Public Watchdog.org

Is District 207 Joining The Fiscal Mismanagement Club? (Updated 10/13)

10.12.09

We used to think that Maine Township High School District 207 was a financially well-run organization, providing a high-quality education for the student and fiscal responsibility for the taxpayer.  But that belief was shaken by last week’s Herald-Advocate, which reported that Dist. 207 is facing a $17 million “structural budget deficit” (“District 207: Meetings to address $17M budget”). 

That article pointed us to a Dist. 207 “news release” [pdf], which tells a tale of woe that sure sounds like bad news for the District’s taxpayers.  According to two five-year financial forecasts, one done in-house and the other from an outside consultant, the District’s fund balances will be “depleted within five years if the District does not take decisive action to reduce or eliminate the structural budget deficit.”

Not surprisingly, the District reports that it will be looking at “formulating ways to increase revenues.”  For those of you not used to bureaucrat-speak, that means “coming up with a plan to raise taxes.”   But in typical school administration/school board obfuscation, the “news release” does not even mention the dreaded words “tax increase” – presumably because the administrators and school board members assume the taxpayers either are too stupid or too distracted by other matters to do the translation on their own.

If we are to believe the District (which is always an iffy proposition any time you’re dealing with government bureaucrats and politicians), the school board just found out this summer that an expected $4 million deficit for last school year was closer to $10 million! 

How do you end up that far off – 150% – and find out about it only after the end of the school year?  Wasn’t anybody monitoring those numbers during the school year itself?

If you want to ask some of those questions, we understand there is a meeting on the topic tomorrow night (Oct. 13) from 6:30 to 7:30 at Maine South; and next Monday night (Oct. 19) from 6:30 to 7:30 at Maine East.  Hopefully those won’t just be the typical dog-and-pony shows that are the rule rather than the exception when problems like this arise.

Meanwhile, we’ll just have to be content with the District’s two main alibis for this mess: that a “historically bad economy” (which is being used, at least for the time being, as the budgetary equivalent of “the dog ate my homework”); and that the low increase in the Consumer Price Index has caused a “flattening revenue line.”  In other words, because the increase in prices has been low, the District hasn’t been able to increase taxes as much as it has been increasing spending.

You know something is really cockamamie with a system that considers small increases in the cost of living a bad thing!

Do any of those administrators – or any of our purported “representatives” on the school board who are supposed to be keeping an eye on the administrators – have even the vaguest understanding of what kind of major disconnect between revenues and expenses they seem to be operating under? 

It sure doesn’t look that way, maybe because (as best as we can tell) none of those administrators or school board members appear to have any experience or understanding about running a $100 million a year business – which basically is what Dist. 207 is.  From what we can tell, most of them probably never ran any business at all, unless we count the occasional card-table sidewalk lemonade stand when they were six. 

According to the Dist. 207 bios for the seven school board members, three of them (McGrath, Mueller and Sullivan) are attorneys; two of them (Burk and Pellar) are former teachers; one of them (Braam) is an adjunct professor of psychology at Oakton Community College; and we can’t even tell what the seventh (Eric Leys) does for a living, although we are told he was named a “Master School Board Member” by the Illinois Association of School Boards.

According to the IASB website, however, it looks like that’s one of those titles you get just by going to enough IASB-sponsored events – kind of like earning frequent flier miles – so that excites us about as much as if Leys reported that he could now fly to Kansas City for free.

Business cluelessness could explain why (as the “news release” states) the “overall cost of salaries for all District employees, most of which are governed by a collective bargaining agreement, rose by about 5 percent this year.”  Gee, did anybody negotiating the last teachers’ contract on behalf of the District stop and think how they were going to ensure an increase in the revenue stream sufficient to cover that 5% increase in the cost of labor they were guarantying?

We didn’t think so. 

But, then again, what should we expect from teachers pretending to be business managers, and politicians pretending to be accountable for all the tax dollars they spend?

Update 10/13/09
Attached, courtesy of a reader who obtained it from The Champion website, is a purported list [pdf] of District 207 teachers (and administrators?) and their salaries.

We quickly counted 658 teachers/administrators, almost 300 of whom each appear to earn more than the reported median income for all Park Ridge households.

36 comments so far

You forgot to mention the blast automated phone call parents of D207 students received last Friday warning us of the fiscal meltdown and announcing the meeting to discuss the situation. Though additional information may be given at the meeting, I wonder if the 5 year projection includes a partial return of earnings on the investments that should be going up from the lows they are currently at. Does the district not consider this “new revenue.”

