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Schools face state funding cuts

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The Sun ran a story on Thursday detailing the funding woes in District 204. Unlike many of these kinds of stories, the district is facing millions in deficits not because of anything it did, but because the state of Illinois is failing to pay the money it owes. The state owes the district more than $7.8 million for the current year, and the district fears the state may not come through with $14 million to $20 million in funding for the next year.

Without the funds, the district may have to lay off employees and make other cuts, beyond those already made to deal with other deficits.

District 204 isn't the only one facing this problem; all of the state's schools are starting to worry about state funds in the future with Illinois projecting a $13 billion debt with no solutions in sight.

What do you think about this? Is it fair for local schools to suffer and people to lose their jobs because of the state's problems? Is there anything we can do on a local level to respond?

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382 Comments

Responding to -1’s post March 16, 6:25 AM

My complaint with -1 is he uses selective time frames to make his point.

He claims from the 2000-2001 school year to the 2005-2006 year D203’s increase in revenue per pupil was twice the state average, and that OEPP (Operational Expenditures Per Pupil) went from 93.5% of the state average to 104% of the state average.

However if we go back farther (1996-1997 to 2005-2006) we find that D203 per pupil revenue actually increased by less than the state average (D203 49% and the state at 52%)

Again, here’s what the Daily Herald had to say;

” The second most populous suburban district during that period was Naperville Unit District 203, with an average of 17,324 students. Yet, while Naperville 203 was second in average number of students, it was fifth in amount of money taken in. In fact, District 203 received millions less than school districts with smaller populations. Take Northwest Suburban High School District 214, which averaged 11,087 students annually . 6,000 fewer students than Naperville 203. District 214, based in Arlington Heights, collected $1.78 billion over the 10 years. Naperville 203 took in $1.55 billion. That’s a difference of $230 million . $23 million a year . and District 203 had on average 6,000 more students each and every year

The same goes for OEPP. -1 carefully chooses the year when the district was spending the very least because it was in severe deficit. (Like $50 million in the hole). However, if you go back and add the three prior years; 1997 98.21% 1998 100.78% and 1999 101.19%, you will find that the average over 12 years is 99.45%. We were at 103.3% for 1999. So yeah, we are 3% over both the state average and D203’s historical average including some very bad years fiscally for the district.

Now Dan has made much of this 3% in the last day or so making the argument that it represents $6 million in costs, fine. But let’s consider a few more school districts and what their spending would do to D203’s enrollment;

Both Wheaton Warrenville and the Geneva school districts spend essentially the same as D203

St Charles $9.65 million

Barrington $38.63 Million

Vernon Hills/Libertyville $38.74 million

Northfield $95.56 million
.

If I took the time I could find many, many, more. I doubt there are more than a handful of school districts in the suburbs that are below the state average, and, of course, I know that there is not one district whose students achieve the same academic achievement that spends less than D203.
.

Not one.

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Responding to Dan Denys post (Anonymous on March 16, 2010 9:15 AM)

Another great example of Dan Denys, ace bamboozler.

It seems Dan has realized he needed to drop his claim that the decline in OEPP in 2000 was only due to D203’s bonds being paid off, and now is onto making all sort of claims about over taxation as a dodge so the reader forgets the original point. Regardless, a few comments in response to his statements to help the reader understand OEPP better;

Essentially all expenses of the District show up in the OEPP except for capital expenditures and retired bond principal, (and some other minor deductions). One the revenue side, any surplus is not counted in the OEPP, until it’s spent. then it is counted in the OEPP (unless spent for capital expenditures, etc). As I indicated previously, in the 2008-2009 budget $420,000 of that surplus was used to pay interest, it is in the OEPP. Money just doesn’t disappear off the books.

.
I find his attempt to blame me for his not reading my webpage before he went on his ”FRAUD” tantrum a real laugh.


As far as Dan’s ”TEACHERS UNION CONTROL OF THE SCHOOL BOARD”

Same, tired, old story, that he and Mr. Davitt constantly flog. Problem is nobody believes it. If people did Dan would be a sitting school board member.
.


For Anonymous on March 16, 2010 11:32 AM

”You ignored and didn't answer my question as to the true cost of elementary and the true cost of secondary broken down separately from each other. Until you can produce some verifiable numbers you don't deserve an apology from me or anyone else.”

Actually that is what I did. Please see What’s the best Educational Value in Chicagoland

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For Anonymous on March 16, 2010 11:47 AM


”First, you cannot have it both ways ---- the raises were either 6.4% (the low end of the real number ----- it actually calcs to 7.2%, ) or 3.64%!”

Well, actually, we all can have it both ways. Once again;

”From the Illinois State Board of Education report card we know that the average increase in a teachers salary for the years 1998 to 2008 was 3.54%””Why is this important? Because 3.54% is what it actually costs the taxpayer.

.
”From the Ast. Supt. of Finance we have his analysis for the years 2007-2010. Average raise; 5.57%. “

”My estimate of the average raise based on the known base contract percentages and historical costs for steps/lanes and retirement enhancements; 6.42% for the period 1995-2009”

Other estimates are in the 7%-7.2% range using the Champion data.
I’ve discussed the limitation of that data previously.

As I have stated repeatedly, and is illustrated in my Overview of Teachers Salary Increases For Fiscal Years 2007-2010 The average raise percentage is mitigated by the effects of turnover resulting in a lower percentage cost to the taxpayer.

So both are true, the average raise can be 6+% for incumbent teachers, but the actual cost (average wage increase) to the taxpayer has averaged 3.54%

Thom Higgins

QE203.org

Tom Higgins,
Have you ever considered taking a month off to get rid of your blog egotistical addiction? Please consider it. Think about all the time you are wasting repeating and repeating yourself. Do you have grandchildren you can play with for a month? If not, consider buying a puppy or kitten to get your mind off this blog site. You seem out of control. Sorry, but that is the only apology you are getting from me.

Dan

You should have NEVER admitted that you talked to Jim Dennison. Higgins will try to have him blackballed since he is now tainted.

Other than Weeks, he seems to be the only guy on the Board with any backbone. Look at Fielden. What a wimp! He never says anything. A pitiful board.

My guess is that Jim Dennison never even answered Higgins phone call.

This is more hot air and bullying from Higgins.

How about the answers to the questions, dude?

"And BTW QE203.org recommended both Jim Dennison, and Merle Siefken."

All that REALLY means is Thom Higgins recommended. QE203 is nothing more than a sham organization fronting for Thom's personal opinion. Nothing more. Nothing less.

Dan,

It's interesting that Jim Dennison himself doesn't agree with you

And BTW QE203.org recommended both Jim Dennison, and Merle Siefken.

Tell you what; you have Mr. Dennison corroborate your story and I'll donate $1,000.00 to your favorite charity.

You need to stop digging Dan.

Back later........

Thom Higgins

QE203.org

I was Anonymous on March 16, 2010 9:15 AM--Don't know why it did not "take".

And here is my EXACT QUOTE

"And to Epi-nonymous, I supported Dennison. Mike D. did not want to support him."

I talked to Jim and told him we wanted to support him because he was down to earth. He was concerned that the likes of Higgins would "crucify him" like Higgins did to Weeks and Siefken.

Mike did not want to go along, he controlled the web page.

Thom, the world is more than a web page. People talk, I think I know who Epi is, if correct, we were BOTH impressed by Jim.

KEEP ON BLATHERING!!

I have a little challenge for the regulars. Let's go through this blog and list the unanswered questions posed.

My guess

Higgins 20
Dan D 1 (8.5 t0 9%)
-1 He is really more positive

What do you all think? This is the same type of confusion that Higgins QE203 does in the campaigns. He makes up information. If 203 was so perfect, why aren't the ACT scores five points beyond any other school.

The answer, quite simply, is that it is a fine public school, but just that. It cannot or for that matter should not compete with more selective private institutions. You get what you pay for.

I like this comment made by -1

"Mr Higgins. There is a reason Dan D responds to you the way he does."

What an understatement. Not only does Higgins think he is ALWAYS right, he wants to constantly tell you so. And then keeps harranguing. And I think Dan D. and -1 have REALLY held back on criticizing Higgins for all of his bullying comments. I think Higgins leads 5 to 1 in poor comments on this blog. And he complained about people not being civil. When Dan D. called him on starting (and maintaining) the name calling, he went back behind the curtain.

Next he will want to put this debate on C-Span.

Thom, you owe a big time apology to Dan D. You posted the words high school districts, you referred to them spending much more money earlier in the posts, and then we are suppose to look at your propoganda web pages to clarify what you meant to say?

And Mitrovich made a mistake in what he said last week. Everyone on this blog were stunned. We are glad he corrected his gaff, unlike you, he admitted such.

By the way, did you ever turn your homework in when you were in school? I think you still have three questions from me that you did not answer.

You should learn some respect.

Well, what a cranky bunch for such a lovely spring day!

Too much to do today to comment. I'll get something up late tonight.

For Dan Denys;

You know the old saying; better late than never"

Why don't you call Jim D. and let him know you supported him a year ago?

Couldn't hurt.....


Thom Higgins

QE203.org

TH,

First, you cannot have it both ways ---- the raises were either 6.4% (the low end of the real number ----- it actually calcs to 7.2%, ) or 3.64%!

A raise of any kind costs the taxpayers --- please don not try to hide that fact. The point that good management uses turnover to partially mitigate some of that cost is a different issue (one which I believe 203 does a good, not great, job of ---- that is a compliment, by the way)

Second, it sounds like we are not far off on the general view of teacher salaries. I do believe that in the distant past they were probably underpaid. I believe that now they are fairly paid for efforts. However, I think their retirement perks are too rich (and given the state of the State, I think they are at severe risk there) and tenure should go given their now equal/fair treatment on salaries.

Third, my comment on top-in-nation is based on published materials (such as US News, etc), which tends to be what you trot out when you are convincing others it is this-and-that. 50 states ----- 100 top schools. We are not there. We also are not considered top 5 in Illinois, but we are a great district.

Fourth, I do not consider teachers second-class citizens. On the other hand, I consider them only EQUAL citizens. As such, I give the Fire dept. the Police Dept, the parents and taxpayers, the great shop owners, the street system , etc. as all having a great influence on our real estate values. Whether you realize it or not, your defense of 203 oft comes off as so overzealous that the message heard by many is that 203 and only 203 is responsible for the value that is Naperville! As long as you can agree that teachers are no more equal than other citizens, we can have an agreement.

Fifth, given the level of richness in Naperville (as I recall, for cities at/over 150,000 the income in Naperville is at or near the very top), I do NOT agree that teachers, or FD, or PD, or municipal employees, should be paid at the average. My reason is simple: as stated earlier, that would be an economic imbalance that would bite us big time (eventually) --- see Orange Cty, etc. Also, look at Lake Forest ---- do their public employees get paid anywhere near the city average? Of course not.

Sorry Thom,

You ignored and didn't answer my question as to the true cost of elementary and the true cost of secondary broken down separately from each other. Until you can produce some verifiable numbers you don't deserve an apology from me or anyone else.

Blather on!

Following Mr. Higgins suggestion, I will copy two of his recent comments that he posted.

"Regarding teachers salaries, I’m not a compensation expert and creating a salary structure isn’t done on the back of an envelope"

"I don't know what public comment the Compensation Review Committee will be taking, but QE203.org is planning on offering our thoughts."

What are you going to say. that you don't know anything about compensation as you admitted on these pages? Anything else would be a waste of everyone's time since you are a not a compensation expert, YOUR OWN WORDS.

And from all of your blathering, I really don's think you know financial matters either. Where can I buy a car from you?

And by the way, since you seem to be tied into the inner loops of Naperville's left wing, what is the relationship of that Iverson to the 203 Iversons?

Who asked on this web site to summarize the open issues from the past and move on? If not, we should. But here are my responses to Mr. Higgins.

OEPP SPENDING

My original comment is that the overtaxation ($750 per home per year) over the over spending ($300 per home per year) is not reflected in the OEPP numbers and therefore does not reflect the total pain to the taxpayer.

Here is Tom's response.

"OEPP not only includes the Education fund, but also the Operation and Maintenance fund, the Transportation fund, the Bond and Interest fund and the IMRF (retirement) fund - essentially the entire budget, less capital expenditures (improvements paid for, not financed), and bond principal retired (not interest, that's included)."

To be clear to all, I have uploaded the District's calculation of the OEPP from their Annual Financial Report (AFR) filed with the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE). Here is a link to the file:

http://www.mediafire.com/file/mznid3nnwjm/Naperville 203 2008 AFR OEPP.pdf

Look at the first line on the report. "TOTAL EXPENDITURES". Thom, there is a difference between "Expenditures" and "Revenues". If you were to look elsewhere in the AFR you will discover the following numbers

Educational Fund Revenues..........$179.9 million
Educational Fund Expenditures......$165.8 million

Surplus............................$14.1 million

The $10,760 for average expenditure per student does not reflect this $14.1 million.

"Ok, where is all that money disappearing to Dan?"

Thom, to the Bank of District 203. Just like all of the other over collection of taxes by District 203 since 2004. That is why typical property taxes are increasing at a rate greater than OEPP. This are statistical measures that do not tie to accounting.

Thom, instead of spewing a response, please study this and consult with any accountants you know. Spare us all your venom. And I should save this because you would raise this in the future and call me a liar for not being able to refer to this. And this is the third time I recall posting this exact post.

IMPACT OF OVERSPENDING

Notice most of my comments about the over taxation and the slush funds accumulated by the District so they can deficit spend in the future (higher teacher salaries) go substantially unrefuted. The following is a classical retort:

"Would you prefer spending $6 million or spending $63 million (ten times more)?"

Uh, no Thom. But I cannot afford to live in Lake Forest or Kennilworth. I bought in Naperville due to affordability. I have no interest in keeping up with the Jones.

Again, remember, the District collects on average $750 more from each taxpayer and proceeded to increase spending by $300 for each taxpayer. When I purchase goods, I buy value. I cannot afford a Bentley.

COMPARATIVE SPENDING

I am accused of not understanding Thom's comment. Here it is.

"Here are the top 7 (based on ACT scores) high school districts spending over the state average, ranked in descending ACT score order. Remember, this is how much over the state average these districts are spending;"

Did I read the post correctly? "High school districts spending over the state average"? Didn't my post refer to "high school spending"?

Now Thom says

"Apparently Dan couldn’t be bothered to actually look at the webpages."

Come on. I now understand that the numbers Thom posted are his "weighted average" spending for "combined high school--elementary schools". (I think this is a reasonably accurate description of your number, but feel free to correct it.)

BUT THAT IS NOT WHAT YOU POSTED. We have to review the National Register before one is allowed to respond to the all powerful and knowing man behind the curtain, Thom Higgins? You have exceeded Obama's ARROGANCE. Do a better job in writing your comments.

And in response to all of those schools except maybe Libertyville. These are more affluent communities. They have greater wealth and even though they spend more, they have even more. More than what income levels would reflect. Trust fund children start off life with millions in the bank. They work for fun. Again, that is not Naperville.

And other than these five districts, Naperville spends more money that 95% of the other 900 Illinois school districts. And Naperville could, but does not, break out its spending between high school and elementary programs. You always wonder why a supposedly self proclaimed "world class" district cannot do so many things. Incompetancy or lack of transparency? What is the motivation? You do not have to apologize, Mr. Anonymous on March 15, 2010 9:14 PM.

TEACHERS UNION CONTROL OF THE BOARD

This goes to the top. Here Thom says,

"As for the teachers union activities in elections. Yes they were very public in the 2007 election but I think that was an anomaly."

What planet do you live on? Rudy Carl rang the alarm when Don Weber worked in conjuction with Tim Costello to save his job. Costello's election in the 90's began the control of the 203 Board by the union. That was followed by rehiring Weber, reckless deficit spending, the 2002 referendum, and then the over taxation. All of this under UNION CONTROLLED SCHOOL BOARDS.

Interestingly, after Costello was elected, all of the overspending that -1 outlines and Thom dismisses, began.

If QE203 were really objective, they would look at this tragic period in the District's existence and express the same disdain. Mike Davitt was simply addressing the disease that took hold in the District.

Saying the above, this excessive spending resulted in teachers salaries doubling or tripling ANY MEASURE of compensation increases. So if teachers do not get as large of increases, they should remember that they have been overpaid in the past fifteen years. If they want larger salary increases, they will need to go to a school district where their initial salary would be 20 to 30% lower. Naperville is totally tapped out. Even QE203 states this by saying that no tax referendums should be undertaken.

Maybe Thom lived under a rock from 1985 until 2007. Go check the facts, read the papers.

And by the way, we tried. But it turned out that the 75% of all people who complain did not bother to do anything about this. So they have nothing to complain about.

I was disappointed in the Daily Herald this morning for printing what I consider to be a very misleading headline;
Dist. 203 does about-face on layoffs
For them to put it on top of the paper likes its some big news, is just plain wrong in my view, for what the headline exclaimed, is then refuted by the actual article. D203 hasn’t done an about face, as the article explains; ”The district on Monday released a list of nearly 300 employees who are receiving layoff notices. That number is slightly less than last year.”

I expect better reporting than this from the Herald. I don't blame the reporter, Melisa Jenco is excellent, but I'll wager it was her editor that got carried away,

The Sun, in contrast, had a more meaningful article on Boundary changes.

Thom Higgins

QE203.org


Kevin,

You made your comments before my response was posted so I will not criticize you for them. I will ask you for your apology though.

It seems that Mr. Denys posts have descended into farce. From his many ”fantasy figures” to his latest attempt at faux outrage (or should I say faux FRAUD?), and his apparently secret endorsement of Jim Dennison, all I can do is shake my head and laugh.

Here’s to you Dan, I’ll toast to your continuing commentary in the blog tomorrow.

Thom Higgins

QE203.org

Aren't you two done yet?
I mean, really, you're never, ever going to agree. You can't even agree on basic numbers or definitions. You may as well be arguing in two different languages.
Give it up, boys, you're looking fairly ridiculous now.

Dan D,

I don't think the QE203 comparison page is that far off. There are some math errors which may have been fixed. However, to compare D203 to other high-ACT scoring districts (HS + Feeder) over and over does no good.

It is very hard for a mature district to change its relative spending patterns. It is very hard for a mature district to have a huge shift in performance.

Whatever we see in the chart today likely looked similar 5,10,15, and 20 years ago.

So now we are left to compare D203 to itself. I am not sure D203 has done a great job of that in the past decade.

From 2000-2001 to 2005-2006 the increase in Revenue per pupil was over TWICE the state average.

OEPP went from 93.5% of the state average (2000) to 104% of the state average (2007) while state average inflation smashed US inflation.

Mr. Higgins tries to look elsewhere to see that D203 is still good-looking by comparison. We look at ourselves here in D203 to see how we looked compared to before. We see the missed opportunities from having contracts which resulted in too large of an increase in average salary.

-1

Mr. Higgins. If you are waiting for an apology, I get two from you first. And..give it up on Lisle. It adds nothing and shows unneeded spite.

Mr. Higgins,
I think your biases for District 203 are so blatant that no one can really consider you a credible contributor to this thread or any debate on the topic. You need to stick with the facts and stop passing on propaganda.

If you had the FACTS on your side you would not need to write encyclopedias every single day. I can no longer stand reading what you write. I don't know how the moderator can stand reading it on a daily basis. My sympathies go out to him. So much repeat. You must have his head spinning.

Responding to Dan’s last post, the bamboozlement tour continues;

Dan might want to spend some time actually looking at what goes into the OEPP number. To say that it has nothing to do with “general” district revenues is pretty funny.

