Monday letters: Point blame for CPS pension mess at lawmakers

SHARE Monday letters: Point blame for CPS pension mess at lawmakers
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Members of the Chicago Teachers Union protest planned cuts in July. File photo by Christian K. Lee, AP.

Peter Cunningham, while stating Chicago Public Schools picks up 7 of the 9 percent of teachers’ pension contributions (“Chicago Teachers Union can help CPS avoid layoffs” — Nov. 13), failed to mention that taxpayers in Chicago, including teachers, contribute to the pensions of teachers in other cities in Illinois.

He mentions Chicago taxpayers just got hit with $700 million in new property taxes and fees to balance the city budget. Does he know that teachers are included among taxpayers who must pay property taxes and fees to balance the city budget? Teachers have been sharing the burden since the beginning of time. The city of Chicago and the Chicago Board of Education have always tried to balance the budget on the backs of the teachers. Teachers purchase chalk, paper, pencils, duplicating paper, books, toilet paper, Kleenex, science equipment — you name it. They purchase whatever they need to provide meaningful experiences for their classrooms.  Instead of being appreciated, they are vilified in the press.

He hinted that if there is a strike, parents will look at charter schools. That’s not surprising since the governor, the mayor, the appointed head of CPS (Forrest Claypool) and the president of the board of education are all strong proponents of charters.  The board president, Frank M. Clark, is a heavy contributor and has a charter school named for him.

Teachers are not animals being whipped into a frenzy. They are rational, educated, thinking people. While Mr. Claypool, Gov. Bruce Rauner and Mayor Rahm Emanuel don’t have to worry about their pensions and are not being asked to take a pay cut to make up for the poor decisions of former and current mayors and the legislature, teachers face this issue time after time. The people who allowed a recess from paying into the teachers’ pension fund (for a total of 13 years) should have their feet put to the fire and face the ire of the teachers and all of the citizens of Chicago. Learn their names and remember that when they come up for reelection.

Place the blame for this problem where it belongs — on the backs of the legislators, Mayor Daley and Mayor Emanuel.

LaVerne A. Nichols, Brainerd

SEND LETTERS TO: letters@suntimes.com. Please include your neighborhood or hometown and a phone number for verification purposes.

Pass Student Access Bill

As Gov. Jim Edgar mentioned, the country is wasting finances on deportation programs and border patrols that are ineffective (“Allow Illinois student aid for undocumented students” — Nov. 10). The country should not stop these programs altogether, but those who look for economic opportunity or were brought here at a young age should be allowed to stay. On top of that, the Student Access Bill will not only benefit education for immigrants, it will benefit the American economy and its future as well.

Ivanka Suska, Willowbrook

City Council drones on

It is very fitting that the Chicago City Council discussed drones at a recent council meeting (“Drone regulations approved — without show-and-tell demo” — Nov. 12). There is a striking similarity between drones and our aldermen: A drone is described as a “male bee in a colony of social bees, which does no work but can fertilize a queen and does not gather nectar or pollen.” Unproductive except when satisfying the mayor or queen bee and instituting fines and fees.

John Culloton, Norwood Park

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