McHenry High School Teacher Negotiations after Board Meeting

After at least an hour and a half of public comment and fifteen minutes of power point information from the school board’s side, the McHenry High School Board and its teacher union went back into negotiations behind closed doors.

Brian Nelson

Brian Nelson

According to teacher union President Brian Nelson, $375,000 separates the two sides.

Students dedicated to their teachers headed up those making presentations.

“These teachers are my family,”a senior named Cassidy testified.

She said she had walked 46 miles, delivered sixty sandwiches, attended all the rallies and had blisters on her feet.

There was tumultuous applause.

None took the taxpayers point of view.

The auditorium had some empty seats, but a lot of people were in attendance.

The auditorium had some empty seats, but a lot of people were in attendance.

Adult Joe Mercurio did.

Saying he worked for one of biggest companies in the country, he said, “Public service employee unions want a 3% salary increase and health benefits paid for fully.”

He said that was not happening in the private sector.

Since the recession began, he reported the value of his McHenry home had gone down 45%, but his taxes were up 6%.

“Please stay the course,” he urged the Board.

There was applause, but much less than for the high school students.

He was followed by more students extolling the virtues of their teachers, present and in the recent past.

One named Amber, who seemed to have just finished student teaching in Marengo, attested to the low salary schedule in McHenry.

“McHenry falls quite short on that list,” said she had found in her job search.

Cayla, a 17-year old high school student continued with that theme.

“My teachers deserve to be paid competitively.”

Parent Kim

Parent Kim

Her mother Kim asked the Board to be “fiscally responsible,” while protecting “our savings and our [teacher] development.”

“None of you have children here,” she forcefully pointed out.

“You have no skin in the game,” she continued, while calling for increasing salaries so McHenry would not continue to be a training ground for other school districts.

McHenry Grade School teacher Cari told the Board and the administration, “These teachers will be around long after you are gone.

“The teachers have chosen to take the high road in this strike. The Board has taken the low road.”

Lisa Stack, described herself as a parent and taxpayer.

Not “discounting what all you teachers do,” she said, there is only “three months [money] in the bank.

“You are being offered salaries that are unheard of.

“You are being offered health care that as a taxpayer I don’t have.

“I am afraid of the repercussions to my son [of speaking out].” she concluded.

[As the son of a father how opposed a bond issue for an addition to Crystal Lake Community High School way back in 1959 or 1960, I remember well two teachers standing in the hall next to the big study hall looking my way and talking.]

As Ryan was having trouble getting his words out, one of his teachers joined him.

As Ryan was having trouble getting his words out, one of his teachers joined him.

That was followed by an emotional statement by student Ryan.

As he was breaking up, a reading and English teacher went up to support him.

Applause followed.

A woman Ricki said she was making $10,000 less this year than last, nevertheless wanted the Board to spend enough to keep teachers from leaving District 156.

She also chided supporters of the School Board asking them to “stop the animosity being created by your supporters on social media.”

Catherine Cohn (sp?), a 21-year resident, admonished the administration for not having a contingency plan.

She said the current contract allowed teachers to continue with their extracurricular duties, but the administration would not allow that.

Wonder Lake (Harrison) Grade School Board member Bob Anderson, a former high school board member in the 1980’s, used the board to “stay the course.”

He said his tax bill on his barber shop was now $10,000.

“When my family came here in 1947, houses cost $10,000.

“When students are my age will their tax bill be $100,000?” he asked.

“Everybody knows teacher teacher strikes are for salary and benefits, not for the children.” Anderson concluded.

Phil Belyaev

Phil Belyaev

Local businessman Phil Belyaev, who taught two years at the university level, told the Board,

“I think the offer you made was extremely generous.”

He referred to the Prospect Heights School Board having eliminated step increases.

“Under no circumstances should you agree to pay 100% [of the health insurance]without knowing what the cost will be.”

He said the picket line had a “party atmosphere,” adding that the teachers were “cheapening” the stories of gratitude and respect for teachers being delivered in the public comment period.

