CTPF is governed by Illinois law. The fund works to actively promote legislation that benefits members. Pensions provide secure and stable retirements for teachers, administrators, and public school personnel, yet their existence has come under attack. CTPF encourages all members to read and understand the facts about pensions and to share this information with friends, colleagues, and Illinois legislators. Advocating for your constitutionally guaranteed pension benefits is an important step in protecting your pension.
CTPF Education and Advocacy Topics
- Current News
- CTPF Educational and Training Opportunities
- Pension Fund Ambassadors
- Member Education Documents
- Legislative Action Center
- Recent Legislative Action
July 15, 2015, 3:30 p.m. Update: SB 316, Amendment 2, Fails
Illinois Senate legislation would have reduced CTPF funding by $536 million over 2 years
Legislation which would have reduced the CPS contribution to CTPF by $536 million during the next two fiscal years failed to pass out of the Illinois Senate this afternoon. The final vote was 32 yes and 22 present. The legislation needed 36 votes to pass.
CTPF opposed Illinois Senate Bill 316, Amendment 2. Note: Amendment 2 modified and replaced Amendment 1 which was filed last week by Senate President Cullerton. The bill required the State of Illinois to pick up the "normal cost" contributions for CTPF in FY 2016 and FY 2017, and included a State contribution for retiree health insurance, but reduced the CPS required contribution for FY 2016 and FY 2017 by $536 million. The legislation also extended the time CPS had to fully fund pensions by four years to 2063.
July 15, 2015, CTPF Opposes SB 316, Amendment 2
CTPF opposes SB 316, Amendment 2, legislation which reduces the CPS contribution by $536 million for the next two fiscal years. Note: Amendment 2 was introduced today. It modifies and replaces Amendment 1 which was filed last week by Senate President Cullerton.
The bill requires the State of Illinois to pick up the "normal cost" contributions for CTPF in FY 2016 and FY 2017, and includes a State contribution for retiree health insurance, but reduces the CPS required contribution for FY 2016 and FY 2017 by $536 million. The legislation also extends the time CPS has to fully fund pensions by four years to 2063.
Call to Action
CTPF asks members to reach out to members of the Illinois General Assembly and ask them to oppose this legislation which underfunds CTPF by $536 million. CTPF cannot afford another pension "holiday" or relief. Call or send an e-mail NOW:
July 10, 2015: CPS and Chicago Teachers' Pension Fund Reach Mutual Agreement to End Discussions on a Proposed Pension Payment Schedule
CHICAGO – Chicago Public Schools (CPS) and the Chicago Teachers' Pension Fund (CTPF) announced today that the organizations have reached a mutual agreement to end discussions on CPS's proposed Fiscal Year 2016 (FY16) pension payment schedule.
"In recent days, CPS and CTPF leadership have engaged in open, productive conversations regarding a potential modified payment arrangement," said CPS Interim CEO Jesse Ruiz. "After exploring various options and identifying potential benefits for both sides, we have mutually decided to end these discussions. CPS is committed to exploring all options on the table to resolve its structural deficit while working with its partners in Springfield on a solution to the District's significant financial challenges."
"After meeting for a number of open conversations regarding potential solutions to the District's cash-flow difficulties, we have come to the mutual conclusion that an agreement cannot be reached at this time," said CTPF Executive Director Charles Burbridge. "These conversations provided us with a constructive dialogue that clearly laid out each organization's needs. We have concluded that alternative options will need to be explored in order to resolve CPS's budget deficit while providing security for our members."
Chicago Public Schools serves 396,000 students in 664 schools. It is the nation's third-largest school district. Established by the Illinois state legislature in 1895, the $10.9 billion Chicago Teachers' Pension Fund serves more than 63,000 active and retired educators.
July 10, 2015, ACT NOW: Oppose SB 316, Amendment 1
CTPF opposes SB 316, Amendment 1, introduced by Illinois Senate President John J. Cullerton on June 30, 2015.
This legislation will be considered by the General Assembly on Tuesday, July 14, 2015. The measure passed out of the Illinois Senate Executive Committee on a vote of 9-5-2 (click here to see the vote) on July 1, 2015.