OEPP not only includes the Education fund, but also the Operation and Maintenance fund, the Transportation fund, the Bond and Interest fund and the IMRF (retirement) fund - essentially the entire budget, less capital expenditures (improvements paid for, not financed), and bond principal retired (not interest, that's included). There are some minor credits as well.

For Dan and -1 to claim that for the years when the OEPP was below the state average (2000-01-02-03) was strictly due to the fact that the bond debt had been paid off, looks pretty silly when we consider that the district by the 2002-2003 school year, had run annual deficits since 98-99, totaling some $50 million. Are we really to believe the district wasn't cutting everywhere it could? Are they trying to tell us that the OEPP of, say, D204 isn't going to decline next year due to all the cuts? Seriously?

Consequently, this is pretty funny as well;

The same is true for all of the over taxation. OEPP does not measure the impact of increased taxes. So in all of the years (including the last four) when the District taxes at 10 to 25% above its costs, the higher tax burden is not measured by the OEPP.

Ok, where is all that money disappearing to Dan?

The only place where Dan has a leg to stand on here is any cash that the district spends for the facilities renovation, or other capital expenditures, and its cash reserve (until its spent). However the interest on the referendum bonds will be included in the OEPP number. For the 2008-2009 OEPP calculation the first years interest on the bonds in the amount of $420,000 was added to the calculation.

More fun ensues;

”Thom Comment number 2 "After all this “skyrocketing” D203 spends a whopping $342.00 more than the state average."

Using 18,000 students, this "inconsequential" cost amounts to over $6 million

That’s nice. Would you prefer spending $6 million or spending $63 million (ten times more)? That’s how much the top 5 high school districts (calm down Dan, see below) spend on average more than D203. Or how about if we spent what Lisle did per student, that would be like $76 million more! Gee, we really are a real bargain eh?

But this, this! Is my favorite;

” Thom compares District 203 to other Districts

”All of the District he cites are HIGH SCHOOL DISTRICTS. Typically, a high school district spends $13,000 and an elementary district spends $7,500 (there are real numbers, I am too lazy to look them up on the ISBE web page). The average of these numbers is the $10,000 or so for a unit school district.”

” This is just yet another FRAUD, yes FRAUD that Thom tries to push on this web page. Thom, tell us you did not know that average high school spending is greater than elementary districts. Otherwise, you are pushing a FRAUD (by the way, everyone, Thom will not respond to this specific comment, he will refer to the missing 8.5% to 9.0% numbers--just wait and see).”

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FRAUD Dan, FRAUD?
.

Really?

Apparently Dan couldn’t be bothered to actually look at the webpages. Too bad he might learn something. Perhaps, considering the above, he might want to start by looking at how I calculated the OEPP costs. Then he might want to apologize (I know silly me). I hate to kill the suspense for Dan, but if he actually bothers to look at the page he will find that I did the following, this is from the page itself;

”While District 203 includes Elementary, Jr. High and High Schools, most towns have separate Elementary/Jr. High Districts feeding into a High School District.”

”For the 7 above we took the HS district costs, ACT and PSAE test performance, and added the costs and ISAT test scores for the Elementary/Jr. High School Districts feeding into it (on an average daily attendance weighted basis for the costs) to give the reader a very accurate comparison to D203.”

In reading this I realize I didn’t mention that I did the elementary ISAT scores on a weighted average basis as well.

In layman’s terms, this means that the OEPP and ISAT scores I cite for the elementary districts are extremely accurate, and combining their costs with the high school the feed into, gives the reader an accurate comparison to D203 costs and academic performance.

You can see my analysis Here.

FRAUD, indeed!

As a fun aside; Both Hinsdale and Vernon hills have elementary school districts of 400 some students. Not schools, districts!

But the most amazing? Roundout #72; a 164 student district and they spend $22,778 per student.

.

For the record, per Jim Dennison himself; Dan Denys did not endorse or support his candidacy. I personally confirmed this with Jim.
.

Lastly, Please, please, please, Dan, post the legal briefs here. I’d love to see them. Heck, I’ll give you a page on our website just send me a PDF.

Thom Higgins

QE203.org

p.s. Anonymous on March 15, 2010 9:14 PM;

You can apologize to me anytime now.


Thom Higgins,

Dan D just made some very good points.

Earlier you were blathering on about SD 203 coming in $1800 per student below Libertyville. Produce some truthful data that shows the true cost of elementary education in SD 203 and the true cost of secondary education in SD 203 split out separate from each other and then lets all sit down and compare those numbers to Libertyville and a few other cities that are still ahead of us with their test scores.

Face it Tom you can try to play the shuck and jive game with the numbers and the SD 203 rah rah game, but too many people are on to you and we will continue to point out the inequities in your arguments.

A couple of thoughts from ABC News Tonight (not Fox News)

94% of Americans feel that they will not longer live the same life style they have been accustomed to. Their children will have a lower standard of living.

40% feel they will lose what they have.

Household income has increased by 20% since the mid 1990's.

These are are the standards for Americans. Teachers have exceeded all of these numbers. So unless they are living beyond their means (and undoubtedly some are), they are in much better financial position that others.

This reflects a discussion I had with a friend's wife who is a Naperville teacher. She envied people who made $150,000 to $200,000. I pointed out that 40% of them were fired and now were making nothing. I note that as either a small business owner or commission paid employee, you can go months with out making any money. She immediately said she would prefer her non risk job.

The people who are making more than the median are risk takers. And they have an uncertain future, particularly in this economy.

Now to a couple of classic Thom quotes from his post on March 15, 2010 at 8:45 AM

Thom comment number 1 "the district was spending less than the state average for a few years (the district was in deficit)."

Thom simply does not understand these numbers. The OEPP (Operational Expenditures Per Pupil) has nothing to do with "general" District tax revenues. So deficit spending (spending more than related revenue) does not impact this number. Only reduced costs would lower the number. And -1 correctly identifies the repayment of the District's debt.

The same is true for all of the over taxation. OEPP does not measure the impact of increased taxes. So in all of the years (including the last four) when the District taxes at 10 to 25% above its costs, the higher tax burden is not measured by the OEPP.

If you developed a measure of tax burden on typical taxpayer (using a typical tax bill), the cost to the tax payer has EXCEEDED the growth in OEPP. Those cash reserves did not fall out of the sky. This situation is even worst.

Thom Comment number 2 "After all this “skyrocketing” D203 spends a whopping $342.00 more than the state average."

Using 18,000 students, this "inconsequential" cost amounts to over $6 million. Since this spending relates to the 2007 tax levy or $182 million, that means this "small" amount results in OVERTAXATION of 3.5%. For a real typcial house (the District averages reflect lower valued houses and townhouses and reduces the typical tax burden by 30%) that pays $5,800 in District 203 taxes, this result in EXTRA taxes of over $200.

When you add the over taxation of $10 million for the same year that amounts to 5.5% of the tax bill (or a mere another $320 for a typical taxpayer), that is $500.

Just remember these numbers when Thom says everything is REASONABLE. And these numbers happen EVERY YEAR, they are not a one time expense. So when you take a look at other District's cutting costs, 203 is not doing it becuase they run an efficient operation. They are able to do it because they are taxing their citizens an extra $500. Going back to the 2002 tax increase FRAUD, the total EXTRA money taken EACH AND EVERY YEAR was quantified at $750.

So ask the question. Do you feel you are getting an extra $750 of value?

Thom compares District 203 to other Districts

All of the District he cites are HIGH SCHOOL DISTRICTS. Typically, a high school district spends $13,000 and an elementary district spends $7,500 (there are real numbers, I am too lazy to look them up on the ISBE web page). The average of these numbers is the $10,000 or so for a unit school district.

If Naperville were to calulate costs separately for its high school programs and elementary programs (I could do it if I had total access to the District's records, but neither Dave Zager nor Allen Albus would do it), Naperville numbers are similar.

This is just yet another FRAUD, yes FRAUD that Thom tries to push on this web page. Thom, tell us you did not know that average high school spending is greater than elementary districts. Otherwise, you are pushing a FRAUD (by the way, everyone, Thom will not respond to this specific comment, he will refer to the missing 8.5% to 9.0% numbers--just wait and see).

And to Epi-nonymous, I supported Dennison. Mike D. did not want to support him.

And regarding PURE, if Illinois law would allow wronged parties to sue the committee chairman for damages, we would have done this in a heartbeat. We have legal briefs. Maybe I will post them on this web site and somebody who has more energy would want to pursue.

Illinois election laws are weak.

It is ammusing watching Thom's disingenuous attitude.

Epi-nonymous;

Regarding teachers salaries, I’m not a compensation expert and creating a salary structure isn’t done on the back of an envelope (or in a blog either). Conceptually, I’d like to know how much schools are paying to get the top college graduates. Are we there? I don’t know. But as I have said, I’d like to pay younger teachers more (to attract the very best candidates), as opposed to Mr. Denys who wants to pay them less. Also I will note that one of the changes in the recently signed contract is that there is some additional flexibility for bringing in more experienced teachers and paying them for that experience. Probably a good thing. As for the upper end, I think it would have to depend on what a specific teacher is doing. Are they a Dept Head, or are they helping develop new curriculum? Activities that add to the districts educational excellence, or have significant responsibilities, should be rewarded. The step construct, (getting raises just for being their another year) needs to go.

As for the teachers union activities in elections. Yes they were very public in the 2007 election but I think that was an anomaly. In 2009 they sent out a mailer to local teachers, but they did not any kind of outreach to the general public. The endorsed candidates, which I think they have a right to do. Does it drive people like Mike Davitt nuts? Yup.

As for Dan Denys endorsing Jim Dennison, all I can go on is the website that Mr. Davitt and Mr. Denys operated during the election. I have their endorsement page, Jim was not endorsed. Mike Davitt would never support a candidate the teachers support.

As for PURE missing deadlines for reporting, that’s a pretty common event, and you get fined automatically by the state if you do. For me PURE’s “sin” was not putting a disclaimer on the mailers stating that it was paid for by the NUEA. They should have done that.

As for academic results compared to the nation at large, what is your criterion? Why do you think that D203 is not a tops-in- the-nation district?

As for costs, and efficiencies of scale, all you have to do is look next door. Lisle 202 has 1500 students and spends almost 50% more than D203.

Finally, where did you get the median wage figure? I was looking for it and couldn’t find it in the Fact Finder. All I could find is median Family income (they had median household income as well). My point is that I don’t consider teachers second class citizens. If D203 median D203 teacher makes the median Naperville salary, that’s Ok by me.

Thom Higgins

QE203.org

If -1 wants to claim this needs staffing level adjustments, let him make his case here in the blog.

Simple.

Staffing (salary) costs = (average salary) times (# of teachers)

Since #of teachers has remained flat, the numbers should be very close.

done.

____________________________________________________


Now why is 3.54% not acceptable?

Had we used the ECI (NOT my suggestion - just my logical thread) and been able to adjust total payroll downward for loss of experience, we might have saved enough money to offer things like Full Day Kindergarten or more grade school foreign language opportunities by hiring MORE teachers.

Really. It's about the kids.

D203 Increase in average salary > ECI (even when NOT adjusted for loss of experience) > State increase in average salary > CPI .

These inequalities hold for both 1998-2008 and 2000-2007.

We traded off having more opportunities for our kids for higher wages for teachers who would not/could not leave the district. Swell.

I stand by my analysis of 2003-2008 for all the reasons I previously listed. I understand your concerns. I understand additional shortcomings which I listed. If you have better data, cough it up.

-1

Epi-nonymous;

We have been over the raise issue a number of times. This was addressed to you in a previous thread;
.

From the Illinois State Board of Education report card we know that the average increase in a teachers salary for the years 1998 to 2008 was 3.54%

Why is this important? Because 3.54% is what it actually cost the taxpayer. Level of accuracy 100%. I know you all hate this number but it has one sterling quality; it’s from the ISBE and it’s what the taxpayer pays, no matter how anyone tries to spin it otherwise. If -1 wants to claim this needs staffing level adjustments, let him make his case here in the blog.

From the Ast. Supt. of Finance we have his analysis for the years 2007-2010. Average raise; 5.57%. Level of accuracy 99% (not adjusted for very small variances in staffing)

My estimate of the average raise based on the known base contract percentages and historical costs for steps/lanes and retirement enhancements; 6.42% for the period 1995-2009 Level of accuracy I’ll say is 90% as it includes all teachers.

-1‘s analysis of teachers employed in 2003 that were still there in 2008 using data from The Champion, a cohort of 700 people; Average raise 7%. Anyone who was employed in 2003 but retired or left before 2008 is absent from the list, as is anyone who started in 2004 and was still employed in 2008. In addition the list itself was incomplete. Level of accuracy 70-80% in my estimation due to the fact it doesn’t cover all employees just those who happened to be employed for all 6 years.

.

Frankly, I don't think there is much to add to the above. I agree with you that the new contract is a good one and that D203 teachers are paid fairly.

I'll respond to your other comments later tonight.

Thom Higgins

QE203.org


Mr. Higgins,

My post was only misleading if you completely failed to read the next 2 lines of text highlighting that one was REVENUE and one was REVENUE PER PUPIL. You'd also have to completely miss my subsequent request for attendance numbers so I could calculate the revenue per pupil for D203.

My comment was what I found on the pdf file. Followed by a request for the numbers so I COULD check it as a valid comparison...which wouldn't matter anyway.

My problem in finding the attendance numbers was that the pdf file did not have them, and I could not find the original article with the excel files on the Daily Herald website for a while.

Once I found it, ADA on excel was different than the ADA in the pdf file. My 2000-2001 to 2005-2006 analysis was done with the ADA numbers. Unless you have a strong reason to believe that the state or D203 had a significantly different ADA:Enrollment ratio in those years, my calculation for per pupil increase in revenue should not change. (I am not saying D203 and the state had the same number, but each entity had a similar ADA:enrollment ratio in those 2 years when compared to itself. That ratio gets canceled in the 2001-2001 to 2005-2006 ratio.)

I will request yet again.

Please read what I write.

My "ballistics" were in response to your incorrect statements about my analysis. I do not care if you disagree with me. Not a concern of mine.

-1

To Thom Higgins,

Your wrote "District 203, as well as all other school districts are required to have their annual reports audited."

Please don't try to confuse the issue. The school district annual report and what they report to the State Board of Education are not one and the same. Unless you have personally verified the accuracy of the information reported to the State Board of Education against the audited annual report you have no idea if the information is being reported accurately or not.

Yes, I can choose to distrust or even be cynical and you can choose to be naive and blindly ASSUME the numbers being reported are correct or honest. For decades we have all been too trusting of the faith we placed in the various school board members we elected and look where that trust has gotten us. Same with state and federal elected officials. The whole meltdown with state funding could have been avoided a long time ago if more people had been less apathetic about letting the education system slowly spiral out of control. There were many who tried hard to sound the alarm bells and few would listen.

Now that all of this has finally come to a head a lot of people act surprised at the truth they are now learning about how seriously flawed, wasteful, duplicitous, and even corrupt the entire education system has become. If I was a teacher, an administrator, or even a government support worker in the school system I would start preparing for some serious changes to my lifestyle and a lot about my job and benefits that are taken for granted.

TH,

I did go back through the thread ---- YOU pegged the total salary increase for the periods in question as 6.4% (see your 2/25, 11:50 post) and not the 3.6 something percent you have been spraying on these pages as of late.


Also, there was a "summary" post, as follows, from Anonymous:

By Anonymous on February 25, 2010 2:20 PM
To Annoynumous

I think the relevant time period should be the ten year preriod ending in fiscal year 2009. I think this is the scorecard for these periods.

-1................7%
Dan D...........8.5%
Thom H........."low 6’s" (let's use 6.2%
Dave Zager,....pleads the 5th, will not provide a number
Lee G...........9% to 2006, 6.5% to 2008, no number for last year
David Griffith..too little (union negotiator)

CPI during this period.....2.5%

It is a little scary that the person (Dave Zager) who is providing input to the board on negotiations either does not know the numbers or is hiding them from the taxpayers..

The 6.4% is right around 3 times inflation for the same periods ---- pretty lucrative, made up for "sins of the past", and I would say loudly and proudly state that 203 pays their teachers very, very well and we, the taxpayers, have nothing to apologize for and the teachers have nothing to complain about.

The latest contract is a good start and I fully hope & expect the SB to hold down raises in the future. As posted earlier, it is a simple economic rule that over an extended period those paying the bills need to make more than those being paid (see Detroit, 1970s).

TH,

“Well Paid” is NOT good enough! Give us a number, please. What do you think the starting salary (total), the average salary, the ending salary s/b for a 203 teacher. Let’s get rid of the subjective platitudes like “well paid”, even if you have to add a comparision.

Your other comments are well-received by this reader --- scrap the step/lane system, get starting salaries a little higher, get more merit-based pay, and either get rid of tenure OR start the process to change the retirement system to 401ks (or both) would be great adds.

You are wrong on the misleading lead that the union does not publicly support candidates, as they did so heavily in the Taxpayers’ Ticket election --- that is a fact. Now, your lead mentions only the 2009 election, and I do not have the exact data on that one. However, I have been told that they did publicly endorse candidates (by publicly fighting certain other candidates. If I am wrong on 2009, so be it. I would appreciate anyone else out there to pipe in if I am right. Thanks ahead of time.

Please read back on this exact thread --- the question was asked “what is the %”, and you all came back around the 7.2% number (I do not have the time to read back, but I think you posted at something like 6.9% with some kind of caveat). So please don’t pretend this has not been covered.

I am sure Dan D. endorsed Dennison. I, and several others, were approached by a group that included, I believe, Dan D.(if he is the same guy who ran on the Taxpayers’ Ticket) on Dennison’s behalf. You are quite wrong.

Dan D. --- pipe in here?

P.U.R.E. actions were in violation of the election laws in Illinois. They missed several deadlines, among other things. I do not know why the Taxpayers’ Ticket did not escalate it, but I would suspect it is based on the low payback of such action (a $10,000 fine and a PIA for those involved, but the election stays the same). I am quite surprised that you, TH, of all people on this blog would resort to such a low threshold of ethics as “if true, why didn’t they…..”

Finally, on spending efficiencies, the facts are simple: 203 has doubled its per student spending (some of it with merit based on new programs, but not all), 203 has gone from a below-state-average spender to an over-state-average spender. and 203’s size SHOULD result in economies of scale that we seem to be giving away year after year. The results are fine, but they are not world class, they are not near tops-in-the-nation, they are expensive (who cares if they are less expensive than others?), and they should be less expensive based on size and demographics.

JOMO.

One more thing: Since you have posted on salaries. let's look at the median wages in Naperville (dropped about 7% over last 18 months), which sits at a right about $80K, versus the teachers' wages in 203, of a bit over $77K. Pretty damn close, I'd say! I would also say that you rcomment about not complaining because our family income (actually, household) is twice the nat'l avg is a non starter --- what does THAT have to do with OUR paying of OUR public employees and that relationship to OUR incomes?

-1;

Can you not see that posting D203's gross increase in revenue, not adjusted for the increase in ADA (58%) directly above the states net increase in revenue after adjusting for the increase in ADA (52%) is just a wee bit misleading?

Please tell me this; what was the point you were trying to illustrate with your comment?

From my perspective you can fairly compare the states gross increase of 65% to D203's gross increase of 58%, as well as comparing the states and D203's net increase after adjusting for the increase in ADA for both entities, i.e. 52% and 49%. Other than that I think you are making an unfair comparison.

