McHenry High School Contract Negotiations

The following was published on McHenry County Board member Andrew Gasser’s blog and is reprinted with permission.

School District Strike in City of McHenry

Because nobody else will… I shall.

D156 Strike West HS close with school sign

McHenry High School teachers are on strike because they care and want a fair contract.

School District 156 which is the City of McHenry is on strike.

The big two sticking points are teacher’s salaries and who will pay for the increased cost of healthcare due to… Obamacare.  Here is the link if you want to look up the official School District 156 teachers salaries online.

I converted the pdf document into excel and ran the numbers… for the children of course.

Are salaries for D156 really unfair?

The average teacher salary in School District 156 (excluding administrators and “Other Benefits”) is $68,650.49.

The average salary in School District 156 (including administration but excluding “Other Benefits”) is $71,515.33.

The average median income in McHenry County Illinois according to the US Census Bureauis $76,145.

The average teacher salary in School District 156 including “Other Benefits” (ie healthcare) is $79,891.38.

How the numbers break down

Every teacher’s salary is plotted on this chart. Only 40 teachers in School District 156 make less than $70,000 a year with benefits out of 165. Administrators are not counted in this number.

Every teacher’s salary is plotted on this chart. Only 40 teachers in School District 156 make less than $70,000 a year with benefits out of 165. Administrators are not counted in this number.

  • 16 teachers make less than $50,000 a year INCLUDING benefits.
  • 31 teachers make less than $50,000 a year in salary only..
  • 40 teachers make less than $69,999 a year INCLUDING benefits.
  • 125 teachers make more than $70,000 a year INCLUDING benefits.
  • 36 teachers make more than $100,000 a year INCLUDING benefits.

Here is a Channel News 7 report on the strike – really – watch this.

Let me ask you a question Mr. and Mrs. Taxpayer of McHenry County, would you like a annual 2.75 percent pay increase with your employer paying half of your healthcare benefits?

Salary XLS ButtonThat is the offer the teachers turned down.

Is the school district being unreasonable?

McHenry County is the 29th most expensive county to live in in the United States.

This is due to the ridiculous number of taxing districts in our county and a lack of political “gravitas” to do something about it.  Go pull out your tax bill and look at the biggest line items on the bill.

The highest line item in almost every circumstance is the elementary school district – in Fox River Grove’s case, School District 3.

The second largest line item is your high school district, again, in Fox River Grove’s case, School District 155.

I am all about the numbers and the economic reality we face here in McHenry County.

That is it, that is all, nothing else.

The taxpayers of McHenry cannot afford this continuing skyrocketing of government spending.

I have always said control what you can control.

You cannot hope to control congress but you can control your school board, your county party, your village board.  If they are spending money unwisely vote them out.

We all know we have an enormous pension problem so here is something else to think about – look at all those teachers making over $100k – do you think they retire soon?

What will that do to the teacher’s pension fund?

And lets not forget about the “final four” where the teacher’s salary is spiked for that better retirement check.

And remember teachers – you gave us Mr. Obama.

Teachers carried him to victory in several key states and now its only fair you pay Obamacare just like the rest of us.

Clearly – this is not about or for the children but I wonder if any of the children know how much our teachers are paid?

We have enormous fights on the McHenry County Board about keeping our levy flat.

We fight about it all the time (politely and with decorum I might add).

Gasser watchdogHowever, when you have school boards recklessly spending money on bleachers and you have to pay increasingly higher salaries, YOU, Mr. and Mrs. Taxpayer are left holding the tab.

Of course, no elected politician would ever say this in public – which is wrong – so I am.

You elected me to be your government watchdog.

So here I am alerting you to this.

Maybe you think the teachers in D156 need more money… maybe you don’t.



McHenry High School Contract Negotiations — 22 Comments

  1. Ah yes, champagne wishes and caviar dreams on the dimes of people who are struggling to keep their homes and give their kids the basics.

    1. Teachers are not the only people who are important. And, no I don’t hate teachers or want them to live in boxes under a bridge.

    2. Get rid of their ability to strike or this nonsense continues for more decades. Aren’t taxpayers tired of being jerked around yet?

    3. Stop using the kids to push their agenda, the kids don’t live in the real adult world and don’t understand union manipulation.

    4. Parents, these are your employees, not your friends.

    5. No they are not all the best teachers.

    6. They backed Obamacare and other Democrat agendas, let them find out how it feels.

    6. People leave their jobs every day to go to a different job and somehow the first company survives and maybe even thrives.

  2. So Andy Gasbag, please report your earnings, total package, and net worth.

  3. Wouldn’t it be great if the teachers or their union would just print their “playbook” for negotiations so the taxpayers would see the baloney they are up against.

    Let’s stop dribbling out their tactics and tell the public the truth about the stalling and manipulation of the board members and voters.

