* The Chicago Tribune has uncovered a unique stipend for state school Superintendent Tony Smith…
Smith, a recent transplant from California who was Rauner’s choice for state school superintendent, by law was placed in the Tier II [state pension] plan, just like most educators hired after Jan. 1, 2011.
State Board of Education spokesman Matt Vanover said Smith’s exact stipend has not been calculated, but it is intended to match retirement benefits provided to his predecessor, who was a member of the more generous Tier I plan of the Teachers’ Retirement System of the State of Illinois, known as TRS.
“The board … decided to structure the contract so that the payment to Dr. Smith would be the same amount as if he were a Tier 1 employee,” Vanover said in an email to the Tribune.
Such a stipend came as a surprise to Steve Grossman, president of the Skokie-based North Suburban Teachers Union as well as a member of the state’s Teacher Recruiting and Retention Task Force, which is examining the Tier II plan and its effects on the education workforce.
Already, Tier II educators “feel like they’re being treated as second class citizens,” Grossman said.