From McHenry County Blog reader Mark, who has return after too long an absence:
One of the big problems in school district reorganizations is what to do about the pay of employees in the lower paid district, which in this case is McHenry.
The biggest payroll cost in a school district by far is the teachers, not the administrators or classified employees (secretarial, aides, maintenance, bus, etc).
Although apparently not required by state law, past practice has been to hike the pay of employees from the lower paid district, to the pay of employees to the higher paid district, subsidized for the first few years by a state subsidy which is phased out, leaving local taxpayers responsible for 100% of the annual cost of the hikes after the subsidy is phased out.
Another issue is that although McHenry bonds are almost paid off (retired), that is not the case in Crystal Lake.
It is hard to believe the ROE Superintendent would not have mentioned these basic reorganization issues.
There was not even a ballpark estimate given if one or more high schools could be closed.
So how could one say with a straight face that up to $44M could be saved.
There was not even an attempt to list the breakdown of the $44M and how a reorg might prevent which of the expenditures.
Voters should vote no on the referendum, but for a different reason: the planned debt service schedule has not been released.
Who would buy something without knowing the payment plan for that item with itemized interest?
The answer is millions of voters during bond referendums for decades.
It is the norm, not the exception, in Illinois.
Here is another approach.
Save the money, then pay cash, to avoid the interest costs.
While not a perfect plan, it would at least get people to start talking about bond interest.
Worse than bond interest, is pension interest on unfunded pension liabilities.
And worse than that was legislatively hiking pension benefits while pensions were already underfunded.
After the benefits are hiked, they cannot be withdrawn for existing employees and retirees, only future employees, due to the pension sentence in the state constitution.
The transparency and understanding of the hikes by taxpayers during the legislative process was awful.
A rigged system.