paid out $1.2 billion in pension benefit payments to residents across the state generating roughly $1.7 billion in economic impact for Illinois.

"Our members have dedicated their lives to the children of Chicago and to building a strong city," said Burbridge. "Our job is to educate and inform our members and other stakeholders, invest their assets, and administer their earned benefits. Lawmakers and elected officials must honor the promises made by fully funding CTPF pensions. We cannot afford to repeat the mistakes of the past with another pension holiday."

ABOUT CTPF
Established by the Illinois state legislature in 1895, the Chicago Teachers' Pension Fund manages members' assets and administers benefits. The $10.9 billion pension fund serves approximately 63,000 active and retired educators, and provides pension and health insurance benefits to more than 27,700 beneficiaries.

CPS Payment Expected and Legislative Update

Payment Expected
As the Illinois General Assembly grapples with budget issues, and the 2015 fiscal year comes to a close, the Chicago Teachers' Pension Fund (CTPF) reminds members that the mistakes of the past - underfunding pensions - cannot be repeated.

Fiscal Responsibility
The Chicago Public Schools Board of Education (CPS) owes the Fund $696.5 million for fiscal year 2014-2015. CTPF expects a net payment of $634 million by the end of the 2015 fiscal year on June 30, 2015. The amount the Board of Education owes to the fund is reduced by Funds received from the State of Illinois. This amount has been budgeted by CPS and CTPF is expecting to receive the payment on or before June 30, 2015. Please ask legislators to hold CPS accountable for this payment and future required payments to CTPF.

Protect Your Pension
CTPF currently liquidates $60-80 million per month to make pension payments to members. The Fund cannot afford another pension "holiday" or budget relief. Please reach out to your local legislators and share the message that pension funding is vital not optional.

HB 3695 Passes House, Stalls in Senate
House Bill 3695, legislation which would have restored the CTPF Tax Levy passed out of the Illinois House, but expired on May 31, 2015, without being called for a vote in the Illinois Senate.

The Chicago Teachers' Pension Fund (CTPF), the Retired Teachers Association of Chicago (RTAC), the Chicago Principals and Administrators Association (CPAA), and the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) all announced their support for House Bill 3695, which would have returned a stable source of revenue to the Fund without raising taxes.

"This bill had great support in the Illinois House and the Senate Executive Committee," remarked Charles A. Burbridge, CTPF executive director. "We want to thank our sponsors in the Illinois House and Senate for their support and look forward to continuing to work with them to pass legislation which will restore a stable source of revenue to CTPF."

The bill took a major step on April 14, 2015, when it passed out of the Illinois House with bi-partisan support on a vote of 102 to 9. The legislation was written and sponsored by State Rep. Marcus C. Evans, Jr., (D-Chicago) and House Speaker Michael J. Madigan (D-Chicago) with Chief Co-Sponsor Rep. Barbara Flynn Currie (D-Chicago), and received bi-partisan support from several additional Co-Sponsors including Rep. David Harris (R-Mount Prospect), Rep. Anthony DeLuca (D-Chicago Heights), Rep. Joe Sosnowski (R-Rockford), Rep. Arthur Turner (D-Chicago), Rep. Christian L. Mitchell (D-Chicago), Rep. Elgie R. Sims, Jr. (D-Chicago), Rep. Camille Y. Lilly (D-Chicago), and Rep. John D'Amico (D-Chicago).

House Bill 3695 then moved to the Senate where it was sponsored by Sen. Mattie Hunter (D-Chicago) with Co-Sponsors Sen. Don Harmon (D-Oak Park), Sen. Ira I. Silverstein (D-Chicago), Sen. William Delgado (D-Chicago), Sen. Napoleon Harris, III, (D-Harvey), Sen. Kwame Raoul (D-Chicago), Sen. Martin A. Sandoval (D-Cicero), Sen. Heather A. Steans (D-Chicago), and Sen. Michael E. Hastings (D-Matteson). The bill unanimously passed out of the Illinois Senate Executive Committee on May 6, 2015, but was not called for a vote on the floor.