In addition, the book and school fees we pay are ridiculously high for public education. That is a revenue stream D207 uses and perhaps abuses.

If the district is running out of money-why the $1.6 million dollar football field and lights at Maine South. Looks like a foolish expenditure now given the dire financial position the district may be in.

How much of the net loss for the year was from underfunded pension and postretirement healthcare obligations for teachers and administrators? Again, if there is a partial rebound in earnings on investments-which there already has been-there will be a return of some revenue.

And what about a “consulting” firm’s involvemnt? Perhaps the consulting firm PMA Financial Network Inc will be suggesting a major bond issuance. A look at their website shows the PRPD as one of the clients PMA assisted in a bond issuance for capital projects for the PRPD. What fee does PMA receive for the bond work-a percentage of the amount of the issuance? Regardless, it is a major disappointment that D207 officials are sounding the alarm in this manner. Is it the boy crying wolf?

This is about as convoluted as it gets… from the HA.

http://www.pioneerlocal.com/niles/news/1820317,niles-d207deficit-101509-s1.article

My read… they want more income via additional fees and other means… and they will grudgingly look cutting expenses.

Does any one of these f***ing local governmental entities realize that we-the-people do not all have a bottomless pit of money available to us?

A lot of talk about the revenue line (i.e. taxes) and not much talk about the many cost items. Can they explain why they agreed to an automatic teacher increase of 5% when the CPI, a measure of inflation is only 0.1%, and this CPI is the means in which the district receives higher revenues (i.e. to be read taxes on all of us in the district)? How did they fail to link the revenue side of their income statement to their cost side by linking teacher pay increases to the CPI? I wish my salary was increasing at 50 times the rate of inflation. Sign me up to that collective bargaining organization!

standard operating procedure, perfected by dist. 64. spend yourself silly to create a crisis, then cut programs to make the crisis hurt the people who will wail the loudest, then rally the troops to “solve” the problem by voting a tax increase.

and keep on electing the school board members pre-selected by the caucus so we can do it all over again every few years.

This is the beginning of a new program for a referendum for a new tax rate increase just like 64 did. I did not look to find the 207 union contract but from the appendix of the 64 contract I know that the average annual increase in base salary has been 6.7% during the last contrac. I bet the maine contract says the same….they get an actual of 5% by decreasing class size and retiring senior teachers, Of course the whole salaried staff has to have the same increases right.

This is due to one increase negotiated for time on the job experience and another due to a negotiated number for cost of living which is not tied to the CPI, it is whatever the superintendent and the union can wring out of the helpless, hapless board.

You can’t give out 7% and take in revenue base on the actual CPI with a 5% cap without ending up in this situation. These people who run school districts aren’t dummies…..they just take the situation to extremis where parents go crazy in fear of their kids getting an inferior eduction and then here comes the tax rate increase. The folks on the board are too dumb or spineless to do anything about it or are teachers and are on the board for the very purpose of screwing the public.

The only solution to this is to make teachers essential employees like police and firemen so that they cannot legitimately strike. Then school superintendents have no excuse for not negotiating as representatives of the tax payers and parents to give kids a good education at reasonable cost to us.

Don’t forget that a 7% salary increase doubles your salary every ten years. Are you on a similar track? Put a pension that is 75% of final years salaries and cost of living adjusted on the end of this and you see the problem

Starting salary 2009 $40,000
Salary 2019 $80,000
2029 $160,000
2039 $320,000
2049 $640,000(40 years employment)
Pension 2049 $480,000 cost of living adjusted after 2049

Any questions why the state pension funds are insolvent? Think what top management in all the government offices are getting and going to get unless something changes thruout all government

The conspiracy nuts are at it again. Sure it’s all one big conspiracy to milk the public. Never mind the track record of excellent education District 207 has provided for years.

The people who run this blog and the people who come to this blog are always looking for some boogie man hiding around the corner.

Anon at 4:19-We are not conspiracy nuts. And most would agree that the education from D207 is a fine one. However, we pay dearly for it between taxes and school fees. As many of the previous posters pointed out, the district is sounding an alarm in the hopes of raising more money from those of us who do not have more money to give. There has not been a mention of cutting waste from the budget or the fact that D207 handed out teacher contracts that seem a bit too generous. We are simply asking these questions and bringing up these issues because the district has really got only one place to get new monies from-us. And before they have any hope of getting more tax money above what they already take-they need to answer for their poor fiscal management.

