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Madigan has bill to strip state retirees of their health insurance subsidy

Monday, Apr 30, 2012

* As I told subscribers on Friday, House Speaker Michael Madigan has introduced an amendment to do away with government subsidies for state and university retiree health insurance

Legislation to do away with the health insurance premium subsidy available to state retirees opens a new front in the battle between legislators determined to cut the state’s retirement debt and unions representing state workers.

“It would wipe out retiree health care entirely for retired state employees,” said Anders Lindall, spokesman for the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, the largest public worker union.

The amendment to Senate Bill 1313 would eliminate subsidies for health insurance for retirees. Instead, the Department of Central Management Services would determine how much the state would contribute to “the basic program of group health benefits on behalf of retired employees, annuitants and survivors.” […]

“This is another place where the state is spending money and it’s important as we go through the whole budget debate to look at each one of these situations and determine if that is the best way to go forward,” said Madigan spokesman Steve Brown.

The subsidy is essentially written into the union’s contract, but that contract expires this year and doing away with the subsidy would likely kill it off.

* Related and a roundup…

* ‘A lot of angst’ among teachers over pensions: Most details about the plan are unclear at this point, but the most worrisome part of the proposal for teachers is a provision that would require educators to be 67 years old in order to retire with full pension benefits.

* School officials decry Quinn’s pension-shifting plan

* Finke: A little of the old Quinn surfaces in pension talks

* Pension presentation in Naperville draws hundreds of suburban teachers: “I think it’s fair to say there’s a lot more work to be done,” Ingram said. “There’s a lot of conversations that still need to take place. This is nowhere close to being a done deal right now. We’re going to be sorting it out over the next six weeks, or perhaps longer.”

* Gov. Pat Quinn’s pension reform ideas are a ‘big deal’ for unions

* Zorn: Quinn rebooted

* Illinois State Museum faces financial crisis: The Illinois State Museum might have to close one of its six sites — or push for an entrance fee — if its finances don’t improve.

* State Legislators Question State Officials on Animal Disease Lab Closure: “I’m against all the closures because after all is said and done, I think the total amount of dollars that we’re going to earn by closing is $100 million. What is $100 million in jobs, and making things unsafe, and not being able to set the services for the people of this state, for them to come here, to come back home, and for us to run and take our test out of the state, and on and on, it’s just kind of like a circle”, said Cavaletto.

* Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn says Gov. Scott Walker’s budget increases property taxes by $500 billion

* 2 more Illinois counties can allow courtroom cameras

- Posted by Rich Miller        


76 Comments
  1. - South of 64 - Monday, Apr 30, 12 @ 10:57 am:

    I’m sure Mr. Madigan’s pension and health insurance he’s accumulated over nearly 40 years (wow there is part of the problem) is protected. He’s a curmudgeon!


  2. - wordslinger - Monday, Apr 30, 12 @ 10:59 am:

    Perhaps the mindless talking point that Illinois Democrats are captives of public employee unions can be retired now.


  3. - Reality Check - Monday, Apr 30, 12 @ 11:00 am:

    Perhaps the mindless talking point that Illinois politicians care about working people can be retired now.


  4. - Freeman - Monday, Apr 30, 12 @ 11:08 am:

    Heh…if Quinn were a Republican governor like Gov. Walker, Quinn would be recalled by now.


  5. - Huggybunny - Monday, Apr 30, 12 @ 11:08 am:

    So, State employees shouldn’t run out the door to retire, but instead stick around so we get our health insurance if we agree to the “new” pension plan..but on the other hand they are working to eliminate retiree health care…someone please explain this to me, because at this point it sounds like NO health care no matter what you do once you retire…am I missing something?


  6. - Former Merit Comp Slave - Monday, Apr 30, 12 @ 11:09 am:

    And I find it laughably interesting that Legislators and Judges are not included in HA6 to SB1313. Surprise!


  7. - Cindy Lou - Monday, Apr 30, 12 @ 11:11 am:

    Laugh some more, FMCS. They are also covered after 4 yrs instead of the 20 yrs it takes for workers now.


  8. - anonymice - Monday, Apr 30, 12 @ 11:12 am:

    Art. XIII, Sec. 5 of the Illinois Constitution:

    “Membership in any pension or retirement system of the State, any unit of local government or school district, or any agency or instrumentality thereof, shall be an enforceable contractual relationship, the benefits of which shall not be diminished or impaired.”

