“As required, Teachers’ Retirement System used Illinois math to calculate the state’s contribution for fiscal year 2018 and came up with $4.56B. Using actuarial math, TRS also calculated that the state’s “full funding” contribution should be $6.88B.
This legal sleight-of-hand has been going on for 78 years — and counting. The deliberate and chronic underfunding of TRS since 1939 is the major reason the system carries an unfunded liability of $71B — one of the largest debts of its kind in the country.
Consistent underfunding is the reason that 80% of this year’s $4.5B contribution to TRS, or $3.7B, constitutes a payment on the unfunded liability. That eclipses the actual cost of teacher pensions for the year: $923M.”