    After all, these are supposed to be people with integrity who teach our children.

    Tell the truth.

    Surprise us.

    Let’s see, do you work to vote in teachers, retired teachers or their spouses, etc. to the school boards effectively stacking the deck against the taxpayers/parents?

    Do you encourage teachers to emotionally bond with the parents who are then more compliant?

    Do you tie up everyone in a nervous knot knowing there will be a strike at the end so you get what you want anyway and it’s all a farce negotiation?

    Do you focus on one group in a community implying they are the block to your kid’s education?

    Play nice adult children.

    You are chasing people out of the state.

    They take their kids and money with them…….oopsy.

  4. i agree…WOW!

    Thank you Andrew and Cal for the precise information.

    I hope the board will remain strong and know they have community support. T

    he teacher spokesman ” just wants to make a deal and get everything settled.”

    I think this school district has made enough “deals” in the past with the teachers and it’s time to say no more deals.

    Take it or leave it.

    I’m sure there are plenty of more than eager teaching certificates out there to fill the void.

    It’s inconvenient to parents and students.

    We all have things to put up with in life but if the teachers cannot do their job for what’s being offered perhaps they should seek employment elsewhere.

    Be strong School Board 156.

    You represent the taxpayers too!

    And to the teachers…don’t be so sure those “honks” we’re for support…they could have been taxpayers voicing disapproval the only way available at this time.

  5. Put a cap or maximum income on all salaries.

    Canada has a cap on doctors salaries. even if it were $200,000 for a doctor.

    If a teacher were hired in a district with a $60,000 cap they would know that is all they could make and bargain for benefits instead.

    Also how much taxes are lost from parks, churches, schools, municipal centers etc?

    Maybe schools should pay property taxes and conservation districts also.

  6. Also if the school board is so angry why don’t they hire new teachers if someone doesn’t want to sign the contract.

  7. The best defense is sometimes a weak defense.

    If there is less than a minute on the clock and the opponent has the ball on your goal line, why not just stand aside and let him score?

    Then you get the ball back and a little time left to try to score a comeback touchdown.

    The Illinois Constitutional language protecting pensions and benefits states that benefits may not be “impaired”.

    “Impaired” means “weakened or damaged”.

    “Underfunded” implies “weakened and damaged”.

    Therefore, the Illinois Constitution requires that all government guaranteed pension funds must be adequately funded.

    Therefore, citizens should sue school districts to adequately fund pensions (TRS&IMRF)IMMEDIATELY.

    Next, schools will be faced with a large funding liability.

    Taxpayers will surely pay attention to the proposed massive spike in their property tax bills.

    Schools may finally be pressured to rein in other spending to account for the necessity to fund multimillion-dollar present-value pension accounts for government employees.

    Where can spending be reined in instantly?

    Since you can’t pay teachers and administrators LESS, and you can’t decrease benefits (in fact both of those costs must, by law, increase annually by significant percentages), then the only available choice is to retain FEWER teachers and administrators and pension-eligible employees, because every one of them represents an unsustainable liability to the community.

  8. Your Mayor could take the lead and set a deadline to go back work or risk termination.

    Oh that’s right I forgot.

    She’s a former school teacher.

    So forget that idea.

  9. The teachers are acting like spoiled brats when they are walking the picket line.

    They wouldn’t make it in the private sector.

  10. If we had medicare for all or single payer like other industrialized countries like Canada we would not have to fight about benefits.

    Healthcare is on the rise while our top 3 pharmaceutical companies spend more on marketing and sales than research or drug production.

    Cut out those ceo’s and save the overhead and then negotiations would only be about salary.

  11. With all due respect Mr. Gasser, rather than focus on matters you have no control over like school pay and pension, why don’t you take the lead on the Valley Hi $40 Million Dollar slush fund over which you have influence.

    As an elected official you are charged with “doing” and not “watching”.

    Leave the watchdog stuff to Cal . . .

    Would like to hear your plan for Valley Hi and how you intend to implement it.

  12. I agree with David.

    Why aren’t taxpayers getting a rebate if we were overtaxed for the nursing home?

  13. A big Thank YOU! to Andrew Gasser for standing up for the tax payers!

    THANK YOU !!!

  14. From outsider point of view of alumnus:

    Don’t blame the teachers!

    Don’t blame the Unions!

    They don’t decide the budget.

    Illinois is in the worst state I’ve seen in a long time.

    How much federal dollars for the “race to top money” did you take?

    How much do you think a teacher in your state should make for the amount of work they put in?

    Compare your job to theirs.

    Please keep in mind the 2 hrs of prep each morning, 6 1/2 hrs of teaching, 2 hrs of after school prep, 2 – 4 hrs of grading papers and projects while setting at the family table and/or son or daughters sporting event, 2 hrs of consulting parents through email and phone calls.


    This battle is never about selfishness!

