Meeting Tonight to Ratify CL Grade School Teachers’ Contract

A summary of the Crystal Lake Grade School District 47 contract that will be considered by the school board tonight at 7 at Canterbury School popped into my inbox this morning.






April 14, 2014

  1. Duration


Three (3) years 2013-2014 2014-2015 2015-2016
  1. Wages


2013-2014: 1.7% (retro to July 1, 2013)2014-2015: 2.3 %2015-2016: 2.4 %
  1. Retro Pay
  • Pay date: Friday, May 23rd (normal payroll will include new rates for both salary and extra duty)
  • Separate check/voucher (net of applicable taxes) on May 23rd that includes:

* Salary retro pay codes (7/1/13 – 5/9/14)

* Extra duty retro pay codes (7/1/13 – 5/9/14)

  • Calculation support will be included to help explain
  1. Sick Days


  • Language allowing for the care of individuals who stand “in a significant relationship with the teacher” was removed to conform with the definition of ‘immediate family’ contained in the Illinois School Code (105 ILCS 5/24-6): parents, spouse, brothers, sisters, children, grandparents, grandchildren, parents-in-law, brothers-in-law, sisters-in-law and legal guardians.
  • Language was inserted clarifying that teachers are guaranteed twelve (12) days of sick leave each year at the beginning of their 15th year of continual service to the District.
  • Clarifies that for those teachers hired after June 1, 2014, sick days are not considered earnings for retirement service credit per the Illinois Pension Code (40 ILCS 5/7-114).
  1. Sick Leave Bank


  • Language requiring 120 consecutive days was removed.
  • 120 sick leave bank days per school year are still allowed, to be taken in 5-day increments, with exceptions allowed in the discretion of the Sick Leave Bank Committee on a case by case basis. The 5-day requirement is meant to provide consistency for students and for the well-being of the teacher.
  1. Personal Leave


  • Beginning with the 2014-2015 school year, each full-time teacher will be credited with three (3) days of personal leave (an increase from 2 days) each school year.
  • Two weeks (instead of 3 days) advanced noticed is preferred.
  1. Bereavement Leave


  • For purposes of bereavement leave only, the definition of ‘immediate family’ includes individuals who stand in a significant relationship with the employee, in addition to immediate family (defined at 105 ILCS 5/24-6 of the Illinois School Code): parents, spouse, brothers, sisters, children, grandparents, grandchildren, parents-in-law, brothers-in-law, sisters-in-law and legal guardians.
  1. Retirement


  • Insurance benefits terminate when the teacher becomes Medicare eligible (instead of age 65).
  1. Insurance


  • Insurance benefits are optional, no longer required.
  • New Insurance Committee responsibilities have been included.
  • For 2014, the Board will continue to provide each participating full-time teacher up to $624.00 benefit dollars per month for District-sponsored employee group health coverage. The Board will pay the first three percent (3%) of any increase from the previous year for the duration of the Agreement.
  • If the annual premium increase is greater than 3% but less than 6%, teachers are responsible for any increase greater than 3%. For example, if the annual premium increase is 5%, the Board’s increase will be 3% and the teacher’s increase will be 2%. However, cost savings secured through insurance plan modifications will be shared equally by the Board and the teachers.
  • If the annual premium increase exceeds 6%, the Board’s increase will be 3% and the teacher’s increase will be the annual premium increase minus the 3% Board increase. However, cost saving secured through insurance plan modifications will be first applied to the portion of the annual premium increase that exceeds 6%. Any additional cost savings secured through modifications to the plan will be shared equally by the Board and the teachers. For example, if the annual premium increase is 8%, the Board’s increase will be 3% and the teacher’s increase will be 5%. However, if cost savings secured through insurance plan modifications results in a 4% reduction in the annual premium, the Board’s increase will be 2% and the teacher’s increase will be 2%. The first 2% of the reduction will be applied to the overall increase and the remaining 2% reduction will be shared between the Board and the teachers.
  1. Professional Development — Incentives and Procedures


  • Teacher must obtain a grade of ‘B’ or better (instead of a ‘C’ or better) to receive horizontal movement on the salary schedule.
  • District 47 ERO course work can be applied for horizontal movement on the salary schedule. For ERO course work, teachers must choose to receive either horizontal movement or partial reimbursement (not both).
  1. Supervisory Extra Duty