"We also want to recognize the important role our members played in building momentum for this legislation," said Burbridge. "We had an outpouring of effort from our members, and we know that legislators received thousands of e-mails and letters from CTPF members. While this measure did not progress, our members continue to remind lawmakers that we cannot afford to repeat the mistakes of the past, and that a stable source of revenue is critical to the health of the Fund and the financial security of our 63,000 members."

Click here for a Fact Sheet about HB 3695.

CPS Payment Expected
The Chicago Public Schools must make a payment to the Chicago Teachers' Pension Fund by June 30, 2015. "We have not received any communication from the Board about any delay or reduction in this payment and CTPF expects to receive the payment in this fiscal year," said Charles A. Burbridge, CTPF executive director. The Board normally makes payments on or near the deadline and the Fund will post notice of receipt of the payment on its website.

Members are encouraged to reach out to their local legislators to remind them of the importance of fully funding CTPF pensions.

Tribune Publishes President Rehak's Open Letter

The Chicago Tribune published Mr. Rehak's Open Letter to Illinois Legislators on Sunday, May 24. 2015. Click here to read the letter published in the Tribune, or see below for the full text.

An Open Letter to Illinois Legislators from Jay C. Rehak, president of the CTPF Board of Trustees

Illinois law established the Chicago Teachers' Pension Fund on July 1, 1895, and changes to our system or governance have always been subject to the legislature. At times this can be a cumbersome process, as administrative issues that would be routine in many businesses, must be modified by legislative act.

Yet, the process of involving the Illinois legislature also ensures that Illinois citizens have a voice in the governance of our pension system.

That is why the 63,000 members of the Chicago Teachers' Pension Fund, the Chicago Teachers' Union, the Retired Teachers Association of Chicago, and the Chicago Principals and Administrators Association, have called on the Illinois Senate to vote on House Bill 3695.

This bill does not raise taxes, but restores a stable stream of revenue to our fund, which was lost in 1995, when the legislature allowed our pension tax levy to be redirected into the CPS operating budget.

For more than 20 years the fund suffered from underfunding through pension "holidays" and reduced contributions. A fund cannot survive on half-kept promises; in recent years, we have been forced to sell assets to pay benefits. Without a guaranteed revenue source we will surely see the mistakes of the past repeated.

Teachers have little recourse but to appeal to the legislators.

And today we do just that.

We respectfully ask the Illinois Senate and President Cullerton to give a fair hearing to House Bill 3695. This legislation passed out of the Illinois House with bi-partisan support on a vote of 102 to 9, then passed unanimously out of the Illinois Senate Executive Committee. It now waits to be called for a floor vote.

As our elected representatives you speak for your constituents. Give us our voice. It's time to call the roll on House Bill 3695.

Teachers are watching and listening.

Response to WSJ from Charles A. Burbridge, executive director, Chicago Teachers' Pension Fund

May 15, 2015: Charles A. Burbridge, CTPF executive director, sent this letter to the Wall Street Journal in response to their editorial of May 14, 2015, which included inaccurate information.

As the Executive Director of the Chicago Teachers’ Pension Fund, I was dismayed to read a number of factual errors in a recent editorial titled "Why Chicago’s Bonds are Junk" that exaggerated the annual pension benefits paid to retired members of our Fund.

As its source, the editorial cited a think tank in Illinois but apparently did not utilize the public record available in financial reports located on CTPF’s website.

In 2011, the average annual benefit paid for all members was $41,584 not the $77,496 figure that was cited in your editorial. This inaccurate number then led to an inflated figure that overstated lifetime benefits by more than $1 million. The estimated lifetime benefit now received by our members is $1.46 million, which is 40% less than the $2.4 million stated in the editorial. Our members do not receive Social Security benefits for their time of service at Chicago Public Schools.

The issues raised by your editorial are serious and will require sober and responsible actions by everyone involved in Chicago’s financial challenges. However, I would hope that when everyone "does the math" as you suggest that they begin with the true and accurate numbers.