High school teacher Stephanie Lucas (sp?) spoke next.  She has taught math for nine years and extolled the willingness to teachers to help students even during lunch hour.

She pointed out that 401 of the 684 students who took advanced placement course passed them last year.

Another teacher, Mike, explained that his wife as a real estate agent.

“Housing values are not recovering as quickly in McHenry as in Crystal Lake,” he reported.

“People are not interested in coming here because of the climate of the district.

“We spent the fewest per pupil as any district in the area,”he said.

Having started at $22,000 per year and having to work weekends to make ends meet, he said, “Average it out and I’m probbly on a par with most of the community.”

Union President Nelson criticized the Board for wanting “to degrade our salary schedule because it isn’t sustainable.”

He pointed out that the amount spent on teacher salaries has been “flat.”

The $375,000 now in contention is “1/10 of 1% of district’s overall budget.”

Student Taylor Gordon found it “disheartening that our teachers are not valued [enough].”

David Barrett took the taxpayers’ side.

“This is not about the teachers…It has to be about financial responsibility.”

He pointed out that per capita income in McHenry County was $32,000, while teachers’ average salary was $70,000 per year.

[This appears to be comparing apples to oranges, since the average teacher with a wife not working would have a $30,000 per capita income.]

Barrett pointed out that test scores haven’t gone up.

“They’ve stayed level.

“Graduation rates have stayed level.  They haven’t gone up.”

Retired banker Pete Keller told of a WGN-TV interview in which a Board spokesman was asked what the Board was willing to movd on now?

Keller found the answer–“None”– to be unacceptable.

“I ask the school board to negotiate with an open mind.”

Coach and teacher Dave DeAngelo has been in the district since 1974.

“When I started my peers were making more in the corporate world,” he said.

A parent of a District 156 teacher named Dave said he was a former school board member.

He then read from some publication from the Illinois Association of School Boards and then offered this challenge:

“If any of the school board members cannot follow these [guidelines], I call for your resignation.”

Bill Preston reviewed the bad financial situation the district was in five years ago.

He reminded the audience of the referendum that was held, which was “soundly defeated because they [the school board then] thought the only solution was to increase spending.

“I’d lie to that the community for voting that down because, if it hadn’t, we wouldn’t have this school board.

Former teacher Ted Jenkins argued, “Good schools increase property values.”

He alluded to corruption in Illinois, which brought applause.

Nicky Gallagher, who graduated from the district and is now a cardiac nurse at Centegra said, “I am the nurse I am today because of my teachers.

“Be fair and kind to them.”

Former businessman Tom Sullivan, a 35-year resident asked, “Did we lose track of the contribution of our teachers?

“I challenge you to settle this disagreement.

Bonnie Simon wondered why the change in the salary schedule was being discussed now.

“Today is World Teachers’ Day.

“Let’s come to an agreement.”

Carl Hurtig said he had sisters who taught.

The question he contended was “chicken or steak.”

He said the “156 teachers are eating steak and I’m eating chicken.

“What is the COLA (Cost of Living Adjustment)?


“How much do you want?


“Here’s the kicker.

“Your insurance will go up and I’ll have to pay for it.

“Am I stupid?


“That shows you the level of how bad the teachers are today.”

At some point during his presentation, the audience reacted negatively.

“I’ll be leaving right now because the crowd is so hostile I’m afraid for my safety,” he said and walked out the door.

Teacher and negotiator Ray Curry said the issue was “about the overall value of education.

“The contract is about how we value education.

“Our salary schedule is reasonable and sustainable.”

During the recession, he explained, the teachers “took concessions.”

“This is not a business.

“This is about a community.

“The community deserves and wants a first class education system.”

Juan Custodeo asked, “How can we ask for something that’s not there?”

A first year teacher named Willie pointed out that the members of the board do not have a voter mandate.

“10.5% of the registered voters came out.”

Part-time Pastor Catherine Irving said she was willing to “pay more of my taxes if it means [a better education].”

