Figures on D155’s 4% Annual Teacher Salary Increases

After I received the press release (15 comments so far) about the contents of the contract from Crystal Lake District 155 last night, I submitted some questions.

Those questions and the answers supplied are below:

What will the starting salary be for someone with a bachelor’s degree?

The starting salary for a teacher with a bachelor’s degree is $46,218.

What will the highest salary be without extra curricular add-ons?

The highest salary without extracurricular add-ons is $116,561.  This salary requires a master’s degree with 60 additional hours of college coursework and 20 years of experience.

Does that 4% increase include the cost of increased personal and sick days?

Yes, the increase does include the cost of increased personal and sick days.

What is the estimate cost each of the two years?

The estimated increase for certified salaries and benefits under the tentative ageement for

  • the first year is $1.7 million and
  • $2.1 million for the second year
  • the cost estimate for the third year is $2.0 million based on a 1.3% CPI increase

How much of the teachers’ side of the pension payment will the taxpayers pay?

The board paid TRS pension percentage will be the same as the prior contract, 4.7% of the teacher’s credible earnings.


Figures on D155’s 4% Annual Teacher Salary Increases — 20 Comments

  1. The starting and highest salary figures will vary by year of contract since the base schedule is hiked in some years.


    The highest salary might be $116,561 but those folks get longevity bonuses (the agreement being negotiated said $1,500), so its not the top of the compensation scale.

    It’s overall compensation including benefits that nickle and dime taxpayers even more than they think they are paying.

    CPS is already bankrupt or close to it in the practical sense, it’s just not technically bankrupt.

    It’s only the illusion that taxes can be hiked to infinity to pay all the bonds and pensions that keep the organization going.

    CPS is a dysfunctional organization.

    Within that organization are some talented people but over all it is dysfunctional.

    If CPS was alone in an otherwise healthy state, city, and county maybe it could be saved.

    That’s not the case.


    State and local taxpayers owe $437,904,000 to the TRS pension fund for CHSD 155 pensions alone, which is 9 years worth of current pensionable income (salaries)…meaning if you didn’t pay salaries for 9 years then the pension would be fully funded.

    Pension funding is not part of the collective bargaining negotiations, yet hiked salaries result in hiked pensions.

    The teachers want hiked salaries and they want their pensions, it’s an unsustainable system.

    It was not created to be sustainable as there were legislative pension benefit hikes and local salary hikes for the last 45 years repeatedly while pensions were underfunded the entire time.

    Sheer madness.

  2. Here’s what the Crain’s article didn’t mention about Chicago Public Schools.

    Mish’s Global Economic Trend Analysis
    by Mike Shedlock
    Emanuel Fiddles While Chicago Burns; Public Schools Over the Edge; 9% Cloud Tax on Data Streaming; Emanuel Eyes Property Tax Hikes
    July 17, 2015

    Illinois Policy Institute
    by Benjamin VanMetre
    Chicago Public Schools looking for cash can start by ending teacher pickups
    July 19, 2013

    How about a Chicago sales tax hike devoted to CPS – no talks of that because:
    Illinois Policy Institute
    by Hilary Gowins
    Chicago’s Sales Tax Now the Highest in the Nation
    January 1, 2016

    How about a Chicago property tax hike devoted to CPS – no talks about that because:
    by Joseph Henchman
    Tax Foundation
    November 17, 2015

    How about inventing another Chicago tax devoted to CPS – no talks of that because:
    by Ted Dabrowski
    Illinois Policy Institute
    January 7, 2016
    Chicagoans the most-taxed residents in Illinois, paying more than 30 city taxes

  3. Crystal Lake High School District 155 derives the majority of its revenue from property taxes.

    Hiking teacher salaries and benefits, hikes property taxes.

    How reasonable are property taxes in Crystal Lake and McHenry County?

    Illinois Policy Institute
    Home is Where the Hurt is: How Property Taxes are Crushing Illinois’ Middle Class
    by Austin Burg
    December 17, 2015

    In McHenry County property taxes take up nearly 8 percent of the median household income.

    The average monthly property-tax bill stands at $499, and the typical property-tax burden in the county has ballooned by over 45 percent since 2000.