Chicago Teachers Call for Vote on HB 3695

CTPF, RTAC, CPAA, and CTU advocate for reinstatement of dedicated pension funding

Chicago - May 15, 2015 - The Chicago Teachers’ Pension Fund (CTPF), the Retired Teachers Association of Chicago (RTAC), the Chicago Principals and Administrators Association (CPAA), and the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) announced their support for House Bill 3695, a measure which reinstates the pension tax levy diverted from CTPF in 1995.

"Our four groups, representing more than 63,000 members stand united in support of this important bill," said Executive Director Charles A. Burbridge of the Chicago Teachers’ Pension Fund. "This legislation restores our pension levy, without raising taxes, and returns a stable source of revenue to our pension fund."

"For two decades our members have seen their fund drained by IOUs and pension "holidays," said CTU President Karen GJ Lewis. "This legislation restores our revenue source and sets a foundation for a sound pension fund. Legislators in the Illinois House showed overwhelming support for this legislation and we respectfully ask Senate President Cullerton to call this bill so that our voices can be heard in the Senate."

The proposal reestablishes a specific tax levy for contributions to CTPF beginning in Fiscal Year 2016. In 1995, legislation diverted the CTPF tax levy into the CPS operating budget, giving CPS administrators control over pension contributions. CPS then deferred their contributions from 1996 to 2005. As a result, CTPF lost $2 billion in revenue. CPS again deferred contributions from 2010 to 2013 and cost the fund another $1.2 billion. In total, CTPF has foregone more than $3.2 billion in funding.

The bill restores the tax levy, equal to 0.26% of all taxable property within the Chicago Public Schools district, and would generate approximately $160 to $180 million in 2016. The bill does not increase taxes, but reduces the CPS levy from 3.07% to 2.81% to fund pensions. The 0.26% of tax levied each year will be deposited directly with CTPF.

The bill is now waiting to be called for a vote in the Illinois Senate where it is being sponsored by Sen. Mattie Hunter (D-Chicago) with Co-Sponsors Sen. Don Harmon (D-Oak Park), Sen. Ira I. Silverstein (D-Chicago), Sen. William Delgado (D-Chicago), Sen. Napoleon Harris, III, (D-Harvey), Sen. Kwame Raoul (D-Chicago), Sen. Martin A. Sandoval (D-Cicero), Sen. Heather A. Steans (D-Chicago), and Sen. Michael E. Hastings (D-Matteson).

The bill took a major step on April 14, 2015, when it passed out of the Illinois House with bi-partisan support on a vote of 102 to 9. The legislation was written and sponsored by State Rep. Marcus C. Evans, Jr., (D-Chicago) and House Speaker Michael J. Madigan (D-Chicago) with Chief Co-Sponsor Rep. Barbara Flynn Currie (D-Chicago), and received bi-partisan support from several additional Co-Sponsors including Rep. David Harris (R-Mount Prospect), Rep. Anthony DeLuca (D-Chicago Heights), Rep. Joe Sosnowski (R-Rockford), Rep. Arthur Turner (D-Chicago), Rep. Christian L. Mitchell (D-Chicago), Rep. Elgie R. Sims, Jr. (D-Chicago), Rep. Camille Y. Lilly (D-Chicago), and Rep. John D’Amico (D-Chicago).

Click here for a Fact Sheet about HB 3695

Click here to visit the legislative action center to send an e-mail in support of this legislation.


HB 3695 Waiting on Vote

MAY 12, 2015: House Bill 3695 unanimously passed out of the Illinois Senate Executive Committee on May 6, 2015, but it's future hangs in balance as it waits to be called for a vote on the floor of the Illinois Senate.

This important legislation reinstates the pension tax levy diverted from CTPF in 1995.