Andrew H., who is a member of Union Local 150 of the Operating Engineers.

Andrew H., who is a member of Union Local 150 of the Operating Engineers.

Andrew H., a member of Local 150 of the Operating Engineers. asked, “Why couldn’t this happen over the summer when school’s not in session?

“We’re not allow to stop when we’re on a state job.

“I have insurance, but I help pay for it.

“This insurance thing, I don’t agree with.

“It shouldn’t be paid for 100%.”

Former top area IEA union official Arne Waltmire, who ran unsuccessfully for the McHenry County College board first and, then, for the McHenry County Board as a Democrat, spoke next.

He said the district was now “a training school.”

He urged “a fair contract [to] keep good teachers.”

A second year student at McHenry County College, Jeremy, criticized a graphic that the school district had on its web site.

“Joe Teacher” purported to represent the average teacher in District 156.

“That is so petty and disgusting,” he said.

After the public comment, the school district went into a dog and pony show about the contract negotiations and the facts as it saw them.

Union members could be heard challenging the numbers put on the big screen in front.


McHenry High School Teacher Negotiations after Board Meeting — 40 Comments

  1. **None took the taxpayers point of view.**

    Last I heard….teachers were taxpayers.

    As were students/parents.

    So yes, there were students that took the side of taxpayers.

    Just not the taxpayer perspective you support.

  2. There is only one solution to the Teacher strike ‘madness’:

    Springfield must pass legislation to eliminate work stoppages in the public sector and not replace it with binding arbitration like we have for police and firemen.

    Illinois fire and police employees are now the highest paid in the nation.

    The Illinois Teacher’s union holds our students hostage when they strike.

  3. Cal, you wrote “…member Bob Anderson, a former high school board member in the 1980’s, used the board to “stay the course.” He said his tax bill on his barber shop was not $10,000.”

    Did you mean to write that he URGED the board and that his tax bill was NOW $10,000?

    If so, might I suggest that a quick fact check on his tax bill would show that somebody is a liar?

  4. I meant “now.”

    Feel free to check out anyone’s comments.

  5. Hey, Part Time Pastor Catherine:

    Are you willing to have your church pay full property taxes on the real estate your employer owns property tax free in order to help fund your feel-good public statements or are we to conclude that you are a grandstanding Hippocrit?

    Or something else?

    My employer pays over $100,000 a year in property taxes to local governments.

    Since there are so many that support the strike, maybe they should run some fund raisers to make up the $375,000 and leave the taxpayers alone?

  6. I do not understand how a hard figure like $375,000 can be asserted as at issue, when Union is demanding a blank-check, open ended benefit (100% taxpayer funded health care) cost of which which rises at multiples of CPI inflation rate annually?

  7. The masses are delusional.

    Proof to be had by listening to the “children”.

    Nothing anywhere will be fixed until the delusions are resolved. [That would mean never.]

  8. You can’t make this stuff up.

    it’s like a skit on Comedy Central.

    The taxpayers need to say NO MORE.

  9. Taxpayers should be fighting for better wages in McHenry.

    Why do we pay the 6th highest property taxes in the nation but have with non government jobs excluded all poor paying jobs.

    Contact your politicians and demand they get more jobs here.

    An abandoned pizza business is suing McHenry for turning down two businesses that wanted to go into his building.

    They are doing this to get rid of unions and prevailing wagtes, but that will escalate the problems because less taxes will be collected.

    Teachers pay taxes also and buy homes and go to the local businesses.

  10. Bob Anderson’s fact check:

    Googling Bob Anderson barber shop returns:

    Bob’s Countryside Barber Shop
    7125 Barnard Mill Rd, Wonder Lake, IL 60097

    7125 Barnard Mill Rd doesn’t come back with anything on the tax bill search, but “anderson, robert g” comes back with 7129 Barnard Mill Rd, I’m assuming that’s the property in question.

