SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - Public school administrators say some local districts would have to raise property taxes if they're forced to cover the cost of teacher pensions.
The school officials testified Thursday at a special hearing called by House Speaker Michael Madigan.
The Chicago Democrat says suburban and downstate districts get a "free lunch" because the state pays their teacher pension costs. He says Illinois is in grave financial trouble and the districts must be part of the solution.
The administrators say potential tax increases would depend on how much money districts have and how much of the burden the state shifts to districts.
Public university representatives also testified Thursday. They say the change could result in a 2 percent tuition increase.
Madigan has vowed to address the issue before the General Assembly adjourns.
A home improvement project is being blamed for the explosion at a St. Peters home.
Officials with the Cottleville Fire Protection District say a contractor was working to refinish a concrete floor, but did not have adequate ventilation. The contractor also said the hot water heater was left on, prompting the explosion.
The house will need major work before it is livable again.
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - Gov. Pat Quinn says House Speaker Michael Madigan's pension-reform plan deserves a Senate vote.
The Democratic governor said the proposal is comprehensive.
Illinois has nearly $100 billion in pension debt because of years of state underfunding.
Senate President John Cullerton has a different idea he plans to call for a vote Thursday afternoon. Public employee unions back that proposal.
The House approved the Madigan bill last week. It would require employees to pay 2 percent more toward retirement benefits. It would reduce annual cost-of-living increases for retirees and raise the retirement age for workers under 45.
Cullerton's proposal would offer employees a choice between health insurance or cost-of-living increases. He says it would survive a court challenge.