The bill requires the State of Illinois to pick up the "normal cost" contributions for CTPF, but reduces the CPS required contribution for 2016 and 2017. The legislation also extends the time CPS has to fully Fund pensions by four years to 2063.
Call to Action
Please contact your elected representatives to oppose this legislation which fails to fully fund CTPF.
Click here to send a message from CTPF's Legislative Action center.
July 10, 2015, Rauner Pension Reform Proposal
Governor Rauner held a press conference on Wednesday, July 8, 2015, where he proposed changes to many of the pension systems in Illinois including CTPF, and introduced a host of other legislative initiatives. CTPF is closely monitoring the proposal and will share additional information as it becomes available.
Recent CTPF Press Release Library
For an archive of CTPF press releases, please click here.
CTPF's 2015 Legislative Agenda
The CTPF Board of Trustees has approved the following legislative priorities for 2015. CTPF thanks the senators and representatives who have sponsored and support these bills.
- SB 1235/HB 1406: Increases the annual payment limit for health insurance costs from $65,000,000 to $80,000,000.
Sponsors: Sen. Donne Trotter and Rep. Elgie R. Sims, Jr.
Click here to read the Senate Bill. | Click here to read the House Bill.
Click here for a fact sheet about this bill.
- SB 783: Provides that the Board of the Fund shall have the option of administering the health insurance program, in whole or in part, if deemed to be the most efficient method of providing retiree health insurance.
Sponsor: Sen. Michael E. Hastings
Click here to read the bill.
- HB 3846 - Health Insurance. Authorizes monthly payments to be made as a fixed amount or as a combination of percentage and fixed amount based on what the Board deems most equitable for all plan participants and for the various groups of retirees that are covered by the plan. Provides that the exact formula for payment shall be determined based on the amount available for distribution to the retirees, and their various costs.
Sponsor: Rep. Elgie R. Sims, Jr.
Click here to read the House Bill.
- SB 812/HB 2502: Provides that any earned sick pay which is payable by an employer shall be considered pensionable earnings as provided by Section 17-134 and the charter school shall certify the number of sick days being paid. Also provides that any sum paid by a charter school employer before or after the school year shall be considered pensionable earnings if the payment is conditioned in any way on service being performed by the contributor.
Sponsors: Rep. Daniel J. Burke, Rep. Kenneth Dunkin, and Sen. Martin A. Sandoval
Click here to read the Senate Bill | Click here to read the House Bill
- SB 1587/HB 1454: Provides that the Chicago Board of Education shall levy a property tax annually at a rate that will produce an amount equal to the amount of member contributions to the Fund during the fiscal year 2 years prior to the year for which the tax is levied, subject to a maximum rate of .26%. Provides that the Board of Education shall use the proceeds of the tax for the purpose of making employer contributions to the Chicago Teachers' Pension Fund.
Sponsors: Sen. Mattie Hunter and Rep. Marcus C. Evans, Jr.
Click here to read the Senate Bill | Click here to read the House Bill
- SB 1302/HB 2472: Provides that beginning in State fiscal year 2016, the State shall make annual contributions to the Chicago Public School Teachers’ Pension and Retirement Fund. Provides that for State fiscal year 2016, the contribution shall be $374,270,000 and that for each year thereafter, the Board of Trustees of the Fund shall certify to the Governor by January 15th the amount of the required State contribution to the Fund for the coming fiscal year. Requires the certified contribution to be equal to 10% of the contribution certified by the board of trustees of the downstate teachers retirement system for the coming fiscal year.
Sponsors: Sen. Emil Jones, III and Rep. Monique D. Davis
Click here to read the Senate Bill | Click here to read the House Bill
The legislature determines the laws and rules that govern our fund. The CTPF Board of Trustees administers the law and protects the Fund's finances to ensure retirement security for all members.
CTPF Educational and Training Opportunities
CTPF Spring Ambassador Training
This spring, CTPF offered a Webinar and seven well attended Pension Fund Ambassador training sessions held at schools throughout the city. The sessions focused on the economic impact of pensions and discussed the recently released 2015 Economic Impact statement, The Buck Stays Here.