You are all conspiracy nuts. District 207 is out to get you! District 64 is out to get you! The City is out to get you! The Park District is out to get you! The Kiwanis are out to get you! The Taste of Park Ridge is out to get you! Howard Frimark is out to get you! The Police department is out to get you! The developers are out to get you!

Everyone is out to get you! When they’re done getting you they will all retire to villas in the South of France with the loads of money they got from you. You all behave as if you are sure of it.

You are all nuts.

No 6:17 you are nuts if you believe taxpayers do not have a right to ask a few questions and expect some darn good answers before D207 or any other government body takes more of our money. If you want to just hand over your money without asking questions, go right ahead. But don’t expect others to act as irresponsibly as you do.

Anon 4:19 As long as we are calling names you either don’t get it or you are a government employee. The boogie man hiding behind the corner does pick your pocket, or is that you?

3:55:

Help me out with something. Can you give a link to the 6.7% number. All I can find so far is the release from Sept. 9th of this year. It states a 2.5% increase per year over the 3 years of the contract. It also states that the increases based on education were unchanged and averaged 2%. That brings it to 4.5%, not 6.7%. The COLA increase in January (based on CPI to some degree although not local) was 5.8%. This would seem to me to be a data point during negotiations.

By the way, I love the 40 year data. This is posted every time the teacher salary issue comes up. I can only assume it is by you. Let’s look at your numbers in a different way. A teacher getting a raise of 7% on a 40,000 base makes 2800 additional dollars, pre-tax. Let’s say the government takes a third. That is about 1850 left. Let’s further assume that there are about 180 school days per year. That is a raise of 10.27 per day – about a buck and a quarter per hour. Wow!!! That is outrageous!!!

By the way. If the teacher doesn’t qualify for the education/performance increase they get 660 take home from the 2.5%. That is about 3.65 per day. Looks like they will have to stay with the plain old coffee rather than the Lattes.

Based on your argument, why is it that if you look up the salaries of all the D64 teachers, only a handful (mostly administration) even make 6 figures?? There are teachers on that list with 25 years experience and post graduate degrees making 80K.

Anonymous on 10.12.09 4:19 pm

Your comment reminds us of the line from Joseph Heller’s “Catch 22”: “Just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they aren’t after you.” Or, in the case of local government, after your money.

We wondered when someone would drag a red herring into this discussion, and you win for your “track record of excellent education.” If you read the post again…slowly…move your lips if you have to…you will discover that we offered no criticism whatsoever of the quality of education provided by District 207 schools.

That’s because providing a quality education and being fiscally irresponsible are not mutually exclusive endeavors, so we can condemn the latter without diminishing the former.

And, yes, we do look for, and blow the whistle on, the “boogie” men (and “boogie” women) exactly because they do indeed try to “hide” what they are doing from the taxpayers who end up footing the bills for it, or bearing the other consequences of it (like airplane noise, flooding, power outages, potholes, etc.).

And the reason we have to do it is because the politicians, the bureaucrats and the administrators – as well as their “special interest” aiders, abettors and apologists – only want to tell you all the wonderful things they’ve done.

That’s why, for example, D-64 annually trumpeted its “Big Red Apple” award even as its administrators and board were quietly spending it into the crisis that could only be solved with the big tax increase referendum in 2007. And why Frimark bragged about limiting the City’s annual property tax increase to only 3% even as the City was quietly ringing up multi-million dollar budget deficits and letting our infrastructure decay. And maybe even why Mr. Leys trumpets his getting named a “Master School Board Member” while Dist. 207’s finances are starting to slide.

When these local governmental bodies, and the bureaucrats and politicians who run them, become totally transparent in their dealings and start acting like they care as much about the taxpayers’ money as the taxpayers do, we’ll start cutting them some slack. But until then, we will continue to call a spade a spade, and a “boogie man” a boogie man.

yes we are all conspiracy nuts because we lived under the Frimark regime for four painful years and now when we think that it’s behind us, we are faced with another conspiracy at Ciy council on the PRC parking debacle. Why should the schools be held at a different standard?

A teacher works about 8 months of the year, once you figure in summer vacation, Christmas break, “teachers’ institutes,” and every holiday known to man. So for the teacher making $80K, that annualizes at well over $100K. And it they can make it through the first 2-3 years, they get tenure and can’t be fired unless they molest a child or show up with a loaded Uzi. And the next time you hear about a teacher from Maine South having his job outsourced to India will be the first.

