The end of February, McHenry County Blog did the math on Governor Pat Quinn’s school consolidation proposal.
The Governor’s pitch was that it would save $100 million in school administrators’ salaries.
Let’s assume he is correct in laying out the benefit side of the equation.
But he left out the increase in cost side.
He ignored the leveling up of elementary school teachers’ salaries that will occur as grade school districts are merged with high school districts.
Looking at how much it would cost to raise the salaries at grade school districts 3, 26, 46 and 47 to the level of high school teachers in Crystal Lake High School District 155, I concluded that $27,058,486 more money would be needed.
So, compare Quinn’s $100 million savings statewide on administrators’ salaries to $27 million more to pay elementary school teachers more in just this part of McHenry County and it’s easy to see that Quinn’s savings estimate is bogus.
Why would that happen?
I reasoned that it would because there would be one new collective bargaining unit in each of the newly-created districts and that union would have more elementary school teachers than high school teachers.
One does not have to be an expert in organizational theory to figure out who would dominate the teachers’ bargaining committee.
Associated Press, which I assume has looked at the legislation, puts it this way:
“That’s because when two districts consolidate in Illinois, teachers in the lower-paying district are allowed to switch to the higher pay offered by the other.”
I guess that means there would not even have to be collective bargaining to raise grade school teachers’ salaries.
The General Assembly would do it by just passing a bill that the Governor, wanting to reward “thems that brought him to the party,” would, of course, sign.
Reporter Zackary Colman cites a cost-benefit estimate in the Palatine area showing ‘would save $1.6 million in administrative salaries but cost at least $10 million in higher pay for elementary teachers.”
I could check the math on the cost side for Palatine, but I know the cost side of the equation for my high school district is rational.
Maybe grade school teacher salaries are not as much lower than high school teacher salaries in Palatine than they are in Crystal Lake-Cary-Fox River Grove. Locally, they are$31,066 lower, according to the latest School Report Cards (which can be seen here).