    Looks like he owns 3 properties in Wonder Lake:
    Parcel Number Owner Name Property Address

    Barber Shop? 2014 Tax = $4,469.44

    Home? 2014 Tax = $9,983.94

    09-06-429-011 ANDERSON, ROBERT G JUDY A
    Other Property? 2014 Tax = $280.74


    So It looks like his home taxes are about $10k, but the barber shop’s are $4469

  11. No businesses will come into a 4%-5% property tax region without property tax abatements/exemptions/public tax money from tif district.

    So there is no logic to plead for ‘jobs’.

    The businesses who receive tax abatements pay no taxes, and put the former taxpaying competitors OUT of business.

    Businesses who get tif money serve to RAISE the property taxes for the entire community for the next 1-2 generations.

    Learn about tifs and political diversion of tax dollars.

    There are no solutions that do not involve reducing political access to public money.

  12. A courageous Board Member should have contacted the Districts HR, for the thousand or so apps they have on file and stacked them on a card table for all to view.

    Back to work deadline or termination.

    Reagan busted PATCO in 48 hours with this strategy.

    And once again, where is that schoolteacher mayor you keep reelecting?

  13. D J has a good point. The union members have absolutely no fear of losing their jobs.

    So, this strike is more akin to a jack, a taxpayer jacking.

    Back to work or face termination should be the taxpayer mantra.

  14. The teachers are locking kids out of homecoming activities and IHSA sports for $375K when their Rolls Royce pension fund has a $100B+ taxpayer IOU thanks to hiked salaries and legislative benefit hikes and bogus actuarial assumptions and diverting pension contributions to hiked salaries?

    Wake up Teachers!

    Wake up Taxpayers.

    The teacher union has an insatiable appetite for taxpayer money and will use every trick in the book to get it.

  15. $375,000 / $100,000,000,000 TRS pension unfunded liability = .00000375.


    That is what, three 10,000ths of 1 percent?

    Does that wake up even 1 person?

    Does anyone even care any more.

    That’s only TRS and the $100B is way lowballed.

    Teacher strikes should be illegal in this state.

  16. @Concerned Voter: You nailed it!!

    Folks, take another look at his comment:

    “Springfield must pass legislation to eliminate work stoppages in the public sector and not replace it with binding arbitration like we have for police and firemen.”

    It’s also called “Interest Arbitration” and it is one of the leading factors in higher taxes and pension problems.

    The “mediator” is required to pick one side or the other – NOT a MIDDLE ground.

    If the unit of government (taxpayers) can only afford 1% raises but the Union demands 12%, the mediator can (and in 80% of the time does) pick the higher number.

    This forces government to come to the table with 2-3% (regardless of ability to pay that) because the alternative could be devastating to the budget and taxpayer.

    Governor Rauner and the General Assembly MUST fix this.

    If we’re lucky enough to get the property tax freeze but don’t fix this one issue, we taxpayers will be forced to cut other services while ensuring raises.

    All while the ship is aflame,listing badly and taking on water – the public union employees are sitting on the upper deck sipping Pina Coladas all on the taxpayer’s dime.

    Governor Rauner please throw us a life preserver and save the USS Illinois.

  17. Repeal binding interest arbitration for police and fire.

    Make all public sector strikes illegal.

    Repeal in its entirety the pension sentence added to the Illinois State Constitution on December 15, 1970.

    Make fees to a union as a condition of employment illegal (make agency shop / fair share fees illegal).

    4 of many reforms needed and what is scary is none of that does nothing to pay down the current $150 Billion + unfunded pension liability that exists right now.

    The $150B unfunded pension liability is a taxpayer IOU to the pension funds.

    That’s only for pensions, not retire healthcare, not bonds, not unpaid bills, etc.

    In the meantime McHenry High School teachers force children to miss school, homecoming events, IHSA sports and more by calling a strike.

  18. By the way the $375K raise the teachers want is not the true long term cost because a pay hike is a pension hike.

    And because future raises will compound on top of the $375K raise to the salary grid.

    And because that $375K raise is for how many years, two years?

