Member Advocacy and Education

CTPF is governed by Illinois law. The fund works to actively promote legislation that benefits members. Pensions provide secure and stable retirements for teachers, administrators, and public school personnel, yet their existence has come under attack. CTPF encourages all members to read and understand the facts about pensions and to share this information with friends, colleagues, and Illinois legislators. Advocating for your constitutionally guaranteed pension benefits is an important step in protecting your pension.

CTPF Education and Advocacy Topics

CTPF Executive Director Testifies in Springfield

January 24, 2017, CTPF Executive Director Charles A. Burbridge offered testimony before the Illinois Senate Executive Committee in Springfield, Ill. The committee held subject matter hearings on several bills including Senate Bill 5 and Senate Bill 11, both sponsored by Senate President John J. Cullerton.

CTPF supports Senate Bill 5 which would provide additional revenue for the Fund, and Burbridge answered a series of questions about the proposal. "I appreciated this opportunity to testify on behalf of our members and to help the fact-finding process," said Burbridge. "CTPF serves as an 'honest broker' in these discussions, and the information I shared helps our elected representatives understand the needs of our Fund and the impact that legislation will have on our long-term financial stability."

More Information

CTPF will continue to update members on the status of these bills, and will provide additional information as it becomes available.

*Tier 1 includes members who joined CTPF or a qualified reciprocal system before 1/1/2011.

CTPF Executive Director Responds to Pension Funding Bill Veto

"Education funding reform is a must for our state and pension parity is one important avenue for achieving this goal."

December 2, 2016 - On Thursday, December 1, Gov. Bruce Rauner vetoed a bill that would appropriate $215.2M to the Chicago Teachers' Pension Fund for FY 2017. The Illinois Senate immediately moved to override the veto by a vote of 36-16. The House has up to 15 days to pass the funding bill that will support Chicago’s students and teachers.

As Executive Director of your pension fund, I can assure you that yesterday's decision will not impact anyone who is receiving a pension. I can also assure you that the Fund will continue to advocate for legislative changes that bring state funding of pensions into parity. By not receiving equal funding support for Chicago teachers' pensions, the State is taking valuable education resources away from Chicago's students. As educators, retired and active, we know the impact that this decision will have on our children.

We believe tethering required education resources to unspecified changes that have historically been difficult to find agreement on can only result in hurting students. Education funding reform is a must for our state and pension parity is one important avenue for achieving this goal.

As disappointed as we are by the veto, we are encouraged by the number of legislators who are giving voice to this critical issue. We will continue to work closely with Springfield to help ensure these and other important issues receive the attention they require for real change to happen.

Finally, we thank you for the support you've shown for the Fund as we work to secure your retirement benefits.

Charles A. Burbridge
Executive Director

Click here for a printable PDF version.

Teacher and Administrator Elections Update

October 7, 2016 – Each year during the first week in November, CTPF schedules elections for trustees to the Board of Directors. Candidate petitions for two seats at Teacher Trustees and one Administrator Trustee were due by end of business on Friday, September 30, 2016. Three teachers submitted petitions for the Teacher Trustee positions. There were no submissions for the Administrator Trustee position. The petitions for each of the three Teacher Trustee nominees were sent to a third-party election services provider for certification.

According to Illinois Pension Code 40 ILCS 5/17-139 (1), "the name of a candidate shall not be placed on the ballot unless he or she has been assigned on a regular certificate for at least 10 years in the Chicago public schools or charter schools and nominated by a petition signed by not less than 200 contributors who are not administrators."

Two candidates produced the required number of signatures after verification and were certified as candidates. Since the number of candidates did not exceed the open Teacher positions, the certified candidates were declared elected. Since no Administrator Trustee petitions were filed, the current Trustee representative retains the position until a time when he chooses to resign the post or the next election period. The Teacher and Administrator elections scheduled for November 2-3, 2016 have been cancelled.

Teacher and Trustees Elected

Jeffery Blackwell and Bernie Eshoo were re-elected Teacher Trustees. Jerry Travlos will remain Administrator Trustee. Blackwell, Eshoo, and Travlos will be re-installed at the November 10, 2016, CTPF Board of Trustees meeting, and will serve three-year terms from November 2016 – November 2019.

CTPF Releases Pension Economic Impact Studies

October 6, 2016 – Nearly $17 billion in new economic activity in Illinois was generated last year by pension benefits paid annually to retired Illinois teachers and government workers according to a new report produced by a collective of reciprocal Illinois pension funds.

