CL Teachers’ Favorites

Signs of candidates favored by Crystal Lake teacher unions.

Signs of candidates favored by Crystal Lake teacher unions.

The following comment left by “Nobody” is not completely accurate.  I have indicated where mistakes occur:

The comment did, however, inspire me to take a look at the candidates that Crystal Lake Grade School District 47’s and Crystal Lake High School District 155’s teacher unions are endorsing.

If you think that your taxes are high, look at the school board candidates, because I guarantee they are about to get much higher in Crystal Lake.

The real story that everyone is missing is the number of teachers and teachers union members running for the school board in D155 & D47.

D47 has a MEMBER OF THE UNION LEADERSHIP (CURT WADLINGTON) running and judging by the number of teachers that has signs in their yards, Fetzner is their friend as well judging by sign placements.

[The Patch article identifies Wadlington as “Association Negotiations Committee Chairperson” for High School District 155.]

D155 has a slate of 3 d47 teachers running for school board (sic); Blazier, Guss and Pelz that ARE ENDORSED BY THE D155 TEACHERS UNION.  [The three are endorsed by the District 155 Education Association, but are not employed by Crystal Lake Grade School District 47. Amy Blazier  teaches pre-school at Friendship House Childcare.  Adam Guss works for Comcast.  His wife Wendy teaches at Cary-Grove High School.  Brian Pelz teaches physics and AP Chemistry at Crystal Lake Central High School.]

[The Facebook entry says,

The District 155 Education Association is proud to announce the endorsement of

  • Amy Blazier
  • Brian Pelz
  • Adam Guss

for school board.

“These three candidates stood out as people who truly have a commitment to education.

“Let’s get out on April 7th and show our support!”]

Matthew Hardt, a candidate for the 4-year McHenry County College Board, teaches at Prairie Ridge and is a member of the District 155 teachers union board. I have found no formal endorsement.

Two years ago, the Crystal Lake Elementary Teachers Association (CLETA) had the following endorsement on its Facebook page:

CLETA has recommended the following school board candidates for District 47:

  • Jeff Mason
  • Robert Routzahn
  • Ruth Scifo

Routzahn and Scifo were not successful, being beaten by Eileen Palsgrove and Donna Ricca.


CL Teachers’ Favorites — 6 Comments

  1. You all had better watch out for bond issue borrowings, or end up like Woodstock D200 (property tax JUST TO PAY D200 last year was 2.71% of total home value. Our total property tax rate is over 4% of home value).

    Compare and Contrast Woodstock D200 debt burden to Crystal Lake D47+D155
    According to Municipal Bond website

    Cusip 580807 (CL D155) lists 4 bond issues 1990-2015
    Cusip 5811000 (CL D47) lists 8 bond issues 1990-2010

    Cusip 581158 (Woodstock D200) lists 47 bond (and/or derivative financial instrument) issues 1991-2015

    (Every time there is a Bond issue, there are financial advisor and legal fees; +/- 1%to 2% of money raised. For example, most recent bond issue of D200: 3/16/2015, GENERAL OBLIGATION SCHOOL REFUNDING BONDS, SERIES 2015B borrowed $13,280,000 —cost of issuance (fees) $201,661. (1.5%)) .

    Percentage of full property value obligated to School District debt:

    Cusip 580807 (CL D155): 0.62%
    Cusip 5811000 (CL D47): 0.29%
    Cusip 581158 (Woodstock D200): 5.22%

    BUT D200 DEBT IS HIGHER THAN STATED $118 million. The stated debt does not include accrued interest owed, and other debt.
    Adding in accrued interest puts D200 debt at over 6.5% of total home values.

    Cusip 581158 (Woodstock D200): Exhibit D in Reconciliation of Balance Sheet on Official Statement of most recent Bond Issue of 3/16/2015 states Long-term debt obligations (including unamortized bond premium, and accrued interest on long-term debt) as $148,623,930.

    Revising the officially stated (principal only) debt of $118,436,940 to $148,623,930 and dividing by the reported $2,274,804,189 Estimated Full Market Valuation 2013 (District property value) indicates that Woodstock D200 Property taxpayers owe 6.53% of property value to Woodstock D200 current pledged debt. (Statutory debt limits are meant to cap debt at 1/3 of 13.8% (4.6%) of total property value).