    It doesn’t say “pensions” cannot be diminished, it says “benefits” of a “retirment system.” And the federal contract clause backs this up. Money for the lawyers, anxiety for the retirees, no benefit to the State.


  9. - PublicServant - Monday, Apr 30, 12 @ 11:15 am:

    Huggy, that’s why there is no real consideration being given to employees in consideration for “choosing” the new plan over staying with the old, and that’s why it’s unconstitutional.


  10. - He Makes Ryan Look Like a Saint - Monday, Apr 30, 12 @ 11:22 am:

    School Districts are going to be in REAL trouble after Dec 31. The number of teachers that will retire is going to be incredible.


  11. - amalia - Monday, Apr 30, 12 @ 11:28 am:

    another way to save money, the Tribune editorial of today….

    http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/opinion/editorials/ct-edit-townships-20120430,0,6705553.story

    is it possible to get a referendum on townships on the Cook County ballot? townships waste money and serve to fan the egos of the trustees.


  12. - Rich Miller - Monday, Apr 30, 12 @ 11:32 am:

    ===it says “benefits” of a “retirment system.” ===

    It says benefits of a membership in any pension system.

    health care is not a benefit of that membership. It’s a separately negotiated benefit by the unions. Unions cannot legally negotiate pension benefits.


  13. - Retired Non-Union Guy - Monday, Apr 30, 12 @ 11:32 am:

    The health insurance after 20 years was implemented to stop the State’s brain drain. If you stayed 20+, you got the insurance when you retired. That was, at minimum, an implied contract and, give that it became a statute, it is a written one. They’ve always said they could change it but it would be an after the fact change, which is considered illegal under contract law.

    I wouldn’t have a problem contributing something more towards my health insurance but the numbers they come up with are just ridiculous and inconsistent from one source to another. According to the State, they pay something like $1,087 a month towards my insurance. According to a Health Alliance statement published in the SJ-R, the State pays about $480 per employee under their contract. That’s a $600 difference.

    The whole point of a group health plan is to provide an average cost to everyone under the plan. Young, old, healthy, sick … all pay the same premium. From previous statements, it sounds like the State wants to selectively decide who pays the group rate and who pays the individual rate … and they are going to make the retirees pay an individual rate. Sounds like an opportunity for a class aciton lawsuit under one of the age discrimination laws … except that sinc eyou are a State employee, you have to sue under the State’s law (not Federal) and the State gets to decide if you have a case. The whole thing is rigged from the git go …

    Has anyone checked to see if this violates the ACA rules that you can’t change / drop things until the ACA is fully effective? (Remember, that’s part of th eproblem Illinois is having with Medicaid?) And what happened to the large financial subsidy the State got from the Feds the last two years under ACA to maintain health insurance for early retirees? (Rememebr, we all got a letter last year telling us the State got the money!) What about the waiver the State applied for to postpone the State health insurance being affected by ACA until 2018? Lastly, what about the promise that “if we liked our health insurance, we could keep it” under ACA?

    With the Legislature exempting themselves and the judges, this is one more example of politicans “do as I say, not as I do”. Time to propose a Constitutional amendment that the law also applies equally to our elected officials!

    On the other hand, this whole thing is a gift to the unions and retiree associations to raise funds …


  14. - Choice? - Monday, Apr 30, 12 @ 11:39 am:

    Wait a second! Didn’t Quinn just really really promise that if employees joined the new version of the pension system that they would have health care premiums paid for?


  15. - Secret Square - Monday, Apr 30, 12 @ 11:39 am:

    “at this point it sounds like NO health care no matter what you do once you retire”

    Actually, it’s more like “no health care unless you wait until you are eligible for Medicare before you retire.” That, I suspect, is the real intention — to raise the normal/average retirement age to at least 65 either directly (by changing the pension eligibility criteria) or indirectly (leaving current pension rules as they are but imposing health insurance conditions that will prevent anyone in their right mind from retiring before they can get Medicare).


  16. - Ready To Get Out - Monday, Apr 30, 12 @ 11:44 am:

    I might have missed something here, but are they talking about early retirees (under Medicare age) or ALL retirees? Seems they are talking about everyone! Except of course themselves, and the judges who might possibly rule on it.


  17. - Boone's is Back - Monday, Apr 30, 12 @ 11:48 am:

    So is Quinn 3.0 the version that actually gets the stuff passed?