Details of the positive effect public pensions have on the Illinois economy are outlined in a new report released by the leaders of eight Illinois public retirement systems that together have a membership exceeding 876,000 state taxpayers – or nearly 9 percent of Illinois’ adult population.

In fact, public employees represent 10 percent (or more) of the local population in 14 Illinois House districts. Six (6) Illinois Senate districts also have percentages in the double digits. This percentage doesn’t take into account family members who depend on the pension member for financial security.

"Chicago Teachers' Pension Fund has been producing a report like this for a number of years using CTPF data alone," said Jay C. Rehak, CTPF President of the Board of Trustees. "We know from our report that Chicago teachers' pensions make an impact everywhere in the state. It was time to look at the larger picture. This is one way to help people understand the bigger influence pension benefits have on the Illinois economy."

On the CTPF website there are three reports that combine to tell the economic impact of pensions on Chicago, Illinois and the nation. To learn more, go to:

CTPF Educational and Training Opportunities

CTPF Webinar Library

If you've missed our webinars, you can watch recorded versions of the presentations by clicking on the links below. Please Note: The webinars are hosted by GoToMeeting. If you are using Internet Explorer 11, you will need to download the Go To Meeting Codec, available at this link.

State of the Fund Address, recorded on February 7, 2017
February 7, 2017, Charles A. Burbridge, Executive Director of the Chicago Teachers' Pension Fund updated members on the "State of the Fund". This webinar included, CTPF's fiduciary responsibility in Investing, in Operations: Improving Service, Protecting Retirement Security, and in Education & Advocacy.

Jacqueline Umbles, Communication Specialist discussed the member's role in Education and Advocacy. Jackie talked about the importance of becoming a CTPF Ambassador so members are able to effectively educate their colleagues, family, neighbors and their elected officials about pension issues. Members are encouraged to share their voice and tell why their pension matters!

Click here to view the recording.

Writing a Letter to the Editor, offered January 22, 2014
Speaking out to share your story is an important way to protect your pension. CTPF Communications Specialist Jackie Umbles will walk you through the process of writing a letter to your local newspaper editor. Click here to view the recorded webinar:

If you would like to view the slide presentation from the webinar in PDF format (without narration), please click here.

CTPF Legislative Action Center

Need help finding your local representatives?


The Legislative Action Center provides an important resource for CTPF members. When you visit the action center you can look up your elected representatives by typing in your zip code, send an email to your legislators, and find out more about CTPF legislative efforts. If you register at the Legislative Action Center, you will automatically be enrolled in our new CTPF Pension Fund Ambassador program.

Pension Fund Ambassador Program
We've developed the CTPF Pension Fund Ambassador program to encourage our members to educate lawmakers and decision makers about the Chicago Teachers’ Pension Fund, its legislative priorities, and our members. We want legislators to understand the people behind the pensions, and to hear the facts about the fund straight from our members. Click here for more information about the ambassador program.

Ready to advocate for your pension? Click here for more Resources for Members.

Join today
You can register for the ambassador program by clicking here.

Member Education and Advocacy Documents

CTPF has several documents which members can use to educate themselves and their legislators about pensions and their importance to Chicago's teachers, principals, and administrators.

Education Documents

These documents are designed to educate CTPF members about the fund's current financial situation and legislative priorities.

  1. CTPF Member Education - This document offers basic facts and information about CTPF along with an overview of CTPF legislative priorities.

Advocacy Documents

These documents are designed to be shared with legislators and policy makers.

Pensions Matter: Understanding the Economic Impact of CTPF Pensions

CTPF educators make an immeasurable impact on children: educating, nurturing, and helping them grow into productive citizens and future leaders. Yet an educator's impact extends far beyond the classroom - active and retired educators are also consumers, taxpayers, and voters - who live and work in Chicago and surrounding communities.

Our report, The Buck Stays Here, examines the impact that CTPF educators have outside the classroom, and the benefits pensions offer the economy of the City of Chicago and the State of Illinois.

Cover Image for our Economic Impact Document, with several colorful stick figures holding up signs bearing a dollar sign
Click the image above to download The Buck Stays Here: Understanding the Economic Impact of CTPF Benefit Payments on the State of Illinois and the City of Chicago.