    One example of accrued interest debt which is owed to date BUT NOT INCLUDED IN FIGURES USED TO CALCULATE DEBT LIMITS:
    In 2006, D200 borrowed less than $14 million on a Capital Appreciation Bond at 8.5%. After 9 years of accrued (as yet unpaid) compounding interest, the interest alone on this debt will be more than $15 million dollars now. In 11 more years this bond is due for payment, and total interest owed will be $50 million, in addition to the $14 million principal also owed–so, $64 million to pay back a less-than-20-year $14 million loan).

    So be vigilant of your District’s borrowings, and the terms of the bond deals, or you will end up paying over 4% property taxes too.

  2. Crystal Lake CCSD 47 aka Crystal Lake Community Consolidated School District 47 consists of the following schools:

    Canterbury Elementary School (K-5)
    Carl Wehde Early Childhood Center (PK)
    Coventry Elementary School (K-5)
    Glacier Ridge Elementary School (K-5)
    Hannah Beardsley Middle School (6-8)
    Husmann Elementary School (K-5)
    Indian Prairie Elementary School (K-5)
    Lundahl Middle School (6-8)
    North Elementary School (K-5)
    Richard F. Bernotas Middle School (6-8)
    South Elementary School (K-5)
    West Elementary School (K-5)
    Woods Creek Elementary School (K-5)

    K-5 = Kindergarten thru 5th grade.
    6-8 = 6th thru 8th grade.
    PK = Preschool.

    As of 2012 there were 646 teachers and administrators in the district.

    Not sure what percentage of the 646 will vote per the teacher union recommendation.

    But it’s not only those that do vote per the recommendation, but also the spouses, relatives, friends, PTA members, etc. that vote as a director or indirect result of the teacher union recommendation.

    Plus any campaigning done by the union, be it yard signs, door to door visits, social media, email blasts, etc.

    Thus the teacher union is a force for school board elections.

    There is rarely any organized opposition to the teacher union in school board politics.

    And if there is, the competition rarely if ever has the membership and money to match the teacher union.

    The Crystal Lake Elementary Teacher’s Association (CLETA) has a political action committee named the Crystal Lake Elementary Teachers Association PAC, also known as the CLETA PAC.

    It is Illinois State Board of Elections (ISBE) committee ID 11580. > Committees > Search Options > Committee Search > Committee ID > 11580 > Search > Committee Name > Crystal Lake Elementary Teachers Association PAC.

    For the Reporting Period October 1, 2014 through December 31, 2014, the PAC has $5,653 cash available in its fund.

    The chairman and treasurer of the PAC is Tammy Mootz.

    As of 2014 per the Open The Books Wideget, Ms. Mootz earned $74,631.

    2014 was her 20th year teaching, as of 2012 she taught Elementary vocal music.

    The Statewide PAC for the statewide IEA teacher union is named IPACE, which is Illinois Political Action Commmittee for Education.

    The ISBE Committee ID for IPACE is 1169.

    The IRS Employer Identification Number (EIN) aka Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN) is 23-7237158.

    You can thus look up the Form 990 to learn more about the financials of IPACE using the EIN.

    The national PAC for the national NEA teacher union is NEA Fund for Children and Public Education.

    Crystal Lake Elementary District 47 also has a custodial and maintenance union which is represented by SEIU Local 73; a bus drivers and bus attendants union which is represented by Teamsters Local 731 (which is part of Teamsters Joint Council 25); and a support staff / paraprofessional union named Crystal Lake Association of Support Staff (CLASS) which represents Student Services bilingual, Student Services, English Language Learners (ELL), and all other paraprofessionals.

    The teacher union and support staff union are local affiliates of the Illinois Education Association (IEA), which is in turn the state affiliate of the National Education Association (NEA).

    IEA is a statewide teacher union.

    NEA is a national teacher union.

    Furthermore, the teacher union and support staff union are part of IEA Region 23 which is based in Elgin, Illinois.

    IEA Region 23 is part of the IEA regional teacher union network of offices. IEA is broken up into about 66 regions in about 21 regional offices throughout Illinois.

    The teacher unions are very organized politically at the local, state, and national levels.

    Local school districts are amongst the largest employers, and sometimes the largest employers, in local communities.

    The are large government bureaucratic monopolies with politics at the local, state, and national level.

    In most cases, local control in Illinois for public education is controlled in large part by the teacher union, as the teacher union has more money and members politically than the administration and school board.

    Be very wary of candidates endorsed by the teacher union.

