The Head of the Chicago Teachers' Pension Fund

Today was deadline day for a $634 million payment due to the Chicago Teachers' Pension Fund, and this afternoon the payment was made. But school finances remain in a perilous state. We talk with the head of the pension fund, Charles Burbridge, on what happens next.

Burbridge issued the following statement after the payment was received:

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“This afternoon we received full payment from the Chicago Public Schools for Fiscal Year 2015.

Full funding is essential to the health of our Fund and the financial stability of our 63,000 members.

July 1, 2015, the Fund will celebrate its 120th anniversary, and we reflect on this anniversary knowing that we have never failed to make a pension payment to our members. We have endured wars, recessions, depressions, and countless other events, and have always delivered the promise of a pension.

I hope that the policy makers recognize the need to address education funding so that teachers do not need to choose between teaching security today and retirement security tomorrow. The need for long-term solutions is not erased with this payment.”

Charles A. Burbridge bio:

In February, the Chicago Teachers’ Pension Fund announced that former Atlanta and Los Angeles school official Charles Burbridge would take over as new executive director. Burbridge took the helm March 16.

Burbridge is in charge of the pension’s $10.6 billion fund, which received a $634 million payment by Chicago Public Schools on Tuesday. While Burbridge is new to the CTPF, he’s no stranger to Chicago, CPS, or Illinois.

According to his LinkedIn profile, Burbridge began his career in 1979 as the chief economist with the Illinois Economic and Fiscal Commission. He left that job in 1991 to work as deputy CFO with the Cook County Board President’s Office. During his four years with the Cook County Board, he helped implement an early retirement program and the county sales tax.

In July 1995, he joined Chicago Public Schools as the deputy chief financial officer, where he managed a $3 billion debt program and participated in the selection and implementation of an enterprise resource planning (ERP) system (which is a type of business management software that companies use to collect, store and manage and interpret data from their business activities).

He left CPS in 2000 and has held various positions since, with his most recent as chief financial officer with Atlanta Public Schools.  He served in that capacity for seven years until this past March.

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