    Illinois Policy Institute
    Growing Out of Control: Property Taxes Put Increasing Burden on Illinois Taxpayers
    By Erik Randolph, Senior Fellow
    Ted Dabrowski, Vice President of Policy
    John Klingner, Policy Analyst
    November 201f

    Total school property-tax extensions for the collar counties – DuPage, Kane, Lake, McHenry and Will counties – grew even more rapidly than those in Cook County.

    During the 1980s, school property taxes increased 141.9 percent, compared to 74 percent for inflation.

    During the 1990s, school property taxes increased 104.7 percent, compared to 34.7 percent for inflation.

    During the 2000s school property taxes increased 98.5 percent, compared to 24.7 percent for inflation.

    From 2010 through 2013, school property taxes increased 10.3 percent, compared to inflation of 6.9 percent, which, if extrapolated for the remainder of the decade, would grow 27.8 percent and 18.2 percent, respectively.


    The collective bargaining negotiation laws don’t require any of that to be taken into consideration, and most school boards don’t take that into consideration.

  4. It’s a 3 year agreement.

    2016-17 school year
    2017-18 school year
    2018-19 school year

    What’s the estimated cost for the third year?

  5. Remember those salaries are for 9 months of work, not 12.

    Benefits are ridiculous compared to the private sector as well.

    I have not seen nor do I expect to see anything close to 4% anytime soon.

    Out of touch at the least…

  6. Of course the power of work stoppages by public sector unions has absolutely NOTHING to do with Illinois losing one person to another state every five minutes.

    The power of work stoppages has nothing to do with amateur school board members bowing to the wishes of school superintendents and teacher unions.


    I could care less about what happens to unions in the private sector but we must put an end to public sector unions sitting on both sides of negotiation tables.

  7. Teachers behave as if they didn’t agree to be paid a certain salary when they accepted the job.

    Teachers do deserve to be paid for their work and they are… however, THEY KNOW what the pay is going into the job!

    If you want to be rich, don’t become a teacher.

    If you don’t think teachers are paid enough, find a school district that pays more or a new profession!


  8. January 18, 2016
    A press release from Crystal Lake High School District 155:
    “A summary of the agreement includes additional personal and sick days and annual average salary increases of 3.97% each year”


    January 19, 2016
    “After I received the press release (15 comments so far) about the contents of the contract from Crystal Lake District 155 last night, I submitted some questions.”

    “Does that 4% increase include the cost of increased personal and sick days?
    Yes, the increase does include the cost of increased personal and sick days.”


    Overall compensation costs of teachers increased 4% (3.97%) per year.

    The most lucrative part of their compensation though is the pension.

    Starting pension is 75%, of the average of the last 4 years worked.

    That 75% is achieved after 35 years of service.

    Years of service is usually less than years worked, because teachers can exchange 2 years (340 days) of unused sick days, for 2 years of service credit, at retirement, thus retire after 33 years worked.

    35 years x 14 sick days per year = 490 sick days over 35 years.
    34 years x 13 sick days per year = 455 sick days.
    35 years x 12 sick days per year = 420 sick days.
    35 years x 11 sick days per year = 385 sick days.
    35 years x 10 sick days per year = 350 sick days.
    35 years x 09 sick days per year = 315 sick days.

    Why do teachers like so many sick days in their contract?

    Because many school districts allow teachers to cash out unused sick days at the salary rate they are earning at retirement.

    Obviously cashing sick days out at the salary one is earning when retiring is preferred to cashing sick days out at the salary one is earning when the sick days are earned, since salary goes up over the years.

    So not only can the unused sick days be rolled over from year to year, they can be cashed out at retirement (in many school districts) or exchanged for years of service credit to retire earlier (TRS pension rules).

    It varies by school district, but on average kids attend school 180 days or so (45 days / 9 weeks per quarter, 90 / 18 weeks days per semester).

    The number of days a year a teacher is required to work is typically stipulated in the collective bargaining agreement, and that’s close to the kid attendance day figure of 180 days.

    14 sick days / 180 days = 8%.

    Are teachers on average in CHSD 155 sick 14 days, 8%, of the 180 days or so they are required to work?

    Almost certainly not.

    It’s just a way to hike pay or retire early, and maybe that’s why the district included it in the 4% hike figures (we would have to see the exact math from the district to figure it out, or ask them).

    Sick days in teacher and administrator contracts are not used only for the purposes of being sick, some of the days are used for other purposes eventually, either to cash out at retirement or retire earlier.

