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updated: 3/18/2011 6:51 PM

Dist. 117 candidates discuss pension issues

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  • Sandy Jacobs

    Sandy Jacobs

  • Kenneth Dewitt

    Kenneth Dewitt

  • Merry Quinn-Krajniak

    Merry Quinn-Krajniak

  • Kari Duffy

    Kari Duffy

  • Robert Buehler

    Robert Buehler


Most candidates running for Antioch-Lake Villa High School District 117 board said inflating pensions for retiring administrators should be outlawed.

One other, though, feels each case should be looked at individually before making a final determination.

Five people are seeking three open 4-year seats on the District 117 school board in the upcoming April 5 election.

The five candidates are incumbent Sandy Jacobs, Millburn District 24 board member Kenneth DeWitt, high school administrator Merry Quinn-Krajniak, professor Kari King Duffy and business owner Robert Buehler.

All five were asked a variety of written questions by the Daily Herald after filing for school board.

Included in the questions was whether the candidate would support a substantial increase in an administrator's pay to help boost the person's pension after retirement.

Buehler, 49, an auto shop owner from Lindenhurst, said administrators' pensions should be paid according to work history.

"This should not be inflated to bypass the intent of the system," he said.

Duffy, 47, a Carthage College professor from Antioch, agreed that salaries should not be inflated to compensate retiring administrators.

"Any educator nearing retirement should receive the appropriate pay increase based on the established criteria," she said. "Increasing pay for retirement benefits is not something I support."

Quinn-Krajniak, 47, a dean of students at Lake Forest High School and a Lake Villa resident, said each case should be reviewed before that determination is made.

"This would be taken on a case-by-case basis," she said. "And I would take under advisement what has been past practice along with the state of the current budget within the district."

Incumbent Jacobs, 60, a teacher at Millburn living in Antioch, said she would not support that type of an increase because it would hurt the district.

"I would not because it would cost the district money if the increase was over 6 percent," she said. "This practice is no longer acceptable as far as the state is concerned, and as far as most school districts are concerned."

DeWitt, 54, an information technology service manager living in Lindenhurst, said he would try to have such increases removed from any administrator's contract because it could add undue strain on state pension funds.

"This practice should not be supported unless it is already written into a contract," he said. "If it is in a contract, then every effort should be made to remove it from the contracts in question. There are laws in place now that could make the district liable for pension benefits that exceed a certain percentage."

Ronald Mathias is running unopposed for an unexpired 2-year term on the board.