Thousands of community college retirees in Illinois collecting hefty pension checks, investigation finds
For many students, community colleges are a low-cost alternative to more expensive state and private universities.
But Illinois taxpayers aren’t getting a break when it comes to paying for pensions awarded to thousands of retired community college administrators and teachers, according to a Better Government Association (BGA) investigation.
Nearly 20 percent of the more than 8,000 Chicago-area community college pensioners have collected in excess of $500,000 each in retirement payments, according to a BGA examination of state data. Nearly 170 have collected more than $1 million since retiring, including two former community college presidents who have received a total of almost $2 million each.
And nearly 500 retirees receive annual pensions of more than $100,000, the data show.
The pension payouts come at a time when Illinois is struggling to meet its bills, but the state is legally obligated to come up with billions to fund public employee pensions, including those of the community college workers. A recent change in law would reduce pensions for future hires only.