  18. - Robert - Monday, Apr 30, 12 @ 11:52 am:

    The choice is clear here, given finite dollars and no appetite for another overall tax increase: either cut state’s contribution to public employees’ health care or cut more from poor sick folks’ Medicaid.


  19. - Retired Non-Union Guy - Monday, Apr 30, 12 @ 11:53 am:

    The actual State health insurance statute is:

    State Employee Group Insurance Act of 1971, 5 ILCS 375/10 (as amended), Payments by State; premiums

    see section (a-1 & a-2) for SERS re 20 years
    see section (a-3 & a-5) for SURS
    see section (a-6 & a-7) for TRS

    You can find it here:

    http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs3.asp?ActID=120&ChapterID=2


  20. - Raising Kane - Monday, Apr 30, 12 @ 11:57 am:

    The health insurance was really the only “carrot” Quinn had in getting employees to consider moving to the new plan. And, of course the new plan is where all the state’s savings are. So, something that highlights how tenative health insurance benefits really are probably does not help the cause.


  21. - Retired Non-Union Guy - Monday, Apr 30, 12 @ 11:58 am:

    If you go read some of the Civic Commision studies, the major complaint (as I read it) is the high cost of about 68% of State retirees selecting the Quality Care program over one of the managed care programs. A much simpler solution would be to just eliminate the Quality Care program and have everyone move to managed care … just like the STate is talkign about to get Medicaid savings.

    But that would mean the STate would have to pay insurance premiums every month to the HMO’s … something the State is not in the habit of doing for a large amount of their health insurance claims … and that would blow a 9 to 15 month hole in the health financing that the State uses to keep afloat.


  22. - Cindy Lou - Monday, Apr 30, 12 @ 12:01 pm:

    I personally have no problem paying a reasonable premium as a retiree, example: same as active worker. I’ve said this before.

    What I actually resent is being a month away from retiring after 36 yrs t now be told ‘lady maybe you won’t get any or maybe we’ll take your whole pension check worth out for premiums’ (and all the while of course I know it affects not any of the people in the GA voting on SB1313HA6)….I played by the rules all these yrs and now they want to yank the rug out from under me. So what now? Just keep working until I die?

    Having viewed the Mercy (sp?) report from a yr ago and studying the COGFA FY13 report on insurance, I really don’t see why they feel they must charge ridiculous premiums. The numbers they’ve been threatening with and/or trying to push are out of bounds with what the reports indicate necessary.


  23. - Cook County Commoner - Monday, Apr 30, 12 @ 12:06 pm:

    Perhaps with more government retirees facing the full cost of health care insurance like the rest of us, we’ll see more and consistent pressure on government to stop caving in to the demands of health insurers, care providers and the lawywers.


  24. - Arthur Andersen - Monday, Apr 30, 12 @ 12:18 pm:

    Don’t forget that a major reason for the high percentage of Quality Care selection is retirees who live outside Illinois and have no other option.


  25. - Former Merit Comp Slave - Monday, Apr 30, 12 @ 12:24 pm:

    Cindy I’m with you. I wanted to work another year but will retire within weeks or months. I’ve got over 27 years in, all in good faith and to change the rules in the last 2 minutes of the game kinda sucks. I don’t mind contributing towards my health insurance either, but I sure as hell don’t think I should pay the same amount as that top school official bringing home $267,000 on his pension when mine will only be $24,000. Let’s make it graduated, let’s move retirement age to 62 when folks can get fed insurance, let’s be reasonable and not stick it to the folks who have hung on for decades (some of us not getting raises for 7+ years!!).


  26. - Retired Non-Union Guy - Monday, Apr 30, 12 @ 12:29 pm:

    AA A 12:18,

    Yeah, I know that … but that’s only for the ones who left the State permanently. The snowbirds can get their regular checkups, etc. when they are here in Illinois and just have their mail order prescriptions forwarded … and when out of State in FL or TX or wherever durign the winter, they do still have emergency services … it’s just “routine care” they don’t have.

    Besides, there is nothing to say whoever negogiates or specifies the health insurance bid specs can’t include out of state coverage as a criteria … can we say reciprical coverage between Blue Cross affiliates or somethign similar? It could be done but the whole helath insurance game in the past has focused on state by state control instead of one national program.


  27. - jt - Monday, Apr 30, 12 @ 12:29 pm:

    If he were in an election race would he still propose these cuts?