In case you missed the original broadcast, you can click the link below to view the recording.
CTPF Webinar Library
If you've missed our webinars, you can watch recorded versions of the presentations by clicking on the links below. Please Note: The webinars are hosted by GoToMeeting. If you are using Internet Explorer 11, you will need to download the Go To Meeting Codec, available at this link.
End of Fiscal Year Review, recorded on June 11, 2014
CTPF Board of Trustees President and Interim Director Jay C. Rehak and CTPF Lobbyist Steve Zahn for a summary of the fund at the end of our fiscal year, and a review of important legislation and legislative events from 2014.
An Introduction to Pension Fund Governance offered May 13, 2014
Do you know the Fundamentals about your pension fund? What role the Board of Trustees have in governing CTPF? Why CTPF elections are important? How decisions made in the State of Illinois legislature can impact your pension? View our recorded webinar to learn more about one of your most important assets – your retirement pension.
2014 Legislative Agenda, offered February 27, 2014
CTPF Communications Director Frances Radencic and Communications Specialist Jackie Umbles offer information about the fund and its legislative priorities for 2014.
Writing a Letter to the Editor, offered January 22, 2014
Speaking out to share your story is an important way to protect your pension. CTPF Communications Specialist Jackie Umbles will walk you through the process of writing a letter to your local newspaper editor. Click here to view the recorded webinar: http://goo.gl/Qmw7Kp
If you would like to view the slide presentation from the webinar in PDF format (without narration), please click here.
State Pension "Reform" Update Webinar, offered December 3, 2013
Kevin B. Huber, CTPF Executive Director, offers an overview of pension reform legislation that passed for State pension systems last December. Click here to view the webinar. Please Note: The webinar is in Windows Media format, which should be supported by all Windows PCs. If you are using a Mac, you'll need to install Windows Media for QuickTime, which you can find here on Microsoft's Web site. Windows Media is not supported on devices such as the iPad or iPhone.
CTPF Legislative Action Center
Need help finding your local representatives?
The Legislative Action Center provides an important resource for CTPF members. When you visit the action center you can look up your elected representatives by typing in your zip code, send an email to your legislators, and find out more about CTPF legislative efforts. If you register at the Legislative Action Center, you will automatically be enrolled in our new CTPF Pension Fund Ambassador program.
Pension Fund Ambassador Program
We've developed the CTPF Pension Fund Ambassador program to encourage our members to educate lawmakers and decision makers about the Chicago Teachers’ Pension Fund, its legislative priorities, and our members. We want legislators to understand the people behind the pensions, and to hear the facts about the fund straight from our members. Click here for more information about the ambassador program.
Ready to advocate for your pension? Click here for more Resources for Members.
You can register for the ambassador program by clicking here.
CTPF has several documents which members can use to educate themselves and their legislators about pensions and their importance to Chicago's teachers, principals, and administrators.
These documents are designed to educate CTPF members about the fund's current financial situation and legislative priorities.
- CTPF Member Education - This document offers basic facts and information about CTPF along with an overview of CTPF legislative priorities.
- Mistakes of the Past - This document reviews CTPF funding history and explains why we cannot afford to repeat the mistakes of the past (full color).
These documents are designed to be shared with legislators and policy makers. They were developed with the cooperation of the Chicago Teachers' Union, the Retired Teachers Association of Chicago, and the Chicago Principals and Administrators Association.
Pensions Matter: Understanding the Economic Impact of CTPF Pensions
CTPF educators make an immeasurable impact on children: educating, nurturing, and helping them grow into productive citizens and future leaders. Yet an educator's impact extends far beyond the classroom - active and retired educators are also consumers, taxpayers, and voters - who live and work in Chicago and surrounding communities.
Our report, The Buck Stays Here, examines the impact that CTPF educators have outside the classroom, and the benefits pensions offer the economy of the City of Chicago and the State of Illinois.
Pensions Matter - Economic Impact by Legislators
CTPF has broken down the impact that pensions have on our economy by legislative district in Illinois. Make your own impact on legislators by printing out and personalizing these documents for your local lawmakers. Pensions Matter - tell your legislators.