  • Previously $17.00/hour
  • 2013-2014: $17.34 (2%)
  • 2014-2015: $17.69 (2%)
  • 2015-2016: $18.04 (2%)
  1. Instructional Extra Duty


  • Previously $27.48/hour
  • 2013-2014: $28.03 (2%)
  • 2014-2015: $28.59 (2%)
  • 2015-2016: $29.16 (2%)
  • Elementary (K-5): 270 (instead of 250) total hours will be allocated per building.
  • Middle School (6-8): intramural sports 50 (instead of 60) hours per coach/activity.
  1. Just Cause Discipline


  • New Article XVI

No TEACHER shall be disciplined without just cause. Discipline includes, but is not limited to, documented warnings, reprimands, suspensions, and discharge. Written reprimands or warnings shall be defined as a separate document apart from the TEACHERS’ evaluation form. It is specifically agreed that this section shall not apply to a decision by the Board to terminate a teacher or to not renew the contract of a TEACHER. Criteria for determining just cause is located at and the District #47 Employee Handbook.”

  1. Reduction in Force and Recall


  • All language removed; now provides that RIFs and recalls will be governed by the Illinois School Code provisions in effect at the time of the RIFs and recalls (105 ILCS 5/24-12).

A map showing where the school is located appears below, just in case you want to attend the meeting.

Canterbury Elementary School map.

Canterbury Elementary School map.

The following commentary accompanied the link to the contract information:

According to my tax bill, 74% of my property taxes pay for education.  42% of my tax bill is for district 47.

This D47  contract is arguably more conservative than that of many districts in the county and has historically done a better job than most in this area.  The “raises” given to the teachers for this 3 year contract compiled about 6.4% over 3 years, or an average of a little over 2% annually.  However, in looking at the Ratification Document on the D47 website as well as the previous contract there are a couple of items that appear to remain in the new contract which is a grave concern:

Teachers will receive retirement incentives – 6% raises in the last three years of employment (See Article X, Section C, Subsection 2).  In a nutshell, this does nothing for the quality of education.  All it does is increase teachers’ salaries in the last three years.  But that’s not all…
  • The Teachers Retirement System calculates the teachers’ pension based on theaverage of their final salary during the final 4 years of service.  Therefore this retirement incentive will drive up the pension burden that we have in Springfield.
  • The General Assembly passed a law to end these balloon retirement incentives, but that law is currently being challenged in the courts.  Why would D47 agree to provide additional dollars to teachers that is contrary to current legislation?
  • As we all know the talk in Springfield as that it’s the Democrats plan to shift full financial responsibility for TRS Pensions to the local school district.
  • Based on my calculations, if 6-7 teachers annonce their intent to retire during the contract term, the impact of the balloon raises will be approximately $1million!!!

Local school districts love to complain about unfunded mandates they receive from the state and federal governments, nut retirement incentives for teachers are an unfunded mandate from the district to the state!  That is because the funding for teachers’ pensions comes from Springfield, not the local school district.

It is often cheaper for the local district to encourage early retirement in this manner, because they can replace the higher-paid veteran teacher with a new teacher who earns substantially less. A new teacher earns about $40,000; the most veteran teachers can earn more than $80,000.  But these incentives increase teacher pensions, which is paid by the state.

So it’s cheaper for the district but more expensive for the state!  And in the end, whether it is the local district (funded by local property taxes) or the state (funded by income taxes), all the money comes from the same place – taxpayers’ pockets.

Links to the expired contract and the ‘Ratification Document’ are below…



Meeting Tonight to Ratify CL Grade School Teachers’ Contract — 10 Comments

  1. Property taxes on houses sold, chosen at random on, nearby the meeting place in Crystal Lake IL:

    sold for $102,500. 2012 Taxes: $2985.
    old for $130,000. 2012 Taxes: $4421.

    Property taxes on houses sold, chosen at random on, Brownsburg IN 46112:

    sold for $125,000 2012 Taxes: $1200.

    Property taxes on houses sold, chosen at random on,

    Fitchburg WI 53711:

    sold for $178,000 2012 Taxes: $3978.

    Property taxes on houses sold, chosen at random on,

    Beverly Hills CA 90210:

    sold for $6,500,000 2012 Taxes: $5097.

    Question for school board deciding budget:

    would it be better for the children if property-tax-paying parents were allowed to keep the extraordinary additional amount (when compared to every other state in the USA) of taxes going toward K-12 education, perhaps for college funding?

