Jacobs High School Students Do Well in Statewide Competition

Jacobs High School teacher Jennifer Christian is elated at her school’s students’ performance at the Worldwide Youth Science and Engineering state competition.

She shares the following:

Jacobs HS competitors

Front row:  Caroline Rebodos (5th Chemistry) and Madelyn Lanham (4th English). Back row:  Keith Bateman, Alex VandenBussche (5th Chemistry), Parth Shah (5th Chemistry), and Daniel Kim (4th Chemistry).

I wanted to let you know the results of our WYSE state competition held yesterday at U of I.

5 of the 6 students medaled within the top 6 places of state ranking!  I am sending a picture from the competition as well.

Their names as well as their awards are as follows:

It was an amazing year for the WYSE team.

We’ve never had so many students advance to the state level.

Even when 4 or 5 students advanced to state, the most medals ever earned was two in any given year.

The highest placement ever achieved was 4th place, once years ago, and once last year.

This year, we have two 4th place winners.

The highest English score, until this year, was 5th place, making Madelyn the highest scoring English student in Jacobs history that we can find in all the posted results.

Also, thanks to everyone who has supported our WYSE academic team in helping us achieve success!


Jacobs High School Students Do Well in Statewide Competition — 15 Comments

  1. Congratulations to the teacher and students.

    Now let’s look at taxpayer cost.

    Jacobs High School is in the CUSD 300 school district, which is one of the largest school districts in the state.

    CUSD 300 = Community Unit School District 300.

    Here is the salary history of Jennifer Christian from http://www.OpenTheBooks.com > Widget > State Salaries > Recipient Name > Illinois > Christian > Search > Scroll down several times to her name > click on her name > history.

    Jennifer C Christian (Flesch)

    2014 – $98,511 –
    2013 – $94,206 –
    2012 – $97,156 – 12th year worked (why the jump?) – Program Supervisor
    2011 – $90,123 – 9th year worked – Program Supervisor
    2010 – $91,415 – 8th year worked – Program Supervisor
    2009 – $85,712 – 7th year worked – Program Supervisor
    2008 – $58,455 – 6th year worked
    2007 – $53,806 – 5th year worked
    2006 – $48,503 – 4th year worked
    2005 – $51,282 – 3rd year worked
    2004 – $47,946 – 2nd year worked
    2003 – $36,799 – 1st year worked (2002 didn’t count?)
    2002 – $12,952

    Starting pension will be 75% of the average of the last 4 years worked, and teachers and administrators can retire with full benefits after 35 years worked.

    Most retire with less than 35 years worked with full benefits due to various programs such as exchanging 2 years of unused sick leave (340 days) for years of service credit, Early Retirement Option (ERO), and other programs.

    But let’s pretend Ms. Christian was retiring at the end of 2014 year with 35 years of service, using the above formula.

    $98,511 + $94,206 + $97,156 + $90,123 = $379,996.

    $379,996 / 4 = $94,999.

    $94,999 x .75 = $71,249 starting pension.

    The pension increases 3% every year due to compounded Cost of Living Allowance (COLA).

    Thus the next year pension will be $71,249 x 1.03 = $73,386.

    That’s starting pension if she retired as 2014, which means real starting pension when she actually retires will be much higher.

    Years Worked for teachers and administrators can be obtained from the ISBE TSR or FamilyTaxpayers.org teacher salary database.

    Ms. Christian as of 2012 had only worked 12 years, according to the ISBE TSR (which obtains the information from the school district).

    So as of 2014 that would have been 14 years worked.

    35 years full retirement – 12 years worked = 23 years to full retirement.

    Ms. Christian will not have worked 35 years for another 23 years.

    Can you imagine what he ending pay and starting pension will be after 23 more years?

    The public education pay and pension system in Illinois has been broken by state legislators and governors whom have hiked pension benefits to underfunded pensions via the legislative process, and by local school boards whom have hiked pay via collective bargaining agreements, the two systems of elected politicians have ruined public education financing in the state of Illinois.

    The Turning Point generation of taxpayers just graduating from college has a nightmare problem to solve as they will have to stand up to the teacher unions or get bullied into pay your fair share taxes submission; taxes caused by legislative benefit hikes and collective bargaining pay hikes.