That's how I see it.


Thom Higgins

QE203.org

I have asked Chris to reinstate my post. If he does not, he is not being fair.

"I will repeat; for you to compare the state net increase (52%) to D203’s gross increase (58%) is completely disingenuous. You cannot explain this away, no matter how many insults you hurl my way."

I can say I agree with Mr. Higgins IF I COMPARED THE TWO!!! I never did and even said that I needed some numbers to do so. And even if I had them it did not matter. All part of my initial post and subsequent rebuttal on his claims on my post.

For him to make such a claim in such a way twice is wrong. (By the way, Mr. Higgins, State (52%) was per pupil, not net.)

I have the right to ask for him to stop and retract.

-1

For Anonymous @ 11:37 am

District 203, as well as all other school districts are required to have their annual reports audited. They contain much the same information, although not necessarily in the same format as the ISBE information. In the end you can choose to distrust anything, but I do not see what benefit there would be to the state to falsify local school district statistics.

Thom Higgins

QE203.org


To Thom Higgins,

You wrote: "The Illinois state board of Education requires all school districts in Illinois to report a veritable mountain of data in a specific format. The state then puts in a very user friendly manner with its Report Card
The value of this is that you can compare various districts on hundreds of data points and be sure you are comparing comparable values."

This is true, but what also is true is that the Illinois State Board of Education does not have the time or resources to audit the accuracy or truthfulness of this data. AND (and yes that is a BIG and) there are no criminal or civil penalties for anyone who deliberately reports false data to the state, i.e. equivalent of S-O for corporations. No one is watching the hen house on this and the best anyone can say is please trust us on this.

Call me a cynic. Unfortunately the history of elected officials in Illinois outright lying to taxpayers makes anything they say suspect. When and if the State Board of Education requires the data reported to first be verified by an independent audit I will put some "trust' in the data. Until then the state data is simply unreliable. That is one of the reasons you and QE203 are simply wasting your time with your amateuristic attempt to "analyze" data that is unverified.

.

It’s time again to step back and get a bit of perspective on D203.
.

-1. Is going nuclear over what he claims is D203’s “skyrocketing” OEPP (Operational Expenditures Per Pupil)

What are the weaknesses in his argument?

1. He has to cherry pick the timeline to make his argument work.

2. He’s ignoring the reasons why the district was spending less than the state average for a few years (the district was in deficit)

3. After all this “skyrocketing” D203 spends a whopping $342.00 more than the state average.

While I admire his efforts, and at least he’s not making up numbers as some do on this blog, I have a really hard time getting upset that D203 spends $342.00 more than the state average when we look at its peers;

Here are the top 7 (based on ACT scores) high school districts spending over the state average, ranked in descending ACT score order. Remember, this is how much over the state average these districts are spending;

New Trier - $5,242

HP/Deerfield - $4,640

Stevenson - $2,920

Lake Forest - $5,614

Hinsdale - $2,475

Naperville 203 - $342. (inserted here for ACT illustration purposes)

Northfield - $5,144

Vernon Hills/Libertyville - $2,152

.
Here are the top CUSD’s, again sorted by descending ACT score
.

Naperville 203 - $342.

Barrington - $2,146

Wheaton Warrenville - $329

Lake Zurich – $238 less that state

Indian Prairie 204 - $719 less that state

Geneva - $321

Elmhurst - $1,376

St. Charles - $536

And my favorite, although it doesn’t come in next after St. Charles in ACT score;

Lisle - $5,186

Now, tell me why we are supposed to get excited that D203 spends a few hundred bucks more than the state average? The top high school districts spend 35% more than D203 and the top CUSD’s average a few hundred dollars more than D203. You say “what about Lake Zurich and D204, they spend less than us?" Yes, but I wouldn’t trade our students academic performance for theirs.

Once again; there is not a higher academically performing school district in the Chicago area that has lower costs than D203. Not one.

For more information please see What’s the best Educational Value in Chicagoland

I will also refer the reader to this graph illustrating D203 vs the other school districts in the Daily Herald Study Truly, is there another school district that you would prefer? The only ones that have as high an ACT college readiness score spend tens of thousands more over a students career than D203 to get there. Another set of criteria, same result; exceptional D203 student achievement, low financial cost to the taxpayer.

In the end, does a community whose median family income is 80% over the state average really care that its school district spends $342 (3%) more than the state average to educate its children?

No, it doesn’t.
.


Thom Higgins

QE203.org

One last brief comment.

To say spending increased because more money was available.

ugh....

Do you not get it?

That is the exact argument the teachers used and Becky R called them out on back here.

-1

Mr. Higgins,

I will repeat; for you to compare the state net increase (52%) to D203’s gross increase (58%) is completely disingenuous. You cannot explain this away, no matter how many insults you hurl my way.

Explained away in my original post and subsequent post 3/14/10 8:02PM.

I addressed your fraudulent claim that I was trying to equate different numbers. STOP AND RETRACT. You've written it twice. You are lying or completely incapable of reading. I'd agree with you had I done what you said I did. I did not.

You started this latest back and forth by claiming I was wrong about D203 inflation as compared to state educational inflation 2000-2007. You are wrong. STOP AND RETRACT.

Look at the revenue numbers 2000-2001 to 2005-2006. Truly gruesome. It makes my argument stronger, not weaker. But I do not care. I have been harping on the EXPENSE side. If you have different D203 and state enrollment numbers for 00-01 and 05-06 I am happy to use them. I cannot find them. Please post and I will adjust my 2000-2001 to 2005-2006 analysis.

Next, why don't you tell me why there is bond debt listed in 2005-2006 on the Herald News Study. It doesn't match the ISBE numbers (ZERO). I am truly interested.

Mr. Higgins, you are accepting state eduction inflation as acceptable in your statements.

Do you think the increase in OEPP from 2000 to 2007 is acceptable? Why?

As far as ADA and enrollment: I get it. The pdf for the Daily Herald Study (page 36) uses ADA = ISBE enrollment in the Superintendent pay section. The excel files use a different number in the subchapter data. Not me at fault here. I can only use the numbers available. If you have different numbers you want me to use, fine. But I can only use what I find.

http://www.dailyherald.com/story/?id=75079

Chapter 1 excel has the revenue numbers

Chapter 2 has the "ADA" numbers.

Chapter 7 has enrollment numbers. Note that the pdf file has the enrollment number listed as ADA.

Maybe you can enlighten us of what numbers you think should be used and why the excel files and the pdf are different. Not a big deal, but it is self-inconsistent.

Summarizing.

You entire argument against my point of view is that

1) State OEPP inflation (or state education expense inflation) is okay.
2) Going from 93.5% of state OEPP in 2000 to 104% of state OEPP in 2007 is okay despite having paid off large bond debt.

I disagree with both points.

-1

-1,

You have typed a great deal here; unfortunately it’s not making much sense.

From you; ” PLEASE point out what pages have the 1995-1996 ADA. I looked.
.

Use the Chapter 2 spreadsheet for the ADA (1996-1997, that is their starting point) numbers; Cells C48 and cells AD48 for D203 and cells C109 and AD109 for the state.

Combine the above with the total revenue figures from the Chapter 1 spreadsheet; Cells C45 and T45 for D203 and cells C97 and T97 for the state.

Result?

Total revenue for all Illinois districts went up 65% in gross numbers, ADA increased by 8%, resulting in a net increase of 52%. D203 in contrast increased by 58% gross increase in revenue, 6% in enrollment for a net increase of 49%. Meaning, D203 revenues increased less than the state average in this time frame.

I will repeat; for you to compare the state net increase (52%) to D203’s gross increase (58%) is completely disingenuous. You cannot explain this away, no matter how many insults you hurl my way.

Regarding this;
.

” I care about what happened after 2000 when the bonds were paid off and the district dropped to 93.5% of state OEPP in 2000 only to skyrocket to 104% of the state OEPP by 2007. State educational inflation was much larger than US inflation. (DAILY HERALD AGREES!!) D203 outpaced state educational inflation (YES it did. It had to when D203 OEPP went from 93.5% of state OEPP to 104% of state OEPP, and OEPP is the prime driver of education inflation.”
.

First to ignore the previous years(1997-1998-1999) where the district was at the state average because they hurt your argument is, again, disingenuous and misleading in my view.

To say that the only reason why the OEPP dropped is due to the bonds being paid off is incorrect. The district was in financial difficulties; it had tried to pass a referendum and failed. It was reducing expenditures wherever it could. The reason for the drop in spending is not solely related to bond debt. But what caused D203 spending to start increasing again?

On the second try the referendum passes in 2002, the result?

Increased spending by D203. It would be pretty strange for the district to pass a referendum and not spent the additional funds! How could we not expect the result to be a higher OEPP? More importantly, all this angst and excitement when, in the end, after all these “skyrocketing” increases we are spending the whopping sum of;

$343.00 more than the state average.

Yes kids. -1 is going ballistic because D203 is spending a whopping $343.00 more than the state average. When we realize that all of D203’s peers spend more, usually way, way, more, it’s just a silly argument.

Once again, I refer the reader to QE203's analysis of the top school districts in Chicago land. What’s the best Educational Value in Chicagoland -1 can post till he's blue in the face but the fact remains. D203 spends far, far, less than its academic achievement peers.

Secondly, The Herald numbers are for total revenue, a larger, more inclusive number. It’s not my fault that the fact that D203 increased in total revenue less than the state hurts your argument.

Third, if you go to the Chapter 9 spreadsheet, row 36 you will see that outstanding bonds increased by 99% from 98-99 at $2.45 million to $4.867 million in 2005-2006. These are very small numbers to be sure but they completely dismantle -1’s argument regardless. I fear that he has been misled by Mr. Denys. I believe he tried to make this argument previously.

.
Some closing comments; I could not access the Google pages. It said access denied. Secondly, -1 be careful with the differences between ADA and enrollment.

.
Thom Higgins
QE203.org

A bit more for anonymous and his comment here;

“Winning a basketball game by 1 point still makes one team a winner. You would like to claim both teams had similar scores. Fact is Libertyville and several other school in Illinois had BETTER scores than Naperville schools and we are not talking about a 1 point difference”

If you go to What’s the best Educational Value in Chicagoland and click on the “District 203 compared to the 7 top high school districts”, you will see a detailed comparison that includes D128 of which Libertyville HS is part of.

District 203 has the edge on costs @ $1809 less, ACT scores .2% higher and ISAT scores 2.5 higher. D203 did that even though our average class size is higher .9 higher and we have 2.4% more low income students. D128 did better on the PSAE by 4.6. I didn’t take the time to break out the separate schools.

All in all, the two districts academic performance is quite similar, but D203 does it for less cost to the taxpayer. Is there a school district in the Chicagoland area that spends less than D203 but its students have higher academic achievement? No there isn’t.

You are completely incorrect here;

” Maybe Libertyville does spend $1,800 more per student than we do here in Naperville. We would have to analyze the numbers to see where the difference falls to make sure both schools are using... as you would say... similar numbers. They may not be calculating costs the same way or like some schools they or we may be fudging on some numbers to make themselves/ourselves look better than they/we really are... let's face it no one regulates much less enforces the truth behind these numbers and the administrators and school boards know it.”

The Illinois state board of Education requires all school districts in Illinois to report a veritable mountain of data in a specific format. The state then puts in a very user friendly manner with its Report Card
The value of this is that you can compare various districts on hundreds of data points and be sure you are comparing comparable values.

Some more for -2;

You complain about teachers and their salaries compared to a national average. Let’s look at this a bit. The following is from the Census Bureau “American Fact Finder;”

Median Family Income;

USA - $63, 211.

Illinois - $68,296

Naperville - $123,485

We are about double the national average in median family income. Perhaps we need to stop complaining eh?

Thom Higgins

QE203.org

Not in the pdf, but from the old new story

http://www.dailyherald.com/story/?id=75079

http://spreadsheets.google.com/ccc?key=0AuHx7HJNv_ZodDZXUEN5LVFHZG4wazlIMnVWTF9BTUE&hl=en

Please note that the spreadsheet's ADA numbers do not match the numbers on the pdf. I think these are switched. The ADA number in the superintendent data on the pdf seems to match the ISBE report card number.

It shows an increase in D203 students of 6% in the time frame listed yielding a 1.58/1.06= 1.49 or 49%, matching Mr. Higgins' numbers. But again that is irrelevant.

Wow, just wow. You seem to be imitating Dan Denys with your posts now.

You comment's here are just plain misleading;

D203 increased revenue by 58% in the study time frame. and State increased revenue per pupil by 52% in the time frame.

Mr. Higgins. You are being deceitful. Plain and simple Anyone but you could read the rest of the post and see that I specifically mentioned RIGHT AFTER THOSE lines that it was revenue and revenue per pupil.

D203 increased revenue by 58% in the study time frame.

State increased revenue per pupil by 52% in the time frame.

Revenue.

Revenue per pupil.

and

Naperville 203 $128,147,233 $202,787,251 58% (page 5) If you have attendance numbers from both years, you can maybe figure out what the increase in revenue (NOT OEPP) was on per student basis. Those are nowhere in this study. In fact, why don't you give us those numbers so we can calculate that ourselves.

Saying that I am being misleading when I specifically noted that they were not measuring the same thing is compete crap on your part.

Frankly, I am even less impressed with the revenue numbers. D203 is a mature district without any bond cost after 2000. It is a large unit with economies of scale. It has even less of an excuse.

D203
2000-2001 $137,449,790 17512 = 7849
2005-2006 $202,787,251 17613 = 11514
State
2000-2001 $17,085,045,246 1,805,582 = 9465
2005-2006 $21,218,197,846 1,871,619 = 11337

From revenue and ADA


D023 ratio: 47% per pupil revenue inflation 2000-2001 to 2005-2006
State ratio: 20% per pupil revenue inflation 2000-2001 to 2005-2006

This is even WORSE than the report card numbers. Why? Because this shows how much extra money D203 took in with the flawed 2002 referendum.

Thanks for making me research this. This is truly embarrassing.

Again..Why those years? Because D203 was below state OEPP and shot above state OEPP.

-1

p.s. happy PI Day! It is too bad there is no e or i day, so I'll just have to settle for part of my name.

An no, the agreed upon number is not 7.2% Please see Overview of Teachers Salary Increases For Fiscal Years 2007-2010 for the only truly accurate explanation of the issue and includes all source of income; step/lane/retirement/stipends.

I am still not convinced these numbers are correct. If they were not from W-2, it is an invalid comparison for line 1. It sounds as if line 1 were calculated from total incumbent payroll year-over-year, not individual raises. Same with line 3. I may be wrong, but that's what discussions and postings here have led me to believe.

I posted a bunch of questions which should help me analyze the data better.

-1

Again, go to the study's individual chapters and download the spreadsheets, you will get ADA for every year. It's all there.

Mr Higgins. There is a reason Dan D responds to you the way he does.

PLEASE point out what pages have the 1995-1996 ADA. I looked.

I said what page my data was from. I expect the same from you.

You are hand waving. This is your Bible. This is the source of your Red Dot God (which is completely consistent with my analysis).

I can calculate "PUPILS" in 98-99 and 05-06 from the bond pages (page 44). This does not equal the ADA reported on the ISBE form or later in the Admin pay section. By the way, why does the Daily Herald think D203 had bond debt in 2005-2006 when it did not show up on the ISBE report?

By a quick thumbnail calculation, the attendance would have to have a 1.58/1.46 = 1.082 or 8.2% increase in (pupil measure) from 96-97 to 05-06 for D203 to have a 46% increase in revenue collection per pupil in the time frame. That might be right. It might be wrong. I cannot dispute the 46% number. I have asked you for attendance numbers. Please supply them.

But again it does not matter.

Are you such a (deleted) (deleted) that you cannot see that the inflation argument YOU placed on your pages is the SAME one I am making.

I will type slowly now.

2008 CPI. Is it .1% or 3.8%?

What happened that year is that the endpoints Dec 07 and Dec08 were (about) the same. In between prices went UP due to energy costs and they came back down due to falling energy costs.

See, we have a non-flat curve. We have a reasonable explanation for the increase and decrease when the endpoints are the same.

I care about what happened after 2000 when the bonds were paid off and the district dropped to 93.5% of state OEPP in 2000 only to skyrocket to 104% of the state OEPP by 2007. State educational inflation was much larger than US inflation. (DAILY HERALD AGREES!!) D203 outpaced state educational inflation (YES it did. It had to when D203 OEPP went from 93.5% of state OEPP to 104% of state OEPP, and OEPP is the prime driver of education inflation . See also my earlier post.) I care about the curve in that time frame. Not just the endpoints of 1998 and 2008 of whatever endpoints you use.

So I am addressing the same phenomenon that you did.

In this case, we can see that OEPP dropped to 93.5% of state OEPP by paying off the bonds.

What caused the corresponding over-correction? How much better might your Red Dot God look if we had stayed consistently lower than state OEPP?

In the 2008 inflation case, it is obvious what the causes of the spike (energy prices) and subsequent fall (energy prices) were.

You state "The district was in financial distress." Wait. D203 was spending LESS than state OEPP, so it was in financial distress? It then shot past state OEPP by not having any more bond debt. Amazing. At 96% in 2001 and 2002 was D203 in distress? Why did it proceed ramp up to 104% of OEPP by 2007?

I repeat; For one year when the district was in financial distress (2000) the OEPP was 93.5% I again ask you to add the three prior years; 1997 98.21% 1998 100.78% and 1999 101.19%. You will find that the average over 12 years is 99.45%

Okay you really want to repeat the comment which showed back then that you are incapable of reading a graph?

Do you not care that D203 OEPP was flat, dropped a lot when bond debt was paid off, and then shot back up despite not carrying bond debt anymore?

I hope that, even if you wish to disagree that the curve from 2000 to 2007 looks bad, you retract your criticism of my analysis.

As to -1’s claim that D203 spending increased at a greater percentage than total state educational spending, he is incorrect.

-1

A few comments regarding the above posts this afternoon.

For, Epi-nonymous,

I have no problem with teachers being well paid. As I have stated previously I would be interested in pushing some of the raises down the time scale so that the pay schedule isn't as back loaded. I have never stated that teacher's are underpaid taken as a whole. And I've also mentioned that I would like to scrap the step/lane construct completely. I don't know what public comment the Compensation Review Committee will be taking, but QE203.org is planning on offering our thoughts.

As for your strike comment. As I have said repeatedly, the union was ill-advised in 2005 to take the 'bait" that Davitt hurled at them. Why did they settle for so little money? Because the money wasn't the issue, Davitt's insults were.

How much money did the union spend publicly supporting endorsed candidates in 2009?

ZERO!

An no, the agreed upon number is not 7.2% Please see Overview of Teachers Salary Increases For Fiscal Years 2007-2010 for the only truly accurate explanation of the issue and includes all source of income; step/lane/retirement/stipends.

Unfortunately, you are wrong about Jim Dennison. Mr. Davitt and Mr. Denys endorsed Weeks, Matthewson, and DelCiello. I have their endorsement page

As to spending and D203's efficiencies, one only need look at Lisle next door spending 45+% more than D203. Believe me, we all should thank our lucky stars we are in D203. First, because of how much less they spend than their peers, and now especially as we are in so much better shape than many, if not most, of the surrounding communities. Yes, teachers will receive a minimal raise for the next three years, but D203's budget is balanced, there will be no mass forced layoff's or program cuts. This is a very good thing for our kids and our property values.

for -2

The Iverson you reference is a women and is not related to the teacher of the same name.