Act Now
YOU can help move this bill forward by doing two things:

  1. Contact President Cullerton and ask him to call the bill.
    Call or e-mail Illinois Senate President Cullerton and respectfully ask that he call HB3695 for a vote. This important legislation does not increase taxes and reinstates a guaranteed funding source for the Chicago Teachers' Pension Fund. Contact Information:
  2. Contact your Illinois Senator to ask him/her to vote yes on House Bill 3695 when the bill is called.
    Look up your State Senator's contact information and send an e-mail directly from the Legislative Action Center.
    Click here for the Legislative Action Center

Additional Information about HB 3695
Click here for a Fact Sheet about HB 3695


May 7, 2015, Statement by Charles A. Burbridge, executive director of the Chicago Teachers’ Pension Fund, on Illinois Supreme Court Ruling

While CTPF members were not directly impacted by the ruling on Senate Bill 1, the Illinois Supreme Court’s landmark decision to strike down this legislation is a welcome development for our members. This ruling clearly establishes that pensions are a promise to be kept, which is important to our members since they do not receive Social Security benefits and depend on CTPF pensions for their retirement security.

Unfortunately, our Fund has been devastated by decades of underfunding by our employer. As a result, CPS faces significant challenges as it makes up for the impact of its past decisions. We hope that this ruling helps to move forward the conversation about fully funding pensions for CTPF members.


House Bill 3695 Passes out of Senate Executive Committee with Unanimous Vote

Bill may soon be called for full vote in Senate

May 6, 2015: House Bill 3695 continues to progress through the Illinois legislature, passing out of the Senate Executive Committee on a unanimous vote on Wednesday, May, 6, 2015. The legislation reinstates the pension tax levy diverted from CTPF in 1995. The bill will be called for a floor vote in the Illinois Senate in the near future.

The bill is being sponsored in the Senate by Sen. Mattie Hunter (D-Chicago) with Co-Sponsors Sen. Don Harmon (D-Oak Park), Sen. Ira I. Silverstein (D-Chicago), Sen. William Delgado (D-Chicago), Sen. Napoleon Harris, III, (D-Harvey), Sen. Kwame Raoul (D-Chicago), Sen. Martin A. Sandoval (D-Cicero), Sen. Heather A. Steans (D-Chicago), Sen. Donne E. Trotter (D-Chicago), and Sen. Emil Jones, III (D-Chicago).

In 1995, legislation diverted the CTPF tax levy into the CPS operating budget, giving CPS administrators control over pension contributions. CPS then deferred their contributions from 1996 to 2005. As a result, CTPF lost $2 billion in revenue. CPS again deferred contributions from 2010 to 2013 and cost the fund another $1.2 billion. In total, CTPF has foregone more than $3.2 billion in funding.

The proposal establishes a specific tax levy for contributions to CTPF beginning in Fiscal Year 2016. The levy would generate approximately $160 to $180 million in 2016. The CPS levy would be reduced from 3.07% to 2.81% and the 0.26% of tax levied each year will be deposited directly with CTPF.

If this bill becomes law, in conjunction with current laws that require actuarial funding, it would be a significant step toward achieving stable funding for CTPF. A guaranteed revenue source will improve the financial health of the pension plan and secure the stable and long-promised retirements for Chicago’s 27,700 retired CPS educators.

This legislation, took a major step on April 14, 2015, when it passed out of the Illinois House with bi-partisan support on a vote of 102 to 9. The bill was written and sponsored by State Rep. Marcus C. Evans, Jr., (D-Chicago) and House Speaker Michael J. Madigan (D-Chicago) with Chief Co-Sponsor Rep. Barbara Flynn Currie (D-Chicago), received bi-partisan support from several additional Co-Sponsors including Rep. David Harris (R-Mount Prospect), Rep. Anthony DeLuca (D-Chicago Heights), Rep. Joe Sosnowski (R-Rockford), Rep. Arthur Turner (D-Chicago), Rep. Christian L. Mitchell (D-Chicago), Rep. Elgie R. Sims, Jr. (D-Chicago), Rep. Camille Y. Lilly (D-Chicago), and Rep. John D’Amico (D-Chicago).

Support
The Chicago Teachers' Pension Fund, the Retired Teachers Association of Chicago (RTAC), and the Chicago Principals and Administrators Association support this bill.

