New figures from Gov. Pat Quinn's office suggest schools would have to pay out hundreds of millions of dollars more each year if they were forced to absorb pension costs. Under one possible scenario, the extra cost to schools would be $580 million annually after five years. In a slower shift, the cost after five years would be almost $350 million.
That's a lot in raw dollars but still a fairly small share of overall education spending. A $580 million increase is roughly 3.4 percent of what school districts spent in the last fiscal year. Quinn says the figures show schools would be able to absorb pension costs gradually. But Republican leaders say this issue should not be part of the pension overhaul now under discussion.
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