As to Dan's two tier wage proposal, He (belatedly) made the pitch briefly to the SB in an email. Why don't you ask them what they think about it. I've made me feeling's clear in previous posts.

If Dan could prove his 8.5%-9% claim he would have by now, all we get is excuses, and pretty lame ones at that.

PURE's actions were not illegal, no matter how many times you claim it. If they were then why didn't the TT take them to court?

As for anonymous' point about D203 and the CPS schools. Taken as a whole D203 vastly outperforms CPS. Could D203 cull the top students and create a mini version of the CPS magnet schools and report higher scores? sure, but who cares?

I will mention that of the open enrollment schools whose students achieve higher ACT scores than D203 students,(a total of 5)spend 35% more than D203 getting there.

Thom Higgins

QE203.org

Thom Higgins,

Sorry you can't speak out of both sides of your mouth and make a credible argument.

Chicago Public Schools and Naperville Public Schools are both public school systems. They both educate ALL of the students who live within their respective districts. Just because Chicago chooses to operate some of their schools as "selective enrollment" doesn't mean that SD 203 can't or shouldn't follow the same model.

In fact if a true socio-economic model was used to compare the Chicago selective enrollment students against any of the Naperville area schools it could be pretty much proven that those who can afford to live in Naperville have actually created a selective enrollment school DISTRICT. Meaning fully that if the Chicago Public Schools ALL had a level playing field with the resources we make available to our schools they would have had a whole lot more than 3 schools in the top 100 and they would make us look like a bigger bunch of chumps for listening the likes of you and the rest of the administration and school board who like us to BELIEVE we have the best schools and are quick with all kinds of excuses when the performance isn't delivered time and time again. The better question is how long are parents going to put up with the lies and excuses before they get fed up and call for drastic change?

Winning a basketball game by 1 point still makes one team a winner. You would like to claim both teams had similar scores. Fact is Libertyville and several other school in Illinois had BETTER scores than Naperville schools and we are not talking about a 1 point difference. Regardless, that doesn't add up to "world class" performance. That adds up to mediocre performance and nothing else especially when one factors in that there is no demonstrated trend towards improved performance in Naperville schools. We have to face it we have plateaued and no one is steering the ship with any kind of true vision that will take it from where it is to where it can rightfully claim "world class".

Maybe Libertyville does spend $1,800 more per student than we do here in Naperville. We would have to analyze the numbers to see where the difference falls to make sure both schools are using... as you would say... similar numbers. They may not be calculating costs the same way or like some schools they or we may be fudging on some numbers to make themselves/ourselves look better than they/we really are... let's face it no one regulates much less enforces the truth behind these numbers and the administrators and school boards know it.

Now IF someone could actually point to a tangible, factual reason why $1,800 more per student resulted in increased performance I honestly believe that there are a lot of Naperville parents who would like to know more about the specifics. The problem, and dirty little truth, is that there simply isn't any solid data that tells us why these performance differences exist and unfortunately the administrators and teachers unions have deliberately kept it just like that so they can't be held more accountable.

Teachers and administrators demand students perform up to their expectations on a whole long list of factors yet the teachers and administrators deliberately thwart all attempts to be held to any kind of performance standards themselves. Time for all of us to roll up our sleeves and do something about it.

LLTT

Great points.

As usual, Higgins simply ignores them.

Thom, we understand your personal position. We know how the elections work. And you do to. And excuse us for "doubting" the "integrity" and "independence" of your beloved organization. Your members are tied into 203 union people (for examnple, Schulman--QE203 co chair and Iverson--union member and chief negotiator who used 203 resources in the same election--belong to the same left wing organizations (on PUBLIC websites if the Sun would allow these links to be included on this blog, we can post). Curiously QE203's campaign messages against the TT appeared coordinated with the Union's illegal PURE campaign.)

So, until you get out of the gutter, don't preach to anyone. People might respect you if you acted with any level of respect to others opinions. That includes acknowledging their argument. Agree to disagree. You totally ignored LLTT arguments. Your "bombast" simply does not cut the mustard.

In fact, answer a simple question for all of us. Why should Naperville teachers, already in the top 3% of all Illinois teachers and 50% above the national median for secondary teachers (70% above elementary), be paid an even higher salary? Why did you flat out oppose a two tiered salary schedule (maybe at least 5% rather than Dan D.'s 25%? There are over 140 proven teachers avaiable for 204 that would jump at a chance to get into 203 even at a lower pay.

Can you answer this question in a 3 paragraphs without any person digs? By the way, you complained against that. When it was pointed out that you started it, no comment. Even in your last post, you stoop to low levels. "Dan likes to make up numbers in the blog here." You have NEVER PROVEN THIS. You even renege on admitting you were wrong on average salaries.

And I am still waiting for your answers to my two questions.

-1

You can keep trying to make your "skyrocketing" OEPP comment but as I have stated continuously, you are playing games with the time frames and reason's for the disparity.

I repeat;

For one year when the district was in financial distress (2000) the OEPP was 93.5% I again ask you to add the three prior years; 1997 98.21% 1998 100.78% and 1999 101.19%. You will find that the average over 12 years is 99.45%

”Yes, yes, D203's OEPP has gone from slightly below to slightly above the state average for the years you choose to highlight , although if you go back three years more, (the farthest back I have information for) we were again slightly above the state average for those years. Your argument about a slight acceleration in spending for your chosen 7 years, lacks impact when one sees that at the end we are spending so much less than other SD's. Claiming that we are on some sort of unsustainable trajectory due to your chosen 7 years, seems tenuous to me.”

”As I’ve said repeatedly, D203 at 2-3-4% over the state average, pales when you compare it to its academic and economic peers. The top 7 high school districts spend 35% more than the state average and Lisle next door with only 1500 students."

In the end we are talking about D203 spending a few hundred dollars per pupil more than the state average and less than it's peers. You can post your comments forever, It's not going to gain much traction, Try Lisle, you might have an easier time there.

Thom Higgins

QE203.org


More info for -1.

I was concerned about the 1990 referendum that authorized the last building of our schools. The issue, the bonds were going to be repaid over ten years. I favored a longer repayment to minimize the first year impact on tax payers.

Jim Clark, superintendent, want the District to be debt free by 2000 so that taxes could go DOWN. It passed.

And what you are reading, they did. You are absolutely correct.

Now Higgins uses this PLANNED reduction in spending to say the District was being frugal. The more appropriate comparison would be to eliminate the debt and calculate a revised number.

Due to Weber and Albus, we only benefited one year from the lower taxes. They deficit spent us into disaster and then the rest is history.

-1.

Wow, just wow. You seem to be imitating Dan Denys with your posts now.

You comment's here are just plain misleading;

D203 increased revenue by 58% in the study time frame. and State increased revenue per pupil by 52% in the time frame.

You are comparing D203's gross increase of 58% (not adjusted for changes in ADA) with the states, net increase (adjusted for ADA) of 52%

You take 203's gross increase and don't adjust for their increase in ADA, but you do adjust for ADA with the state total's? This is worthy of Dan Denys. I expect better from you frankly.

Once again; From the Herald spread sheets you can calculate that the total revenue for all Illinois districts went up 65% in gross numbers, ADA increased by 8%, resulting in a net increase of 52%. D203 in contrast increased by 58%, 6% and 49%. And lets remember this is total revenue. BTW this 58% gross increase and 49% net increase after accounting for the increase in enrollment puts to death another Taxpayer Ticket claim, namely that revenues doubled. They were only off by 50%.

Again, go to the study's individual chapters and download the spreadsheets, you will get ADA for every year. It's all there.

I ask you do this instead of insulting me. You will look rather silly in the end.

Thom Higgins

QE203.org


A not-necessarily-random series of thoughts:

TH – Why are you so fixated and hateful of Dan D.? A little civility goes a long way

On QE202:
Can you explain to us what you think the “right” salary is for a teacher? You seem preoccupied with paraphrasing and saying anyone who disagrees with you think teachers are paid too much (which is not really the stance I read/have), and we hear you saying they are underpaid. So, please --- share with us: What is the right number?

Let me also add that I have oft-read the comment (usually from TH, but also from others), that no one is “interested in confronting the teachers and imposing a "take it or leave it" contract.” Let me interject and point out that the only group that has EVER confronted and imposed a take it or leave it contract was the Union itself, who threatened to strike for about $300 per teacher!

On elections:
Does anyone really think the huge base of “guaranteed voters” (ie teachers. spouses, other district workers, parents) is not a huge advantage to whoever the Union endorses?

Does anyone really think the immoral methods used in the elections by the Union, P.U.R.E. (and the hidden mechanisms of Diane McGuire), and yes, even QE203, gave no advantage to the Union endorsed candidates?

Does anyone really think the large inflows of funds from outside sources into the District to support the Union endorsed candidates gave no advantage to them?

If any of you actually believes any of the above, than you are either naïve, not very smart, or a liberal hack. Of course, I am not saying that without this crap the three candidates referred to as the Taxpayers’ Ticket would have won, but when you look at the actual vote count, the only shoo-in was Price.

On wages and increases:
Again, the agreed upon number appeared to be 7.2%. Now I keep reading you guys changing to 8.5 -9%, or 3.54%. LET IT REST, BRAINIACS!

For those who think that the only number that matters is total wages ---- do you even understand the concept of imbedded base? If not, let me know and I will explain it.

Why do so many of you continue to mislead the public when talking to raises (as the School Board and Union does) by either only addressing base wages (and ignoring steps and lanes) or addressing wages as a huge, single number and ignoring the individual moves?

Does anyone out there really understand the pensions and the lucrative nature of them?

Contract Negotiations:
To say “nobody is worried about it” when addressing the question of public involvement is an immoral response. Do you even read the paper? Are you aware that the median income in Naperville dropped 7% over the past 18 months? Are you aware that the unemployment rate in Naperville is closing in on 10%? Are you aware that almost 25% of mortgages in Naperville are in some form of delinquency (anywhere from 3 months late, to foreclosure, to short sale)? And if you do now all this, How can you say nop one is interested in the contract?

The bottom line is that the SB makes close to ZERO effort to include the community in this process, and what little there is only applies to those involved in the school district itself 9and ignores the 60% of families with no direct skin in the district). It sounds like you prefer negative confirmations when it comes to SB matters and to defend their actions is outrageous, regardless of the results.

Spending:
Let us all remember that regardless of what we think of performance, we are paying dearly for it. As -1 explains, 203 has gone from spending below the average to over the average despite no bonds. Given the size of 203, we all have to ask “Where are the benefits of mass & girth?”

Performance:
Despite all the heckling on here, I don’t think there is anyone who has said, or believes, 203 is inferior. In fact, I believe all think it is a pretty good district (possibly great).

However, for those who have tried to claim that it is the best in the State and one of the best in the country (see Jackie R’s campaign for SB), you are, indeed, delusional. So, I put the gauntlet out there for anyone who does believe it is the best in the State or one of the best in the country: Could you please define this for us?

Elections:
If I recall correctly, the Taxpayers’ Ticket crowd endorsed Dennison.

General:
Has anyone given thoughts to moving on and basing discussions on more current events and not always referring to 3 yr old elections and obscure websites? Or to years-old conversations with Zager?

http://iirc.niu.edu/State.aspx?source=Finances&source2=Expenditure_Percentages

Mr. Higgins, although this may confuse you, we can safely assume that state educational inflation is very very close to OEPP inflation given the above data from the ISBE and posted on the IIRC showing that the percentage of expenses in each category which make up OEPP and non-OEPP has remained relatively constant throughout the time frame 2000-2007 I am discussing.

-1

Mr. Higgins,

Daily Herald Study

My Claim

A year later and you still don't get it. Sad.

If at some point in your life you'd learn to read, I'd really appreciate it.

NOTHING in my claim is in conflict with the Daily Herald. Nothing.

The Daily Herald is concerned with the ENDPOINTS 1996-1997 and 2005-2006. The Daily Herald also does a pseudo-integral to find the data point for your Red Dot God.

D203 increased revenue by 58% in the study time frame.

State increased revenue per pupil by 52% in the time frame.

Revenue.

Revenue per pupil.

"In comparison, the rate of inflation over the 10 years was 24 percent. Districts statewide collected, on average, 52 percent more per student in 2005 than in 1996. That is, average per-pupil revenue increased by more than twice the rate of inflation in Illinois school districts over the past decade." Page 4.

What?? Did they compare the increase in revenue to (gasp) real inflation?

Naperville 203 $128,147,233 $202,787,251 58% (page 5) If you have attendance numbers from both years, you can maybe figure out what the increase in revenue (NOT OEPP) was on per student basis. Those are nowhere in this study. In fact, why don't you give us those numbers so we can calculate that ourselves.

But here's the problem. It doesn't even matter.

The Daily Herald is concerned with the ENDPOINTS 1996-1997 and 2005-2006.

I care about what happened after 2000 when the bonds were paid off and the district dropped to 93.5% of state OEPP in 2000 only to skyrocket to 104% of the state OEPP by 2007. State educational inflation was much larger than US inflation. D203 outpaced state educational inflation. I care about the curve in that time frame. Not just the endpoints of 1998 and 2008.

If you couldn't figure out what I was talking about the difference between the curve and the endpoints after the link to YOUR inflation article reprint, you have little chance.

I stand by my claims of your deceitfulness versus another less desirable characteristic. Which is it? The more you try to claim I am wrong, the more it appears it is the latter.

I will once again ask you to ask Mr. Zager about this. I have done that before and the argument has strangely ended. I have yet to hear that I made a misstep after such a request.

-1

-1.

Go back into the Daily Herald archives and find the individual “chapters”. You will find down-loadable spreadsheets as part of many of the chapters. As I remember, you have to go to a couple of different ones but you can find both D203’s and Illinois state totals as well as ADA. From this you can calculate that the total revenue for all Illinois districts went up 65% in gross numbers, ADA increased by 8%, resulting in a net increase of 52%. D203 in contrast increased by 57%, 6% and 49%. In light of this, you need to revise the second sentence in your statement and acknowledge that D203 was lower than the state average: ” First, state educational inflation was much larger than US inflation. Second, D203 outpaced state educational inflation.”

BTW I erred here ”this assuming you have calculated it correctly, you were incorrect in your comparison of 203 to the state for OEPP”.

I should have said you were incorrect in you comparison of D203 to the state for educational inflation.

The following is from the series and is of interest. Another good example of D203’s fiscal responsibility.

Several factors determine how much money schools collect. Chief among them is student enrollment.

The second most populous suburban district during that period was Naperville Unit District 203, with an average of 17,324 students. Yet, while Naperville 203 was second in average number of students, it was fifth in amount of money taken in. In fact, District 203 received millions less than school districts with smaller populations. Take Northwest Suburban High School District 214, which averaged 11,087 students annually . 6,000 fewer students than Naperville 203. District 214, based in Arlington Heights, collected $1.78 billion over the 10 years. Naperville 203 took in $1.55 billion. That’s a difference of $230 million . $23 million a year . and District 203 had on average 6,000 more students each and every year.

.

Responding to Anonymous’ posts regarding D203 and top HS’s nationally. Much of your answer lies in the three Illinois schools that were ranked in the top 100. (I’m assuming you are referring to the USN&WR study which is one of a number of studies we discuss and give links to here; What’s the best Educational Value in Chicagoland All three schools from Illinois that were in the top 100 are all selective enrollment college prep academies for the very top academically performing students in the Chicago Public School system. Frankly it’s not fair to compare open enrollment schools that have to take all comers to these kinds of schools. I would be interesting to see how many of those top 100 schools are open enrollment.

As for Libertyville HS (part of SD 128); it and both D203 HS’s were awarded silver awards and have similar scores. If you look at D203 compared to the top 7 High School districts you will see that D203 compares favorably to D128, with the largest disparity being that we spend $1800 a year less that they do on a per pupil basis.

.


Lastly for “long Live the Taxpayers Ticket”;

If I may remind you the Taxpayer’s Ticket ran for the school board in 2007.

The result?

They lost.

More impressive Mike Davitt (an incumbent) was removed from his seat. Let’s face it. It’s pretty hard to lose an election as an incumbent, but Mr. Davitt did.

In 2008 District 203 asked the voters to approve a facilities referendum that the Taxpayer’s Ticket guy’s opposed vehemently.

The result?

The referendum passed overwhelmingly.

In 2009 Mike and Dan created a website (that started out as an anonymous and later had their names on it after it got too hot for them), attacking Jim Dennison, Susan Crotty and Jackie Romberg, and yes, supporting Dave Weeks.

The result?

Dennison, Crotty Romberg and Weeks all get elected. Dan and Mike go 1 for 4.

So Mike Davitt loses his seat, his running mates were likewise defeated, the referendum they opposed passes handily, three of the 2009 candidates they opposed were elected/re-elected, and while Mr. Davitt enjoys the occasional anonymous website attacking D203 and its teachers, and Dan likes to make up numbers in the blog here, that’s pretty much all they have been up to, and you actually think in the year 2010 the current board is afraid of these guys? Seriously?

Bartender, “I’ll have what he’s drinking”

.
Thanks to all of you that braved the rain for the parade today It was a great time.

.
Thom Higgins

QE203.org

"ONCE AGAIN there are no SD 203 schools in the top 100 list of best US public schools. I wonder what the school board and administration thinks qualifies them for any kind of "world class" self promotion?"

Not sure exactly what specific list (Newsweek, etc) you are talking about, but a lot of the lists are based on bogus criteria. The big list that everyone talks about simply ranks schools on the % of students who take AP exams. Not really a measure of how well you are doing educating the students.

Another unsubstantiated comment by Higgins

"People recognize this districts fiscal responsibility, and aside from some of the folks posting here in the blog, the overwhelming majority of Naperville residents trust and respect this district to act in the best interests of the entire community."

What basis do you have for this comment? Did 75% of the District's registered voters elect any of the Board members? For that matter, 51%?

Or did QE203 conduct a scientific survey.

For a guy who faults Dan D. for not saving a sepcific piece of paper from 6 to 8 years ago, this comment is proposterous. You have no support whatsoever.

I, as one person, feel that this Board acts VERY CAUTIOUSLY because of the Taxpayer Ticket. That is my opinion. But I will not say that the majority of the voters feel that way.

And it was not until Mike, Dan, Kevin and the whole crew starting publicizing the deception of the Board did they stop. You know what, the flat part of Central should have been torn down and replaced with a better layout. The Taxpayers guys scream and the Board and you cowarded. Now the building studies were poor and this contriubuted to the problem. (Don't give me any push back. The firm that did those studies expected a big payday on redoing Central. Firing them after 40 years of service was unprecedented.)

But don't stop there. Why doesn't the Board hold an advisory referendum to see if the voters want this 6% retirement benefit? Then we can see what the people really think. Better yet, let's have a three on three election next spring on this and similar issues. Let the voters decide.

Instead, 75% of the people don't care about the school system enough to even vote. THAT IS A FACT.

And who cares about your propoganda web page. People have expressed their views. I never see you at any of the sporting events or other events. You are only present with the extreme left that I do not believe is the mainstream of Naperville.

Better yet, they should establish schools based on political orientation. I would not want my children to be unduly influenced by people who take your extreme positions.

I continue to be amused about the "world class" bragging that goes on in SD 203.

ONCE AGAIN there are no SD 203 schools in the top 100 list of best US public schools. I wonder what the school board and administration thinks qualifies them for any kind of "world class" self promotion?