    And that $375K is on top of raises the teachers would already get anyways because raises are built into the salary grid.

    For those that don’t know how teacher overall compensation works that $375K number is misleading when the whole story is not presented.

  19. That’s great Nick, but not interested in going into overtime, when the game can be won in regulation.

    Remember what that shreaking lib in Chicago once said, about not letting a good crisis go to waste.

    Can em after a brief deadline is set and the Union leads them right down the path of termination.

    Entry level hires with the caveat that the Board reserves the right to fire if they ask for pay raises.

    The board (Taxpayers) will set increases going forward.

    Too harsh?

    They walked on us, we didn’t.

    Should nicely cut that 70% I pay on my current tax bill in half.

  20. Please explain how teachers pay taxes.

    Their salaries are paid by the tax payers.

    So, if they are paying taxes it comes from the tax payers in the first place.

    Stop the confiscation of tax payers earnings.

    Stop the teachers and their unions.

    Remember when teachers used to be public servants.

    Now they are demanding more and more.


  21. Well Congress has pensions and so do a lot of others.

    Pensions used to be considered an asset of a company so if a company went bankrupt they would have to pay them, but Republicans made them a liability so other corporations could receive money first and above people who loyally worked for the companies and made the company money.

    Less unions since Reagan has meant less middle class workers. We are on a race to the bottom.

    In the Northwest Herald they mentioned our county used prisoners to do labor for $3 per day.

    The county wants to get rid of unions who do pay federal, state and property taxes.

    They don’t even plan on replacing them with people making $10-12 per hour which cannot afford to live without government handouts which taxpayers subsidize; they will go with prison labor for $3 per day and say that is a lot compared to Vietnam in the TPP which makes 50 cents per hour.

  22. And private union workers who support Republicans do you really think when they get rid of public unions they will stop there or take your good paying jobs away too for the “job creators” who look for handouts from the government.

  23. No doubt this strike will cause more taxpayers to leave McHenry over time, it will be the straw that broke the camels back.

  24. The teachers have a better pension plan than any private sector union.

    The teachers intentionally struck against children whose parents are private sector and public sector this has nothing to do with private sector unions and everything to do with pure greed and hardball negotiating tactics, not to mentions it further imperils the pension system by hiking salaries which hikes pensions.

    This strike is a complete disaster.

  25. Excellent point Crusher.

    As the economist once said, those Public Sector taxes paid are nothing more than believing you fill a pool, by taking water at one end and returning it to the other end.

  26. The McHenry High School District 156 board and teachers did meet a few times during the summer break.

    The McHenry High School District 156 Teacher Union website has a timeline of the negotiating process on its website including 5 negotiating meetings with a Federal Mediator between August 11, 2015 through September 30, 2015.


    The McHenry High School student Calendar for school year 2016 is from Monday August 17, 2015 through Monday May 23, 2016.

    The strike will push back the last day of school.


    Most public school student calendars in Illinois are 180 days.

    Which is four (45) day quarters.

    Which is nine weeks per quarter.

    Which is 36 weeks per year.


    The teacher calendar is typically for a few more days for teacher only activities.

    None the less one important aspect of teacher compensation is they are not required to work beyond the days mandated in their collective bargaining agreement which would be around 185 days which is 37 weeks.

    The average working person depending on the profession including vacation and holidays might work 46 – 48 weeks, and many even more weeks.

    So teachers typically work 9 – 11 weeks less per year than most professions.

    Often teachers in the press state they work more hours or day, but some only work what’s mandated in their contract, and many that work extra hours per day receive compensation in the form of pensionable stipends for activities such as coaching, clubs, etc.

  27. Do you hear that giant sucking sound ?

    That’s the sound of tens of thousands of businesses and taxpayers
    rushing out of Illinois … and they’re taking their wealth with them.

    Public union extortion and political corruption has finally motivated people to flood the exits.

  28. US corporations are already hiding $2.1 trillion dollars overseas to avoid taxes so they are already traitors who want to make money in US but pay for none of the commons like roads, military, schools, etc.

