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posted: 5/25/2014 5:01 AM

Districts had control over pension spikes

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In the May 18 Daily Herald article on school district pension penalties, Schaumburg Elementary District 54 Assistant Superintendent Ric King states (in regards to pension penalties incurred by his district) that "... the (penalty) payments are out of our control." School districts in this area continue to act like they had no choice but to dole out outrageous salary spikes to their retiring educators.

In my district (Northwest Suburban High School District 214), the district administrator and school board president told me in a private meeting that these salary spikes were mandated by TRS. At first I naively believed them. However, further investigation revealed that this is not the case -- the school board determines the amounts of these salary spikes.

When I presented this to the District 214 administrator his response was that there was so much pressure to grant the spikes that it was like a mandate. In other words, the board caved in to the union demands and then decided to also "reward" their administrators.

So now we have District 54 Assistant Superintendent Ric King complaining about the penalties incurred. Perhaps Mr. King should take a look at the "retirement enhancements" that District 54 doled out to its retiring educators in 2011. According to the ISBE website, District 54 gave out average pension spikes of $37,341 to their retiring teachers (41 percent of their base salary). And their administrators received average pension spikes of $60,784 (44 percent of their base salary).

Obviously, all of these pension spikes are well over the generous 20 percent limit set by the state at that time. And Mr. King claims his district has no control over these pension penalties? In a situation like this there should be justification to press charges against those responsible for approving such outrageous pension spikes.

Ken Hofrichter

Elk Grove Village

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