Regardless, schools in states like Arizona, Alabama, Tennessee, Maine, Indiana, Idaho, Missouri, and even New Orleans, Louisiana were able to snag a spot in top 100. By all measure education in Illinois isn't coming close to competing with the top public schools in the US. In fact of the 3 Illinois schools that were able to snag a spot in the top 100, all of them are Chicago Public Schools. Within Illinois even schools like Libertyville performed better than either North or Central.

With the kind of facilities and teachers our taxes our supporting the expectations of parents should demand much higher performance than is being delivered. It is time to put a performance clause in the Superintendents contract that if he doesn't get SD203 scores in the top 100 within "X" number of years t then he doesn't get another contract.

If we want to call our schools "world class" then it time for them to really live up to the name or else someone better get out some razor blades and start scraping that silly logo off of everything!

http://blogs.suburbanchicagonews.com/newsblog/2009/03/d203_dismisses_nearly_300_empl.html#comment-78606

was the link to my graph which does not conflict with the Daily Herald report in any way. Wrong link above with the shot back comment.

To better understand an example of a curve where using just the endpoints might cause confusion, refer to this informative reprint from qe203.org.

-1

As to -1’s claim that D203 spending increased at a greater percentage than total state educational spending, he is incorrect.

Mr. Higgins. You are once again being dumb or deceitful.

Unfortunately, I suspect it is the former.

My claim: D203 was at 100-102ish% of the state OEPP in 1997-1999. In 2000 it dropped to 93.5% of the state OEPP when bonds were paid off. Since that time, D203 shot back higher than state OEPP. In that time we had no major bonds, no major construction, and no great reason for that to happen.

Since 2000 state OEPP inflation was significantly higher than CPI. In that time, D203 inflation was higher than even state OEPP inflation since it went from 93.5% of the state OEPP to 104% of the OEPP.

http://www.dailyherald.com/pdf/skulfinance101.pdf

I am sorry, but I cannot find direct support for your claim in that document. Please point me to a page which has an OEPP comparison and I'll get back to you. I see total revenue comparison which lacks student population numbers.

My guess is that this is either an integral vs derivative confusion OR 1997 D203 OEPP was a slightly larger % of state OEPP than in 2005 (endpoint comparison which I have already addressed) OR what is reported in the Daily Herald does not match ISBE OEPP.

I stand my my claim. I stand by my graph. It is not in conflict with the Daily Herald study in any way.

-1

p.s. Have fun throwing candy at the parade participants.

OK one more, I can't resist!

.
By -2 on March 12, 2010 11:55 AM

You are wasting your time with Higgins. He either is steadfast in trying to marginalize you or he does not understand.

But compare the two charts. First the chart that Dave and Dan agreed to last March (I think Higgins never supported it).

http://www.qualityeducation203.org/documents/2010/denys_final_chart-1.pdf

Now Higgins chart

http://www.qualityeducation203.org/cms/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=58:overviewtchrsalary07-09&catid=44:salaries&Itemid=2/

The difference. One more year (since it is a year later). And
blabbering. More of Thoms spewing on behalf of the teachers. No wonder Dan and Dave gave up on Thom.

Lets see, I supposedly never supported it but I post it on the QE203.org website, where it remains today, (Dan's was up for perhaps a month?) And that "blabbering"? that would the Ast. Supt. of Finance blabber, sorry, and since we remain in contact with each other I really enjoy the "giving up part"

Thom Higgins

QE203.org

It's going to be a busy weekend (happy early St. Patrick's Day everyone, don't miss the parade tomorrow) but I want to respond to this;


By Anonymous on March 12, 2010 12:15 PM

"What I find fascinating is the fact that the school board negotiated a new contract with the union and never gave the public a chance to comment on it. They consistently do this! Why is the SB so afraid of having a meeting with the public to let us know the details of the new contract? Why does the union get access to the contract and have the right give input while the public just has to sit back and write the check?"


Short answer? nobody's worried about it. In the three months of public meetings prior to the announcement, you had the Chamber and QE203.org offer formal public statements. Dick Fursentau, Janice Anderson and some Tea Party guy make public comments (I don't think any of them formally memorialized them as we and the Chamber did). The SB also received a few emails on the subject as well, but not much interest by the populace in general.

People recognize this districts fiscal responsibility, and aside from some of the folks posting here in the blog, the overwhelming majority of Naperville residents trust and respect this district to act in the best interests of the entire community.

And of course the contract is with the teachers union, they negotiate the contract with the district administration, so I don't understated your complaint about them having access to it.

For -1

As to -1’s claim that D203 spending increased at a greater percentage than total state educational spending, he is incorrect.
If you go to the extensive Daily Herald Finance 101 study you will find that educational spending for the state of Illinois, for the period 1997 to 2006, increased 52%. D203 increased at 49%. This is adjusted for differentials in ADA. Unadjusted percentages are 65% for the state and 58% for D203.


Thom Higgins

QE203.org

Why doesn't Thom post his list of questions and Dave's response? Are we seeing all of the information? Dan did it.

There are new financial projections. They supposedly show that things are ok through 2015. Why hide them until May? All of the facts should be provided.

We, the taxpayers, only pay the bills.

The Finance Advisors (Citizens Finance Advisory Committee-TH added)

TH added? Huh? There's a great idea.

-1

Some answers From Dave Z. regarding the revised projections and what assumptions were made for state aid:

"I do have a new financial projection. The Finance Advisors (Citizens Finance Advisory Committee-TH added) are meeting April 28, so I will review the projection with them. I doubt that I will post anything on the Web site until we post our proposed budget in early May - the Financial Projection is always a part of that."

"General State Aid (GSA), as well as all funding from the State, is a moving target right now. The goal of a balanced budget for the next 5 years assumed State funding would be reduced 40% - a reduction of $8.8 million."

The last paragraph means that the projections assume a 40% reduction in state aid. So, even with this projected reduction and the new contract, the projection shows a balanced budget out five years.

Lastly to respond to Dan's comments about the number of teachers who are eligible for the 6%'s. Dave is quoted in the Herald indicating it is 115 teachers.

Thom Higgins

QE203.org

I love watching all my neighbors fight. How about we settle this the old fashion way. Throwdown Downtown....

you were incorrect in your comparison of 203 to the state for OEPP I was? Where? Here?

I again ask you if you think a lease at 3.54% is the same as one at 3.07%. You seem to say no. I suspect you know differently. Or you'd be out of a job real fast. Why don't you unilaterally lower all interest rates by .5% and see how long that works. I thought so.

You failed yourself because you are suppressing the true sense of what 7% raises look like. Sorry. That's how it is.

Your point about people not voting for Mr. Denys is interesting. During that election cycle (2007) you were completely unaware of what the raises were. You created QE203.org to fight Mr. Denys. You had no idea of what you were talking about with salary. So much so that your Zowie reaction (March 2009) tells your true feelings and your true knowledge back them.

Hint: Excessive raises drive the 3.54% number.

What do you think the response would have been had you said "Incumbent teachers have been getting 6.5% raises per year on average for the past 10 years." Maybe place that on your salary page.

How well do you think the 2008 referendum would have gone?

By the way, I will read the new contract when it is available. All pieces need to be considered when seeing if raises are too big/too small/ or a seismic shift. HA!

However, I really dislike the decision for the retirement kickers in a city whose City Council has one and only one legislative priority. D203 should have shown some...guts.. and taken the bull by the horns.

-1

What I find fascinating is the fact that the school board negotiated a new contract with the union and never gave the public a chance to comment on it. They consistently do this! Why is the SB so afraid of having a meeting with the public to let us know the details of the new contract? Why does the union get access to the contract and have the right give input while the public just has to sit back and write the check?

Apparently the only person on the SB that truly represents the public is Dave Weeks.

Following Higgins protocal. His comment:

"You and others obsess on the percentage increase in teachers salary, and probably think it should be the centerpiece of any SB election. Apparently the majority of Naperville residents don't agree. And that's really the bottom line to all this silliness on this blog."

Your comment is wrong. A majority of Naperville residents don't bother.

Why doesn't the Board give excessive raises now like it did in 2002, 2005 and 2007? The answer. The union controlled board and the union do not want to wake up the apathetic majority.

The Taxpayers Ticket scared them. Dave Weeks scares them. Thank goodness for the Taxpayer Ticket or this contract would have been three more years of 3.8% base increases or more.

Another gem.

"What do you think the impact on property vales will be when this is better understood?"

They are continuing to go down. 700,000 jobs have left Illinois. We are at the bottom of the barrel with Michigan. Our best are going off to college and NEVER coming back. We have loser companies like Navistar asking for public help. Doesn't anyone remember Wisconsin Steel? How dare these people ask Illinois for help. Go to Michigan. Get out of our state.

Let's rename Illinois -- Titanic.

Dan,

You are wasting your time with Higgins. He either is steadfast in trying to marginalize you or he does not understand.

But compare the two charts. First the chart that Dave and Dan agreed to last March (I think Higgins never supported it).

http://www.qualityeducation203.org/documents/2010/denys_final_chart-1.pdf

Now Higgins chart

http://www.qualityeducation203.org/cms/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=58:overviewtchrsalary07-09&catid=44:salaries&Itemid=2/

The difference. One more year (since it is a year later). And blabbering. More of Thoms spewing on behalf of the teachers. No wonder Dan and Dave gave up on Thom.

Thom, put out the facts (like Dan and Dave's charts). You can then SEPARATELY editorialize.

I just do not agree with your position. Take your "Value" charts. Here is a different interpretation. If you want better test scores for your children, go to New Trier or Deerfield and buy them. They get better results. Don't settle for the lower results from Naperville.

This interpretation is just as valid as yours. And we know that people with more money move to the communities you noted. I think that was one of Dan's ideas. I bet the ratio of their property taxes to income is lower in these communities as well.

And then there might not be ANY correlation between spending per student and test scores. They spend more per student in Harvey high schools and their scores stink.

Did any of your people compile a valid statistical analysis on this data? We know you copied this from the Daily Herald.

I thought it was very noble of DAn D. to try to minimize the noise last year. You dropped out!!

-1.

While you and a few others might be fixated on the average increase in a teachers salary, I will wager that most people are more concerned about what the increase in teachers wages is costing them, and that number is 3.54% for the periods 1998-2008. If you want to use 3.64% fine, one tenth of a percent is hardly significant.

As for our activities during the SB election we are very proud of our work, anyone who wants to read the completed candidate questionnaire for all SB candidates is free to do so, they are still on the website.

You and others obsess on the percentage increase in teachers salary, and probably think it should be the centerpiece of any SB election. Apparently the majority of Naperville residents don't agree. And that's really the bottom line to all this silliness on this blog. You and others think that D203 teachers are paid too much, and their raises are too large. If the majority of resident agreed with you we would have Mike Davitt and Dan Denys on the school board with other like minded individuals, we don't, not because of the teachers union manages to throw the election, but because residents in this town recognize what a jewel this district is and support its teachers. This town isn't interested in confronting the teachers and imposing a "take it or leave it" contract.

And of course all this ignores the larger fiscal reality. D203 is poised to operate under a balanced budget (conservatively) till at least 2015. We will not experience the wholesale layoffs and program cuts that are afflicting other school districts. This is a very big deal. As other SD's struggle to keep their doors open D203 will be able to focus on growing (educationally) and improving. What do you think the impact on property vales will be when this is better understood?

QE203.org doesn't hold the monopoly on D203 information. If you feel you can do better then by all means create your own website. I would be interested to read it.

In the end, (aside from a very few people such as yourself) the fact that average salary of a D203 teacher has increased at a slightly greater percentage(within a few tenths) of the national wage increase (ECI), and within 1/2 of one percent compared to the state average for teachers (this assuming you have calculated it correctly, you were incorrect in your comparison of 203 to the state for OEPP), and about 1% over CPI, will not create much of a stir.


I find it of interest that you continue harp on me but give Mr. Denys a pass, apparently you are unconcerned about his made up 8.5%-9% number. I find this fascinating.

Thom Higgins

QE203.org


To all,

This is tiring. I wish Thom would lay out simple responses. We know he can if you look at his response to me on on March 9, 2010 12:57 PM.

Here are his latest items.

1. Thom says "Dan must be suffering from amnesia when he claims; “The reality is that I have not disparaged Dave, I have simply noted that he did not compile the information. You interpreted that as disparaging comments. Here are but a few of Dan’s comments culled from this thread. If you were Dave Zager how would you feel?"

Dave is a big boy. He is in a public position. The buck stops with either him or his boss (the Superintendent). And as a sidebar to this comment, Mitrovich is a take no prisoner manager. Look how long term employee Craig Williams was let go.

But Dave's letter stated two facts.

"My point being it isn’t that simple – we are on a new software system so would have to go to the archives and the old software, try to design query that solves for all those inconsistencies, etc."

I do not know if any lines were left out of the e-mail that Higgins posted. But this STRONGLY INFERS he cannot (and therefor admits that he did not) prepare comparable numbers for years prior to fiscal 2007.

”To get at what you guys want – how much did the average teacher increase in pay (without the retirement turnover) – is pretty complicated."

Again, the inference of this comment is that it would be too much work to reconcile a W-2 file to the report that he used. My recollection of the report that he used was the latest payroll position report that "projects" year end salary (except for retirement benefits). Again, Dave's words.

[Sidebar. If the report does not reflect retirement benefits and if they represent $600,000 per year, then the 6.4% fiscal year 2007 average would have been 6.9%. But remember, the worksheets estimating the average W-2 numbers from the Champion were within 0.25% of this number.]

In summary, everyone of those comments that Thom quoted are TRUE. Dave has said has much. In fact, he really does not care about the total number. And I would (and probably have) told him I disagree with him. But I will also say, he does not argue, simply holds his ground. He has to, the seven people who directly control his employment demand he take that position. But unlike Thom, he respects that I am entitled to my opinion and graciously agrees to disagree.

So, in summary, no actual numbers from Dave. No numbers before fiscal year 2007. Any error in these comments?

Now for the coloring of those comments? They were not directed at Dave, they were directed at Thom. Thom either simply does not understand or is too caught up in his liberal ideology.

So Thom, send Dave the comments. I would only ask that you send him my most recent post about not hearing this comment. Dave also infers in his response that he might not have reinforced that as well.


2. Thom says

"Well, it’s clear that Mr. Denys tactic on the blog is to throw up a barrage of claims and untruths to muddy the water so much people throw up their hands."

Accusations again. Can you prove this? Did you answer -2's question?

My simple claim on this blog is that from 1998 to 2010 (and you have inferred that it might have started earlier!!), District 203 teachers have been paid above the market. You feel differently. We definitely know the number is 7.2% for 2000 to 2006. You have elevated yourself to Omnipotent economist and claim that the net salary is the only measure and that number is "closer" to ECI (a new government statistic started in the mid 2000's). I even tried to verify this, could not.

On the other hand, if you take the median salary of teachers in the US, Naperville teachers are 50% higher. So we get caught up in a numbers game, one that will not prove anything.

But again, my claim is that general salaries for most Americans for the past ten years have approximated CPI. In fact, last night on Kudlow, an economist was saying that they were negative in the past ten years, lower than CPI. This is also the claim of Obama and Axelrod. So if teachers make two to three times CPI (for a real and specific teacher, not a composite average), they are being paid generously.

In contrast, you say that it is just in line.

So, are people telling "untruths" if they do not agree with you? If so, Thom, take your bat and go home. As -2 said, go argue with CIJ. That poster felt that only he/she was right. Don't waste our time if everyone's opinions are wrong.

3. Thom says

"Dan fought me tooth and nail to broaden the document to make it more relevant."

We agreed to a document that stated simple facts. Look at Dave Zager's reaction

"About March of last year you and I and Dan started exchanging information and emails about teacher salaries. I thought that ended all this? I thought all agreed that schedule gave an accurate (accurate enough) portrayal of increases."

I fought tooth and nail? Thom wanted to add his manifesto that candidly I did not find to be factual. I do not see Dave's signoff on this mysterious document 8 months later. And we posted the document back then.

I think you all get the idea. It's either Thom's way or the highway. He know all and everyone else is wrong. I cannot tell if this is ARROGANCE or BULLYING.

SUMMARY

The items that Thom raves about are at the fringe of the 10 direct responses that I laid out. More importantly, the key issue is the teacher contract. I laid out three items. Of course, none of them are refuted.

More importantly, while this issue is in the minds of the taxpayers, the community should address the remaining issues for the future. The Board should devise a policy.

And I will say this again. The District's actions since 2007 have been more in line with what I would expect. I was wrong on the over/under of 3.5% on the new contract (except the last year will b over with retirement costs). Fortunately, nobody stood up to take the bet. I, unlike Weeks and Higgins, am not too concerned about the third year since there is some tie to CPI (I thought that this did not matter, why didn't they tie it to ECI!!). I am concerned in the long run about deflation in our economy that will result from Obama's wild spending and tax increases.

If QE203 was TRULY an independent watchdog group, they would have taken a strong exception to the retirement, its cost, and the ramifications. Same for this elementary school recess issue. But instead, they have to make sure they agree with the teachers.

INDEPENDENT????

OBJECTIVE?????

RESPECTFUL????

HATE MONGRELS??????

Mr. Higgins,

Teacher salary is the #1 cost to the district. At the time, you did not understand the salary issue. You were incapable of asking and interpreting appropriate questions about teacher raises. You declared Zowie! when you found out what the 7% per year raises would do.

When you found out the real answer (despite your claim of "never" 6-7% raises), you did nothing about it during the most crucial time to discuss it.

During the SB election is precisely the time a group which supposedly cares about the district asks these questions of the candidates and posts the information on their website.

You failed the truth.

Both to yourself and those whom you claim to represent.

fwiw, my percent increase in average teacher salary calculation is from IIRC 1999-2009 because that's the data sitting there. 3.64% arithmetic mean, 3.63% GM. State numbers in the same time frame were 3.09(AM) or 3.08 (GM). If I were a cheat, I'd bold the phrase "D203 percent increase in average teacher salary is 18% above state average". I won't. Please give me the D203 1998 average salary and State 1998 average salary.

I will just leave with the fact that D203 percent increase in average teacher salary has been consistently higher than CPI, consistently higher than the state average, and consistently higher than ECI(wages) and even more so when loss of years of experience are taken into account.

-1

Responding to Dan Denys;

Dan must be suffering from amnesia when he claims; “The reality is that I have not disparaged Dave, I have simply noted that he did not compile the information. You interpreted that as disparaging comments.”

Here are but a few of Dan’s comments culled from this thread. If you were Dave Zager how would you feel?

”Dave Zager is silent (most people are hiding something when they are silent--plead the 5th).”

”But remember. Dave Zager REFUSED to prepare this schedule going back to 1998, even though he was using the same salary and accounting systems".

” Are you contending that these salary numbers reported by Dave Zager are wrong as well? If so, how can we trust ANY numbers? I must admit that Zager's refusal to reconcile all of these reports casts doubt over all of the numbers the District prepares.”

”The District's chief financial officer refuses to compile the same numbers back to 2000. This is the real issue.”

”Comment regarding Zager. Thom, we would not have this 8.5%, 6.4%, 7% dispute if he would simply do his job and publish honest numbers. As you know, he will not touch the 1998 to 2006 period. HE PLEADED THE FIFTH”'

”To repeat again, Dave Zager DOES have this information and could adjust for these 100 or so employees. But as we have said before, he will not do this.”

The above represents the “bad Dan” I referenced in my email to Dave Z. The bottom line is this; Dan doesn’t want to accept Mr. Zagers numbers, it interferes with his claim of average raises of 8.5%-9%. What to do? Well, it’s clear that Mr. Denys tactic on the blog is to throw up a barrage of claims and untruths to muddy the water so much people throw up their hands. The shocker is that when he is criticized for doing it,he denys it! He has a bit of help in this, assuming the other posters aren’t Dan as well (Dan has a bad habit of posting under other names). As they don’t have much of an argument it’s about all they can do frankly.

