Cary School Board President Gathers School Spending Date from 2010-2017

The following information about local school districts was organized by Cary School Board President Scott Coffey.

He writes

Scott Coffey

I believe this is a follow up to one of the topics of the school district meeting that took place with the County on June 6th [at a meeting called by McHenry County Board Chairman Jack Franks].

We spent some time at that meeting discussing operating expense growth over time in spite of the fact that most districts in the County had experienced enrollment declines since 2010.

I spent some time during that meeting outlining Cary D-26’s efforts to reduce spending over that time period.

When pressed by Mr. Franks, several districts pushed back on cuts and facility closures because voters didn’t want to see those cuts.

I would be very interested in seeing the results of this request.

I think a lot can be learned by doing a “Best Practices” study across the school districts in the County on many different functional areas.

I keep track of many different metrics for the school districts in the County, and I thought your readers might be interested in a summary of Operating Spending by District 2010 vs 2017:

School District Operating Spending 2010 – 2017

2 NIPPERSINK 12,953 14,544 1,591 12.3%
3 FRG 5,782 6,238 456 7.9%
15 McHENRY 45,176 58,587 13,411 29.7%
18 RILEY 3,154 3,588 434 13.8%
26 CARY 31,495 23,955 (7,540) -23.9%
36 HARRISON 4,628 4,996 368 8.0%
46 PRAIRIE GR 10,361 10,565 204 2.0%
47 CRYSTAL LAKE 81,642 89,535 7,893 9.7%
165 MARENGO-UNION 9,475 9,463 (12) -0.1%
HIGH SCHOOL          
154 MARENGO 10,029 11,228 1,199 12.0%
155 CL/FRG/CARY/PG/LW 81,683 92,561 10,878 13.3%
156 McHENRY 28,025 30,261 2,236 8.0%
157 RICHMOND-BURTON 10,900 11,658 758 7.0%
12 JOHNSBURG 25,742 24,119 (1,623) -6.3%
19 ALDEN HEBRON 5,780 5,419 (361) -6.2%
50 HARVARD 23,460 29,009 5,549 23.7%
158 HUNTLEY 72,705 91,041 18,336 25.2%
200 WOODSTOCK 66,840 81,347 14,507 21.7%
  TOTAL 529,830 598,114 68,284 12.9%
($ 000’s)          
* Excludes Debt Service and Capital Projects          
* Excludes O&M Capital Outlay        


Cary School Board President Gathers School Spending Date from 2010-2017 — 10 Comments

  1. Nob, D-26 eliminated the 6-6-6-6 salary spiking scheme in 2011.

    We did grant sick days to an employee to accelerate retirement. The savings generated by hiring a much less expensive replacement in Year 1, more than offset the TRS penalty.

    The article is written with the premise that these TRS penalties are bad. And in many or most instances that may be true. But in our case, it was a net positive as we ended up saving money.

    The real problem is the existence of a multi-year salary spiking scheme to begin with. The accelerated salary growth costs the local district during the 4 years and then leaves TRS with new beneficiaries with excessively inflated pensions that TRS never received enough funding cover in the first place.

    Since we eliminated the 6-6-6-6 spiking scheme, we continue to see teachers retire from the district even without all the spiking. I think teachers retire when they’re ready. Salary spiking just adds costs with little to no benefit and, in some cases, prolongs the employment of a teacher because they’re contractually obligated to finish out the 4 year term of their retirement agreement.

  2. The cumulative CPI inflation rate for those years was 13.7%

    (1.1%; 3.6%; 1.7%; 1.8%; 2.1%; .1%; 1%; 1.6% )

  3. What changes does the new ‘Evidence-Based” funding law bring?

    Is it the case that local districts (local property taxpayers, not State of Illinois) will need to pay any shortfall of pension benefits and contributions above 30% of salaries, and that the State will be the final say in what that additional bill to local districts can be?

  4. Does the Evidence Based Funding Law describe that school employees with wages higher than the Governor of Illinois will revert to pensions which become the responsibility of local property taxpayers?

  5. Susan, It was SB 42 that shifted the employer pension cost incurred for district employee earnings that were in excess of the Governor’s salary of $177,412. The State’s Employer Normal Pension Cost factor is roughly around 10%.

  6. So, if I understand correctly:


  7. And, pension benefits in excess of 30% of salary?
    Has that tax burden shifted to local property taxpayers too?

  8. Susan, Yes. School districts pickup the Employer Normal Pension Cost on the amount in excess of $177,412.

    As to your other question, I believe you’re referring to how the Adequacy Targets are calculated in the new EBF formula.

    The EBF legislation doesn’t put any additional costs onto districts.

    The EBF law does indicate that those Adequacy Targets will be adjusted upwards if, and when, the State shifts the pension costs away from the State and onto the local school districts.

    That probably happens soon after Pritzker is elected.

    The pension cost shift will occur concurrently with the legislature lifting the PTELL tax cap, so that school districts can raise their levy in excess of CPI in order to capture enough incremental revenue to pay for the increment pension costs.

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