Illinois Math: Chicago Public Schools has fewer students but taxes go up

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Illinois Math: Chicago Public Schools has fewer students but taxes go up

[cap­tion id=“attachment_102098” align=“alignright” width=“255”] Daniel Web­ster School, a CPS school on the West Side[/caption]

By John Ruberry

On Fri­day a friend of this very blog­ger for­warded a Chicago Tri­bune Break­ing News Alert to me: Chicago Pub­lic Schools enroll­ment drops by nearly 10,000 stu­dents. And the year before CPS enroll­ment slid by 11,000.

There are 371,382 stu­dents tak­ing classes in CPS schools In 2002 there 438,589 kids run­ning the halls, with some of them learn­ing some­thing.

So, taxes for schools will go down, right?

Not in the Prairie State, the home of “Illi­nois Math,” where two plus two equals five.

For a while, that is.

CPS is expected to raise prop­erty taxes soon – a state bill that will likely pass to pass gives them that power–by $120 mil­lion to pay for, wait for it, teacher pen­sions. That’s on top of $100 mil­lion in a tax jump already sanctioned

[cap­tion id=“attachment_102100” align=“alignleft” width=“300”] “Build­ing a New Chicago” at Dunne School on the South Side, where your blog­ger attended kindergarten[/caption]

The sad tale of the Chicago Teach­ers Pen­sions Fund [CTPF] goes back to 1981 when the Chicago Board of Edu­ca­tion agreed to pick up most of the teach­ers’ oblig­a­tion to pay into their pen­sion plans. Out of sight – out of mind. Yes, Chicago Teach­ers Union, I’m look­ing at you! In 1995 a lost week­end of retire­ment fund­ing began – it lasted ten years – and all of that money that was sup­posed to go to pen­sions instead went towards teacher salaries and nuts-​and-​bolts school expenses. Oh, don’t for­get to throw in a calorie-​loaded Chicago-​style pizza buf­fet line of crony­ism, give­aways, and malfea­sance into this toxic dish.

Illi­nois still hasn’t com­pletely recov­ered from the Great Reces­sion – gov­ern­ment cor­rup­tion and incom­pe­tence, in my opin­ion, are the sole rea­sons for that – so nat­u­rally a par­tial CTPF “pen­sion hol­i­day” was declared from 201113 and the can was kicked down the pot­holed road again.

Chicago Pub­lic Schools bonds are rated as junk.

Two years ago Chicago prop­erty own­ers had to swal­low the largest prop­erty tax hike in the city’s his­tory to help shore up police and fire­fighter pen­sion funds, which are even more under­funded than the teach­ers’ pen­sions. And last week Chicago’s embat­tled mayor, Rahm Emanuel, released his 2018 bud­get pro­posal, which of course includes tax increases. When asked if more tax hikes were com­ing, Emanuel dodged the question.

Chicago is the only large Amer­i­can city with a shrink­ing population.

As bad as Chicago’s finan­cial sit­u­a­tion is, the real­ity is prob­a­bly far worse because Illi­nois Math is very likely dis­guis­ing the wretched truth.

Decline and fall.

[cap­tion id=“attachment_95046” align=“alignleft” width=“300”] Blog­ger in down­town Chicago[/caption]

Here is some more Illi­nois Math for you: The free-​market Illi­nois Pol­icy Insti­tute says, “There are now more inac­tive employ­ees and ben­e­fi­cia­ries in CTPF than there are active work­ers pay­ing into the pen­sion fund.”

Some­day there will be a new Illi­nois Math equa­tion. Two plus two won’t equal five – it will equal just one.

John Ruberry reg­u­larly blogs at Marathon Pun­dit.

Daniel Webster School, a CPS school on the West Side

By John Ruberry

On Friday a friend of this very blogger forwarded a Chicago Tribune Breaking News Alert to me: Chicago Public Schools enrollment drops by nearly 10,000 students. And the year before CPS enrollment slid by 11,000.

There are 371,382 students taking classes in CPS schools  In 2002 there 438,589 kids running the halls, with some of them learning something.

So, taxes for schools will go down, right?

Not in the Prairie State, the home of “Illinois Math,” where two plus two equals five.

For a while, that is.

CPS is expected to raise property taxes soon–a state bill that will likely pass to pass gives them that power–by $120 million to pay for, wait for it, teacher pensions. That’s on top of $100 million in a tax jump already sanctioned

“Building a New Chicago” at Dunne School on the South Side, where your blogger attended kindergarten

The sad tale of the Chicago Teachers Pensions Fund [CTPF] goes back to 1981 when the Chicago Board of Education agreed to pick up most of the teachers’ obligation to pay into their pension plans. Out of sight–out of mind. Yes, Chicago Teachers Union, I’m looking at you! In 1995 a lost weekend of retirement funding began–it lasted ten years–and all of that money that was supposed to go to pensions instead went towards teacher salaries and nuts-and-bolts school expenses. Oh, don’t forget to throw in a calorie-loaded Chicago-style pizza buffet line of cronyism, giveaways, and malfeasance into this toxic dish.

Illinois still hasn’t completely recovered from the Great Recession–government corruption and incompetence, in my opinion, are the sole reasons for that–so naturally a partial CTPF “pension holiday” was declared from 2011-13 and the can was kicked down the potholed road again.

Chicago Public Schools bonds are rated as junk.

Two years ago Chicago property owners had to swallow the largest property tax hike in the city’s history to help shore up police and firefighter pension funds, which are even more underfunded than the teachers’ pensions. And last week Chicago’s embattled mayor, Rahm Emanuel, released his 2018 budget proposal, which of course includes tax increases. When asked if more tax hikes were coming, Emanuel dodged the question.

Chicago is the only large American city with a shrinking population.

As bad as Chicago’s financial situation is, the reality is probably far worse because Illinois Math is very likely disguising the wretched truth.

Decline and fall.

Blogger in downtown Chicago

Here is some more Illinois Math for you: The free-market Illinois Policy Institute says, “There are now more inactive employees and beneficiaries in CTPF than there are active workers paying into the pension fund.”

Someday there will be a new Illinois Math equation. Two plus two won’t equal five–it will equal just one.

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.