A few brief comments;

Dan continues to claim; ” Dave and I agreed to the numbers back then. Thom refused to accept them and took seven months added "editorial comments."

Categorically incorrect. I never refused to accept them. Dan fought me tooth and nail to broaden the document to make it more relevant. Everything I added was From Dave Z. And of course Dan throws up objection after objection, but the fact remains, there is only one officially sourced explanation of D203 teachers salaries and it is here; Overview of Teacher Salary Increases for Fiscal Years 2007-2010 Dan and others can make any claim they want, but until they actually post their own alternative document (with sources), I’m sorry but I’m not impressed.

For -1;

Part of you answer lies in your question. Getting in a discussion about teachers salaries in the middle of a SB election was really terrible timing. As you know QE203.org conducted one on one interviews with candidates (I did a bunch) and offered the opportunity for all candidates to complete a detailed questionnaire we created. All responded and they are still up on our website. I was really busy through the election and frankly was pretty exhausted afterward. If you aren’t happy it took me some months to post it well, sorry. It’s not like anybody else was interested in doing it and I stopped them.

For the record the only new information I added in the fall was the 2009-2010 column (again from Dave Z). All the additional information that Dan loves to carp about we debated in March. I have emails from Dan that I will post confirming this. (I’m too lazy to walk up to my office tonight to the other computer)

Lastly, I appreciate Becky R’s constructive comments on the math issue, and applaud her for her comments regarding anonymous posting, bravo.

Thom Higgins

QE203.org


I promised I would no longer engage Thom, but let me hit the high points since it involves everyone.

1. Thom writes, "The "bad" Dan is claiming you refused to go farther back that the 06/07 school year implying the district has something to hide."

Accurate statement. Classy guy calling me "bad". Like in bad a**? Never encountered any other person so vile here in Naperville. Just not consistent with the community.

2.Dave Zager responded "To say I “refused” to go back to any prior years seems a little disingenuous. I don’t recall a request – but I know we at some point talked about those years – and I thought Dan and you were satisfied with the method used to estimate that (based on adding all those cost factors onto the Base from those years).”

This was the first time I heard of this and the reasons. And I will admit that I agreed with the numbers for the years presented (FY 2007 to Fy 2009). I know I expressed concern about not going back to the earlier years since those were higher both for the returning salaries and the impact of turnover.

3. Dave Zager further states ”About March of last year you and I and Dan started exchanging information and emails about teacher salaries. I thought that ended all this? I thought all agreed that schedule gave an accurate (accurate enough) portrayal of increases.”

Two important points. "Accurate enough"--yes for the two years out of three that we used the actual data, the third year I was recently able to evaluate and it was also accurate enough. When I say accurate enough, Using the actual teachers with changes less than 20% from the Champion W-2 file, the numbers were within 0.25% (too low).

Second, Dave and I agreed to the numbers back then. Thom refused to accept them and took seven months added "editorial comments." I think Thom has posted both so people can see the added comments from Thom.

4. I really sense that Dave is using a payroll position control report. It would project numbers. If I read his response closely (and try not to read too much into it), this report might not accurately reflect the retirement numbers.

5. Thom says "even Dan Denys has now agreed that the Champion data is flawed"

Early versions of the site only included teachers with salary increases. The data has been updated to include all teachers and let others compile data. Dave Zager supplies the data. He should be able to immediately identify errors. That can happen. Since I came within 0.25% of Dave's salary report, the data must be very accurate. And if Dave cannot compile the information in the same manner as 2006 going forward, then this is the ONLY data.

And the numbers guys from the Taxpayer Ticket communicated with Roser's group and worked to get more accurate information. Candidly, garbage (bad data) in, garbage out.

And 40 hours or so could prove me as either having Altsheimers or a lier. Thom, you have the format, go at it. It's your argument to prove!!!!

6. Dave Zager says "We watch average salary, FTE’s etc. Know what total salary was. But I just don’t see that trying to come up with the number (average teacher increase year to year controlling for all those variances) is worth more than to settle an argument. It’s not like that reflects the cost to the taxpayer."

In all due respect, I CARE. Just because 15% of the teachers are retiring does not mean you give the remaining teachers higher salaries. Originally, this savings was used to pay a reasonable increase. It has, in my opinion and others, been abused to justify even higher increases. But Dave should consult with his human resource director and devise a salary policy consistent with private industry that we all can endorse.

Let me tell you that many school districts live with giving salary increases equal to CPI. Otherwise, these schools will go bankrupt since revenues will not keep up with the increases. And I recognize that Dave Zager and Thom have different opinions. Fortunately, the Board did not list to them and look like they tried to live within the revenues they have except for the retirement income.

And interestingly, not believing in this number may have also contributed to not spending the time to prepare it. Dave Zager does not directly work for me, so he does not have to do what I want (although I do pay his salary). He said as much by not knowing that our discussion was "worth more than to settle an argument. It’s not like that reflects the cost to the taxpayer."

Respectfully, I disagree and others do as well. It DOES cost the taxpayer. Just because you can tax more, does not mean all of the money needs to go out in salary expense. Remember, the teachers did not settle for less when the taxes did not generate enough money to cover their salary needs in 2002. You cannot have it both ways.

7. Thom says "I find his sudden interest in reengaging Dave after all the insulting and false statements he has made about Dave Z’s work, tawdry... Btw Dan, isn’t it a bit childish to suddenly try to butt in on my agreement to go to Dave with questions? I’ve made the offer, and talked about doing in numerous times in the blog,"

Yes indeed Thom, you have "talked about doing it numerous times in the blog" just like you talked about it "numerous" times last February. The problem is that it is all TALK, no action. Simple as that.

8. Thom says "I find his sudden interest in reengaging Dave after all the insulting and false statements he has made about Dave Z’s work, tawdry. Perhaps I need to round up all of Dan’s comments and ask Dave to respond."

I thought you did that two weeks ago when you posted the comment. The reality is that I have not disparaged Dave, I have simply noted that he did not compile the information. You interpreted that as disparaging comments.

And he has now stated something that I either had either did not heard or he did not say it directly to me. I do recall a comment that the data in prior years was not as reliable. I do not recall the computer changes. And if you heard the comment, you must have also forgotten it or you would have posted it.

But to characterize my comments as insulting and false statements, strong accusations again.

9. Thom says "unfortunately he (Dan) can’t stop himself from continuing to make things up. All of his BS about Central being inferior academically, and people not wanting to send their kids there, what complete tripe."

I will "source" my comment again. The parents of the Wiloway neighborhood whose children would be transferred under the
Taxpayer Ticket recommendation back in 2007. Not my "tripe". When you are looking for votes, these people were so upset about the comment, I knew we lost them. I clearly remember!! And the same comment comes out again this time.

It is not that surprising that Mitrovich pushed this redistricting. Children that could walk two blocks to Kingsley were bussed past two other schools to to Elmwood. Children who could walk to Meadow Glens are bussed to Elmwood. I would like to say that our idea that Mitrovich implemented was GENIUS, but rather it was OBVIOUS.

10. Thom says "I doubt the community is interested in imposing a contract on the teachers and telling them to take it or leave it, especially as this one is so modest."

The following comments are subject to the data that Dave Zager provides.

Most of the teachers that get this 6% benefit are making between $90,000 and $125,000 (all salary including stipends). If this group is 15% of the teacher pool at any one time, then out of the 1,350 teachers, about 200 (50 for each of the succeeding four years) are in retirement mode. If you used an average salary of $100,000, the 6% increase amounted to $1.2 million per year. If these teachers under the old contract received a 3% increase, then the net impact of this benefit is "only" $600,000. If the teachers are truly getting ZERO PERCENT (we have not seen the contract--oh those details bug Thom), then this benefit is worth $1.2 million. This is 1% of total teacher compensation (now stands at around $105 million ???).

This is REAL money. The District's financial projection in the 2010 budget shows deficit spending 2013 by $1.1 million. If this benefit were eliminated, that would not occur. It is important for the District to "bend the cost curve" so that costs are in line with revenues. Further, this benefit does not have ANY benefit to the education of the children. The Board eliminated it in 2005 in return for higher salaries and then reinstated it in 2007 with no offsetting concession.

So, from my point of view, the District negotiated one week (maybe more, the whole process was kept from the community). Let's assume this is the only offensive feature of the contract (again, we have not seen the contract). Should there have been further negotiations? I say yes. I think the teachers should have given more salary concessions if they wanted to support the 15% to get another $1.2 million per year. Or the teachers should have been allowed to vote on a contract with the current salaries and no retirement benefit. I wonder how the 85% would have voted? Remember, they were not given the chance.

This is a point I would have fought hard for. Would I have done the same as Salt Creek and imposed a contract? I am not on the school board.

11. To Becky R. I agree 100% with you. My daughter asked us to move into the North territory. I know the parents of a current 7th Grader at Avery Coonley who competes with the high school math students relocated to North for the vary reason you said.

Remember, some of the opportunities that your daughter received were not started until her sophomore year. She would not have been #1 in orals her junior year or #5 in the seniors in the competitive North Suburban Math League. Had Benet not offered a last minute position to my daughter and she went to Central, these opportunities were missing.

And third place compared to not just Naperville North and IMSA, but Stevenson, Glenbrooks, New Trier--VERY GOOD.

I still am amazed that Central students and parents tolerate not getting Dual Credit for Multivariable Calculus like the students at North and Benet (again, I assume the school materials on line are accurate) since the Central instructor does not have a Masters in Mathematics. But that is not my problem.

SUMMARY

On teacher salaries, I disagree with the Board and Thom in three ways. First, there needs to be a "policy" that is adopted by the Board in conjunction with all constituencies (teachers, students, taxpayers) that is fair and attainable. Much of the noise could be reduced. And from my perspective, its not what the net salary expense is to the taxpayer. Rather, it is a fair salary to the teacher. And in years when taxes are greater, store them up. When the taxes are not enough, use the reserves and if not enough, hold a referendum BASED ON THE POLICY. Much of the hostility could be taken out of this debate.

Second, the unneeded costs are worth fighting harder for. The retirement benefit is totally unnecessary and should be eliminated. The fight should have been longer, maybe the community should have been engaged, and whatever else.

Lastly, entry level teachers salaries could have been decreased. At least the first year should have been 1.5% below a second year teacher. It's all about bending the cost curve. We would be able to recruit the same competency of teachers. The only problem is that there might be lower union dues. Have the retirees getting the 6% make up the difference.

District 203 is not perfect. In fact, nobody is perfect. There should be new ideas tested to increase education and it is all not money. I will admit frugality is at the root of the shortest elementary day. Three years later and the person who raised the issue during the election has done NOTHING.

But I agree with Becky R., we all have opinions, state them and see what can come of them.

http://washingtontimes.com/news/2010/mar/11/government-workers-feel-no-pain/

This is why we are upset Mr. Higgins. Teachers and public servants keep burying their heads in the sand but eventually the public will stand up and say enough is enough.

Just wanted to comment on the Central Math Team, since that seems to have come up again.

The level of support from the Math (and Science) departments at Central over the last four years has been phenomenal and very much appreciated.

I also have heard that some prefer North to Central. Not sure about the Wil-O-Way parents, but I believe a lot of it has to do with North’s performance in math and science competitions. Except for 2008, the North math team has been #1 in the state since at least 2004 in a division of 60 schools including Stevenson, New Trier, Walter Payton and IMSA. This is amazing, and deserves a lot more press coverage that it has received. Regardless, people who pay attention to such things have noticed and many of them have made their housing decisions accordingly. Parents of kids on top-ranked sports teams will probably agree that this kind of achievement is a really nice thing to have and does create opportunities. I know it has been true for us and we are very grateful.

During the same time period, the Central math team has varied between 5th and 8th places, with a high of 3rd last year. This is also a pretty great accomplishment. I would imagine the amount of support from staff at the two schools is basically the same. Like any other team, the level of success is more based on the level – and depth – of talent. Possibly due to its long run of 1st place finishes, North just seems to have more students who value math and science competitions.

After reading You Are Not a Gadget by Jaron Lanier, I promised myself I would not post anonymously anymore. It talks about Web 2.0 and how the “that unfettered--and anonymous--ability to comment results in cynical mob behavior, the shouting-down of reasoned argument, and the devaluation of individual accomplishment.” I encourage all of you to own your opinions.

"”About March of last year you and I and Dan started exchanging information and emails about teacher salaries. I thought that ended all this? I thought all agreed that schedule gave an accurate (accurate enough) portrayal of increases.”" Dave Zager to Mr. Higgins

Beautiful. Now please re-explain why you, Mr. Higgins, did not post this information until many many months later. Why you needed to sit on it for 7+ months to add more data, instead of right then and there near the elections.

Time starts....NOW.

-1

The analysis is flawed becuse it looks at total wages, point X to point Y, and determines the change as the actual average raise.

This is incorrect, disengenouous, and clearly intended to mislead the reader. That analysis DOES show the positive effects of good management in handling turnover, but does NOT reflect the average raises given to each teacher!!!

By saying "this is what is costs the taxpayer" is an ethically challenged statment.

It does not answer correctly the asked question of "What is the average raise each teacher received over X period".

It does not address the tremendous imbedded base of costs being built based on the 12-15 years of average raises of 7.2%!!!

I stand by my statements.

I await answers.

I explained that I do not need Mr. Higgins' interpretations.

We never asked for what the average teacher increase in pay was. We were calculating the percent raise of each teacher and averaging it. Different beasts.

I will wait for Dan Ds postings.

-1

-1.

I give up.

Read what Dave is saying in response to my question; ”To get at what you guys want – how much did the average teacher increase in pay (without the retirement turnover) – is pretty complicated. You have to correct for hours worked, extra duty pay, etc. etc.

He did exactly that for us, What he is responding to this from me "You gave us average raise percentages from the position control report. It that in any way inaccurate? Some have used the argument that you need the W2 report to have all the total salary."

Back to Dave;

"W2 file would have just have gross pay information – not details on days worked, length of year worked, etc.”


He's saying you cant calculate the average teachers raise from the W2 file. He is not saying he didn't calculate average teachers raise for us.

Thom Higgins
QE203.org

LLTT,

OK let understand this, The taxpayers ticket who was defeated in 2007 removing Mr. Davitt from the board, and in spite of their overwhelming opposition to the facilities referendum which passed handily, you are claiming that they were the reason the teachers agreed to an average of a 1% annual raise for the next three years?

OK sure, that's the reason.

Some clarifications;

Just because there will be no layoffs for budgetary reasons (as are happening at so many other school districts) does not mean there will not be staffing reductions.

As to the 6%'s retirement kickers, yes we would like to see them gone as well. but realize many (all?) districts have them. D203 would have been the first district to end them. And what did they get in return? a de minimis salary increase and a commitment for comprehensive compensation reform, a very big deal.

I doubt the community is interested in imposing a contract on the teachers and telling them to take it or leave it, especially as this one is so modest. Fortunately the overwhelming majority of residents respect teachers and the job they do. That's why they aren't interested in creating a confrontation with them as you seem to desire.

Thom Higgins

QE203.org


So, Mr. Higgins, what Mr. Zager says is that he did not calculate average raise. Just as I expected. I suspect you can appropriately readjust your estimate to 7%. Thank you.

Say it!

Zowie!

When discussing full time teachers, it should not matter much. Some will gain hours here and there; some will lose hours here and there. Some will pick up sponsorships; some will gain sponsorships. So go ahead and use W-2s for full time teachers.

Your beloved 3.54% is still too high, no matter how many times you use it. It is lower than 3.62%, but it is still too high.

By the way, Mr. Zager's number (line 3) is probably closer to the cost to the taxpayer than the increase in average salary (your ISBE 3.54%) since it appears that he is doing total payroll to total payroll calculations so that it takes into account staffing levels.

Mr. Tutu. I feel that my child(ren) would not be treated appropriately in the classroom if I ran for or served on the school board and suggested anything which appeared to be not in the best interest of the NUEA.

Although this is on another blog...what does Governor Quinn think he is doing? 1% tax for education. Wow. Money has a name on it. That'll work. Just like the lottery.

-1

Except for the retirement package, Mitrovich's comment that no layoffs are needed (what about declining enrollment), and this recess supervision being part of the teachers day, the contract is seems OK. I am waiting for the other punch, if you all know what I mean.

(REMEMBER THE $511 LIES)

And to the retirement item, why didn't the board negotiate more aggressively? Make the union wait a month. This is the tactic that the Taxpayers Ticket discussed. Force the union to hold a vote on a package that would have substituted an additional 1% for teachers under 10 years (maybe pay more for their medical) without the retirement package. If the union refused, you declare an impasse and impose that contract.

This is the "hardball" that Higgins refers to. I am always told that a good business deal is one that ALL parties feel a little bad about. Why not a little more negotiation, particularly when the community does not like these retirement incentives.

But imagine what the unions would have received in pay were it not for the fear of the Taxpayers Ticket. Both the union and the school board want to keep their cozy relationship. The salary increases would have been 5.1% if they could get away with it.

Keep up the good work, Mike, Jerry and Dan. The District taxpayers have you to thank. As a parent, I wish they would listen to your education ideas. But then, teachers would have to work. Recess supervision is much easier!!

Here is a quick e-mail exchange I had with Dave Zager, Dave in italics.

From me;

You gave us average raise percentages from the position control report. It that in any way inaccurate? Some have used the argument that you need the W2 report to have all the total salary.

The "bad" Dan is claiming you refused to go farther back that the 06/07 school year implying the district has something to hide. I'm wondering how hard would it be to go back just one school year previously when the base raises were 4% (the max I've seen)?
.

”To get at what you guys want – how much did the average teacher increase in pay (without the retirement turnover) – is pretty complicated. You have to correct for hours worked, extra duty pay, etc. etc. W2 file would have just have gross pay information – not details on days worked, length of year worked, etc.”

”My point being it isn’t that simple – we are on a new software system so would have to go to the archives and the old software, try to design query that solves for all those inconsistencies, etc. We watch average salary, FTE’s etc. Know what total salary was. But I just don’t see that trying to come up with the number (average teacher increase year to year controlling for all those variances) is worth more than to settle an argument. It’s not like that reflects the cost to the taxpayer. “

”To say I “refused” to go back to any prior years seems a little disingenuous. I don’t recall a request – but I know we at some point talked about those years – and I thought Dan and you were satisfied with the method used to estimate that (based on adding all those cost factors onto the Base from those years).”

”About March of last year you and I and Dan started exchanging information and emails about teacher salaries. I thought that ended all this? I thought all agreed that schedule gave an accurate (accurate enough) portrayal of increases.”

.

I think what’s important here is this statement by Dave;

”It’s not like that reflects the cost to the taxpayer.”

Yup, all this Sturm und Drang, here in this blog, and historically, about the average teachers raise is, in its essences, due to the fact that some people feel teachers are paid too well. That certainly is the Champion’s feeling, and Dan Denys (and his Taxpayers Ticket) feel that way as well.

The problem is, as I’ve said previously, while everyone who is a critic wants to point to 7%-8%-9% as the average annual raise, even Dan Denys has now agreed that the Champion data is flawed, and, if not admitting that he made up the 8.5%-9% raises, at least he has backed away from the claim. I hope he will refrain from making it in the future.

