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Bill passed to aid Chicago Public Schools with pension fund

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The Illinois Senate passed a bill that would modify the way payments are made to the $10.2 billion Chicago Public School Teachers’ Pension & Retirement Fund.

The measure passed the Senate on Tuesday by a 37-1 vote and headed to the Illinois House.

S.B. 318 requires the state to contribute $200 million to the teachers’ pension fund for the current fiscal year ending June 30, 2016, and extends the deadline for the teachers’ pension plan to reach 90% funding to 2063 from 2059. Currently, the pension plan is about 51.5% funded.

Further, S.B. 318 reduces Chicago Public Schools’ required pension contribution for fiscal year 2016 to $207 million and provides a tax levy to help cover pension costs.

A statement on the pension fund’s website says it opposes the changes. “An increase in state contributions and the reinstatement of our tax levy are important steps toward full funding,” said Charles A. Burbridge, the pension fund’s executive director, in a letter on pension fund’s website. However, Mr. Burbridge added that “partial payments, pension holidays and budget for CPS only exacerbate our current condition and cannot substitute for revenue.”

Meaghan Kilroy writes for Pensions & Investments, a sister publication of Business Insurance.