    Do the taxpayers funding the hikes (yes we know teachers are taxpayers to) get such sick day perks?



    Also, when comparing sick days of a teacher vs average working stiff.

    Teachers work about 180 days a year (36 weeks).

    There are 52 weeks in a year.

    Teachers work (36/52) 69% of a year.

    The average working stiff, including holidays, sick days, vacation, personal days, etc. works much more than 36 weeks a year.

    2 weeks of holidays
    2 weeks of vacation
    2 weeks of sick / personal days (which are usually use it or lose it).
    6 weeks total.
    52 – 6 = 46 weeks, some get more, many get less.
    46 / 52 = 88% of the year worked by working stiff vs 69% for teacher.

    Some teachers will say they work nights, weekends, and other days during the year; and that is true of many professions; and it’s not required in their contract that they do so; and many don’t.


    The board will justify the 14 sick days how to the working stiff taxpayer (yes we know teachers are taxpayers too).

    About the only justification the board can use, and it’s a week justification, is that many of the sick days will result in increased costs to state taxpayers (by exchanging sick days for years of service credit), saving Crystal Lake property taxpayers (whom are also state income taxpayers of course) some money.

    This is another reason why the teacher pension is 40% funded.

    A sick day exchanged for years of service credit does not fund a pension one penny, yet is used to hike starting pension (retiring earlier is a form of a pension benefit hike).

  9. Centegra Registered Nurse: avg. $35/hour (with and w/out experience).

    Must pay for health insurance premiums. Must pay for deductibles, copay’s, and denied or out-of-network txt.

    Receive 401K matching contributions (NOT defined benefit plans with contributions ‘picked up’).

    Teachers work 1500 hours/year? (vs. nurses 2000)

    Teacher: Starting at $46,000= ($30.66/hour)rising rapidly after first year, up to $116,000= ($77.33/hour).

    Pay little to nothing for health care insurance premiums AND treatment–BIG differential value factor in the age of huge deductibles and punitive network restrictions.

    DEFINED BENEFIT PENSION PLAN WITH 3% COLA: the present value of this plan vs. a nurse’s 401K defined contribution plan differs by millions of dollars.

    CONCLUSION: Do NOT let your children go into healthcare profession. ALL new job seekers should become teachers.

    STRATEGY: HOW does a child of a ‘non-insider’ get a job as a teacher in a school district which only hires those who are ‘connected’?

  10. Actually when delving into the details of TRS teacher pensions and the sick days.

    This is convoluted, but indicates another TRS perk courtesy of taxpayers.

    The TRS accrual rate is 2.2% (.022) per year of service.

    34 years of service x .022 = .748.

    .748 is rounded up to 75%.

    75% is achieved after 34 years of service.

    75% is the maximum allowable.

    But TRS states to retire at age 55, one needs 35 years of service.’

    So that final year of service one accrues no extra benefits.

    So one thinks, need to work 35 years to age 55 to get the 75%.

    That’s the minimum to get 75% of, the average of the last 4 years worked.


    There are exceptions to the rule (benefit hikes).

    If your real 55th birthday is July 1 – December 31, your TRS 55th birthday is June 1 the previous year.

    That’s so one can retire earlier, there is no other reason for the rule.

    So if you real 55th birthday is July 1, 2015 – December 31, 2015, your TRS 55th birthday is June 1, 2014, which means you can really retire at age 54.5.

    Courtesy of taxpayers.

    TRS is a real life FantasyLand for teachers and administrators, until the taxpayer money runs out.

    40% funded.
    30% funded.
    20% funded.
    10% funded.
    0% funded.
    They quite a few more years left apparently.

    But don’t feel you as a taxpayer have not been paying enough to the TRS pension fund.

    The unions lobbied for hiked benefits instead of fully funded pensions.

    They can live with the consequences.

    The taxpayers didn’t lobby for hiked benefits.

    The State Senators, Representatives, and Governors agreed to hiked benefits in exchange for campaign contributions, votes, and election assistance.

    The taxpayer was not involved in the legislative benefit hikes negotiations.

    The taxpayer was not informed of the legislative benefit hikes after they occurred, for the most part.

    All done behind closed doors and kept out of the press, for the most part.