Click here to read a fact sheet about this legislation.

Click here to visit the legislative action center to send an e-mail in support of this legislation.


Teacher Appreciation Begins with Fully Funded Pensions

CTPF celebrates teacher appreciation week by calling for full funding

CHICAGO: May 7, 2015, Teacher Appreciation week runs May 4-8, 2015, and is a time to thank teachers for their sacrifices and support for children throughout the year. The Chicago Teachers' Pension Fund thanks our 63,000+ active and retired educators for their service and dedication to the children of Chicago.

A CTPF pension serves as the primary form of financial security for Chicago's teachers who do not receive Social Security benefits at retirement.

"The best way to show appreciation for teachers is to fully fund CTPF pensions," said Charles A. Burbridge. "We hope this occasion serves as a reminder that taking care of our teachers isn't about a day or a week, it's about keeping promises made to our educators. The best gift we can give our teachers is financial security in retirement."

ABOUT CTPF
Established by the Illinois state legislature in 1895, the Chicago Teachers’ Pension Fund manages members’ assets and administers benefits. The $10.9 billion pension fund serves approximately 63,000 active and retired educators, and provides pension and health insurance benefits to more than 27,700 beneficiaries.


Leadership Roundtable Brings Together Illinois Reciprocal Pension System Funds

CHICAGO – May 1, 2015 – Leaders from the Illinois Reciprocal Pension Systems' 13 member Funds convened yesterday as part of a pension leadership roundtable initiative to help foster dialogue, share knowledge, and address the common challenges shared by the Funds.

The Pension Fund Leaders Roundtable, hosted by the Chicago Teachers' Pension Fund, invited board presidents, vice presidents, and executive directors to discuss topics ranging from improving operating efficiencies to the broad economic benefits pensions have on communities.

In total, the pension funds at the roundtable represent more than 1.24 million members and collectively hold more than $140 billion in assets.

"Pension funds in Illinois are at a crossroads," said Jay C. Rehak, CTPF Board president and roundtable facilitator. "We are facing some difficult times but by showing solidarity and addressing the issues facing Illinois pensions as a collective group we can work to ensure proper funding for all of our active and retired members."

"Total membership in these funds represents nearly 12% of the adult population in Illinois," said Charles A. Burbridge, CTPF executive director. "This group can help educate the citizens of Illinois on the positive impact our members have throughout this state."

"It was good that we got together today to reinforce the reality that the $12 billion in benefits we pay annually are a cornerstone of the Illinois economy. We will always do better when we work together," said Richard W. Ingram, executive director of the Teachers' Retirement System of the State of Illinois.

"The financial health of Illinois depends on the financial health of all Illinois retirees. I was pleased to meet with this important segment, the pension fund leaders who represent more than 1.2 million workers in our state," said Louis Kosiba, executive director of the Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund.

"The group that convened was very engaged and it's going to be a good forum for the directors who have the same common problems, and concerns to be able to work together and proactively address issues we all share," said Tim Blair, director, State Employees Retirement System.

Illinois Reciprocal Systems represented at the meeting included the County Employees' Annuity & Benefit Fund of Cook County, Forest Preserve District Employees' Annuity & Benefit Fund of Cook County, Judges' & General Assembly Retirement Systems, Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund, Laborers' Annuity & Benefit Fund of Chicago, Metropolitan Water Reclamation District Retirement Fund, Municipal Employees' Annuity & Benefit Fund of Chicago, Park Employees' Annuity & Benefit Fund of Chicago, State Employees' Retirement System of Illinois, Teachers' Retirement System, State Universities Retirement System, and CTPF.

The group agreed to reconvene on July 30, 2015.


