District 155 to Vote on 4% per Year Teacher Salary Increases

A press release from Crystal Lake High School District 155:

D155 School Board to Vote on Teachers’ Contract

Crystal Lake – The D155 Education Association and the Board of Education have been working collaboratively toward a new collective bargaining agreement.

Their efforts resulted in a tentative agreement reached on December 10, 2015.  The Board’s negotiating team is scheduled to recommend that the Board vote for approval of the new agreement at the Board meeting on Tuesday, January 19.

The D155 Education Association ratified the tentative agreement on Friday, January 15.

Johnnie Thomas

Johnnie Thomas

The new contract is for three years and runs July 1, 2016 to June 30, 2019.

“I am glad the Board has recognized the work done by our incredible teaching staff.

“Our students excel because of our teachers’ enthusiasm and dedication.

“We feel this tentative agreement will allow us to continue to retain and recruit the best educators,” said Dr. Johnnie Thomas, superintendent.

A summary of the agreement includes additional personal and sick days and annual average salary increases of 3.97% each year.


  • 2016-17 school year: step and lane movement plus a .25 increase to the base

  • 2017-18 school year:

    • First semester: step movement only and, for those teachers who have completed the requisite education credits or degree, a lane change is permitted;

    • Second semester: step movement only,

    • Teachers who are not eligible to move step and lane are eligible for a one time $1,500 longevity bonus

    • There is no increase to the base in the second year

  • 2018-19 school year: step and lane movement (if eligible) plus one-half of the Tax Cap Percentage (based on the consumer price index) will be added to the base


  • One additional personal day; total of three personal days. Only two personal days may be used consecutively.

  • Two additional sick days; total of 14 sick days.

“District 155 has one of the highest quality teaching staffs in the State of Illinois. Inspiring, empowering, and nurturing our students is our top priority and our passion.

“We are especially proud of the collaborative nature of these negotiations, and we are pleased that this agreement will allow us to continue impacting our students with the highest caliber staff each and everyday,” said Justin Hubly, D155 Education Association president.

Both bargaining teams agreed to a letter of understanding that will allow contracts to open if there are any major changes to state and/or federal funding.

Two joint district committees will also be established.

One to review salary structure and a second to review workload.


District 155 to Vote on 4% per Year Teacher Salary Increases — 17 Comments

  1. 3.97% each year is excessive considering the cost of living and what they already receive in great wages.

    Most gov agencies give one sick day per month, that would be 10 a year for a school teacher, so 14 is way out of wack.

    The proper words can’t be printed here.

  2. How much will property taxes increase to cover this salary increase ?

  3. Outrageous.

    Taxpayers in this district should demand to see the exact math behind the average salary increase of 4% per year

    How more precisely was that calculated?


    The teachers in this district can get more than one step movement per year!


    A total of 14 sick days!


    Is the longevity bonus pensionable income?


    This contract is not a good deal for the taxpayers.

    It’s uncalled for.

    The taxpayers are taking advantage of because the school district.

    Every property tax rich district says how great they are.


    There is absolutely no reason to hike the base salary grid, the step and lane movements are more than sufficient.


    Whatever happened to Chris Williams and GAND Community Advocates.


    Dysfunctionally, the resulting hiked underfunded pensions get dumped on state taxpayers so rural taxpayers in lower paying districts get the shaft.


    Well the taxpayers get what they deserve.

    If there’s no taxpayer watchdog this happens all too often.

    Most school boards for whatever reason don’t represent taxpayers, even if they try their best and think they do.

  4. Just like every almost every single public sector collective bargaining agreement in Illinois, the pensions are not part of the collective bargaining negotiations.

    Yet the teachers and all public sector workers consider pensions as part of overall compensation.

    If there was a requirement that pensions were fully funded before pay hikes could take place, guess what, pensions would be fully funded right now, and salaries would be lower.

    But now we are so deep in the pension hole that would mean no salary hikes for years or decades.

    So here we are in this deep pension hole caused by kick the can, hide and seek, catch me if you can politics.

    Well the gravy train can’t continue forever.

    The $158 Billion Unfunded Pension Liability for 17 of the 20 public sector pension systems in Illinois as of the end of 2014 according to the Illinois Department of Insurance Public Pension Division (not included were CHA, CTA, and RTA / Metra / Pace).