    Sure it was public record, buried in the hundreds and thousands of House Bills and Senate Bills, which are often mis-titled since the entire contents of a bill can be wiped out, it’s official name stays the same, but the contents are an entirely different subject than the name of the bill.

    So what is a taxpayer supposed to do, click on every single bill, every single day, to see if the contents have been erased and replaced?


    The COGA reports that indicate benefit hikes are not the main problem go back to 1996, not 1970, when the madness began.

    Better yet, go back to the beginning in the 1930’s or so.

    There should have been no benefit hike until pensions were fully funded.

    That’s not what happened.

    If the current pension was unaffordable, why hike pension benefits, which will just create a bigger underfunding problem?

    Legislative pension benefit hikes to underfunded pensions ruined the pensions.

    And local collective bargaining hikes increasing pay and sick days worsen the problem, one school district at a time, 864 or so school districts.

  11. Teachers beginning their career on or after January 1, 2011 receive Tier II (Tier 2) pension benefits, which are reduced benefits.

    Unfortunately Tier II contributions are comingled with Tier I contributions, and overall the system is 40% funded.

    Tier II would have a better chance of being self sustaining, but instead the contributions are going towards more lucrative Tier I benefits, and what will be left for Tier II?

    Just like the unions, the pensions are designed so the ones who have been in the system the longest benefit at the expense of the newer members.

  12. Not sure of the percentage but there are teachers that get teaching jobs in public school districts in Illinois that are not politically connected and don’t know anyone in the district.

    In the Chicago suburbs there are almost always a lot more applicants than positions.

    The tougher positions to fill are speech language pathologist (SLP)…lots of state required training to become an SLP; sometimes special education; and rural districts (lower pay).

  13. The monopoly public education system with monopoly school districts and monopoly funding and monopoly unions with monopoly fees contributing to a monopoly pension system which itself has monopoly unions with monopoly fees and all the laws created by the monopoly legislature is dysfunctional.

    Teaching like any other profession has people that just are naturally good teachers.

    And people who work harder than others.

    The monopoly system punishes such teacher in the sense the teacher in the next room over may not be as naturally talented, but the pay is the same for equivalent years worked.

    Each time layoffs occur, there are almost always more talented teachers let go to protect less talented teachers who have simply worked at the school district more years (tenured).

    who suffers the most?

    The children the system is purported to be in existence for, in the name that administration is not ethical or smart enough to figure out who are the best teachers.

    Ironically most administrators were formerly teachers.

    Now in any profession there are injustices that do occur, but the main injustice here is to the children who deserve the best teacher period, not the one with the most experience.

    The same goes for work ethic.

    Teachers that work hard are incredibly frustrated when teachers that just clock in and out the minimum hours get the same pay for the same years worked, and often more pay for the simple reason they have worked more years.

    And the idea that more college classes means more pay is outdated for the same reason.

    There are naturally talented teachers who can teach better after a few years than someone who has a masters degree and beyond, because a lot of teaching is natural talent.

    Well natural talent can only take you so far, the next most important ingredient would be talented mentoring, administrative leadership, then maybe more college credits.

    But the idea that we are somehow getting a good bang for our buck by paying teachers to take college class after college is nuts.

    In fact it hurts sometimes.

    If the teacher is taking a college class, they could instead be using that time to improve the educational outcomes of the kids they are teaching, one way or another (doesn’t have to be face time in front of the kids.

    And how about Gym Teachers making the same as physics and chemistry teachers.

    Makes no sense.

    How about the IHSA athlete mandated to take PE in the semester they have an IHSA sport, yet that student is just average or below average in math or reading.

    Obviously an extra math or reading class would help them more.

    Same goes for middle school athletes.

    Taxpayer dollars are not being used widely all over the place.

    And the state law which allows unions to extract money from teachers who don’t want anything to do with the union is part of the problem.

    Hopefully Friedrichs will prevail in the US Supreme Court case Friedrichs vs California Teachers Association (CTA) and the result will be an end to forcing employees to contribute money to a union they want nothing to do with, a practice known as agency fee / fair share fee.

  14. THIS is why property taxes are so high.

    It’s not the county, it’s not the municipalities, it’s not the townships….70% of the tax bills are grade schools, middle schools, high schools and MCC.

    Stop the madness.

  15. MCC is talking about a huge expansion with continuing decline in enrollment.

    Madness indeed!