House Bill 3695 Passes Illinois House on Vote of 102 to 9

CTPF advocates for reinstatement of dedicated pension funding

House Bill 3695 took a major step on April 14, 2015, when it passed out of the Illinois House with bi-partisan support on a vote of 102 to 9. The bill is now under consideration in the Illinois Senate where it is being sponsored by Sen. Mattie Hunter (D-Chicago) with Co-Sponsors Sen. Don Harmon (D-Oak Park), Sen. Ira I. Silverstein (D-Chicago), Sen. William Delgado (D-Chicago), Sen. Napoleon Harris, III, (D-Harvey), Sen. Kwame Raoul (D-Chicago), Sen. Martin A. Sandoval (D-Cicero), and Sen. Heather A. Steans (D-Chicago). The legislation reinstates the pension tax levy diverted from CTPF in 1995.

This legislation, written and sponsored by State Rep. Marcus C. Evans, Jr., (D-Chicago) and House Speaker Michael J. Madigan (D-Chicago) with Chief Co-Sponsor Rep. Barbara Flynn Currie (D-Chicago), received bi-partisan support from several additional Co-Sponsors including Rep. David Harris (R-Mount Prospect), Rep. Anthony DeLuca (D-Chicago Heights), Rep. Joe Sosnowski (R-Rockford), Rep. Arthur Turner (D-Chicago), Rep. Christian L. Mitchell (D-Chicago), Rep. Elgie R. Sims, Jr. (D-Chicago), Rep. Camille Y. Lilly (D-Chicago), and Rep. John D’Amico (D-Chicago).

"We are pleased to see this bill favorably received by the Illinois House and look forward to its favorable consideration in the Senate," said Charles A. Burbridge, CTPF executive director.

In 1995, legislation diverted the CTPF tax levy into the CPS operating budget, giving CPS administrators control over pension contributions. CPS then deferred their contributions from 1996 to 2005. As a result, CTPF lost $2 billion in revenue. CPS again deferred contributions from 2010 to 2013 and cost the fund another $1.2 billion. In total, CTPF has foregone more than $3.2 billion in funding.

The proposal establishes a specific tax levy for contributions to CTPF beginning in Fiscal Year 2016. The levy is equal to 0.26% of all taxable property within the Chicago Public Schools district, and would generate approximately $160 to $180 million in 2016. The CPS levy would be reduced from 3.07% to 2.81% and the 0.26% of tax levied each year will be deposited directly with CTPF.

"Restoring the tax levy will be an important step towards establishing a sustainable funding plan," said Burbridge.

ABOUT CTPF
Established by the Illinois state legislature in 1895, the Chicago Teachers' Pension Fund manages members' assets and administers benefits. The $10.9 billion pension fund serves approximately 63,000 active and retired educators, and provides pension and health insurance benefits to more than 27,700 beneficiaries.

Click here for the Press Release.

March 27, 2015: Jay C. Rehak, president, Board of Trustees, Chicago Teachers' Pension Fund, stresses pension funding in letter to the editor of the Chicago Tribune

Chicago Board of Education President David Vitale provided a dire view of the future in "How an Illinois Supreme Court ruling could devastate Chicago’s schools" (Perspective, March 9). He warned that an adverse ruling regarding changes to pension law would "cripple CPS' ability to fulfill its obligation to educate" and called the impact "potentially catastrophic."

There is no question that we face many challenges regarding public education in Chicago. Vitale and other leaders also have an obligation to provide the full picture regarding education funding. Vitale describes cost-cutting measures at Chicago Public Schools against flat revenues while "pension costs skyrocket." What he fails to mention is that CPS decisions contributed significantly to the current situation.

CPS avoided contributing to the Chicago Teachers' Pension Fund for a decade when legislation passed in 1995 redirected our pension levy into the CPS operating budget. This pension "holiday" cost the fund $2 billion in revenue, setting the stage for future trouble. A partial payment "holiday" from 2011 through 2013 cut CTPF funding another $1.2 billion.

If the CTPF had received this revenue, we could have generated additional investment returns that would have further reduced our funding deficit. If the Board of Education had simply made annual contributions each year to pay for pensions, our fund would be about 70 percent funded today.