  2. Is the extra 6% for pension in the last three years “for the kids” (whose kids)?

    Will the pension plan “control” stay in the state or be forced back to local? We pay no matter where it is at.

    I have another board meeting to attend tonight and can not make this one.

    All that attend D47 meeting, please use your 3 minute comment time wisely.

    Thanks to all who are engaging in this and other government concerns, reviews, and transparency.

  3. Hmmmm!

    I always thought that the school teachers did NOT pay into Social Security, thus, unless they worked many extra quarters were not entitled to Medicare.

    So now, according to the Northwest Herald, under this new contract instead of losing their paid for (by us) health care insurance at age 65, they won’t lose it until they go on MEDICAID!

    That’s MEDICAID, not MEDICARE.

    So now we get to cover their insurance until they reach poverty level?

    That’s a good deal for whom?

    Of course, perhaps the NW Herald once again has screwed up but since it’s my understanding that the teachers do not ordinarily qualify for Medicare, perhaps not and it’s just the teachers and their handpicked lackeys on the board doing us once again.

    Anyone know the straight scoop?

  4. Much of the information released by District 47 is misleading or not very useful for the layperson.

    This is almost ALWAYS the case when teacher collective bargaining negotiations are reported by school districts or in the newspapers.

    This is almost ALWAYS the case in all public sector collective bargaining agreements in Illinois.

    There is an incredible amount of wordsmithing that goes into the release of public school teacher collective bargaining details by school districts.

    It really has everything to do with protecting their image and making the costs seem as low as possible.

    Pay and benefits is typically 80% of a school district budget, and that doesn’t include the State of Illinois contribution (on behalf of the employer i.e. school district) to the TRS pension plan!

    And pay directly impacts starting pension!

    The most lucrative portion of a career public school teacher and administrator’s compensation is their pension.

    The contributions they pay in, compared to the pension they receive, is OFF THE CHARTS.
    Astronomical ROI.

    Career teachers and administrators typically receive their lifetime pension contributions back in the form of pension payments in one to three years, with most closer to one year.

    Back to the immediate subject of the article, although do keep in mind, these collective bargaining agreements have a lot to do with our pension problem.

    Regarding the information released by Crystal Lake Elementary District 47.
    Section 2, Article XXI, the wage increases refer to what?

    Salary schedule increase?

    Individual teacher increase?

    Overall teacher pay increase (the pay of all teachers combined)?

    What are the exceptions, if any.

    Because for instance teachers receive a very large pay hike, way above 2% or 3%, in the form of a lane (horizontal) movement on their salary schedule when they earn a Masters Degree.

    The salary schedule is a grid.

    Horizontal movements are called lanes.

    Vertical movements are called steps.

    The entire proposed contract, including the above mentioned salary schedule, should be released to the public weeks BEFORE being voted upon by the Board, in searchable pdf including strikethroughs for deletions and highlights for additions.

    Not just the terms of the agreement.

    Once again the proposed contract should should be released to the public two weeks prior to the board vote.

    Not just a few days before the board vote.

    State Reps Jeanne Ives and Tom Morrison are sponsoring a House Bill 4268 (98th General Assembly) to provide more public transparency to public sector collective bargaining agreements.

    In 2013, also in the 98th General Assembly, the collective bargaining legislation sponsored by Ives, which did not pass, was House Bill 2689.

    Regarding Social Security.

    Illinois public school teachers do not contribute to Social Security.

    Rather, in theory, Illinois public school teachers contribute to Teachers Retirement System of Illinois (TRS), a defined benefit pension plan.

    Why in theory?

    In practice, as you may or may not know, in the majority of school districts in Illinois (the employer) “pick up” some or all of the teachers’ contribution to TRS.

    This practice is negotiated during collective bargaining.

    This practice is known as “pension pickup”, “board paid TRS”, and a variety of other names.

    It is a tax shelter, since pension pickup / board paid TRS is pre-tax and increases TRS creditable earnings (the amount on which pensions are calculated).

    TRS creditable earnings is the amount on which TRS pensions are calculated.

    This is a wide variety of ways to increase TRS creditable earnings, one of which is board paid TRS.

    Some teachers will say board paid TRS is “in lieu of” a salary increase.

    Well that may be, but in many cases there were increases to the base salary schedule AND either new inclusion of, or increase to, board paid TRS.