But, as Dave Z. Indicated; the average raise doesn’t reflect the cost to the taxpayer. That number, (that nobody wants to acknowledge) is 3.54% or 3.62% if you drop a year as -1 likes to do. Is the average raise bigger than this? Yes, Dave Zager was good enough to help Dan and I with an analysis and the results are here; Overview of Teachers Salary Increases For Fiscal Years 2007-2010. Sadly, some posters here, and Dan Denys himself, chose to disparage this information contained in this page. Fine, but unless or until someone can put up their own website showing a better methodology, it stands.

I will note that Dan Denys has suddenly decided to email Dave with some questions. I find his sudden interest in reengaging Dave after all the insulting and false statements he has made about Dave Z’s work, tawdry. Perhaps I need to round up all of Dan’s comments and ask Dave to respond. Regardless, since I have already agreed with some posters here to do the same, might I ask you, Dan, to cc me on the email? I would ask you to copy the questions -1’s poised to me in your correspondence. You might be well advised to apologize to Dave as well.

Btw Dan, isn’t it a bit childish to suddenly try to butt in on my agreement to go to Dave with questions? I’ve made the offer, and talked about doing in numerous times in the blog, and now suddenly, you want to reengage with Dave?

Lastly, I see Dan is backing off on the claim that he is responsible for improvements to Central’s math program, good, finally, but unfortunately he can’t stop himself from continuing to make things up. All of his BS about Central being inferior academically, and people not wanting to send their kids there, what complete tripe.

Thom Higgins

QE203.org


Any more questions for Dave? I will compile a short list and send it to him.

As to -1, thanks again for the links to Becky Rudolph. Her daughter is one of the top performers at Central, she is even an Intel finalist (a very elite competition).

And you are correct, there were other factors. But at the time I raised the issue, there were numerous rationalizations why the idea was not important. For whatever reasons, those excuses were dropped and the program went forward.

And I note again, the reason parents in Wiloway are unpset aboud being moved from Mill Street (even after renovation, it really isn't that great of a building, still below most in the district). Their children will have to attend Central. That was the real concern, articulated to me by the parents, very forcefully and direct, by the way.

People still view Central as a second rate school even with it being rebuilt.

My remaining question. With all the good features of the contract, why "rush" to settle (less than one week of negotiations) with the retirement benefit still in place? Why carry forward a poor policy (look at all of those complaints on the Herald's page when they questioned the extension)? I can't believe that the majority of the 203 teachers would support such a concept. What did the Board get in exchange for the concession?

-1

Run for the School Board. You seem to be awfully sure of yourself in an anonymous forum.

Districts, including 203, do it all the time. You would be surprised.

Surprise me.

The point is that if other districts are pinched into dumping good non-tenured teachers there may be some available on the free agent market. The implication that all non-tenured staff are doing such a great job and we need to retain all AMPE teachers in D203 is ludicrous.

Mr. Tutu, no need to read.

-1

Most of the layoffs are of non-tenured (less experienced) staff. Yep. I know. Districts cannot fire underachieving tenured staff so they must lay off cheaper less-experienced staff.

Entirely not true. There is a process in place for removing tenured teachers. Districts, including 203, do it all the time. You would be surprised.

All of you, PLEASE stop!

You've numbed our minds enough. Once your give-and-take was entertaining and somewhat informative. Now, you're all just blathering.

Go devote your seemingly endless free time to something useful. Loaves and Fishes, Hesed House, NASCAR, whatever....

Better yet, I have a suggestion.

Run for the school board! Really, I'm serious.

You all seem to have a good grasp on all of the issues. You seem to be able to run the district from your Barcaloungers, you should be able to do the same at 203. Right?

The only problem you might have is that you can't do it anonymously.

Thom,

You wrote: "I find your many, varied, (and lengthy!) attempts to discredit me a constant source of amusement. Frankly, I am more than willing to have my words compared to yours."

Actually you are doing an excellent good job of discrediting yourself... all by yourself. Keep up the good work. Pretty soon no one will bother to read any of your blather.

Mr. Higgins wrote The fact remains that 3.54% is

....too high. Much higher than CPI. Higher than your beloved ECI (or is it Mr. Zager's beloved ECI), more so when lost years of experience are factored in.

The driver of the 3.54% (or 3.62%) is teacher raises, which you thought were 3.54%. You Zowied when calculating the 7% per year raises. Welcome to the club.

Anon: Most of the layoffs are of non-tenured (less experienced) staff. Yep. I know. Districts cannot fire underachieving tenured staff so they must lay off cheaper less-experienced staff. There may be some young gems among those since the districts are forced to cast off the non-tenured staff.

-1

"I again ask that Hggins be censored from these pages."

Actually, I don't agree with your point of view. Moderators, can you please ban -2?????


Come on, just because you dont agree with someone is not a reason for you to call on them to be censored.

"There may be some good teachers available with layoffs in other districts.'

You would be surprised. Most of the layoffs are of non-tenured (less experienced) staff. Most tenured teachers are staying put right now due to the state of the states budget. Very few good tenured teachers are looking to make a move. They are worried about the districts loosing funding and pink slipping all non-tenured teachers (which is the position they would be in in a new district). Just take a look at 204. Do you think an experienced tenured teacher would leave their district to move to 204? Teachers all over are not leaving if they have tenure.

"Maybe you would care to have an intelligent discussion on how all of these local private and parochial education products are able to deliver a quality product at a fraction of the per student cost of public education and without one dime of state or federal aid money?"

Do you realize that a lot of the services provided by these schools are in fact provided by the public school districts? In addition to educating the children in their districts the public school systems, under state law, must provide services to the private schools as well. If a child needs an IEP in a private school, the public schools must provide the initial setup, and ongoing support/counseling/review of the IEP. If a social worker is needed for a student in a private school then the public school district sends one to the private school to handle that students needs. If a psychologist is needed for a student at a private school, then one is requested and sent from the public school district. All of these services are charged to the public school district not the private school district.

In addition, private schools have the luxury of accepting and keeping only the students they want. The two schools repeatedly mentioned here, Avery Coonley and Benet both have admission standards and only take the top students applying to the school. They are not required by law to educate every student who comes through their doors. In addition they can kick a child out of their schools with very little consequences. If the public school system removes a student they are responsible for the continuing education of that student. If the student doesn’t behave in the classroom and is a constant disruption the private school can kick the kid out. The public schools can, through due process, send the kid to alternate placement, but they must pay for the placement.

If you were to force the private schools to start providing all these students and educating all comers, you will find that the cost of a private education would equal or exceed the cost of a public education.

-1

Regarding this; ”However, it casts three years of comments in a strange light given that you misunderstood the driver behind the largest cost of the district.

The fact remains that 3.54% is what it costs the taxpayer for teachers raises, and was the number I used from the start. Are we more interested in complaining about teachers raises, or are we interested in what it costs taxpayers? The fact that I’m the only one to bring this fact to light, while everyone dodges the number, is to me, significant. So,no. I have always understood what the annual increase (driver) in cost is.

For Anonymous and -2;

I find your many, varied, (and lengthy!) attempts to discredit me a constant source of amusement. Frankly, I am more than willing to have my words compared to yours.

A couple brief comments;

If you had come to Monday’s SB meeting you could have said hello to Peter and other QE203.org members.

As for your claim about Mr. Denys and Centrals math team (or math program for that matter), Get the Math Dept. head to corroborate your claim and I will donate $1,000.00 to the charity of your choice.

Thom Higgins

QE203.org

The NSML champion math team at Central would not exist were it not for Dan.

I'd give some credit to the kids who pushed for adding this activity as well as the math teachers who added this to the list of activities. The math department was encouraged by outside bodies to do it, but the motivation likely came from within.

And yes, I did read Mr. Denys' prior posts on this subject.

I think Dr. Mitrovich said employment costs (salary) next year would be down by 1% due to turnover and no base/step raise. That might be correct.

He also said no non-renewal notices. To paraphrase Mr. Davitt "That's one hell of a private sector curve." This scares me since we have too many AMPE teachers, and it seems as if total enrollment is going down. No mass layoffs I get. No non-renewal notices? Stupid. There may be some good teachers available with layoffs in other districts. To not consider upgrading this year is a shame.

-1

Hey Thom,

If Naperville schools are so great then how come so many Naperville families voluntarily choose to home school their children? How do you explain the thousands of Naperville children who's families enroll them in private and parochial schools instead of enrolling them in the local public schools?

For many, if not, most of these families the cost of providing home school or paying private tuition is on top of the cost of supporting public schools as part of the property taxes they pay. The fact that so many families voluntarily are willing to accept the additional cost to educate their children outside the public school system speaks volumes about the personal commitment of those families to find the best educational opportunities possible and also speaks volumes about the continued failures of the public education system to the extent that so many people are seeking so many alternative options.

IF Naperville schools were as good as you try to maintain then there simply would be no incentive for parents to seek out a different education product much less a market for alternative education that remains filled to capacity despite the current economy. Maybe you would care to have an intelligent discussion on how all of these local private and parochial education products are able to deliver a quality product at a fraction of the per student cost of public education and without one dime of state or federal aid money?

I again ask that Hggins be censored from these pages.

His rantings about Mike and Dan are for 2007 and not today. Somebody on this blog asked for ONE THING Thom Higgins has done for Naperville Education. ONE THING. The NSML champion math team at Central would not exist were it not for Dan.

How can you disparage people for sending children to private schools? Particularly when Naperville schools do not offer programs comparable to Avery Coonley. Aren't Americans free to chose? Why doesn't Higgins highlight the number two administrator sends his child to Wheaton Academy along with the polical elite in the county? Why the double standard? Why doesn't Naperville establish alternative school options to compete with these private schools? Why not set aside buildings for charter schools like President Obama advocates (he is not always wrong)? Are the 10% to 15% of the parents who live in District 203 that send their children to private schools wrong as well?

Just note that Mr. Higgins HATES Mike and Dan. It's not about Dan's number being off or Dan in trying to be very civil on these pages quotes a range of numbers that might be slightly off (remember, there are teachers making increases of up to 15%--more if you would not drop those making more due to inability to verify the increae). No, he despises these men.

Look at Dan's and Higgins positions on the teacher contract--almost the same. It looks like Higgins finally gets it. In fact, I think he is more in line with Weeks than the board.

Thom posts that gross salaries have increased by 6.42% from 1995 to 2009. A LIE. THIS NUMBER IS TOTALLY FALSE. Where are your schedules showing this increase? You assume step, lane and retirement numbers have increased by 3.05%. A LIE. Where are your detailed schedules? Did you run scattergrams to calcuate these numbers?

Oh, they are 90% accurate. Well Mr. Higgins, if you would have had your daughter solve and post the answer to my math question, there was a 99% chance the increase for two years was 8.875%. You cannot use your number until you prove it. What you advocate for Dan you must do. I know you have Dan's and -1's e-mails, send them the proof and let them tell us you are not MAKING UP NUMBERS.

Let's use Higgins measure for payroll. The Sun Times, the parent of the Sun, reported last Saturday that average payroll expense for employers DECREASED by 1.5%. Using this number, the 1% cost next year is over by 2.5%. Where is Higgins on this concept?

Hey Thommy Boy, are our students paying teachers for recess instead of education?

You have not responded to Dan's comment about the reason for the tax increase language is to prevent people from fleecing future districts.

GIVE CIJ a call.

Time to face it Thom Higgins,

We are fed up with the all of your BS about QE203.org. QE203.org comes across as nothing more than a sham organization and your own personal hobby and bully pulpit. QE203.org has no meaningful membership base, no articles of incorporation, no election process for officers. "The Issues" advocated by QE203.org is simply whatever YOU want it to be on any given day.

It is way past time for you to stop trying to pass QE203.org off as any kind of a legitimate or serious organization when it isn't. We read your posts ad nauseam about everything and anything related to SD 203. Most of us would rather read something factual and reliable from one of our elected officials and/or senior administrators without having to suffer through your spin doctoring, filtering of data, and manipulation of statistics. I have to tell you the day when most of us are going to rely on meaningful information regarding our local education system from someone who leases cars for a living isn't coming anytime soon.

So where is Peter Shulman your alleged Co-Chair? How come he never posts anything? And where is John Brubaker your alleged Treasurer? How come he never posts anything? More importantly where are the rest of your alleged members or are you three guys really all QE203.org represents? How come no one else ever posts anything on Potluck or otherwise acknowledges that they are even members of your silly little sham group... or is it really that QE203.org simply doesn't have any members?

While I acknowledge your personal hatred for Davitt and Denys at the same time I do respect them for standing up and demanding change from a seriously flawed and broken educational system. For decades the education system has put the needs and wants of the administrators and teachers over delivering the best possible education to our children. Today our education system is bureaucratic, bloated, corrupt, and wasteful. Taxpayers have reached the breaking point beyond which we are no longer willing to buy the same lies of the past and we can no longer afford to feed the money eating dragon that the school system has become.

We all suffer through your repeated mind numbing posts trying to persuade us that SD 203 is a couple of basis points better than some other school district or that we get a better education value than some other school district. And while we argue and debate all of this silly stuff nothing significantly changes to actually improve the quality of education. It takes conviction, leadership, and a vision to recognize that change is needed. It also takes a lot of integrity and personal strength to weather the criticism from those who have a vested interest in maintaining the status quo for their own personal gain. For that Mrrs. Davitt and Denys should be commended. Maybe they don't have the perfect answer for what our education system needs to become, but at least they have spurned a whole lot of people into considering that change is both needed and possible.

So Thom you can align yourself with the administrators and teachers and try to maintain the status quo. Don't be surprised when the train leaves the station of change and you're not on it.

he (?sic) seems unwilling to credit me for having the integrity to say that I was wrong about understanding what the 3.54% percentage represents.

I give you credit, and I appreciate it.

However, it casts three years of comments in a strange light given that you misunderstood the driver behind the largest cost of the district. When you did not understand it, your real gut feeling (Zowie) was aligned with Mr. Denys and everyone else.

If only others would do the same, life would be a lot better here in the blog.

I suspect Mr. Denys will do what he needs to do if we see real numbers that do not support his prior claim. Not my calculations, not his calculations, not your estimates.

the period 1997 to 2006 I truly stand by my statement back here and what another poster said back here.

I look forward to real words on this blog from Mr. Zager about my questions. I prefer not to see Mr. Higgins' filtered interpretations.

-1

Epi-nonymous;

I need you to be more specific with your claim of a flawed analysis, but the analysis here; Overview of Teacher Salary Increases for Fiscal Years 2007-2010 is the most comprehensive (and I will add fair and accurate) discussion of D203 teachers salary structure available. It includes a discussion of, and includes; base, step, lane and retirement increases. There is nothing left out. The data was provided by the Ast. Supt. of Finance for D203, and the Illinois State Board of Education. You can call it propaganda if you want, but I would like to know what specifically you find misleading.

As to a general statement of what the reality of Teachers raises are I will repeat what I have stated previously;

From the Illinois State Board of Education report card we know that the average annual wage increase in a teachers salary for the years 1998 to 2008 was 3.54% Why is this important? Because 3.54% is what it actually cost the taxpayer. It includes all wages, including amounts from step and lane changes, as well as retirement enhancements and stipends. Level of accuracy 100%.

From the Ast. Supt. of Finance we have his analysis for the years 2007-201 as reported at the website referenced above. Average raise; 5.57%. Level of accuracy 99% (not adjusted for very small variances in staffing)

Note: Average annual raise is higher than average annual wage increase in the teachers salary. Turnover (younger less expensive teachers replacing older more highly paid teachers) typically reduces the average raise percentage by 2%, leading to a lower average annual wage increase percentage.

My estimate of the average raise based on the known base contract percentages and historical costs for steps/lanes and retirement enhancements; 6.42% for the period 1995-2009. Methodology was to take the base increase percentages and add 3.05% for step, lane and retirement enhancements. Nothing was left out. Level of accuracy I’ll say is 90% as it includes all teachers.

.

Responding to -1;

Regarding his statements regarding D203’s OEPP vs the state average, I will simply repost the following;

Yes for one year when the district was in financial distress (2000) the OEPP was 93.5% I again ask you to add the three prior years; 1997 98.21% 1998 100.78% and 1999 101.19%. You will find that the average over 12 years is 99.45%
”Yes, yes, D203's OEPP has gone from slightly below to slightly above the state average for the years you choose to highlight , although if you go back three years more, (the farthest back I have information for) we were again slightly above the state average for those years. Your argument about a slight acceleration in spending for your chosen 7 years, lacks impact when one sees that at the end we are spending so much less than other SD's. Claiming that we are on some sort of unsustainable trajectory due to your chosen 7 years, seems tenuous to me.”

”As I’ve said repeatedly, D203 at 2-3-4% over the state average, pales when you compare it to its academic and economic peers. The top 7 high school districts spend 35% more than the state average and Lisle next door with only 1500 students approaches 50% more than the state average.”

”Lastly, if you go back and look at the years where D203 was spending was the lowest compared to the state average it was the time just before the referendum when the district was in financial difficulties. “

As to -1’s claim that D203 spending increased at a greater percentage than total state educational spending, he is incorrect.
If you go to the extensive Daily Herald Finance 101 study you will find that educational spending for the state of Illinois, for the period 1997 to 2006, increased 52%. D203 increased at 49%. This is adjusted for differentials in ADA. Unadjusted percentages are 65% for the state and 58% for D203.

-1 is often very critical of my work, that’s OK, but I will state that he seems unwilling to credit me for having the integrity to say that I was wrong about understanding what the 3.54% percentage represents. I mistakenly thought it was the average raise when in fact it is the average increase in salaries. When I realized my error, I was man enough to own up to it. If only others would do the same, life would be a lot better here in the blog.

At some point I will sit down with Dave Z and get some answers to -1’s questions. (actually I will post some tomorrow) But -1 and everyone else need to know the numbers on my chart are from Mr. Zager. I posted them exactly as received.

Lastly, QE203.org was formed during the 2007 election to oppose the Taxpayers Ticket of Dan Denys and Mike Davitt. It was self evident to us then that these men did not believe in public education and held incredible animosity towards teachers. Nothing of their activities since has dissuaded us from that view. From their shared disdain for the contributions teachers make to our childrens education, to Mike Davitts anonymous hate filled websites and his infamous “I don’t hate teachers. I despise them” comment, to Dan Denys serial fabrications on this blog, and his love of private education (he sent his children to private schools, and likes to boast how all the top Republicans send their kids to Wheaton Academy), there is no question that this community was correct to remove Mr. Davitt from his seat on the school board and deny Mr. Denys one. I will be forever proud to have contributed to that outcome.

It is noteworthy that the district just approved a three year contract with the teachers union with little controversy. Why? Mutual respect, shared interests. Mike Davitt did his best to poison the 2005 negotiations and he succeeded. I blame the teachers for being dumb enough to take the bait. Had Davitt and Denys won the election I truly believe that they would have forced a confrontation with the teachers and fired them all if they could. One of their buddies recently said he wished it could be like air controllers and Regan, just fire them all and start over. SB candidate Steve Deutsch said he was told as much when they talked to him about being their third in 2007.

These men were never about fiscal responsibility, they were about dismantling public education in Naperville. Most people aren’t aware, but there is a strong train of thought in this country that advocates dismantling the public educational system. Mr. Davitt and Mr. Denys are simply the local representatives of this movement.

They will never succeed, not in Naperville.

Thom Higgins
QE203.org

Dan my simple advice. Ignore Higgins. In his last post, he backtracked again to what you and -1 said about salaries. He never disputed the 7.2% number, it has been on this blog. In fact, he posted it on March 6, 2010 12:05 AM as part of your Tax Payers Ticket info. So if he disputes hard numbers, why bother.