Additionally, disastrous decisions the Board of Education made regarding derivative bond deals will cost taxpayers hundreds of millions of additional dollars. This unnecessarily exacerbates a problem that was not created by the people who served in the classrooms of our city.

Teachers do not choose their professions for the money. They work hard and receive a modest pension for their service. Teachers do not contribute to Social Security during employment; instead, they contribute 9 percent of their salary to retirement.

In return, teachers are promised a pension after a lifetime of service teaching our children. This promise for the future depends on a healthy pension fund.

As leaders like Vitale raise the alarm regarding funding to CPS that would be threatened without pension plan reform without noting their own complicity in creating the problem, we remind everyone that there is a moral and legal obligation here. The false choice between funding CPS operations and funding pensions misses the promise that we’ve all made to the men and women who are educating our children.

— Jay C. Rehak, president, Board of Trustees, Chicago Teachers' Pension Fund

2015 Press Releases

2015 Press Releases

March 20, 2015, Chicago Teachers' Pension Fund Announces Support for House Bill 3695

CTPF advocates for reinstatement of dedicated pension funding
Click here to read the press release.

March 4, 2015, Chicago Teachers' Pension Fund Provides $1.7 Billion Positive Impact to Illinois Economy

CTPF Releases 2015 Economic Impact Statement
Click here to read the press release.

February 25, 2015, CTPF Names Charles A. Burbridge Executive Director

Burbridge will start on March 16, 2015.
Click here to read the press release.

February 20, 2015, Jay C. Rehak Statement Following Gov. Rauner's Budget Address

Click here to read the statement.

January 8, 2015, CTPF 2015 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report Released

CTPF releases financial information for fiscal year ended June 30, 2015
Click here to read the press release.

January 6, 2015, Chicago Teachers' Pension Fund remains leader among pension funds in MWDBE efforts

CTPF invested one-third of total fund assets with Minority, Women, and Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (MWDBE) firms in 2014.
Click here to read the press release.

January 1, 2015, Chicago Teachers' Pension Fund Opens Spring Retirement Seminar Registration

Members who plan to retire in June should attend a spring seminar.
Click here to read the press release.

Headlines

Chicago Teachers' Pension Fund Supports House Bill 3695

CTPF Advocates for Reinstatement of Dedicated Pension Funding

CHICAGO – March 20, 2015 – The Chicago Teachers' Pension Fund (CTPF) supports House Bill 3695. This legislation, written and sponsored by State Rep. Marcus C. Evans, Jr., (D-Chicago) and House Speaker Michael J. Madigan (D-Chicago) with Chief Co-Sponsor Rep. Barbara Flynn Currie (D-Chicago), received bi-partisan support from several additional Co-Sponsors including Rep. David Harris (R-Mount Prospect), Rep. Anthony DeLuca (D-Chicago Heights), Rep. Joe Sosnowski (R-Rockford), Rep. Arthur Turner (D-Chicago), Rep. Christian L. Mitchell (D-Chicago), Rep. Elgie R. Sims, Jr. (D-Chicago), Rep. Camille Y. Lilly (D-Chicago), and Rep. John D'Amico (D-Chicago). The legislation reinstates the pension tax levy diverted from CTPF in 1995.

CTPF Executive Director Charles A. Burbridge delivered written testimony to the House Revenue and Finance Committee - Property Tax Subcommittee in support of this legislation. The bill moved out of the Subcommittee on a vote of 6-0 and passed the House Revenue and Finance Committee on a final vote of 13-0.

"Pensions provide the primary source of retirement security for Chicago's educators who do not contribute to Social Security during employment," said Burbridge. "We want to thank Speaker Madigan and House Majority Leader Currie as well as Representatives Evans, Harris, DeLuca, Sosnowski, Turner, Mitchell, Sims, Lilly, and D'Amico for sponsoring this bill and for their efforts on behalf of Chicago's active and retired educators. This bill takes a step toward stable funding for pensions, and sets the foundation for future financial stability for our members."

Click here to read the press release.

