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posted: 12/30/2013 5:00 AM

School districts in alternate universes

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District 21, 2004/2012 taxes: $1,782.42/$3,390.26.

District 214, 2004/2012 taxes: $993.39/$1,729.36.

In other words, since 2004, my school tax has doubled.

I don't question the quality of our schools or teachers, but step-raises for the monumental achievement of merely another year on the job? In my private sector job I got an annual merit raise -- if I merited it, not just for another year of experience -- year after year. And I had no contractually guaranteed early retirement incentive, or 13 paid sick days a year.

Stop negotiating employment terms beyond the means of your community. Labor peace is not a feather in the cap of district administrators when district salaries move inexorably higher as incomes of nonteaching district residents stagnate or decline.

Our schools operate in an alternative financial universe where the demand on my tax bill goes one way -- up, whatever the larger community of non-represented sales people, laborers and store clerks have to face.

The Daily Herald reports that 42 percent of District 211's retired educators have pensions over $100,000/yr. Some teacher salaries exceed $150,000/yr. $99,000 is the reported average salary of District 214 teachers.

What do some administrators do to earn over $200,000? I can't imagine what the corresponding family incomes are.

Your goal should be an educational program consistent with the financial wherewithal of the families you serve. Teachers making $150,000/yr.?

Lots of people are dedicated to their work. They take phone calls all hours of the day and night and work weekends and maybe get three weeks vacation and hope their 401(k) plan grows, if they have one.

Most of your constituents can only dream about earning even half of what some of your educators earn, indeed, retire on.

The next time you negotiate, keep in mind that my family is at the table too.

Gerry Shacter

Buffalo Grove

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