    But if they don’t hear from the taxpayers they’ll continue to do whatever they want.

  16. More on sick days


    School districts report to the public the number of sick days a teacher earns each year, in salary compensation reports and the collective bargaining agreement.

    To recap, for CHSD 155, the current teacher contract has 12 sick days per year, and the proposed teacher contract has 14 sick days per year.


    But school districts don’t report to the public the “payout” of unused sick days.

    Although that could be obtained via FOIA.

    What is the payout of unused sick days?

    Well, school districts could and should for transparency purposes issue a retiree report every year, explaining how each teacher that is retiring is using their accumulated sick days.

    They same should apply to administrators.

    The Retiree Report would list:

    – Employee Name
    – Number of sick days exchanged for years of service credit.
    – Number of sick days exchanged for cash.
    – Amount of cash per sick day.
    – Total amount of cash received for sick days.
    – Is the cash creditable earnings (pensionable) or non creditable earnings (non pensionable).


    Other units of government also exchange sick days for cash at retirement, so those units of government should also present an annual Sick Day Retiree Report to taxpayers.


    Some units of government including school districts are very clever at hiding employee payouts from taxpayers.

    In addition to the pensionable earnings (creditable earnings) that one sees on public databases such as Open the Books, many governments pay out non pensionable (non creditable) pay to employees for:

    – Sick days (sometimes pensionable, sometimes not)
    – bonuses
    – tuition reimbursement
    – travel reimbursement for conferences and meetings (hotels, meals, plane tickets, mileage, etc.)
    – etc.


    So what is the true Illinois taxpayer cost of adding 2 sick days to the teacher contract.

    It’s a little tedious to calculate, so let’s look at just one impact.

    Let’s take a teacher whose teaching career beings next year.

    That teacher would get 14 sick days per year, instead of the 12 in the previous agreement.

    The teacher begins working at age 22, works 33 years, exchanges 2 years of service credit for 2 years worked, so retires with 35 years of service credit at age 55.

    35 years of service x 2 extra sick days per year = 66 extra sick days over a 33 year career.

    14 sick days x 33 years = 462 sick days with this agreement.
    12 sick days x 33 years = 396 days before this agreement.
    462 – 396 = 66.

    So the elected Crystal Lake High School District 155 school board thinks it is a good use of taxpayer money to have taxpayers pay for 462 sick days over a 33 year career, instead of 396 sick days.

    Remember, teachers never lose sick days, they either:
    1. Use them for being sick
    2. Put them in the district sick bank (most school districts have sick banks).
    3. Cash them out at retirement, at the pro-rated final salary figure.
    4. Exchange them for years of service credit to retire earlier.

    Regarding years of service, once again, TRS defines a teacher / administrator year as 170 days for pension purposes, which is another taxpayer ripoff, as teachers work at least as many days as students are in class (a typical school district has a student calendar of 180 days (36 weeks), and many teachers are required to work a few extra days for inservice days or such; and many administrators work year round.

    So 2 years of service credit is 340 days (170 days per year).

    Before this contract, a 33 year career teacher could accumulate 396 days maximum.
    With this contract, a 33 year career teacher could accumulate 462 days.

    12 sick days a year
    396 sick days (33 years worth) – 340 (2 years of service credit) = 56 extra sick days.
    56 sick days / 33 years = 1.7 extra sick days a year.

    14 sick days a year
    462 sick days (33 years worth) – 340 (2 years of service credit) = 122 extra sick days.
    122 sick days / 33 years = 3.7 sick days a year.

    So the extra sick days in this contract resulted in a teacher being able to take an average of 3.7 sick days per year instead of 1.7 sick days a year, and still retire 2 years earlier with a full 33 year career (which becomes a 35 year career by exchanging 2 years of sick days for 2 years of service credit).

    That’s what the CHSD 155 school board thinks is a good use of taxpayer money.


    If the teachers get 14 sick days a year, the administrators probably get at least 14 sick days a year, or will when their contracts come up for renewal.

    That’s because administrator benefits are almost always at least as good as teacher benefits, and typically better.

    So if an administrator tells a board member they think hiking teacher sick days or any other pay or benefit is a good idea, most of the time that helps out the administrator too in the long run, because administrator pay and benefits has to keep ahead of teacher pay and benefits, in most cases.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.