    Bottom line board paid TRS is just another scheme

    Compare board paid TRS pension pickup to Social Security.

    Have you ever heard of an employer “picking up” the employee contribution to Social Security?

    Wouldn’t it be nice for those contributing to Social Security if they could contribute a reduced amount, or nothing at all, to Social Security by negotiating a deal with their employer, which would have the effect of increasing the wages upon which the Social Security payout is calculated?

    Who would pay for it?

    Teachers and administrators?

    Since others pay for teacher pensions largely through their income taxes, maybe teachers can
    pay for those who would not contribute to Social Security.

    Not sure if the teacher and administrator salary figures on,,,, and school district websites are inclusive of, or exclude, board paid TRS.

    If their source is TRS, it should be creditable earnings, in which case board paid TRS would be included.

    Whenever asking for or viewing Illinois public school teacher or administrator pay, always ask if the source is “TRS creditable earnings.”

    Because TRS creditable earnings can be higher than the teacher or administrator salary as explained above.

    There are endless nuances to teacher pay and benefits.

    In addition to TRS, Illinois public school teachers contribute to the Teachers’ Health Insurance Security (THIS) Fund, which finances the Teachers’ Retirement Insurance Program (TRIP).

    TRIP is funded by the active teacher THIS contribution, the school district THIS contribution, and further subsidized by taxpayers.

    As usual there are many nuances but here is a common scenario.

    When teachers retire they typically enroll in TRIP as their primary health insurance until they become Medicare eligible.

    Currently typically one is eligible for Medicare at age 65.

    When Medicare eligible, many teachers swithc to Medicare as their primary because it has lower premiums, and then use TRIP for their secondary.

    Thus TRIP is often thought of as taxpayer subsidized early retiree healthcare for Illinois public school teachers, since most school teachers retire before the age of 65.
    Illinois public school teachers can retire after 35 years of service with full benefits.

    Years of service includes for instance exchanging two years of unused sick leave, for 2 years of service credit, and thus such a teacher or administrator can retire after 33 years worked.

    But lets use 35 years worked.

    Even though most retire with full benefits with less than 35 years worked.

    Start working at age 22.

    Retire after 35 years at age 57.

    Use TRIP for your primary health insurance until age 65.

    At age 65, switch to Medicare as your primary health insurance and TRIP as your secondary
    health insurance.

    Don’t want to wait until age 57 to retire?

    Or age 55 by exchanging 2 years of unused sick leave?

    Then use ERO.

    With Early Retiree Option (ERO), teachers can retire with as little as 20 years of service with full benefits.

    ERO requires additional payments by the employer and employee, although the employer contribution rate is twice the employee rate.

    In perhaps the worst Public Act in 2013, ERO was renewed for 3 years in 2013, and thus now expires in 2016.

    If not renewed, ERO would have expired.

    It is beyond reasonable comprehension why taxpayers not receiving a taxpayer subsidized early retirement should subsidize early retirements they themselves don’t receive.

    Here are contribution rates for active school teachers (not retired) for fiscal year 2012 (FY 2012).

    Member TRS retirement contribution: 9.40%.

    Employer TRS retirement contribution: 0.58%.

    State of Illinois TRS retirement contribution (on behalf of employer): 24.91%

    Member THIS (insurance) contribution: 0.88%.

    Employer THIS (insurance) contribution: 0.66%.

    Remember in the majority of school districts in Illinois, the employer picks up some or all of thfe the Member TRS retirement contribution of 9.4%.

    It would be a good investment of time to attend the board meeting and listen to board members spin on the contract.

    Typically in most school boards, the majority of board members are supported by the teacher union.

    It takes attending quite a few meetings to discover who believes what.

    Most board members are terrified of taking a position, or too many positions, in opposition of the teacher union, for fear of not being re-elected.

    Because teacher union support is the #1 predictor in whether or not a school board member will be re-elected.

    Because historically the public did not know much about teacher unions.

    And historically, people trust teachers opinion about who is best to oversee the public school district in which their children or grandchildren or relatives or kids in their district are

    And most people not in the school district system haven’t a clue as to how it really operates.

    As always there are exceptions.

    Keep in mind if you disagree with the teacher union or school board, they will typically vilify you, portray you as uniformed, portray you as a tea partier, portray you as an extremist, they
    will think of something to undermine your credibility.

    That is the way the game has historically been played.

