More time is being asked for before a decision is made on pension reforms. Senate Minority Leader Christine Radogno (R-Lemont) says she wants to make sure schools are equally funded across the state before lawmakers move to shift pension costs to Downstate and suburban school districts.

“In discussing the cost shift we need to expand the discussion to school funding in general and talk about some of the inequities that are potentially out there,” Radogno said today (Thursday) after the latest leaders’ meeting. “The unfortunate side effect of that is [that] a vote on pension reform is going to be delayed.”

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House Minority Leader Tom Cross (R-Oswego) says while he’s not keen on the idea, he’ll go along with it. “I personally think we need to just focus on pensions and get it done,” Cross said. “This is shifted from a pension discussion to a funding discussion, which would not be the way I would do it. But it’s the world we live in and there [are] folks that want to have it and we’re certainly not going to block that. We’ll engage in those conversations.”

Republicans and Democrats remain split on a plan to shift the cost of pensions for suburban and Downstate teachers to the school districts. The state now pays for them. Republicans say the cost shift would force communities to raise property taxes to shoulder the added costs. In Chicago, local taxpayers already pay for teacher pensions.