And let’s not forget those guaranteed pensions after 30 years service at, what, 75% of final wages. So that $80K guy who retires at 55 picks up $60K for the next 20-30 years, which sure kicks the crap out of my 401k that I can’t start collecting until I’m 65.

anon 10:42:

Sorry but I guess we are going to have to agree to disagree. By the way, I threw out the 80K number as an example of teachers who went back for an advanced degree and have 25 years experience – not as a starting salary. The starting salaries are around 40K or less. If you look at Lincoln as an example, the average experience is over 11 years and the average salary is just over 55K.

Of course there are things that need to be improved about our education system but it seems that the first thing that people always go after is teacher salaries. I just do not see these numbers as unreasonable.

anon 11:16:

I don’t think that the teacher salaries unreasonable, but I do have two issues:

1. Excellent teachers and incompetent teachers get the same pay. If we all believe that we should act in the best interest of the kids, we should fire the incompetent teachers and increase the pay of the best teachers. But the union protects the poor performers and holds back the excellent ones.

2. In a time when most private sector employees are getting very small salary increases (if any at all), or losing their jobs, I believe that it is immoral to increase taxes to provide comparatively large salary increases to public employees. Why shouldn’t the teachers face the economic reality that the rest of us have to confront?

10.13.09 11:16 am

I have over 25 years of experience in my profession and I barely make over $100,000 working a full 12 months a year with 3 weeks of vacation and a total of 8 holidays.  Even a $40K teaching job is the equivalent of $60K annualized, and with better benefits than the private sector. And as another commentator points out, there’s the great pension and almost bullet-proof job security.

THAT’s why people “go after” teachers’ salaries when there’s a money crunch.

anon 11:56:

On your first point I am in complete agreement. One of the things that suffers in many such environments (not just with teachers and not just in the public sector) is the connection between pay and performance. A strong union protects their own.

On your second point, I guess all I can say is that I do not see a 2.5 percent increase as “comparitively large”. I do agree that compared to those who have lost their jobs it certaibly is better but I would argue that 2.5 per year is, in affect, no raise at all. That is a three year committment and it will not cover COL increases for any of those years.

Anon 12:52:

Again, I would say we have to agree to disagree. If teaching is the lucrative gig that you paint it to be, why is it on a national basis we seem to be having difficulity attracting people to the profession? I have told you that these numbers seem reasonable to me. You seem to think what we pay them is outrageous so let me ask you, what exactly do you think we should be paying a qualified teacher who does a good job? What do you think they are worth?

Here are the facts. I did not count but think 80% of the list is over 65k. Source Champion/state records
Maine Township HSD 207 2008 – Download data
[EDITOR’S NOTE: We have turned the list provided by this commentator into a pdf (attached) that can be found in the “Update” of this post.]

 

PD are you and anonymous on 10.13.09 2:58 pm saying that because there are 1/2 the high school teachers earning over the median for PR that this is some sign of the district’s fiscal mismanagement?

I think anon on 10.13.09 2:11 pm asked excellent questions that the PD and anonymous on 10.13.09 2:58 pm seem to want to avoid answering.

We don’t duck questions, although we also don’t necessarily respond to every canard and red herring our readers toss our way.

In the case of Anon. 2:11, the herring in question is the suggestion that there’s a problem attracting people to the teaching profession on “a national basis.”

What does “a national basis” have to do with Park Ridge schools?  Are we losing qualified teachers to Milwaukee, or Schenectady, NY, or Tempe AZ?   Over the past 20 years we don’t recall any “teacher flight” out of Maine South (or District 64 schools, for that matter), or any teaching vacancies going unfilled.

As far as what should District 207 pay “a qualified teacher who does a good job,” we have yet to hear of a meaningful, reasonably objective standard for judging what a “good job” by a teacher consists of.  Until we know what it is, it is difficult to calculate a teacher’s real value for purposes of setting compensation. 

That being said, annual compensation (for only 8-9 months of work) that approaches the median household income for our community seems high to us, especially when it’s combined with the job security provided by tenure and the generous, guarantied fixed-benefit pensions.

Let the wailing and gnashing of teeth begin!

You won’t be hearing any wailing or gnashing from me PD.

You still didn’t answer the questions that were asked. I guess you’re avoiding a real answer but I’m not surprised by that.

I did some checking of this blog and you have posts that talk about performance by students and you think the schools in PR don’t perform the way they should given the taxes we pay. I have to believe you have some set of standards that you are working from to make those claims. I also have to believe you would hold teachers responsible for that lack of performance.

How about you just answer the questions based on whatever standards you are using to criticize the performance of students in PR?