  28. - Responsa - Monday, Apr 30, 12 @ 12:32 pm:

    If he were in an election race against Brady would the same people still vote for him?


  29. - Capital View - Monday, Apr 30, 12 @ 12:33 pm:

    Assuming the National Health Care program stays in place, everyone will be covered by one form of group insurance or another. This will bring rates down for everyone, including retired and current state employees.

    Don’t confuse the issues of health care availability and health care financing. This is purely a health care financing matter. My solution is that everyone pays at least 25% of their health care insurance costs - even legislators, state employees, judges, elected executive branch folks.

    Also, we have to stop the early retirements options that allow healthy 55 year olds to retire and enjoy pension benefits for the next 35 years, other than law enforcement and corrections personnel.

    Lastly, we have to start taxing seniors. Currently, pensions and annuities are not subject to state income tax for amounts over $50,000. We even have an IL Dept. on Aging, yet seniors pay virtually no state income taxes!

    And of course, state government has to meets its obligations by more fully funding the existing pension systems. No nonsensical promises, just DO IT!


  30. - Cindy Lou - Monday, Apr 30, 12 @ 12:40 pm:

    Ok, AA, I’ll sound cold hearted, but I don’t intend to leave the state upon retirement. My family has been in this state a long long time. I’ll still be right here, hopefully with my HMO health care and spending what little I have left of any pension in Illinois. I guess if I chose to leave and was left no option other than QC I could expect to pay more for that choice.


  31. - Frank - Monday, Apr 30, 12 @ 12:42 pm:

    AFSME doesn’t represent the SURS people getting free health care…


  32. - Choice? - Monday, Apr 30, 12 @ 12:43 pm:

    I think there are actually a few carrots that Quinn has….

    – First of course are health care premiums (small carrot).

    – Second is health care coverage (large carrot). Suppose you are entirely out of the State health care system. Medicade/Medicare would increase.

    – Finally is the COLA (large carrot). The courts in a few states with constitutional provisions for pensions have ruled the COLAs are not included. Colorado being one. 3% a year is large. $25k increase to more than $32k after 10 years.


  33. - Retired Non-Union Guy - Monday, Apr 30, 12 @ 12:44 pm:

    jt @ 12:29

    Then it was apparently “better the enemy you know” … now it’s turned out they didn’t know the enemy within.

    If the union had any guts, they would endorse and finacially support Madigan’s GOP opponent or sponsor a write-in … just to send a message. OK, the GOP is most likely the enemy but at least you know where he would be coming from and not be betrayed.

    Heck, maybe every State employee, teacher, professor and retiree should send a campaign contribution to the GOP candidate … money buys elections in Illinois.


  34. - Cindy Lou - Monday, Apr 30, 12 @ 12:45 pm:

    Responda, yes, I would still vote for Quinn. I don’t blame Quinn for the actions being pushed at unions/labor currently.


  35. - Arthur Andersen - Monday, Apr 30, 12 @ 12:47 pm:

    AA is no apologist for the Floridians, friends. One can find a chart of enrollees by state in one of those reports.


  36. - Retired Non-Union Guy - Monday, Apr 30, 12 @ 12:48 pm:

    Capital View @ 12:33 pm:

    I disagree. There is nothing the hodgepodge of ACA to actually bring down average health care costs. The mandates will just increase costs. The way that turkey is structured the only thing they can do to save money is ration care …


  37. - Retired Non-Union Guy - Monday, Apr 30, 12 @ 12:58 pm:

    Choice? @ 12:43 pm:

    I believe, under the current ACA rules freezing things until 2014 or so, that your second chice is off the table for now …


  38. - Soccer tease - Monday, Apr 30, 12 @ 1:16 pm:

    It’s unconsionable that the general assembly is not included in the retiree health bill. Also, just because it’s legal to strip retires of “free” health benefits doesn’t mean it’s ethical. There’s that dang e-word again that we don’t understand in IL.


  39. - Anonymous - Monday, Apr 30, 12 @ 1:22 pm:

    The provision in SB1313 that CMS set the state’s contribution rate annually would be subject to politics, subterfuge, sleight-of-hand, shenanigans, duplicity, chicanery, connivance and collusion. In this fast-changing world, at least we can count on this much.


  40. - Mouthy - Monday, Apr 30, 12 @ 1:40 pm:

    Welcome to Wisconsin.