    They are the candidates whom the teacher union will serve teacher unions best, which often are not the best candidates for parents and taxpayers.

    Teacher unions do not represent parents and taxpayer interests, although sometimes there is overlap.

    Full time IEA Dues for teachers for 2014 – 2015 are $460.
    Add to that full time NEA dues of $183.
    Not sure what the dues are to the local teacher union.

    Fair share fees / agency fees / agency shop fees / Forced Share fees (for those that do not want to belong to the union but have to pay the union anyways) for full time teachers are are $183 for IEA and $430 for NEA.

    Eliminating those forced share fees are at the heart of Bruce Rauner & the State of Illinois’ Federal lawsuit; note for this union they identical in the case of IEA and very close in the case of NEA to full union dues.

    Support staff dues are than less than teacher dues.

  3. By the way the name of the suit is:

    Bruce Rauner, Governor of the State of Illinois, Plaintiff,
    American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees, Council 31, et al., Defendants
    Lisa Madigan, Attorney General of the State of Illinois, Intervenor.

    The Illinois Policy Institute has an article about the matter.

    State workers in Illinois sue to end mandatory union fees
    March 23 2015

    And the Illinois Policy Institute posted a copy of a motion filed by the Liberty Justice Center related to the suit.

    American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) is a public sector union.

  4. Since the state has a cash crunch, last year state legislators proposed two types of costs shifts.

    Shift a portion of General State Aid from richer districts to poorer districts.

    Shift pension funding from the State to Local School Districts.

    Regarding the latter, the State contribution to the TRS pension fund is actually “on behalf” of the school districts.

    So the State is sending clear signals that local may someday have to hike property taxes to cover funding currently provided by the state; or another option is to cut services; or another option is to go on a borrowing spree such as Woodstock.

    The local school district unfunded pension liability could probably be obtained via a FOIA to TRS, and added to bond debt, to get a more realistic picture of how much money is owed by taxpayers in the name of public education.

    It is essential to figure out how to allocate the unfunded pension liability to local to get a better picture of the amount taxpayers owe as a result of public education.

    Right now the emma msrb site bonds for a school district are paid via property taxes; unfunded liabiliity trs pension paid via state revenues such as income taxes; and pension obligation bonds paid via state revenues such as income taxes.

    So taxpayers don’t know how much they are paying for education on an annual basis because there are various sources of taxpayer payments (Federal, State, Local, bonds, payment towards current and unfunded pensions at the state, payment towards current and unfunded retiree healthcare at the state, etc.

    That level of complexity is one of the hallmarks of Illinois politics, money coming and going and iou’s all over the place.

    School districts thought they were getting a free pass to issue end of career salary hikes without having to worry about the unfunded pension liability which is irresponsible since all education funding be it Federal, State, or Local ultimately comes from taxpayers and taxpayers have a limit to the amount of taxes they are willing to pay for education; however taxpayers have to figure out how much any individual taxpayer is paying, much easier said than done.

  5. Mark-glad to see you are so knowledgeable regarding the state, the unions, and our taxes.

    It’s nice to see an informed voter.

    The only part that bothers me that you left out, was that the reason we are in the pension crisis right now has nothing to do with the unions, or the teachers.

    It is because legislators “borrowed” money, they didn’t put back, 3 times.

    When this happens in the private sector it is called embezzlement, but when it comes to legislators, they call it “fiscally responsible” and it’s o.k.

    Well, the teachers bailed out the state the first two times by raising the contributions they made to the retirement system.

    The third time it happened, the teachers refused and now it’s all the teachers fault.

    I also find it funny how some people complain that the state adds to the TRS fund at about 3%, while the employee pays 11%. (Current).

    Yet, in the business world, the employee pays 3%, and the employer pays 6%.

    If the state ever said employees have to pay the majority of the social security everyone would have a fit, yet no one has a problem with doing that to the teachers.

    Rauner wants to take it all away, so not only are teachers vastly underpaid their entire career, but now they will not be able to survive in retirement because their retirement has been embezzled by the state of Illinois.

    You mention a teacher making $74,000 above.

    Well, you failed to mention, she is just shy of her doctorate.

    After that much education and 20+ years of education experience, she should be making $74,000.

    However, she doesn’t make $74,000 on her teaching alone. She works extra duties, giving up plan time, time after school, and early mornings to earn more money, but you didn’t say anything about that either. \

    Glad you know the facts Mark, but I wish you would know all the facts before you put out information that is misleading to others.

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