PD et al:

There are a few things about that list that I would like to clarify. The term salaries is not accurate. There are probably people reading this saying this is their pay check?!?!?!?! My god!!! What this number represents is total compensation. As an example it inculded retirement contributions. To accurately compare it to what you make you have to add in all your own total compensation. For me, I would have to add in my 401K matching from my company as well as my company car among other things. Lastly, the list does include admin. The gentlemen at the top is the District Super. Sally prior makes 170K and if you presented her number as total compensation it would probably be the same. So feel free to scream about the money. Just keep in mind it is not an apples to apples comparison.

Interesting comments…A couple of other thoughts:

1. 207 has traditionally paid or made contributions to administrator’s health insurance after they retire. So if an administrator retires at 55 — the tax payers are paying their health insurance for ten years — until they qualify for medicare. Seems excessive?

2. There was a recent change to the District’s finance professional/administrator this year after the last person left after a quick tenure? Coincidence considering the current financial projections?

3. The school district is operating with a 100% fund balance…that’s 100% of their expenditures in the bank. Even if they lose $15 MM this year and next — that’s still a fund reserve of $70MM. What’s with the emergency? They have two years to make the changes they need to make.

4. I believe the teacher’s salaries do include their retirement contributions as well…also, I believe teachers do pay a good percentage of their health insurance.

5. Like any organization, there is some trimming and cuts to be made — but who else thinks the timing on this is hilarious when the school district spent over a million dollars to add lights and field turf at Maine South? Is that a worthy expense when you’re chasing $14 MM? I think the school board members have relied too much on what the staff tells them as the gospel truth. They may want to actually do something – like hold their high priced administrator’s accountable.

Looks like a crowded district office:
http://www.maine207.org/staff/

4.

admin costs:

I am completely on board with points 4 and 5. I have never maintained that any of these folks are perfect. There is fat to be trimmed and redundancy in administration – no doubt. I happen to like the lights but the irony of that expenditure cannot be lost. I also agree with PD’s comment about a lack of a standard for what and who are really great teachers.

However, when I look at this on a teacher buy teacher basis, when I look up the salary history of teachers that I and my kids have had experience with as teachers, and I see what they make I am in no way offended. A teacher who, in my experience, is absolutely outstanding, has gone back for their masters and who has 18 years on the job making 72k (including retirement contributions etc)is in no way excessive. I believe comparing these numbers in a way that is not apples to apples or doing “40 year projections” only serves to muddy the water.

10.14.09 6:05 am:

Unfortunately, because District 207 doesn’t make this kind of information readily available on its website, the public is left with whatever numbers it can find from sources like The Champion. So District 207 has only itself to blame for any apples-to-oranges analyses resulting from its lack of transparency and/or accountability.

What you and some of your fellow defenders of the status quo seem to ignore are those factors that make that $72K – or whatever amount a teacher is paid – a lot more valuable than what just the number itself reveals, including:

* an 8-9 month work year instead of 12 month;
* the convenience of being “off” almost every day your children are;
* tenure instead of the typical employment-at-will; and
* a guarantied defined-benefit pension plan at a high percentage of the highest rate of pay.

Once again, we point out that there never seems to be a shortage of teachers and administrators clamoring for employment with District 207 (and District 64, for that matter), which suggests that both the compensation and the working conditions are highly attractive – and, consequently, potentially “excessive.”

But please let us know if/when there’s ever an exodus of teachers and/or adminstrators from Maine South to places like Fenger, Schurz, or Elmwood Park high schools, or to the parochial schools, or to private industry.

There is no exodus of teachers, and surely no shoratge of applicants, but in my opinion and generally speaking (based on almost 10 years experience) the quality of new teachers brought in to D64 seemingly goes down every year.

Ok, maybe compensation and working conditions are so highly attractive, but it’s a job I would never do. How do you quantify that?

Pd,

Are you saying that nearly half of the teachers/administrators would actually be able to “afford” to live in Park Ridge?! On an individual income?

10.15.09 @ 7:23 a.m.:

No, that’s not what we’re saying, because that’s another “red herring” comment.

Maybe we missed the memo, but when did the benchmark for measuring reasonable teacher (or other public employee) compensation become whatever amount is sufficient “to be able to ‘afford’ to live in Park Ridge…[o]n an individual income”?

Was that the teachers union’s opening demand in the most recent contract negotiation?

As best as we can tell from the census figures on the City’s website, over 60% of the 10,497 households housing “families” had less than $100,000 in household income; and at least half of the total households in Park Ridge house more than one wage-earner. 

