Teachers discouraged with lawmakers' plan for pensions

Published 02/28 2013 05:55PM

Updated 02/28 2013 06:21PM

CHAMPAIGN -- While lawmakers continue to argue over pension reform, state workers are left to wait it out. WCIA-3's Jessica Shaw finds out why teachers are worried.

Some are retired, some are still in the classroom. They're all frustrated, but there's not a lot they can do at this point. Retired teacher Joan Jordan lives a quiet life. But, when it comes to her pension, she speaks her mind.

"I can't tell you how many times I've called Springfield, my legislators in Springfield, emailed, I've gotten to their office."

Jordan is among the thousands of state workers who say their retirement is on the line. She calls the lawmakers' most recent pension reform proposal unfair.

It demands bigger contributions from workers and raises the retirement age. It also cuts back on cost-of-living adjustments.

"That's ridiculous. Gas went up sixty cents in the last two weeks. Food certainly hasn't gone down."

It's money Jordan says she was promised during her 38-years at Mahomet's Lincoln Trail School. Now, it's money this current teacher there isn't expecting.

"I already decided I'm going to have to make changes because I know I won't be able to count on that."

The answer to the pension problem is one she can't afford to wait on.

"My husband is a teacher and we've already changed his retirements, put that into 401K's and other investments and things like that."

But, retired teachers like Jordan say it's a math lesson lawmakers need to figure out.

"Do you think this plan is one they're going to settle on?"

"I have no idea. It's like trying to nail Jell-o to a wall."

That uncertainty is tough for a lot of teachers who are still teaching. They say it's hard to plan for retirement when they don't know how they'll be impacted.

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