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posted: 4/14/2014 5:01 AM

Combine school districts to save taxpayers money

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While it is difficult to be sympathetic to the property tax appeal by Medinah Country Club (Daily Herald, March 26), it is even more difficult to be sympathetic to the two school districts affected by this. Lake Park High School District 108 complains that it would lose $127,577. Yet, according to ISBE data, this district had no problem with doling out $309,000 in "retirement enhancements" to their retiring employees in 2012. One teacher alone received a $49,000 salary spike.

District 108 gave out 2.4 times as much for salary spikes as the amount of tax revenue it get from Medinah. And an examination of the teachers' contract for Medinah Elementary District 11 shows that this district is still giving out 6 percent salary spikes to their retiring educators.

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Furthermore, according to the Illinois Report Card website, District 108 consists of one high school and District 11 consists of three elementary schools. District 11 has five administrators and District 108 has 14. There could be a substantial savings to taxpayers if these districts merged. At least four of these administrative positions could be eliminated without eliminating any teaching positions. This savings would easily cover the salaries of the two teachers that the District 11 superintendent inferred would have to be laid off if Medinah gets their property tax reduction.

Combining these two school districts would better serve the community and enable taxpayers to pay for one unit district instead of having two districts competing for the same taxpayers' money. In fact, Illinois could save a substantial amount of money by converting all districts into community unit school districts. There are currently 871 school districts in Illinois and 555 high schools. Converting to CUSD's would eliminate 316 school districts and well over 1,000 high-paying administrative jobs.

Ken Hofrichter

Elk Grove Village

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