And if two particular commentator’s to yesterday’s post on ParkRidgeUnderground are correct, 117 homes for sale in Park Ridge are listed at $275,000 or less (27 of which are in foreclosure); and a home valued at well over $350,000 would be “affordable” to anyone(s) with an individual or combined income of $110,000.

Your comment might actually make sense if Maine South or the District 64 schools had a Park Ridge residency requirement, but we know that’s not the case.

I think we are all in agreement that there has to be away to reward good teachers and weed out bad teachers. I am not sure how this can be completely accomplished but I think we would all love to see it happen. I would also guess that we all agree that there are probably redundant positions and efficiancies that can be found. I also think we would all agree that we expect our tax dollars to be spent wisely.

My reaction on what teachers make has nothing to do with if they can afford to live in PR or not. It is more of a gut level reaction. I stated in a previous post an example of a teacher I have had experience with who has been on the job 18 yrs, went back for their Masters and, in my experience and the experience of other parents I know, is outstanding at their job. This teacher is listed on the Champion site as making 72K. I read posts that seem to state that teachers are overpaid and point out the 9 month work year and benefits. Even in light of all that, I do not think that 72K is overpaid, excessive, outrageous or whatever word you would like to use. Looking at other teachers on the list, it would appear to me that starting pay is in the high 30K range. I do not see this as out of line either. So to those who think this teacher is overpaid, what is the magic number?

The “magic number” is $1 more than whatever number will cause qualified, desirable teachers to quit.

Anon 2:29:

Gee thanks!! That was a big help!!! Apparently you think we are not at that number now.

Anon 2:29:

Gee thanks!! That was a big help!!! With that kind of insight you really should run for the school board.

Wow, Watchdog…when you blow it, you blow it big time.

The *point* of the comment made by …er…uh…what….? was to (sarcastically) highlight that 1/2 the teachers earning a living in D-207 could, if they so chose, afford to buy a home in Park Ridge…based entirely on a single teacher income.

The *purpose* of the comment was to refute the contentions of those using teachers as an example of why “affordable housing” stock in Park Ridge “needs” to be increased, and that the argument for increasing “affordable housing” stock based on the “teacher example” is crockery.

…er…uh…what….?’s comment was certainly off topic, but not entirely unrelated to the post under which it was made.

I would have expected you to be able to connect the dots, given your cited reading of the discussion on PRU, but then again…perhaps I expect too much. Your rejoinder was unnecessary in its’ accusatory tone.

…and no, I am not …er…uh…what?, in case you were wondering.

Thanks for making the connection Bean,

I misjudged and thought perhaps there was a hint of crossover in the WD comment and a previous Underground post. Clearly my bad.

Thanks for the net though.

It’s time for the residents of Park Ridge to ask Ken Wallace and Greg Deitz what has gone on in the business office. Not in broad terms, specifically. Account for the $12 million dollars of the $17 millions dollar structural deficit you cannot blame on the economy.

While economic problems decresing revenue are a factor, they are less than a third of the deficit, even by the administrations own vague assertions. The community has to demand an explanation of what went wrong.

Secondly, the teachers’ contract stipulates a raise of 2%. Look it up. This rises to 3.2% with an increased contribution to TRS. But when you consider that teachers receive NO SOCIAL SECURITY, and that DISTRICT 207 PAYS NO SOCIAL SECURITY TAXES for its employees, this isn’t really exorbitant, is it? Do you count your employer’s social security contribution as part of your salary?

Teacher salaries are, if anything, only a small part of the problem. Teachers are willing to negotiate on this issue.

But just as community residents are reluctant to pay a tax referendum going to the same people who have mismanaged this budget, teachers are reluctant to trust a political body that is unwilling to admit the major source of the problem – mismanagement.

When you have accountability and honesty in the district offices and from the Board of Education of district 217, watch how fast the teachers are willing to compromise on salaries, etc., to maintain great education in the district.

The community must demand accountability in the business office of district 207. Where was our current superintendent when all these financial mistakes were made? Do you really want the same people who were unable to balance the books in the past to be spear-heading the proposals to solve the deficit?

Ask yourself, how did the district go from a fund balance considered so exorbitant – over $143 million dollars in surplus – that the district was asked to consider refunding to the tax payers, to a financial crisis of this magnitude?

It can’t all be that 2% teacher salary raise, can it?



Leave a comment
Line and paragraph breaks automatic, e-mail address never displayed, HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>