    Secrecy is of utmost importance to school boards and teacher unions and administrators.

    If you don’t know what’s going on, if you don’t have time to figure it out, how can you possibly intelligently disagree?

  5. Let’s say the Crystal Lake Elementary School District board was really interested in representing the taxpayers.

    Which is what they are supposed to do.

    Here is a step by step method to represent the taxpayers.

    1. The board should release the entire negotiated collective bargaining agreement including salary schedules, addendums, amendments, attachments, etc. to the public TWO WEEKS prior to the board meeting at which the Board is scheduled to vote upon the agreement.

    The agreement should be searchable.

    The agreement should have strikethoughs thru deletions.

    The agreement should have highlighted any additions.

    You know, the same working document the board and union and administration have, that is ALWAYS hidden from the taxpayers!

    That working document is hidden from the public during negotiations.

    That working document is hidden from the public after negotiations.

    It could probably FOIA’d after negotiations, but it should not have to be FOIA’d, it should just be automatically placed on the district website.

    The public needs to view that working document BEFORE approval and ratification.

    And not a few days before.

    A few weeks before.

    And not without a Q&A session between the public and board.

    Rather, with a Q&A session between public and board.

    2. Let’s be clear.

    The board should hold a public meeting about the collective bargaining agreement, with administrators present, at which the public can ask, and receive answers, about the agreement.
    Not just a one sided meeting where the board listens to the public.

    A two sided meeting with actual conversations, a question and answer session.

    Maybe the board would have to research some questions.


    Hold a follow up meeting.

    The Board negotiates many sessions with the union, but can’t even hold a Q&Q session and a follow up session with the public?

    3. The public being able to state their opinion for 3 minutes on the very date the board votes on the agreement is not what we are looking for.

    That is unacceptable.

    The public needs to have real conversations with the board and that would likely include a Q&A session and a follow up session.

    Is that clear board?

    You are supposed to represent the public.

    But you have not been representing the public in most cases in the area of collective bargaining.

    Not even close.

    In fact it’s a complete joke.

    A hypocrisy.

    Yes the negotiations with the union are sometimes tough, especially with the labor laws in Illinois.

    But you have been treating the public as if the public should not have a meaningful say in this extremely important document called a collective bargaining agreement that takes money out of
    taxpayer wallets and puts it in teacher wallets.

    4. The union should not be allowed to intimidate the public at the above mentioned board meetings between the board and public.

    No teacher union “show of solidarity” to keep an eye on who in the public is asking questions.

    We would not want the children of a parent asking questions to be singled out by a teacher.

    The meeting is not for the union to present its position.

    The public cannot attend board – union negotiations.

    The union cannot attend board – taxpayer Q&A sessions.

    The meeting is for the public to ask questions to the board about what’s in the agreement.

    The meeting is for the board to answer questions.

    Not just listen to the public.

    If the board cannot answer the question, the board needs to get back to the taxpayers.

    Thus likely one and maybe several q&a sessions would ensue.

    Just as there are several sessions when the board negotiates with the union!

    The Board represents the public not the union.

    The union has been negotiating with the board and administration for typically months or even a
    year or more, during which they have had ample time to state their positions to the Board.

    5. Board members.

    You need to do a better job of INFORMING the public about how collective bargaining agreements
    work and how they impact the budget.

    You need to EDUCATE the public about how these collective bargaining agreements work.

    You need to explain the agreements to the public.

    You need to have q&a sessions with the public.

    That has not been occurring in any meaningful way.

    You can say you have been transparent, you have posted the agreement after it was approved, you
    released a few details about what’s in the agreement, but that that is not being truly transparent.

    That is starter transparency.

    It’s not good enough.

    You are not even in the ballpark of true transparency.

    It is extremely difficult for taxpayers to gain an understanding about what these collective
    bargaining agreements mean and how they work.

    And the board has contributed to that difficulty.

    Why do you give more attention to the union than the taxpayer regarding collective bargaining agreements?

    Why do you hold more meetings with the union than the taxpayer regarding collective bargaining agreements?

    Who do you really represent regarding collective bargaining agreements?

    Even if you believe you have been representing the taxpayer, as you can see from what has been written, you have not truly been representing the taxpayer.

    In fact board members you are a primary contributor, through a collective bargaining process in which the public is not truly involved, to the $100 Billion Plus Unfunded Pension Liability, since salaries directly impact pensions.

