We’ve known for quite some time that the “TRS surcharge” – the special rate the State charges most school districts for using federal funds to pay teachers – hurts our poorest schools the hardest. But did you know it will actually get worse?
Illinois school districts pay just over 36% of teacher salaries paid with federal Title I funds to the Teachers’ Retirement System (TRS), and this year that percentage is set to inch up to over 38%. For comparison’s sake, the rate for districts not using Title I funds to hire teachers is 0.58%.
Federal funds are targeted at serving poor and special needs students. And because of the high TRS surcharge, this payment hits our state’s poor school districts the hardest. To make matters worse, districts either take the financial hit and pay the 36% - soon to be higher – surcharge or they make spending decisions to avoid the TRS surcharge that require complicated accounting and aren’t always in the best interests of students.
The TRS surcharge was featured earlier today in a Capitol Fax report.
Get the details about this issue in Stand’s report, “An Education Funding No-Brainer,” and learn about policy recommendations to fix it.