    From 1947-1979 the bottom 20% of Americans income rose 122% and we had a solid middle class who paid taxes to support this country but from Reagan on to 2009 the top 1% income rose 270% while the bottom 99% remained stagnant.

    These so called US corporations are only interested in their stock value since Reagan changed the way ceo’s would be paid, instead of salary raises they would get stock options.

    To get their options up ceo’s would do anything, like outsource jobs, close factories, layoff employees, take benefits away all the while brainwashing people that they were the job creators and hiding their money overseas.

    In today’s Herald it talks about a corporation that Huntley wants to give incentives to so they move to Huntley.

    The problem is these companies go from town to town and state to state and even country to country to improve their bottom line for their options.

    They never did nor do now care about the US people.

  29. Karma, if your Uncle General Electric passed overseas and left you that $119 B he had stashed. I’m sure you would hand that $41 B and change right over to your favorite Uncle Sam wouldn’t you?

    Myself, I’d throw my passport so fast you’d think Kershaw was pitching.

  30. This is outrageous.

    The teachers Unions are nothing more than the mafia.

    The lowest 25% of college grade points averages go into teaching.

    Home Schooled children have a 25 point advantage on SAT scores and this year marked the lowest SAT scores in the past 10 years.

    PARC testing even worse.

    We are 35th to 45th in the World as far as education scores.

    Most children must have parental teaching at home with their homework so most of us parents actually supplement the education that should be happening int he class room while we pay luxurious salaries to teachers and administrators.

    This is why local control of education does NOT work.

    So many school boards consist of cronies, former teachers and friends and families of the teachers and administrators robbing the tax payer.

    The abuse of parents who speak out is legendary..

    We were hauled into court twice by the school Superintendent in Marengo..

    I hope to get the attorneys fees that they paid though a freedom of information act and post..

    I my also try and file a lawsuit as well…

    I am just getting started..

    We need to get more senior citizens involved and into these meetings they have nothing to loose by speaking out and everything to gain.

    We cannot let these Mafia strong arm the tax payers..

    And many many of these teachers and administrators are NOT residents of the district so they are NOT tax payers.

    We can’t sell our homes for what they are worth so all we can do is roll up our sleeves and fight.

    We must bust the Teachers Unions to save our children and ourselves.

    I am rolling up my sleeves for the long fight..

  31. Sorry DJ I am an American and I would pay taxes and be happy that I received an inheritance, but these corporations are not hiding inheritances but money made here on the backs of workers who they keep trying to get for the lowest dollar.

    If you are so un-American move out of my country.

    Let these companies move out because they are only hurting us.

    17% of US is foreign owned and now even Americans, like you, if you are an American are like traitors.

  32. You Karma in turn, pitch your IPhone, quit using Windows and no more Google, in ferreting out your Socialist ramblings.

    Big Tech accounts for a fifth of that $2 T overseas and it ain’t coming back to pay the highest corporate taxes in the world.

    Hey, it’s just like the Illinois exodus.

  33. Quit picking on Karma.

    It is tough being a hippocrit.

    It is easy being a liberal in Republican McHenry County, you don’t have to face the failures of liberalism as much.

    By the way, how many Chicago Democrats killed other Chicago Democrats last weekend?

  34. Correction from above comment.

    TRS is $58B underfunded not $100B underfunded.

    $100B (actually $104B) is the amount of the total liability, so TRS is 44% funded and 56% underfunded.

    There are so many numbers that apparently and not suprisingly people are numb, uninformed, misinformed and apathetic to the underfunding of the pension systems.


    With that in mind, here is the unfunded liability of the 17 pension systems tracked by the Illinois Department of Insurance as presented in the IDOI 2015 report which uses fiscal year 2014 statistics.

    With the exception of Downstate Police and Downstate Fire, these are all pooled Pension Funds, meaning the contributions are pooled and invested as one large fund.

    Downstate Police and Fire funds are administered and invested by each local participating police and fire department and district.