    The schools are to a large extent run not only by state law, not only by school board policy, but also by what is contained in the collective bargaining agreement.

    The monopoly public school district, and the teacher union which has been monopolizing the labor in the monopoly school district, has been running the show.

    Not to pick on the individual teachers but then again, the union is made up of teachers, and what teachers are advocating for the taxpayers whom are not teachers (notice the disclaimer for teachers who inevitably say, “we are taxpayers too.”)

    Playing devil’s advocate, for a teacher to survive in the monopoly school district with a monopoly labor union, even if you disagree what is happening, it’s probably in your best interest to keep your mouth shut.

    No doubt the system can vilify teachers just as they vilify taxpayers who speak against the monopoly system.

    And what about administrators.

    Well typically administrators have better pay and benefits than teachers.

    So in that regard administrators are motivated to increase teacher pay and benefits.

    Meaning increasing teacher pay and benefits likely results in increased pay and benefits for administrators down the road.

    There is no meaningful competition to District 47 for those taxpayer dollars.

    Each kid represents a pot of gold from which pay and benefits are skimmed off the top.

    Need money for other things?

    Well hold a bond referendum or issue non referendum bonds.

  6. Mark, you are remarkably well thought and well informed.

    Would you consider running for local office, especially if you had people to support your campaign?

    If so, contact me.

  7. Pull up the posted collective bargaining agreement (cba) from from the link above for Crystal Lake Elementary District 47 for FY 2010 – 2013.
    As of this moment, it is not searchable.
    Not searchable.
    Meaning you can’t search on a keyword.
    As incredible as that may seem, it is very common amongst taxing districts in Illinois.
    Let’s explain why this is a slap in the face to the public.
    It should be illegal.
    First and foremost, the taxing district has a searchable copy, and the union has a searchable copy, lawyers (if any) representing the school district have a searchable copy, and not only that, but many people in the school district and many people in the union have searchable copies.
    So the school district went through the effort of converting a searchable pdf, to a non searchable pdf.
    Why would they do that?
    Does the school district actually think the public wants a non searchable copy?
    The school district thinks the public wants to read and memorize every word in the cba?
    What is more beneficial to the public, a searchable copy, or a non searchable copy?
    The public either has to go through the effort of converting the non searchable document to a searchable one (many in the public either do not have the technology to do so, don’t know how to do so, or both).
    Or the public has to request a searchable copy from the taxing district.
    What are the chances the school district does not have a searchable copy themselves?
    During collective bargaining negotiations, sections, phrases, and sentences are referred to, and searched upon.
    Not only does the local union have a searchable copy of the cba.
    The state union has an entire sophisticated database of all the cba’s for all the locals in their union.
    In other words the state union has a big fancy computer system full of cba’s that compares one school district to another(s) for a wide variety of criteria.
    So during negotiations, the local union of course has access to that cba comparison system.
    In this situation, the Crystal Lake Elementary Teachers’ Association (CLETA) is the local.
    The Illinois Education Association (IEA) is the statewide teacher union.
    So the public doesn’t even get a searchable cba.
    The union not only has a searchable cba but a sophisticated database computer system to compare cba’s.
    That is a powerful negotiation tool.
    Why does the Illinois Association of School Boards (which is supposed to represent school districts) not have a sophisticated database system of cba’s for their members, to match the union database?
    The IASB, headed by former Illinois public school Superintendent and State Rep, Roger Eddy.
    Roger hasn’t figured this out by now?
    How big is Roger’s salary and pension?
    There is no way possible all the taxing districts that have non searchable cba’s on their websites can claim it was an honest mistake, or there is a legitimate purpose for making the cba non searchable.
    It is outrageous for a taxing district to post a non searchable cba and it should be illegal.
    Do we really have to make a law for every little thing in Illinois to force taxing districts to do what they should be doing anyways.
    This is just elementary basic stuff.
    This is the sort of result we get from monopoly labor unions in monopoly school districts run by labor friendly school board politicians and labor friendly state politicians.
    The system is rigged.

  8. Now you may ask yourself, how did we get here.

    Why are the school board members not taking better care of me.

    They are the experts.

    It’s their job to take care of me.

    They were elected to take care of me.

    They know more than me.

    They look like nice people, talk like nice people, and are fine upstanding citizens, volunteer their time, volunteer for all sorts of charitable causes, etc.