Charles Burbridge Named CTPF Executive Director

CHICAGO – Feb. 25, 2015 – The Chicago Teachers' Pension Fund (CTPF) Board of Trustees today announced Charles A. Burbridge as the new executive director of the $10.9 billion pension fund. Mr. Burbridge's appointment will become effective on March 16, 2015.

"Our trustees are confident Mr. Burbridge's extensive, senior-level financial experience in both the public and private sectors will be a valuable asset to the fund going forward," said Jay C. Rehak, president of the CTPF Board of Trustees. "In addition, Chuck's leadership and strong background working in Chicago and Illinois will help us navigate the many challenges and opportunities facing the CTPF in the current pension fund environment."

"I'm excited to be leading the Chicago Teachers' Pension Fund into its next chapter," said Mr. Burbridge, the incoming executive director of the Chicago Teachers' Pension Fund. "For more than 100 years the fund has been a key part of Chicago and the education community. I look forward to serving our 63,000 members and working with the trustees and the staff to ensure that our pension plan's funding gets back on track, so we are able to deliver on the promise made to our members."

Click here to read the full release.

Chicago Teachers' Pension Fund Provides $1.7 Billion Positive Impact to Illinois Economy

CTPF Releases 2014 Economic Impact Study
CHICAGO – March 4, 2015 – The Chicago Teachers' Pension Fund (CTPF) today announced the release of its 2014 Economic Impact Survey. CTPF made $1.2 billion in direct payments to beneficiaries living in Illinois in 2014. Those payments had a $1.7 billion impact on the Illinois economy supporting 12,628 jobs in the state.

"The Buck Stays Here: Understanding the Economic Impact of CTPF Benefit Payments on the State of Illinois and the City of Chicago" is produced annually and details the Fund's impact on the state of Illinois, the city of Chicago, and each Illinois legislative district.

"This report is a snapshot into just how important the Fund is to not just the city of Chicago, but the entire state," said Jay C. Rehak, CTPF President of the Board of Trustees. "Our members live in every single legislative district in Illinois and they eat at local diners, shop at local retailers, and ultimately, put their hard-earned retirement dollars back into the state's economy."

Click here to read the full press release.
Click here to read the full report.

2014 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report Released

January 8, 2015 - The CTPF Board of Trustees has released the 2014 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR). The CAFR is prepared by fund staff, reviewed by the fund's independent auditor, and includes detailed investment, actuarial and statistical information about the Fund for the fiscal year ended June 30, 2014.

Click here to read the press release.
Click here to read the full report.

January 6, 2015, Chicago Teachers' Pension Fund remains leader among pension funds in MWDBE efforts

CHICAGO – January 5, 2015 – As part of two fiscal year-end reports, the Chicago Teachers' Pension Fund (CTPF) today announced that it invested more than $3.6 billion in assets or approximately one-third of total fund assets with Minority, Women and Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (MWDBE) firms, a 2 percent increase over fiscal year 2013 investments. The fund's work was highlighted during October testimony at an Illinois Senate Committee hearing on Pensions and Investments and in a December report provided to the Illinois Governor's office.

Over the past twenty years, CTPF has seen dramatic growth in MWDBE investments. The fund invested 6% of assets in MWDBE-owned funds in 1993. Today the total investment has grown to 33.4%.

"We look forward to continuing our partnership with the more than 40 MWDBE-owned firms and continuing to invest in these productive relationships," said Rehak.

Click here to read the full release.

CTPF 2015 Retirement Seminars Accepting Reservations

Members considering retirement in 2015 should plan to attend the upcoming CTPF retirement seminar. The seminar provides a one-stop shop for retirement information including a general overview of the retirement process, assistance completing forms, and free copy and notary services. Representatives from CTPF's Member Services Department, the Social Security Administration, and financial services firms will also be available to answer individual questions.

April 7, 2015
9:00 a.m.
Thompson Center Auditorium, lower level
100 West Randolph Street, Chicago

Registration is required and seating is limited, register today at: goo.gl/uvKcPh.

Click here to find more retirement information.

Click here to read the press release.


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Last Modified 03 15 2011