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Chicago Teachers Sue State Over Funding

CHICAGO (CN) - Illinois unconstitutionally discriminates against Chicago teachers' pension fund, the Chicago Board of Education claims in Cook County Court. The board claims the state guarantees the financial health of the Teachers' Retirement System and subsidizes retirees' health benefits, but does not do so for the separate Chicago Teachers Pension Fund.

The board says this unconstitutional "special legislation" unfairly forces it to divert money from education to the pension system.

The Chicago Board of Education is the only one of 873 boards of education in the state that the State has ordered to guarantee the financial health of its pension fund; the State guarantees the rest, the complaint states.

"This disparate funding scheme forces the Board to divert revenues from its primary obligation - educating approximately 409,000 public school children - and into the Chicago Teachers' Pension Fund to make up the shortfalls in funding from the State," and "uniquely burdens Chicago's property taxpayers," the complaint states.

The board wants this aspect of the funding system enjoined and replaced by "rational" legislation.

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