Illinois pension crisis worries teachers - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Illinois pension crisis worries teachers

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Lawmakers in Illinois have until midnight to deal with the state's escalating annual retirement payments. Lawmakers in Illinois have until midnight to deal with the state's escalating annual retirement payments.
The good news-having retired this year-they were given a better severance package today than if they were to retire a year from now. The good news-having retired this year-they were given a better severance package today than if they were to retire a year from now.
A House-backed plan would cut benefits and increase contributions for employees to help cut a $97 billion debt in five pension systems. A House-backed plan would cut benefits and increase contributions for employees to help cut a $97 billion debt in five pension systems.
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ILLINOIS (KFVS) -

The clock is ticking. Lawmakers in Illinois have until midnight to deal with the state's escalating annual retirement payments.

And with almost no time to find a solution, teachers are worried about their futures.

The halls are quiet and the desks empty.

But for Polly Hutchins and Diane Summers, they are filled with concern about the future their pensions.

"We were expecting that when we retire that everything was going to be just great but now you worry if we're going to lose something from it," says Summers. 

The good news-having retired this year-they were given a better severance package today than if they were to retire a year from now.

But that decision didn't come easy.

"What am I going to be doing in five years, what if something happens and I need to continue to teach," say Summers  

Two options remain on the table.

A House-backed plan would cut benefits and increase contributions for employees to help cut a $97 billion debt in five pension systems.

Senate democrats prefer a plan by senate president John Cullerton which offers employees a choice of benefits to forgo.

But the capital is at a standstill.

"It is kind of up for grabs right now; we are playing the wait and see game," says Hutchins.

While Hutchins and summers are only weeks into their retirement-it's hard to enjoy the time off because they worry not only for themselves but for the teachers they worked alongside every day.

"Scary, I believe for the new teachers-the ones that have only been teaching for six to ten years," says Hutchins

With five teachers retiring this year alone from the district.

It gives the women some reassurance on their decision.

"As I look back no its probably a good thing that we did because of the pension reform," says Hutchins

Both teachers worked a combined 66 years.

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