Glen Ellyn Dist. 41 evaluating administrator pension costs

 
 
Posted10/28/2015 5:30 AM

Sixteen administrators in Glen Ellyn Elementary District 41 soon may have to begin contributing to their own pensions if some school board members get their way.

In Illinois, educators contribute 9.4 percent of their earnings toward their pensions, and their employers are required to kick in less than 1 percent to the state's Teachers' Retirement System.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

But in Glen Ellyn, the district has been paying both its share and the administrators' share.

Now, some school board members say it's time for administrators to pay for their own retirement contributions.

Stephanie Clark said she's in favor of eliminating the benefit for new administrative hires and phasing it out for current ones over several years as a way to trim costs as the district considers implementing all-day kindergarten and faces possible cuts in funding from the state.

The move would save roughly $200,000 based on projections for the current fiscal year, spokeswoman Erika Krehbiel said.

"We need to somehow reduce our budget," Clark said.

Clark and board member Kurt Buchholz said they aren't convinced requiring administrators to make their own contributions would hurt the district's ability to attract desirable job candidates.

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Officials looked at salary data from nearly a dozen other districts and found that two -- Glenview School District 34 and Indian Prairie Unit District 204 -- contribute only the employer share to TRS. The former was on the high end of compensation for its administrators and the latter was on the low end, Clark said.

But board member Dean Elger said he expects some administrators to leave if the board decides to stop paying their personal contributions without also raising their salaries.

"The fair, equitable and ethical way to do it would be to make everybody whole," he said.

"At the end of the day for me, I'm not going to go out and change somebody's compensation basket if they're on our team," board member and finance committee Chairman Joe Bochenski said.

Most of the 16 administrators have one-year contracts with the district and a few have two-year deals. If the state increases what teachers and employers have to pay, the terms of the contracts allow the school board to decide whether to "pick up and pay all or some portion of the increase or otherwise adjust the compensation" of the administrator, board President Erica Nelson said. That language helps mitigate risks for the district, she said.

"We are the norm," Nelson said. "We are not an outlier."

The board is expected to discuss the issue again at its November meeting.

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