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Reject transfer of teacher pension costs to local schools

Illinois Rep. Elaine Nekritz D-Buffalo Grove speaks reporters pensilegislatiwhile Illinois House Minority Leader Tom Cross R-Oswego left looks during news

Illinois Rep. Elaine Nekritz, D-Buffalo Grove, speaks to reporters on pension legislation while Illinois House Minority Leader Tom Cross, R-Oswego, left, looks on during a news conference outside the House chambers at the Illinois State Capitol Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2013, in Springfield Ill. (AP Photo/Seth Perlman)

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Updated: April 7, 2013 6:20AM

The Nekritz-Cross bill in Springfield, now being proposed to fix the state’s unfunded pension problem, transfers the pensions for newly hired teachers to local school districts — and for that reason it should be rejected. The Sun-Times’ view, expressed in a recent editorial, that the responsibility for teacher pensions properly resides at the local school level, is absurd. The state Constitution states that “the State has the primary responsibility for financing the system of public education.” However, Illinois contributes the least of any state to education and relies the most on local property taxes for education. Maybe local school boards abused their power to increase pensions payable by the state. But to turn around and further burden homeowners when state politicians were fully aware of the scam is reprehensible. And no doubt state politicians received a goodly amount of teacher union campaign contributions to leave local school boards alone while they lavished teachers with pension benefits. This bill is just a handoff of future pension obligations from a mismanaged and corrupt state to homeowners under the guise of bipartisanship.

Peter A. Quilici, Skokie

Honored to know Netsch

Dawn Clark Netsch was one of a small group of highly intelligent, fiercely independent and totally clean politicians in Illinois. But there was so much more to her. She was an expert on government law, co-authoring the case book State and Local Government in a Federal System that has educated generations of lawyers. She had a wicked sense of humor. She cared deeply about good government and about the people government is supposed to serve.

I am honored to have known her as an elected official, to have her teach me municipal law at Northwestern School of Law, and to have called her a “friend” and “colleague.”

We’re going to hear a lot of speeches in the next few days from politicians who can’t hold a candle to Dawn Clark Netsch. Perhaps the best way for them to honor her memory is for them to clean up their acts and emulate her approach to governing well.

Daniel Lauber, River Forest

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