    Here are the statistics for the TRS pension fund (teachers and administrators outside Chicago) as of the end of Fiscal Year 2014 in that report.

    Net Present Assets: $45,824,382,514 (that’s the current value of the investments)

    Actuarial Total Liability: $103,740,377,267 (that’s the amount the actuaries calculate will be paid out for teacher pension benefits…aka forecast of future pension payouts)

    Unfunded Liability: $57,915,994,753 (that’s the taxpayer IOU).

    Percent Funded: 44.17% ($57B is about 44% of $103B…less than 1/2…in overly simplistic terms less than 1/2 of the money is in the bank.

    Active Participants: 132,886 (the number of teachers and administrators contributing to the fund).

    Beneficiares: 109,448 (the number of teachers and administrators receiving a pension).

    Average Salary: $57,991 (the average pay of teachers and administrators contributing to the fund. Keep in mind that includes less than full time employees, employees in rural school districts. To make that statistic more meaningful, FTE – Full Time Equivalent – and Years Worked should have been reported).


    Well the school board and administration would say pension underfunding is not the responsibility of the school district and school board.

    In other words they want the gold but don’t want to take their share of ownership in helping to solve the problem.

    Same old story.

    Local school districts, teachers, and administrators blame the State for not making the required pension contributions for decades, issuing pension obligation bonds, and taking pension holidays.

    The State blames the school districts for hiking salaries, which hikes pensions.

    No one blames legislative pension benefit hikes, rather they just point to a COGFA report which goes back to the 90’s or so instead of 1971 (skip 25 years of benefit hikes and of course benefit hikes don’t get as much blame due to the compounded effect of the hikes).

    The local salary hikes and legislative benefit hikes killed the pensions.

    No way to pay all possible benefits in full, zero chance.


    This is like a textbook case study in what not to do if your pension is 45% funded.


  5. Wait Actuarial Total Liability would be the amount that should be in the fund right now?

    …the present value of future benefits?

    …let me think about that a bit.

  6. Yes that’s it.

    Actuarial Total Liability: $103,740,377,267

    less Net Present Assets: …$045,824,382,514

    = Unfunded Liability: …….$057,915,994,753

  7. Well I might not have the actuarial terms 100% correct but that’s the general idea.

  8. I can’t wait to see the next TRS numbers.

    The Dow is down over 10% since the end of 2014.

    They’ll probably demand a much larger contribution from the taxpayers.

  9. Taxpayers owe TRS (teacher and administrator pension fund) $437 Million Dollars for Crystal Lake High School District 155 pensions alone.

    The exact figure is $437,904,000.

    That is further broken down between local and state.

    Local taxpayers (school district) owe $8,028,000 to the TRS pension fund.

    State taxpayers owe $429,876,000 to the TRS pension fund.

    Thus local taxpayer owe 1.8% and the state taxpayers owe 98.2% of the $437M.

    The payroll amount for current employees in the plan (employer’s covered-employee payroll) is $48,706,000 (that would be the current CHSD 155 payroll for CHSD 155 teachers and administrators whom are in the TRS pension system).

    So what is the percentage of covered payroll that taxpayers owe to the pension fund?

    Local (school district): $8,028,000 / $48,706,000 = 16%
    State: $429,876,000 / $48,706,000 = 880%
    Total: $437,904,000 / $48,706,000 = 899%

    The 880% & 899% figures are off the charts…insanity.

    That means if you didn’t pay teachers for 9 years, and only funded the TRS pension for 9 years, then the pension would be fully funded (well investment gains would reduce that a bit, let’s say 8 years or whatever number you want to choose).

    CHSD 155 Fiscal Year 2015 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR).
    Page 71 of the pdf (page 53 as numbered in the document).


    http://www.d155.org > Finance and Operations > Annual Audits > 2015 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report

    There is additional information about the taxpayer TRS IOU in the document.

    CHSD posted the document in image pdf format which is non searchable; a product such as Adobe Acrobat DC can convert it to searchable (Tools > Enhance Scans > Enhance > Scanned Document > Enhance).


    The taxpayer IOU to the pension fund is one reason why teacher unions and public school districts fight school choice in Illinois, as less money flowing to the monopoly means less money flowing to the pension fund…they want their pension…a lot of school choice has to do with pensions…the system as it stands binds taxpayers to government control.