    Chicago Employees’, Officers’ and Official’s Annuity & Benefit Fund aka Municipal Employees’Annuity & Benefit Fund (MEABF): $6,250,391,908.

    Chicago Firemen’s Annuity & Benefit Fund (Chicago Fire): $3,257,722,086.

    Chicago Policeman’s Annuity & Benefit Fund (Chicago Police): $7,986,177,865.

    Chicago Teachers’ Pension and Retirement Fund aka Chicago Teachers Pension Fund (CTPF): $8,652,221,574.

    Laborers’ and Retirement Board Employees’ Annuity & Benefit Fund (LABF): $877,578,123

    Park Employees’ and Retirement Board Employee’s Annuity & Benefit Fund (Chicago Parks): $487,418,901


    Cook County

    Municipal Employees’, Officers’ and Officials’ Annuity & Benefit Fund (Cook County Fund): $7,145,102,707

    Forest Preserve District Employees’ Annuity & Benefit Fund (Cook County Forest Preserve): $113,925,673

    Metropolitan Water Reclamation District Retirement Fund (MWRDRF): $958,643,078


    State financed

    Teachers’ Retirement System of State of Illinois (TRS): $57,915,994,753

    State Universities Retirement System (SURS): $20,038,176,868

    General Assembly Retirement System (GARS): $266,590,010

    Judges Retirement System of Illinois (JRS): $1,453,264,152

    State Employees’ Retirement System of Illinois: $24,945,296,726

    Other Governmental

    Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund (IMRF): $8,978,045,654

    Suburban and Downstate Police: $5,187,804,166

    Suburban and Downstate Fire: $3,620,578,225



    1. The Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) mass transit pension fund is not included.

    2. The RTA / Metra / PACE mass transit pension fund is not included.

    3. There are some other smaller mass transit pension funds around the state that are not included.

    4. IMRF is for employees in communities outside Chicago, counties outside Cook, school districts outside Chicago whose employees are not in TRS, some townships, some park districts outside Chicago, and some other units of government.

    5. Suburban and Downstate Police and Fire are for Police and Fire outside Chicago.

    6. There are some smaller units of government that do not participate in a taxpayer backed pension fund such as some smaller townships, police departments, fire departments, etc.

    7. Fire is unique category of government in Illinois in that Fire Departments are a subsidiary part of the municipality and Fire Protection Districts are separate taxing districts.

    There are no police taxing districts; police departments are part of the municipality or county, and there are other units of government with police departments as well.


    At some point in the future we will be able to estimate what portion of the TRS unfunded liability is attributed to McHenry High School District 156.


    Rankin the pension funds from greatest unfunded liability to least unfunded liability (which is different than per taxpayer unfunded liability):

    $57,915,994,753 TRS
    $24,945,296,726 SERS
    $20,038,176,868 SURS
    $08,978,045,654 IMRF
    $08,652,221,574 Chicago Teachers
    $07,145,102,707 Cook County
    $06,250,391,908 Chicago Municipal
    $05,187,804,166 Downstate Police
    $03,620,578,225 Downstate Fire
    $03,257,722,086 Chicago Fire
    $03,257,722,086 Chicago Police
    $01,453,264,152 JRS
    $00,958,643,078 Metropolitan Water
    $00,877,578,123 Chicago Laborers
    $00,487,418,901 Chicago Parks
    $00,266,590,010 GARS
    $00,113,925,673 Cook County Forest Preserve


    The McHenry High School District 156 teachers are on strike to hike their pay which will hike their starting pension even though that pension fund has a $58 billion dollar unfunded liability (taxpayer IOU), meaning it’s money the actuaries have calculated should be in the pension fund right now, but the money is not in the pension fund.

  35. Notice teachers never strike to fully fund their pension fund.

    If fully funding the pension fund was the priority, there would be no or minimal pay hikes, and even the boards proposal would be considered too great of a hike.

