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On teacher pensions

Published: Monday, June 24, 2013 5:30 a.m. CDT

To the Editor:

According to the June 6 letter, “Pension payment outrage,” writer Nancy Hardwick doesn’t think that retired teachers in Illinois deserve their pensions – retired teachers who worked for years at low salaries are now depriving taxpayers of their basic necessities.

I am a retired teacher and a taxpayer. I also paid union dues and into the Teacher Retirement System all of the years that I taught. My workweek was never 40 hours; it was 60 hours or more: making lesson plans, having conferences, doing supervision and after-school activities, correcting papers and assigning grades; all of which took place in the evenings or on weekends.

Most teachers spend three times as many hours outside the classroom as they do inside the classroom.

Summer vacations are usually spent returning to college for courses directly related to improving one’s teaching.

Remember that the teachers did not create the fiasco in Springfield. The lawmakers have not paid into TRS for many years. Gov. Rod Blagojevich didn’t start robbing the TRS; he just perfected it. The TRS has subsidized its own annuitants for many years. The money meant for the TRS went to the general fund, which benefited everyone in Illinois. Today’s teachers pay as much as 18 percent of their salary into a system that may never provide them with a pension.

There are various options available to us after high school. Ms. Hardwick could have gone into teaching. By the way, if you’re able to read this letter, thank a retired teacher.

Raymond La Francis


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