    Well every situation is unique but a common reason is, they don’t know, what they don’t know.

    And they don’t know a whole lot.

    And no one is telling them enough of what they need to know.

    Some are incredibly trusting.

    Some are incredible scheisters.

    Some have ideological agendas.

    Some have political agendas.

    Some don’t want to rock the boat.

    Some don’t want to anger the teacher union.

    Some are following the Jones’ (everyone else is doing it).

    Some want to look good to the community (image).

    Some are doing what they think is necessary for the best educational outcome of students, not
    realizing the true costs.

    Some are snowballed by the administration and/or union and/or IASB.

    And the list goes on and on and on.

    There is hope.

    If you attend enough school board meetings, talk to enough people, do enough research, you can figure it out.

    You just have to be willing to invest a lot of time, unpaid, to do so.

    Bottom line.

    Don’t trust school board members to do what’s in your best interest, even if you trust them in other areas of life.

    It is very difficult to accept those nice school board members, nice administrators, and nice teachers, are part of a completely dysfunctional system.

    They are masters at presenting an impeccable image.

    But we are in a very bad economic situation and it’s going to get much worse before it gets better.

    You will see in the coming decade tax hikes and service cuts to pay for all this extravagance.

    You will become aware of teachers with $75,000 pensions, their spouse the policeman with a

    $75,000 pension, both retired at 55, collecting $150,000 annual pension until they perish which maybe be for another 30 years until they are 85.

    That’s $4.5 Million tax free for the rank and file married career teachers, police, and firefighters in the Chicago suburbs and their pension contributions are recouped in the first 1 – 3 years, their houses are paid for shortly, college for their two kids might cost them $500K at a top notch school, that leaves a lot left over for overseas trips and fine dining.

    But if you object you are a low life attacking them, just shut up and pay and appreciate their service.

    Here’s are the Crystal Lake School District 47 school board members.

    Jeff Mason, Vice President at AT&T Capital Services.

    Rob Fetzner, Attorney.

    Nancy Gonsiorek, Certified Public Accountant.

    Dr. Betsy Les, Retired principal, Adjunct College Professor.

    Donna Ricci, Homemaker, Program Instructor – Crystal Lake Park District.

    Eileen Palsgrove, University Supervisor, Trinity International University.

    Ryan Farrell, Attorney at Zukowski, Rogers, Flood & McArdle.

    This is pretty standard representation for a upper middle class suburban Chicago school board.

    Who couldn’t agree with these fine upstanding citizens.

    They must know what’s best for us.

    Well, see the above posts, then multiply it by the 100 posts which we don’t have time for today.

    It’s really, really bad folks.

    No one can fix the mess without inflicting a lot of pain.

    Buckle up.

    Who will be the winners?

    Who will be the losers?

    How long can the government kick the can.

    They have kicked it for a good 40 years.

    Can they kick it 50 years?

    How about 60 years?

    How long can one government body or political body blame another (local school board, State
    House, State Senate, Governor, US House, US Senate, President, Republicans, Democrats, Unions, etc.).

    One group that should be concerned is upper middle class with little to no cash cushion.

    If you are upper middle class and don’t have much of a cash cushion your lifestyle could change dramatically in Illinois over the next decade.

  9. Clearly, those who profit from taking over 3% ( and rising steeply) of property value annually are not concerned about the effect that has on any of us.

    What is the legal procedure to initiate a referendum, or proposition similar to California’s Prop 13, which capped property taxes at a fixed percentage of property value?

    politicians probably will not ( Altoff replied to my query over her legislation for a referendum to RAISE property taxes for MCCD by saying it was to give the people,not politicians, a chance to vote on an issue and let the voters decide it.

    My email reply , asking about her willingness to champion legislation which would REDUCE property taxes has gone unanswered).

    Is there a citizen initiation mechanism for something that could help us control property taxes?

  10. Citizens can get a statewide referendum placed on a ballot in an Illinois election.

    It involves creating a carefully worded question approved by lawyers specializing in this area of law to survive the inevitable court challenge by politicians and special interest groups that don’t want to give up their power.

    It involves getting way more signatures than the minimum to survive the inevitable challenges to signatures by the same politicians and special interest groups.

    It is a massive undertaking.

    There are two citizen referendums right now attempting to get on the November 2014 ballot.

    1. Redistricting Reform. Yes for Independent Maps.
    2. Instituting Term Limits for politicians.

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