  41. - CircularFiringSquad - Monday, Apr 30, 12 @ 1:49 pm:

    - Former Merit Comp Slave - Monday, Apr 30, 12 @ 11:09 am:
    And I find it laughably interesting that Legislators and Judges are not included in HA6 to SB1313. Surprise!

    Actually both A6 and A7 treat GA and Judicial retires the same as all other retirees so they will see benefit cuts too


  42. - capncrunch - Monday, Apr 30, 12 @ 1:54 pm:

    … (Health care is) a separately negotiated benefit by the unions. Many SURS retirees are academic, professional and administrative people who were not members of a union. I doubt that their benefits were negotiated by a union.


  43. - cassandra - Monday, Apr 30, 12 @ 2:47 pm:

    It sounds to me as though early retirees will have access to the state’s health insurance program but the retirees, or a subset of them depending, perhaps, on income, will have to pay more than they do now. Ditto the state’s Medigap policy for retirees who are Medicare recipients, I guess it will be there for all but more costly for some. This doesn’t seem unreasonable.

    However, this is only one of the opening salvos in at least two negotiations-the AFSCME contract negotiations and the overall budget negotiations. We are far from anything certain.

    As to medical costs, of course they are going up. Because of amazing technological advances in recent decades, medicine has a lot more to offer.
    It was never going to be cheap but we wouldn’t want to roll back the clock either. An affluent society should expect to pay more for health care-probably, a lot more.


  44. - Demoralized - Monday, Apr 30, 12 @ 2:59 pm:

    I think it is unconscionable that they would change the rules for people that have already retired, and even for those about ready to retire. People made financial decisions based on a certain set of assumptions. To change those assumptions after the fact is borderline criminal to me. That is what is unreasonable @cassandra.


  45. - Carlos S. - Monday, Apr 30, 12 @ 3:37 pm:

    I think it is unconscionable for children to crammed into classrooms with 40 others so that teachers can be retired for 30 -40 years, a long portion of which they will be receiving more $ than when they were working.


  46. - Waldi - Monday, Apr 30, 12 @ 3:48 pm:

    I just called Speaker Madigan’s office to ask why legislators and judges had been exempted by this bill. I was told that an ammendment had been filed and that legislators and judges were NOT exempted.


  47. - Cindy Lou - Monday, Apr 30, 12 @ 3:51 pm:

    Carlos, that’s very a dramtic touch, but I’m not a school teacher for starters. Secondly the expected life span in the US is 78. Sure some make it much longer, but it is what it is, 78. I’m not ‘expected’ to draw a pension any where near even 20 yrs, let alone 30 to 40 nor will I be making more money in retirement than when employed. Don’t put me in your neat little handbasket.


  48. - Former Merit Comp Slave - Monday, Apr 30, 12 @ 3:55 pm:

    Yes thanks Circular - I just saw HA 7 and HA8. Think some phones been ringing the last few days?


  49. - Both Sides Now - Monday, Apr 30, 12 @ 4:11 pm:

    I am glad to see amendments have been filed so the bill will affect Legislators and Judges as well if passed. However, the fact remains Legislators have a ridiculously generous pension. Capitol Fax mentioned the other day that if Madigan hangs around a little while longer before he retires, his pension will be 130% of his current salary. 130 percent!?! Who gets a 30% raise when they retire? With a bump like that he can afford to pay his health care while many retirees would struggle. If the Legislators want me to truly respect their efforts to fix the mess THEY made, they better start cleaning in their own house!

    Disclaimer: I am pretty certain the 130% number is correct.I know it was more than 100%. Tried to find the Cap Fax post on this which included other information on Legislative benefits. If anyone knows the date - please post!


  50. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Monday, Apr 30, 12 @ 4:15 pm:

    No one has mentioned it yet, but a likely side effect of the crisis caused by the pension “crisis” is that many of those public employees rushing to the exit door will be returning as contractual employees.


  51. - Carlos S. - Monday, Apr 30, 12 @ 4:26 pm:

    YDD, retirement systems that don’t offset salary and benefits when a former employee returns as a contractor don’t deserve to survive.

    CL, check life expectancy at retirement age not birth.


  52. - Anonymous - Monday, Apr 30, 12 @ 4:26 pm:

    –I think it is unconscionable for children to crammed into classrooms with 40 others–

    I grew up in the fifties, Catholic grade school. The FEWEST number of students in any of my grades was about about 52, one class per grade, one teacher per class. Somehow we managed pretty well.