    Your comment Andrew Gasser is unjustified and selfish for mocking teachers unless you are with child 14hrs a day.

    Oh yeah!

    Show us your salary Mr Gasser!

    Teachers aren’t the problem.

    I’m disgusted McHenry County and Board of Distrct 156 has choose business over education in the last 20 something years.

    The salaries listed are not listed correctly; you are being miss informed.

    Any appropriate list would show years of service, equity, amount of raises received in the past, number of positions and title of positions held by the educator.

    If the teachers salaries were justified to be shown; so should the whole books for the last five years.

    Showing the amounts of money being spent.

    Just makes everything fair in love and war.

    To those who don’t support the teachers.


    Pay the tuition at a private school where the Head makes an average of $400K per year includes health care.

    Final thoughts:

    Lookup the national averages of teachers salaries that includes health care.

    Google it for yourself!

    I think you might be very surprised and learn that something bigger politically is going on.

  15. You can find Andrew Gasser’s salary information at his website.

    The unions and the democrats have ruined Illinois.

    How many times has the credit rating been dropped?

    The teachers pensions are the anchor that is sinking this state.

    If I were a teacher I’d go to a state that doesn’t have unions or Common Core.

    Since teachers are fully funded by the taxpayers, the taxpayers should set the salaries.

    Teachers should not be on any school board.

  16. How much should a teacher in McHenry (or anywhere for that matter) make for 9 months of work?

    Are teachers required to have only a Bachelors degree or are they required to have advanced degrees?

    Parents should realize this, teachers unions represent teachers not parents or students.

  17. 2 weeks guaranteed vacation during Christmas
    Fall break
    Summer break

    Spring Break

    The rest of us morons get one week a year of vacation if we’re lucky….and yes, we work weekends and nights, too.

    Those salaries are based on a 36-week year, period.

    If you actually figured these salaries based on 52-week system, salaries are actually about 33% higher.

    Ok, start the bashing. The truth hurts.

  18. I support the teachers.

    But stop acting as if we’re supposed to treat you differently and act as if you’re immune to crtiticism!

    We all have jobs that suck, why did you get into teaching if all you do is moan and groan about the long hours?

    How about you trade me your two week break at Christmas?

    I need to time for shopping.

  19. The most savagely indifferent aspect of teacher’s behavior, in my opinion, is their refusal to examine the sticker price of their health insurance policy as related to benefits it guarantees.

    If teachers spent just one hour on the internet shopping around they would find similar health care policies for much lower premium prices.
    Their unwillingness to do so indicates the depths of their indifference to the wellbeing of their community at large, in that 4%-5% property tax rates caused by ever-escalating school debt and levies have wrought mass destruction.

    And this inflated health insurance policy premium price does nothing to the individual teacher’s benefit!
    Some plan manager somewhere is making a ton of money, some money managers somewhere are making a ton of money, maybe some plan rep that sold the policy is making a ton of money.

    But the end user, the teacher, is only getting what they would get with a health insurance policy that could be had for a much lower price.

    Health insurance policy prices are easily searchable online. And teachers are a group in general who are relatively young and healthy compared to population.

    $7350 and $15,850 stipends are given to these D156 teachers
    *Here are comparable premiums for health insurance:

    Individual age 25:
    range of premiums monthly, bronze plan to gold/platinum plans: $133-$364

    ANNUAL PREMIUM COST: $1596-$4368

    Individual age 30:
    range of premiums monthly: $161-$412

    ANNUAL PREMIUM COST: $1932-$4944

    Family age 25, 25, 6, and 2:
    range of premiums monthly: $434-$1190

    ANNUAL PREMIUM COST: $5208-$14280


  20. Teacher’s salaries and unions are not the problem with our budget and pension issues.

    Teacher’s are arguably the most important workers in our society and therefore deseve more for Christ’s sake they teach and mould our children and our future.

    The real problem is the outrageous tax breaks, loopholes and down right tax evasion of the real “special interests”, corporate America, who pre-Reagan contributed 33% to our tax base when today, thanks to 33 years of Reaganomics they contribute only 9%.

    Meanwhile pre-Reagan household contributed 42% while today we contribute over 50%.

    This with a flat adjusted income rate.

    Combine that with todays income inequality where corporate american and the top 1% have enjoyed record high profits with record low taxes and flat line middle class income growth.

    Yet ignorant Fox News viewing Americans continue voting Republican against their own and Americas economic interests to appease the tax cuts and deregulation of the 1% brought to us by their Republican puppets.

    All while disparraging Unions which built the strongest middle class in history.

    The ignorant comments posted on this board are straight out of the Right Wing propaganda machine advocating for busting unions, denying healthcare rights, and thus furthering the demise of the middle class.

    Our dysfunctional tax code written by the same puppet masters of the GOP are furthering our nations debt, demise and detruction of the middle class. See

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