    But pension funding is not part of the collective bargaining negotiations, because the underfunding is considered a state responsibility, even though the school district receives General State Aid funding from the state.

    It is an interconnected web but to have taxpayers responsible for funding pensions yet not having pensions factor into teacher salary hikes at the school district level is not to the taxpayers advantage.

    It’s to the negotiating advantage of the teachers and the teachers union.

  36. There is a numerical error in the above chart of unfunded public sector pension system liabilities in Illinois, which does not include mass transit.

    Here is the corrected chart with the % of each systems unfunded liability compared to the total liability of all systems, not including mass transit.

    % of Unfunded Liability – Unfunded Liability – Fund

    37% – $057,915,994,753 – TRS
    16% – $024,945,296,726 – SERS
    13% – $020,038,176,868 – SURS
    06% – $008,978,045,654 – IMRF
    05% – $008,652,221,574 – Chicago Teachers
    05% – $007,986,177,865 – Chicago Police
    04% – $007,145,102,707 – Cook County
    04% – $006,250,391,908 – Chicago Municipal
    03% – $005,187,804,166 – Downstate Police
    02% – $003,620,578,225 – Downstate Fire
    02% – $003,257,722,086 – Chicago Fire
    01% – $001,453,264,152 – JRS
    01% – $000,958,643,078 – Metropolitan Water
    01% – $000,877,578,123 – Chicago Laborers
    00% – $000,487,418,901 – Chicago Parks
    00% – $000,266,590,010 – GARS
    00% – $000,113,925,673 – Cook County Forest Preserve
    100% $158,134,932,469 – Grand Total


    So the teacher and administrator pension fund (excluding Chicago) represents 37% of the public sector unfunded pension liability in Illinois (excluding mass transit).

    Include Chicago, that jumps to 42%.

    Include SURS (higher education), that jumps to 55%.

    And, many non teacher and administrator employees in local school districts contribute to the IMRF pension fund.

    So conservatively 55% of the $158 unfunded pension liability ($87B) in Illinois is attributed to education.

    Ironically students are not being educated on the debt they must repay.

    There are a few teachers who do point this out, but not many.

  37. So not only is the average student coming out of college with tens of thousands of dollars of student loans (as pointed out in the Peter Roskam press release today), they are also graduating with all the above pension unfunded liabilities, which will result in some combination of tax hikes, service cuts, benefit cuts for retirees, and future benefit cuts or increased pension contributions for existing employees.

    Add on retiree healthcare.

    Add on bonds.

    Add on Federal programs.

    The children being educated by these unsustainable systems are racking up direct and indirect unsustainable debt and IOU’s.

    Yet the McHenry High School teachers believe they are justified in striking, forcing kids to miss school, athletic events, clubs, and homecoming events, and in the process sticking the kids with the tab for their pensions for which there is no plan to keep sustainable at today’s taxation and services.

    Sheer madness.

    The teachers have reasonable pay and Rolls Royce pension benefits right now as has been posted in their salary and pension history.

  38. Even worse than the $375K extra the teachers want over and above what the board is offering, is the distraction from the more important problem attributed to public education which is pensions.

    Don’t like what your employer offers, go to another school districts.

    If too many employees leave the school district, the board will make adjustments.

    At this time the board does not feel it’s necessary to make the adjustments demanded by teachers.

    The public elects the school board.

    Let the school board do their job and leave the kids alone.

    Stop inflicting pain on the kids and using them as leverage to obtain what you want teachers.

    They are kids.

    Leave them alone.

  39. There are very few taxpayers who know the entire compensation package of teachers.

    The pay and pensions of the teachers can be found here.

    But due to other benefits and healthcare that’s not the entire story.

    One has to also read the collective bargaining agreement (posted on the district website under Board) to see all the perks but the collective bargaining agreement does not list the healthcare benefits.

    Someone tell us exactly which teachers are underpaid, considering the overall compensation package of salaries, current benefits, pensions, early retirement healthcare, and the teachers TRIP taxpayer subsidized retiree healthcare plan.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.