  53. - Cindy Lou - Monday, Apr 30, 12 @ 4:43 pm:

    Ok, if you like that one better, Carlos, I might barely make 20 yrs given if I manage to fit into an ‘average’…you’re still lacking the extra 10 to 20 you tossed out.


  54. - wordslinger - Monday, Apr 30, 12 @ 4:47 pm:

    –I grew up in the fifties, Catholic grade school. The FEWEST number of students in any of my grades was about about 52, one class per grade, one teacher per class. Somehow we managed pretty well.–

    I call b.s.

    You never had 52 kids in your class, and there’s no way you can claim that 52 kids in a class is reasonable.

    Peddle that stuff at Beck or Kass’ blog.


  55. - Mike an Ike - Monday, Apr 30, 12 @ 4:52 pm:

    What makes me mad is our unions.They will back a Democrat no matter what they do to us.We have been a whipping boy for Blago ans Quinn and I’m tired of it.


  56. - Demoralized - Monday, Apr 30, 12 @ 4:57 pm:

    Carlos S:

    I didn’t say that things should not change, I said they should not change for people who are ALREADY retired or CLOSE to it.

    Take your overly dramatic arguments somewhere else.


  57. - Retired Non-Union Guy - Monday, Apr 30, 12 @ 5:02 pm:

    OK. A-7 & A-8 add GARS % JRS in, so that at least gives equal (if unfair) treatment.

    I still don’t see how they get around changing a State statute retroactively that people retired under. It was in writing that a SERS retiree w/20 years would get the health insurance free; if that isn’t a written contract (and a benefit upon retirement), I don’t know what is … and you can’t change written contracts retroactively.


  58. - Moot - Monday, Apr 30, 12 @ 5:41 pm:

    Wordslinger - with all due respect, you have absolutely no idea what you are talking about.

    It was common to have 50 students in a Catholic grammar school class in the 1950s in Chicago.

    Here’s my evidence:

    http://imgur.com/5jmTP


  59. - ChicagoDem - Monday, Apr 30, 12 @ 6:01 pm:

    And…where’s the outcry from the unions members and the leadership, and the many organizers who went out of their way to join their brothers in Wisconsin to protest the policies of the Wisconsin Gov. Where’s the indignation, the shouts, the signs…etc. Oh, I forget, Gov. Quinn, Cullerton the Pres. of the Senate, and Speaker of the House Madigan are all Dems.


  60. - Peter Snarker - Monday, Apr 30, 12 @ 7:02 pm:

    Those old Catholic schools had incredibly low labor costs. The teaching staff, nuns, literally took a vow of poverty!


  61. - Anna - Monday, Apr 30, 12 @ 7:13 pm:

    The race to the door to reture early has already begun. to be expected. What teacher bashers did not count on is the “larger than usual” exit of young teachers (particularly those without tenure), leaving because they’re re-thinking the profession. Illinois will become like Florida…………even a high school grad can teach! But that’s apparently how much value folks are placing on their own children’s lives and educations. So, I guess they deserve what may happen.


  62. - He Makes Ryan Look Like a Saint - Monday, Apr 30, 12 @ 7:25 pm:

    The amendment that was filed today will die in Rules.


  63. - park - Monday, Apr 30, 12 @ 7:36 pm:

    My wife’s a teacher, and her union has given mucho money to the D’s, especially since 2002. If Mike Madigan’s ears aren’t burning now, he has no senses.

    Wonder how this will affect the presidential. I don’t think Illinois Dems can take anything for granted, and the pre-election phone calls from the union will not be well received this year.


  64. - wordslinger - Monday, Apr 30, 12 @ 8:00 pm:

    –Wordslinger - with all due respect, you have absolutely no idea what you are talking about.–

    You’re right about that, but I appreciate the all due respect.

    The one photo aside, I doubt it was common that Catholic Schools routinely had fifty students in one class.

    Still, those that did — was that a good idea?


  65. - Anna - Monday, Apr 30, 12 @ 8:09 pm:

    Fifty kids per class? Sure, why not? It’s the MONEY isn’t it? No one cares about quality, experience, LEARNING opportunities, perhaps? Isn’t that what all this insanity is about? Money? Current proposals for cuts to teachers (increased contributions from salary to TRS) will, no doubt, impact the classroom. But we have to think about containing costs,right? Not worry about the kids!


