Crystal Lake Elementary School District 47’s Board approved the new teachers’ contract by a 7-0 vote, but not before Nancy Gonsiorek expressed displeasure with pre-retirement incentives.
They’re “really hard to swallow,” she said.
“When we give big raises to teachers [at the end of their career], it drives up the cost of those pensions.”
The CPA pointed out that for every 5 1/2 teachers who retire from District 47, the pensions cost state taxpayers “a million dollars.”
While, currently, the state picks up the bill, Democratic Party House Speaker Mike Madigan wants to transfer the burden to local property taxpayers.
“It may be different buckets the money is coming out of, but it’s still coming out of the pockets of the taxpayers.”
Before offering her objection, Gonsiorek pointed out that District 47 “is more fiscally responsible that most school districts in McHenry County.”
Echoing Gonsiorek’s comments was Board member Ryan Farrell.
He noted that the argued financial incentive for the District of hiring lower paid teachers to replace the retirees disappeared “if that incentive is exactly the same forever.”
Board President Jeff Mason explained that the contract “conversations were very worthwhile, reasonable.”
The contract, he said, “recognize the value the teachers bring to the community.”
He praised the teachers’ negotiators for keeping their “eyes on the classroom.”
Details of the contract can be found here.
The Board also ratified a contract with para-professionals.
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I praised the board for releasing the contract prior to voting upon it, explaining that it was only the second local school board I knew of that had done so. (The other was the Huntley School District while Larry Snow was on its board.)
I compared District 47’s transparency with the total lack thereof by McHenry County College, whose board is expected to approve the still secret contract Thursday night.