Other Advocacy Documents
- Leave Behind Information for Legislators - This document summarizes facts about CTPF and its legislative priorities and has space where you can write in your own contact information. Take this with you and leave it behind when you meet with a legislator.
- Fair Funding Flyer - This publication illustrates the need for fair funding for CTPF pensions. It illustrates the fact that the State of Illinois gives CTPf less than a penny for every dollar it pays in downstate teachers' pensions. This flyer is designed to be shared with a legislator or policy maker and includes a space to write in your name and contact information.
- Sample Text for a Letter - If you plan to write or E-mail your lawmakers, you can download this text and use it as a template to help you get started. Click here to download a text file.
CTPF encourages all members to get to know their legislators personally. If you can't meet personally with your representatives, there are several ways to share your views:
- Call on the phone and leave a message at their home or Springfield office.
- Write to your legislators at their home or Springfield office.
- E-mail your legislator--not all legislators have e-mail, but many do.
Tips for Meeting with Your Elected Representatives
Your legislators welcome feedback from their constituents and a meeting is a great way to share your thoughts and ideas. To make the most out of your meeting, consider these tips:
1. Educate yourself first.
Before you meet with an elected official, make sure you educate yourself on CTPF priorities. You can find links above to documents with background information about CTPF.
2. Schedule an appointment with the right person.
Legislators are interested in the views of their constituents so make sure you meet with the right person. Locate your legislator by clicking here. Many legislators offer walk-in or office hours when they are available. If you can't meet in person, try and call your legislator or send a fax summarizing your views.
3. Be prepared.
You wouldn't start your day in the classroom without a plan, so use the same approach to your legislative meeting. Make sure you're on time and have an outline of what you would like to share. Bring your CTPF materials with you and think of the meeting as a chance to educate your legislator. Be respectful of his or her time and perspective. This is a chance to make your point and to share information; the experience should be cordial, not confrontational.
If you discuss specific legislation, make sure you advocate for your position and ask for a yes or no on the bill in discussion. You want to make sure your legislator understands your position.
When the meeting ends, thank the legislator for his or her time and make sure you leave behind your CTPF flyer with your contact information.
PA 98-0599 (Senate Bill 1) Ruled Unconstitutional
November 21, 2014, a Sangamon County Circuit Court judge ruled that Public Act 98-0599 is unconstitutional.
The legislation, signed December 5, 2013, changed the Illinois Pension Code for four of the five state pension systems: Teachers' Retirement System (TRS), State Employees Retirement System (SERS), State Universities Retirement System (SURS), and the General Assembly Retirement System (GARS). CTPF was not impacted by the law.
The law eliminated the State systems' unfunded liability by 2045, primarily by reducing benefits for retired and active members. The law was scheduled to go into effect on June 1, 2014, but implementation was delayed by the court case.
The Attorney General has announced that she will immediately appeal the Circuit Court's ruling to the Illinois Supreme Court.
Governor Quinn Signs SB1922
June 9, 2014, Governor Quinn signed SB 1922, which changes pension law for Chicago's Municipal Employees and Laborers. The bill passes both the Illinois House and Senate on April 8, 2014. The new law, PA 98-0641, does NOT currently impact CTPF.
SB 1922 includes benefit changes for both Tier 1 and Tier 2 members, including a cut in COLA benefits, and increases in employee and employer contributions, and establishes an actuarially determined funding schedule for both funds.
Governor Quinn Signs New Pension Law for State System Public Act 98-0599 (Senate Bill 1)
A new comprehensive plan to overhaul the Illinois Pension Code for four state pension systems was signed into law by Gov. Pat Quinn on December 5, 2013. The Illinois House and Illinois Senate passed pension reform legislation (Senate Bill 1) for four of the five state systems: Teachers' Retirement System (TRS), State Employees Retirement System (SERS), State Universities Retirement System (SURS), and the General Assembly Retirement System (GARS) on December 3, 2013. This legislation does NOT currently impact CTPF.
The law eliminates the State systems' unfunded liability by 2045, primarily by reducing benefits for retired and active members.
The law was scheduled to go into effect on June 1, 2014, but a temporary restraining order has temporarily delayed the implementation of the law.