For more information on the statewide and national economic impact of pensions, check out these links:

Pensions Matter - Economic Impact by Legislators

CTPF has broken down the impact that pensions have on our economy by legislative district in Illinois. Make your own impact on legislators by printing out and personalizing these documents for your local lawmakers. Pensions Matter - tell your legislators.

Economic Impact: Individual Sheets for Senators

Economic Impact: Individual Sheets for Illinois House of Representatives Members

Other Advocacy Documents

  1. Leave Behind Information for Legislators - This document summarizes facts about CTPF and its legislative priorities and has space where you can write in your own contact information. Take this with you and leave it behind when you meet with a legislator.
  2. Mistakes of the Past: Funding History Flyer - This document outlines the past mistakes which have led to our current underfunding.

Ways to Reach Your Legislator

CTPF encourages all members to get to know their legislators personally. If you can't meet personally with your representatives, there are several ways to share your views:

Tips for Meeting with Your Elected Representatives

Your legislators welcome feedback from their constituents and a meeting is a great way to share your thoughts and ideas. To make the most out of your meeting, consider these tips:

1. Educate yourself first.
Before you meet with an elected official, make sure you educate yourself on CTPF priorities. You can find links above to documents with background information about CTPF.

2. Schedule an appointment with the right person.
Legislators are interested in the views of their constituents so make sure you meet with the right person. Locate your legislator by clicking here. Many legislators offer walk-in or office hours when they are available. If you can't meet in person, try and call your legislator or send a fax summarizing your views.

3. Be prepared.
You wouldn't start your day in the classroom without a plan, so use the same approach to your legislative meeting. Make sure you're on time and have an outline of what you would like to share. Bring your CTPF materials with you and think of the meeting as a chance to educate your legislator. Be respectful of his or her time and perspective. This is a chance to make your point and to share information; the experience should be cordial, not confrontational.

If you discuss specific legislation, make sure you advocate for your position and ask for a yes or no on the bill in discussion. You want to make sure your legislator understands your position.

When the meeting ends, thank the legislator for his or her time and make sure you leave behind your CTPF flyer with your contact information.

Other Legislation

PA 98-0599 (Senate Bill 1) Ruled Unconstitutional

November 21, 2014, a Sangamon County Circuit Court judge ruled that Public Act 98-0599 is unconstitutional.

The legislation, signed December 5, 2013, changed the Illinois Pension Code for four of the five state pension systems: Teachers' Retirement System (TRS), State Employees Retirement System (SERS), State Universities Retirement System (SURS), and the General Assembly Retirement System (GARS). CTPF was not impacted by the law.

The law eliminated the State systems' unfunded liability by 2045, primarily by reducing benefits for retired and active members. The law was scheduled to go into effect on June 1, 2014, but implementation was delayed by the court case.

The Attorney General has announced that she will immediately appeal the Circuit Court's ruling to the Illinois Supreme Court.

Click here for a summary of the provisions of PA-98-0599.

Governor Quinn Signs SB1922

June 9, 2014, Governor Quinn signed SB 1922, which changes pension law for Chicago's Municipal Employees and Laborers. The bill passes both the Illinois House and Senate on April 8, 2014. The new law, PA 98-0641, does NOT currently impact CTPF.

SB 1922 includes benefit changes for both Tier 1 and Tier 2 members, including a cut in COLA benefits, and increases in employee and employer contributions, and establishes an actuarially determined funding schedule for both funds.

Click here to read a summary of the law.
Click here to read the full text of the law.
Click here to read the Senate vote.
Click here to read the House vote.

Governor Quinn Signs New Pension Law for State System Public Act 98-0599 (Senate Bill 1)

A new comprehensive plan to overhaul the Illinois Pension Code for four state pension systems was signed into law by Gov. Pat Quinn on December 5, 2013. The Illinois House and Illinois Senate passed pension reform legislation (Senate Bill 1) for four of the five state systems: Teachers' Retirement System (TRS), State Employees Retirement System (SERS), State Universities Retirement System (SURS), and the General Assembly Retirement System (GARS) on December 3, 2013. This legislation does NOT currently impact CTPF.

The law eliminates the State systems' unfunded liability by 2045, primarily by reducing benefits for retired and active members.

The law was scheduled to go into effect on June 1, 2014, but a temporary restraining order has temporarily delayed the implementation of the law.

Click here for a summary of the Bill provisions.

Click here for a summary of the vote in the Illinois House

Click here for a summary of the vote in the Illinois Senate

Click here to view the complete text of the Bill

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Last Modified 04 13 2011