    Current CHSD 155 schools, board members, and leadership team:

    Cary Grove High School
    Crystal Lake Central High School
    Crystal Lake South High School
    Prairie Ridge High School

    Board Members
    Ted Wagner – President
    Gary Oberg – Vice President
    Amy Blazier
    Adam Guss
    Rosemary Kurtz
    David Secrest
    Ann Somers

    Administration Team
    Dr. Johnnie Thomas, Superintendent
    Eric Bruso, Coordinator of Finance
    Kimberly Dahlem, Director of Student Services
    Jeff Daurer, Director of Operations
    Jeremy Davis, Assistant Superintendent, Finance, Operations, and Technology
    Randy Davis, Assistant Superintendent, Human Resources
    George DiVenere, Director of Technology
    Dr. Steven Koch, Principal, Prairie Ridge High School
    Scott Kubelka, Director of Curriculum and Assessment
    Shannon Mortimer, Director of Communications
    Steve Olson, Principal, Crystal Lake Central High School
    Jay Sargeant, Principal, Cary Grove High School
    Scott Shepard, Principal, Crystal Lake South High School
    Dr. Corey Tafoya, Assistant Superintendent, Educational Services
    Matthew Timmerman, Director, Instructional Technology and Staff Development.

    All of them inline for multi-million dollar taxpayer funded pensions which are drastically underfunded.

    The pensions are off the charts generous compared to neighboring states of Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, Missouri, Kentucky, Indiana, & Michigan.

    Underfunded + Off the charts generous….could there be a connection.

  10. Yes Billy Bob. Us poor suckers in the Private Sector have taken a $2.3 Trillion loss on our retirements since this time last year.

    Meanwhile the Public Sector has the balls to keep asking for more.


  11. How about a cap or a progressive (reverse indexed) so highly compensated educators and admins don’t get any or a smaller percentage increase?

  12. TRS Tier II has a cap.

    The pension sentence added to the Illinois State Constitution on December 15, 1970, as interpreted by the Illinois Supreme Court to date, prevents changes that reduce benefits to anyone already in Tier I.

    Perversely hiked benefits are protected by the pension sentence…there have been well over 50 benefit hikes to TRS alone since 1970…TRS has been underfunded since 1970…so benefits were hiked even though the system was underfunded…akin to charging your credit card if you are carrying a balance from month to month…and the credit card bill keeps growing and growing…and taxpayers are constitutionally bound to pay the credit card bill.

    The best way out of this perverse system is to pass a referendum to repeal the pension sentence.

    There are not the votes in the Illinois General Assembly to get that process started.

    So we have to educate people and vote people into office who will get that process started (Pass a House or Senate Joint Resolution Constitution Amendment…HJRCA or SJRCA).


    Another way to address the pension crisis is to shift the state portion of the TRS unfunded liability to local, and allow local to declare bankruptcy.

    There are going to be local municipal bankruptcies in Illinois anyway due to some municipalities, in particular some which are predominantly black in the southwestern suburbs that have hopeless debt and dismal job prospects…in municipal bankruptcies to date in other states the bondholders have taken a bigger hit than pensions…the municipalities have a greater allegiance to former workers than investors it seems…municipal bond holders beware of the overall pension + unfunded liability + job prospects in the municipalities in which you invest.

    The pensions are a complete mess, the legislative benefit hikes and salary hikes went unchecked in terms of pension affordability because there was a constitutional guarantee the pensions would be paid…ditto retiree healthcare.

  13. TRS Tier II (Tier 2) is for employees (teachers and administrators) whom began their career on or after January 1, 2011.

  14. What an excellent deal for part-time employees.

    Also, has anyone ever heard a teacher complain about high property taxes?

  15. Some teachers do complain about high property taxes and some move out of state when they retire partially because of property taxes.

    There is an infamous Forbes article about that.


    Fleeing Illinois For Tennessee In Retirement

    June 30, 2014

    by Ashlea Ebeling

    “The Reeds sat down with their financial advisor at Vanguard and ran a plan showing projections of how likely it was that their assets would carry them through a comfortable retirement.

    They got a disappointing answer: 60%.

    But by making the move to Tennessee, the chances of their money lasting jumped to 80%.

    The main reason: a lower cost of living.”


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