  2. In years 2002 – 2008 Ms. Christian was a high school English teacher.

  3. Through year 2012 Ms. Christian is listed on the ISBE TSR as having a bachelors degree.

    Not sure if she’s obtained a Masters degree since that time.

    Apparently Ms. Christian received a $23,000 raise when moving from an English Teacher in year 2008, to a Program Supervisor in year 2009.

    Once again, that’s data provided to the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) by the school district.

  4. Considering that starting full pension benefits which a teacher and administrator receives after having worked 35 years worked is 75% of the average of the last 4 years worked, a $23,000 raise would increase starting pension about $17,250.

    $23,000 x .75 = $17,250.

    So a teacher and administrator raise is far more lucrative than a private sector raise because the pension benefits are so generous.

    Comparing 1970 TRS benefit levels to 2011 benefit levels.

    In 1970 a teacher had to work 45 years to receive full retirement benefits, as of 2011 a teacher had to work 35 years (less than that in many cases) to receive full retirement.

    In 1970 a teacher could receive a maximum of 70% of their final average salary as starting pension, as of 2011 a teacher could receive a maximum of 75% of their final average salary as starting pension.

    In 1970 the annual accrual rate was 1.5%, as of 2011 the annual accrual rate was 2.2%.

    (The annual accrual rate is multiplied by years worked, the result which is multiplied by final average salary to calculate starting pension).

    (And actually the accrual rate is multipled by years of service, not years worked, usually years of service is more than years worked, years worked was just used for simplicity purposes in explaining pensions).

    In 1970 maximum accumulated sick leave was 1/2 year which was about 85 days, in 2011 maximum accumulated sick leave was 340 days.

    In 1970 the annual COLA increase to pensions was 1.5% not compounded, as of 2011 the annual COLA increase to pensions was 3% compounded.

    There’s more, but those are all legislative benefit hikes to underfunded pensions, passed by State Representatives, State Senators, and Governors, since 1970.

    Teacher and pensions outside Chicago are funded by taxpayers throughout the state including Chicago, even though the Chicago Teacher Pension Fund (CTPF) is separate from the Teachers Retirement System of the State of Illinois (TRS) pension fund.

    That fact has Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel furious, as Chicago taxpayers through state income taxes fund a pension system from which they don’t benefit.

    The Republicans outside Chicago (Radogno etc.) have pointed out that to offset the fact that Chicago taxpayers pay into a pension via income taxes for which they don’t benefit, Chicago receives financial incentives from the State that taxpayers outside Chicago don’t receive.

    Chicago made some really dumb decisions to their pension fund, such as complete pension “holidays” for at least 3 years (the city as the employer made zero contribution to the pension fund although the employees kept contributing).

    In other words the pensions systems as are finances and many public sector benefits in general in this state are a mess.

    The teacher and administrator pension system in Illinois has been through many legislative benefit hikes and is unaffordable, and those benefit hikes combined with collective bargaining pay hikes by local school boards, have hiked starting pensions.

    The pensions are the result of decisions by elected politicians.

  5. Mark where were you when the school board approved those raises and the elected politicians corrupted the formula? At least the students, of which I assume she has and had many more, are doing well academically.

  6. It’s like a kid asking their parent for more money than the parent has to give the kid.

    The money was never there.

    They didn’t care.

  7. Let’s focus on the article, please.

    Kudos to these students who did so well in the competition.

  8. Ronda, these attitudes are notmutually exclusive.

    Of course we all admire excellence.

    But censorship should not be selectively allowed either.

    Property taxes in McHenry County, which are largely a function of school funding, have cost many people their homes.

    Will you electively focus on those humans’ misfortune, or do you need to have the facts pointed out through some source which you don’t usually selectively avoid?

    This commenter has worked hard to compile and share citable sourced data.

    Will you spend some of your compassionate heart factoring these revelations into your analysis of what is ‘right and wrong’?

  9. If a teacher or administrator begins their career at 22, retires after a 35 year career with full benefits at the age of 57 (many or most retire at an earlier age or with less years worked yet still receive full benefits), and lives to 80 (very conservative average), that’s a 23 year retirement.

