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posted: 10/12/2013 5:00 AM

Dist. 200's funding priorities misplaced

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In the "Soapbox" column of Oct. 5 there was an item titled "Classroom help." This article highlighted two teachers from Wheaton Warrenville Unit District 200 who have paid for classroom supplies with their own money. For their efforts they won $1,000 worth of school supplies thanks to OfficeMax. Very admirable acts by both the teachers and OfficeMax.

However, there should be absolutely no need for these teachers or OfficeMax to have to pay for school supplies for this district. This year District 200 is doling out a staggering $938,813 in salary spikes to their educators nearing retirement. That is nearly $1 million of the district taxpayers' money being spent on "retirement enhancements" that have absolutely no benefit to the students. And this is in a district with 27 percent of the students coming from low-income families.

Had they spent this money on school supplies then it truly would have been "for the kids." Instead they chose to spend this money on the wasteful and undeserved salary spikes to bloat the pensions of their retiring employees -- all at the expense of the state's taxpayers.

Of course, the teachers union will claim the school administration is forcing their teachers to use their own money to buy school supplies by not providing sufficient funding for these supplies. And the school administrators will blame the state and taxpayers for not providing sufficient funding so the district can purchase these items. School boards and teachers unions continue to collaborate on providing outrageous and undeserved "end of career rewards" to their members and employees while shortchanging the needs of their own students.

Ken Hofrichter

Elk Grove Village

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