  66. - zatoichi - Monday, Apr 30, 12 @ 8:53 pm:

    Word, I went to St. Eulalia in Maywood, IL for grade school. My wife thought I as full of BS about class size until my mom pulled out the scrape books for my brother and me. From 1st grade on, 50-60 kids per classroom two classes per grade. Had over 120 in my 8th grade graduating class, two teachers. Whole lot of those people have done very well.


  67. - Retired Non-Union Guy - Monday, Apr 30, 12 @ 9:51 pm:

    Moot,

    Now I’ll be up all night looking for my class photos from back then.

    Word,

    For whatever reason, maybe the strict discipline (the George Carlin routine about growing up Catholic is 100% true!), the Catholic schools turned out mostly success stories. You didn’t cross the nuns (a Marine DI was softer) or you were out of there. Plus they were into very progressive teaching techniques in the 50 and 60’s, things like machine assisted speed reading (50 years later I can still visualize that moving white bar), standarized testing, etc. … far ahead of the curve compared to the public schools. You were expected to excell …


  68. - Anna - Monday, Apr 30, 12 @ 10:06 pm:

    And most importantly, they could kick you out……………a luxury the public school system does NOT have! Catholic school parents also backed up the discipline policies in the school. Public school parents threaten lawsuits.


  69. - wordslinger - Monday, Apr 30, 12 @ 10:52 pm:

    –Had over 120 in my 8th grade graduating class, two teachers. Whole lot of those people have done very well.–

    Swell. Is that the way we should roll now?

    Is that what you want for your kids and grandchildren? That’s what you’re working for? Two teachers for 120 kids?

    And every other kid in the community as well? That’s the way it should be?

    When I was a boy, we didn’t have clean water… or seat belts… or flame-retardant pajamas..

    We were flying out of the windshields, with our gums bleeding and our pajamas on fire…

    And we liked it! We loved it!


  70. - wordslinger - Monday, Apr 30, 12 @ 10:55 pm:

    I hesitate to say it, but do we really want to go down the path of the good old days of parochial school education? Warts and all?


  71. - Anonymous - Tuesday, May 1, 12 @ 8:07 am:

    Wordslinger–about my grade school class at 52 kids in a class. My 6th grade year it was 63 kids. Don’t call BS unless you know what you’re talking about.

    The nuns and teachers had their hands full certainly, but that is EXACTLY the way it was. Suburban DuPage County.


  72. - zatoichi - Tuesday, May 1, 12 @ 8:29 am:

    Word, relax. Your quote was ‘I doubt it was common that Catholic Schools routinely had fifty students in one class.’ Well the fact is it was very common. Not saying it was right or that is the way it should be. That is just the way it was. As we moved around the country, our kid’s classes ranged from 20’s to about 40. Our daughter’s senior year had 1,200 kids graduating.


  73. - Anonymous - Tuesday, May 1, 12 @ 11:36 am:

    Another poster was right - SURS retiree’s health care is part of SURS and not something negotiated by any union contracts.

    http://www.surs.org/pdfs/facts/StateInsuranceFactSheet.pdf

    Many SURS-based employees are not even covered by union contracts.

    The Constitution clause does say “any pension or retirement system of the State, any unit of local government or school district, or any agency or instrumentality thereof, shall be an enforceable contractual relationship, the benefits of which
    shall not be diminished or impaired.”

    It seems that at least with SURS, health ins for retirees is part of a retirement system.


  74. - Robin - Tuesday, May 1, 12 @ 1:32 pm:

    Legislator’s should start with themselves first. They need to have their retirement reviewed and maybe get paid what they are worth. Put the access money back in retirement. They can afford it more than the average person can. Thanks.


  75. - Robin - Tuesday, May 1, 12 @ 1:36 pm:

    Legislator’s need to start with themselves. Like pay them for what they are worth and put that money back into retirement. Also they need to mess with their retirement systems too. They can afford it more than we can. Thanks. Robin


  76. - Frank - Tuesday, May 1, 12 @ 3:30 pm:

    ==It seems that at least with SURS, health ins for retirees is part of a retirement system.==
    It’s not a benefit of SURS (or any of the pension systems). It’s created by statute outside of the pension systems. It’s a benefit for SURS retirees, but it’s operated wholly outside of the pension systems. (Which means it can be changed.)


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