    Let’s take the starting pension of the above teacher which will be MUCH larger than $71,249 and see what happens over 23 years, including the 3% annual cost of living allowance (COLA).

    Year Pension
    1 $71,249
    2 $73,386
    3 $75,588
    4 $77,856
    5 $80,191
    6 $82,597
    7 $85,075
    8 $87,627
    9 $90,256
    10 $92,964
    11 $95,753
    12 $98,625
    13 $101,584
    14 $104,632
    15 $107,771
    16 $111,004
    17 $114,334
    18 $117,764
    19 $121,297
    20 $124,936
    21 $128,684
    22 $132,544
    23 $136,520
    Total $2,312,236

    Call a financial planner at a place such as Vanguard and ask them the cost for a guaranteed lifetime annuity with a starting retirement income of $71,249 that increase 3% annually.

    Or try to find an online calculator that will make the calculation of how much you need to have invested at retirement to earn $71,249 starting retirement income that increases 3% annually.

    Or have someone calculate how much you need to invest annually until you retire, to have enough money in a guaranteed annuity with a 3% COLA.


    The above pension fund in which the above teacher participates, TRS, is less than 40% funded, thanks to legislators and Governors hiking benefits to underfunded pension funds (ditto retiree healthcare funds), and thanks to local school board members hiking collective bargaining agreements and administrator contracts.

    This scenario has no good ending for taxpayers.

    We have read far too many stories about the benefits of the public education system with not enough stories about the associated costs.

    This comment does not even come close to balancing that scale.

    The students whom are being educated will have to fund those pensions, bonds, and TIFs through their tax dollars, the worst of the bunch being pensions.

    Because those future taxpayers will have to pay current salaries plus the pensions.

    It is not nice to indebt people without fully explaining costs to the people whom are being indebted.

  10. This is a forum for relevant points to be made.

    Relevancy is in the pen of the commenter.

    Voter, is your relevant point that people should shut up about issues that hurt some portion of the population in order to benefit other portions of the population?

    I think every open minded member of society would want to hear all source-cited facts about the world in which they live and pay taxes.

  11. Then work to change the colas and gimmimcks that raise the pensions at the end.

    Ask each person if they will take a pension cut when contracts are renewed.

    Where were all of you from the mid 1990’s to now?

    Since the politicians made these new rules on pensions perhaps their pensions should be taken away or cut to less than $50,000 per year.

  12. The General Assembly (State Reps and Senators) and Governors control pension legislation.

    Most attempts to claw back hiked pension benefits are complicated by the pension sentence added to the Illinois State Constitution in 1970.

    Thus an effort should be made to repeal the pension sentence by placing a question on an election ballot, and for that to happen the General Assembly needs to pass a “joint resolution” which then signed by the Governor which would allow the question to be placed on the ballot.

    Such a “joint resolution” has been proposed.

    The measure is House Joint Resolution Constitutional Amendment 9 (HJRCA 0009) in the 99th General Assembly, introduced by Joe Sosnowski (Rockford) and co-sponsored by Tom Morrison (Palatine).

    It repeals the following sentence added to the Illinois State Constitution in 1970.

    “Membership in any pension or retirement system of the State, any unit of local government or school district, or any agency or instrumentality thereof, shall be an enforceable contractual relationship, the benefits of which shall not be diminished or impaired.”

    Ask your State Rep & Senator and the Governor to support the measure, which repeals the pension sentence added in 1970.

    It’s a long shot that the Democratic Super Majority General Assembly would pass such an amendment, none-the-less, the conversation should happen to start building awareness of the problems caused by the pension sentence.

    The locally elected boards and trustees control local collective bargaining agreements and administrator contracts; local being villages / cities / towns, fire, police, park districts, counties, school districts, community colleges, conservation districts / forest preserves, and other taxing districts on your property tax bill.

    The Governor controls collective bargaining agreements and administrator contracts at the State level (state agencies).

    The 39 or so state collective bargaining agreements expire this summer and thus are being or will be renegotiated.

    Those collective bargaining agreements can be found on the Department of Central Management Services website.

    http://www.illinois.gov/cms > For Agencies > Labor Relations > Labor Contracts


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