Chris, Could you set up a blog page for Higgins and CIJ. They were made for each other! This blog would be much better off without his bullying and vile comments.

Let's focus on the open issues. I like your list of questions. I would suggest that we also ask the District for a more detailed list of objectives for salary administration. It will take a long time for them to correct this situation in 203.

Another question for Zager. When will he post his revised projections based on this contract on line?

Thanks Anonymous on March 9, 2010 5:55 PM. Proved again that after all of Higgins bluster about contacting Zager, Dan called his bluff and did it. Then he disappears for 8 months when he realized he was wrong.

Now he tries to bully Dan for an apology. Did Dan ever ask him for one when -1 proved him totally wrong? I heard about this type of behavior in bad neighborhoods, I never experienced it being a virgin from Naperville.

I think it is important for everyone to understand that when a teacher retires at 55 they receive around 80% of the average of their pay for the last four years they worked. That's why they receive 6% bumps in the last four years, it increases their final pension payout.

At 55 they receive no increase in pension for the first 6 years. However, after 6 years they receive an 18% increase!! Yes, you read that right 18%!!! Wait, it gets better. Then they are guaranteed an annual 3% increase yearly for the rest of their lives.

A normal healthy 55 year old will most likely live for another 30 years, so he will be drawing a pension for as long as he worked, that is why it is imperative to raise the retirement age to 67 or so, just like social security, in order to get this problem under control.

http://blogs.suburbanchicagonews.com/newsblog/2009/02/you_pick_the_topic.html#comment-76967

By Thom Higgins. on March 8, 2009 10:43 PM

To all,

As Dan Denys has previously indicated, he has been in contact with Dave Zager regarding the salary issue. I have now joined that conversation and between the three of us the hope is there can be an exploration of the issue with some kind of joint statement, from Dan and myself, regarding the facts as they relate to teachers salaries and raises.

My expectation is we will post it here and I will post in on the "Q"

Thom Higgins
QE203.org

I am not -2. I am also e^(i*pi) (= -1)

I am not sure where I bounced around. I was unaware I had to choose someone to agree with.

I care about what happened after 2000 when the bonds were paid off and the district went from 93.5% of state OEPP to 104% of the state OEPP. My concern was 2-fold. First, state educational inflation was much larger than US inflation. Second, D203 outpaced state educational inflation. Mr. Higgins finds the state educational inflation acceptable. I do not.

I have posted my numbers for 2003-2008. I have stated my methodology. I have posted the potential flaws. People have placed me as doing things I did not or saying things I did not. I tend not to respond to those posts. I do not have the energy to check each year when it can be done easily by the district. And I think the numbers Mr. Zager supplied (line 1) are year-over-year increase in total salary of those who stayed with the district. This is different than average per cent raise.

I disagree with Mr. Higgins at times. In my estimation, he does not fully understand the numbers he is printing. Last year, it seemed as if he were Nigel Tufnel .. always pointing to his studies and saying "...but it goes to eleven" without getting it.

I have posted clarification questions for Mr. Zager. It appears that my sense of what Mr. Zager calculated and what Mr. Higgins posted are (slightly) different. As such, they do not answer the questions we are asking. I fully expect that if Mr. Higgins asks the questions I posted, we will be able to stop this malarkey.

fwiw, last year Mr. Higgins had 3.54, Dan D had ? 7-9% and I had 7%. Mr. Higgins ridiculed 7% raises.

This is especially sad since he ran a website which opposed My. Denys' group in 2007 while, as of 2009, completely misunderstanding teacher raises, and yet personally feeling that 7% per year was too much (aka Zowie! moment). How much of his disdain for that group was based on misunderstanding the largest cost driver in D203?

I am glad he knows better now. I am glad he agrees with Mr. Weeks that this should have been a 2-year contract. I am glad he agrees with Mr. Weeks that the retirement kickers should go.

It is too bad that the contract was not available for public viewing. Why would the board have a meeting asking for public input when the contract was not seen and board members only had a few hours to review the pertinent changes? Yes, I know there were salary outlines, but the salary schedule is not the only item in a contract.

-1

Judging by the posts on this particular thread, I am finding the "data" to be more than flawed ---- it is actually full of intentional, misleading statements.

All right --- Lies! There, I said it, and I'm glad I did.

Now, to TH:
---> Let's be clear on this one: Saying the raises are X based on the flawed analysis of the difference of total salaries between two points being divided into point A is, in my book, a lie. This method takes effective management of turnover and uses it to hide actual raises per person.

--->Not including steps and lanes is also a lie. These are raises, period! The rest of the working world has reviews (hopefully) and wage increases based on those reviews. Just existing for another year? Yep! It's a wage increase. Somehow added a skill and even more amazing, your company rewarded you for it with an increase not associated with a propmotion? Yep! It's a wage increase.

Now, for pi/-1/-2:
--->Either you agree with TH, or Dan D. or someone else, or not. Quit bouncing around, as it tends to make me think you do, then don't agree with others. You appear to have a very, very firm grasp on the issues of total wage increases, etc., so JUST DO IT! Just post it as you see it and let it lie. The more you post with others, the more it seems your numbers aree fungible when I know they are not.

Now, Dan D,:
--->Is there any way you can get this Lee G. to repost the numbers? That would go a long way to shutting others up. You have already apologized for anything that was taken as misleading a few times, but TH appears to not have enough grace to accept it and move on.

Finally, I ask myself, "How can three intelligent people have numbers so far apart and spread all over the place?"

The answer seems simple: You guys are arguing dogma, maybe not "hearing" each other, and in the case of TH there appears to be a personal hatred issue that I find disturbing.

Earlier, it was asked that all three post your version of the total per person wage increases for an extended eriod, and you guys were pretty freaking close (I think it was a low of around 6.9% by TH, and a high of 8-9% by Dan D.).

Let's try it again, then just USE THE AVERAGE OF THE THREE for all future arguments and quit with all the personal b.s. As I said, it is disturbing to most and certainly clouds the issue.

Let's be even clearer: Let's use any 10 year period between, and/or including, 1995 to 2008.

Let's NOT keep harping and directing others to a website --- sorry, TH, but your website is just propoganda like all other websites.

Let's keep the answer very short and sweet: Say, 25 words or less?

I guess it was too much to expect Dan to own up for trying to mislead people.

The following is my commentary for his latest attempt to escape responsibility;


1. You claim the 7.2% number is undisputed although it is derived from The Champion (that later you admit was flawed) and we know that they did not list the entire workforce and dropped off anyone who had a negative raise. Further, your analysis is only for teachers who were employed in 2000 and were also employed in 2006. Lost is anyone employed in 2000 who retired before 2006, or someone hired after 2000 and employed in 2006.

Undisputed? Completely accurate? Sorry, no

2. I like how you demean Mr. Zager by using the adjective “supposedly”. Regardless the last two years average 4.77% (not 6% as you try to claim)and is derived from District records.

3. I’m amazed that with so many people working on analyzing this issue that you are unable to produce any of the results.

4. Dan, Show us the backup if you want to claim this. The Champion data base is still there.

5. My favorite; a riff on “my dog ate my homework”

6. Wrong, wrong. wrong. The “Position Control” report includes all payroll expenses including stipends. Your estimation of the number of hours required is defend your claims is laughable, especially balanced by the time you spend blogging here. Your signature complaint against the district is that raises are too high. When challenged to prove your own work you claim it would take too long? Seriously?

7. I will make sure I cull some of my favorite “slams” you have made against Dave Z. and the district and send them to him. He needs to know how little you respect him and his work.

8. Blaming it on Albus again. So tedious.

9. Once again, perhaps you should “find where you have the exact numbers”

10. Unfortunately none of that gets you anywhere close to your specious 8.5%-9% claim.

11. Wow! Dan Denys admits; If you took their reports and/or compiled numbers off their data bases, the salary increases were overstated. If you will admit that you have to concede that the 7.2% you touted in your SB campaign is high (as I suspect) and your later made up 8.5%-9% claim is toast.


IN SUMMARY

1.Dan has dodged and weaved to the best of his ability to extricate himself from his predicament. In the end, his claim that the average raise for teachers for the years 2000-2006 was 8.5%-9% rests in ashes, as it should.

2. For Dan to claim that he attempts to “compile reasonable information in good faith” is laughable. His record is one of attempting to mislead the reader at every step, on a variety of issues.

3. I ask the reader to note that my organization posts our data as a resource for the community. Our Overview of Teacher Salary Increases for Fiscal Years 2007-2010 is the only document available for a 203 resident to explain how teachers salaries work. This webpage is the product of The Ast. Supt of Finance email exchanges (instigated by me) with Dan Denys and myself. Dan, alternatively, agree with and tries to impugn its data. He can’t have it both ways.

Thom Higgins

Qe203.org

I have stated my positon on the contract. I have a couple of questons that would help me evaluate its impact.

1. How much has been paid in retirement benefits over the last three years?

2. How much is projected for the next three years?

3. While the contract provides for elementary teachers to supervise recess as part of their instructional time, is that the case. Notice how Thom was "stunned" by this comment? I wonder if Zager has responded to this comment.

4. What else would Mr. Mitrovich want to change? Is he stuck for three years or has to pay?

I think I will e-mail Dave the first three questions.

MY LAST COMMENT TO HIGGINS DIATRIBE

1. The 2000 to 2006 compound increase for salaries were 7.2%. Undisputed information.

2. The last two years were supposedly 6% per Zager.

3. Many of these Champion schedules were prepared by various people going back to the most knowledgable person, Lee G. (the person who has prepared the original 7.2% schedule that was posted on this web page) had prepared numerous other schedules in response to the 2002 referendum and for our 2007 campaign.

4. My recollection is that there were a couple of years that included 20% retirement increases that were as Thom has quoted me accurately as high as 8 to 9%.

5. Nobody has these schedules. I have not maintainted them.

6. They could be recreated from the Champion. I did this for 2009 (the more relevant year) and have sent this to Thom to demonstrate that Dave Zager's numbers are reasonable, within 0.25% points. Yes, Dave uses a "Position Control" report that "projects" payroll expense for current employees. But again, the report does have limitations particularly on exta stipends. An actual reconciliation of the W-2 files would be the most accurate. We have used the Champion News as a proxy. It took 8 hours to run the 2009 schedule. The 2008 and 2007 calculations were in an e-mail archive file that became corrupted and lost, so I do not have those two calculations. I do not have 40 hours to recreate the appropriate data for 2000 to 2005.

7. The District's chief financial officer refuses to compile the same numbers back to 2000. This is the real issue.

8. When we attempted to review these schedules with Albus, he would simply dismiss the information. Again, how can we refute nothing.

9. If you take a walk up the salary schedule, the steps and lanes were as high as 6% prior to the 2005 contract (I qualify, because I do not know where I have the exact numbers). If you add in lane changes, extra duty, and retirement (that was at 20%) for existing teachers, it does not take much to get to 8 to 9%. The problem is that the last three components are not readily available. And the District has not posted them.

10. Arithmetically, if a six year average is 7.2%, the last two years are 65, then the remaining four years, if they were all the same would be 7.8%. As pointed out by -2 and TOTALLY IGNORED by Thom, it is possible that one to two years could have had average increases for same employees of over 8%.

11. An interesting point on the Champion. Prior to 2005 (I think), they only published the salaries of teachers with increases year over year. If you took their reports and/or compiled numbers off their data bases, the salary increases were overstated. Once this was revealed, they changed their files and included all employees. I think they also reloaded data from 1999 to 2005. Again, I was one who sought to vet the numbers because a bad number hurts EVERYONE.

IN SUMMARY

1. It is mathematically possible that the comparable teachers salaries were as high as 8 to 9%.
2. I recall seeing calculations reflecting that number.
3. The District refuses to publish the number.

But I should state that the number does not absolutely exist?

This boils down to two issues.

1. Does it matter in the discussion of this blog (in the "original" two times this comment was made, the other five were in response to Higgines rantings) if the number was 7.8% or 9%? If so, to those people who are offended by potentially overstating the number, despite good intentions, my apologies.

2. Thom will stoop to any level to try to discredit me. This is tiring. We all try to compile reasonable information in good faith, that let me repeat, should be prepared by the District, and he faults us. As I stated before, do the calculations, Thom, to show that the current data disproves my recollection of either a press release or calculation showing a higher number.

In short, Thom, keep ranting. I am not going to stoop to your level and dignify your bullying by spending 40 hours on data that might not be what the original schedules were based on. But when you rant in the ture, cross reference your rantings to this page. Don't make comments up out of context like you do with Mike.

INITIATION OF DISCUSSION WITH ZAGER

Just like the above comment, Higgins would constantly rail that Dave had better information.

Notice how for the last three months, Higgins was going to get the info from Dave? Has he ever delivered? NO.

Same last spring. He threw Dave's name around and I called his bluff. Given Thom's postings, I was expecting either no response, file a freedom of information request (that was Leis's latest tactic to such information requests), or a short answer. You can see the response.

And you also know history. Thom, either knowing he was wrong or confused, because he simply disappeared. That is why he is so intent on trying to put myself, Mike and anyone else down.

MY LAST COMMENT ON THIS ISSUE.

My guess is that if Mr. Weeks had a prepared statement, he might have a copy.

-1

-1.

Do you have Mr. Weeks statement? Electronically?

Ladies and gentlemen, we have a new winner in the Dan Denys most memorable attempted dodge ever;

”I confess. You have confused me with your ramblings. My ONE reference to a 9% increase on this “blog may not be correct,
.

“my ONE reference”
.

The following SEVEN references are all from Mr. Denys in this blog alone. I’m sure I could find others in the older threads as well;

1. The comment about increaes being as high as 8.5% to 9%. This was the case for the year of year salary comparisons for 2002 through 2005. I was supplied the data from others. Disprove it.

More interestingly, following the same methodology since 2000 (under the Weber and All-BUST regime), the increases were 9%. I had asked Dave to check those numbers, but he refused. I guess he must be as skeptical of ALL-BUST's numbers as we all are.

6. While the median salary incrase for a returning teacher has been almost 6% (annual AVERAGE!!!) per Thom's schedule (we can only verify the first two higher years since actual data has not been posted by the District for the 2009 fiscal year and of course 2010 is not done), the comparable numbers for the five years before this schedule is closer to 9%.

Also, Thom does not tell you why the salary numbers for the last two years are lower. Tell them Thom. The secret 2 yeare contract extension before the election we ran in. After we lost, they wanted to tear up the contract and return to the 9% incrases. They were upset that they gave up the three percent.

4. What are the comparable numbers for fiscal years 2000 (when the reckless Weber/ALL-BUST spending began) until 2006? Can you get Zager to prepare them. Until he or you prepare something, the party line is that they were 9%.

And Dave will not touch the preceding years when we calculated 9%. If a siimilar relationship was in place, then maybe the increases are 8.5%.

While 8.5% to 9.0% might be the year over year comparison for employees that were there for the six years from 2000 to 2005 and 7% was the right number from 2000 to 2008


Not only is Dan's “one reference" not correct, even Dan's reference to one reference isn’t correct.

Priceless.

Dan, be a man and admit you made it all up, like you do so many things.

.

I don’t know which is more ridiculous. Dan’s problem with math (OK truthfulness really) or his constant attempts at revisionist history. He posts an email he sent to Dave Z on March 6th. @ 4:00 pm, so as to claim he initiated the discussion. As usual he’s on his bamboozlement tour. Here is my post from the prior day challenging Dan and -1 to meet with Zager to get to the truth;

By Thom Higgins on March 5, 2009 10:34 PM

For e^(i*pi) and Dan Denys (aka PS)

Gentlemen, I know you are having great fun here but as we all want to know the truth allow me to offer the following:
Either, or both, of you make an appointment with Dave Zager to discuss this matter. I will arrange my schedule to fit yours. We both make our case with whatever documentation we choose and Dave tells us who's correct. We then post the results of that discussion here in the blog.

Do we have an agreement gentlemen?

Not a good day for you Dan, not a good day at all.

Thom Higgins

QE203.org

Mr. Higgins,

Word has is that you and Mr. Weeks hit on some of the same points. Care to post his prepared statement on QE203?

-1

TH and the rest,

I don't need quality time on your little website.

I DO need you and the others to be truthful in telling the community what the average per person increase in total wages was, and we ALL know it was at a minimum a little over 7% for almost a 15 year period!

Even you admit that, before you fall back into your secretive double talk.

Come on! Say the truth and stick with it, folks!

Here is my letter to the Board.

Dear Members:

As I have stated before, the negotiation of the teachers' contract is the most difficult issue you confront. I therefore send you my comments about this contract before you vote.

1. It would be nice to see the actual contract before the Board votes. This would include the detailed schedules that would confirm the concepts you outlined. Specifically, you mention that "step increases" are limited to 1.5%. Historically, that has not been the case. Instead, they vary and potentially favor certain classes of teachers different than others.

You indicate that the first year is zero salary increase. Is that really the case when the final contract is posted?

Another concern is that there would be no commitment whatsoever that the District make the teachers whole for any change to pensions that come about as the state restructures their finances. I am not clear this provision exists.

2. The retirement benefit was sunset in the 2005 contract in return for a higher salary increase. Then it was reinstated in the 2007 extension. This benefit is totally unnecessary and does not benefit students at all. Further, if this benefit were eliminated and the money put to the teacher salaries (that arguably would benefit students), would the majority of the teachers vote to drop this provision. You do not hear about this since the union negotiators will not allow their membership to take such a vote since they are the primary benefactors of this provision.

3. Increases, if they are what they are advertised, seem more in line with the economy. They should. Naperville teachers have had at least ten years of generous increases and should have volunteered to take a salary freeze during the current recession. This is far better than teachers being paid with worthless script that was the practice of schools in 30's.

4. If there is a freeze for fiscal year 2011, there should have been a reduction by at least 1.5% for entry level teachers. There will be plenty of teachers applying for jobs. A two tiered structure should have been considered.

5. You are to be complimented on getting this done unlike the past boards. However, there should still be more transparency. The impression was that this negotiation was rushed and it givers the appearance that the District "lost" something. That is unfortunate.

The deferral of addressing these issues to a committee should have been part of the contract negotiation. The shortest elementary day should be first on the list. Are elementary teachers being overpaid compared to their peers in elementary only districts? The ability to allow the District to implement more creative changes could have been addressed although the District does have the legal authority to pursue Charter Schools under state law without any union input.

In short, my impression is that you deserve a "B-" for the negotiation in that you did not undo the retirement issue, may have left critical educational topics for the future, and ignored one of your constituencies, the taxpayers. For a community that deserves an "A" effort, there is room to improve. So, until you show us the final documents, you only get an I for incomplete.

Dan D

Thom,

I confess. You have confused me with your ramblings. My ONE reference to a 9% increase on this blog may not be correct, I should have typed 7.2% like all other references. Please note all other references Thom over the past three years where I have potentially overstated the number.

But in no event was the typical increase 3% as Thom has tried to outline.

And let's set clear who led the effort to correct Thom's misrepresentations. Here is my initial exchange of e-mails with Dave Zager contradicting Thom's comments about his leadership!! (I have redacted personal information)

-----Original Message-----
From: Daniel D [mailto: ]
Sent: Friday, March 06, 2009 4:00 PM
To: David Zager
Cc:
Subject: Teacher Salary Information

Dave,

I hope all is going well for you.

Thom Higgins is agitating for a meeting with you to clarify an issue
that follows. This is such a simple point that I think you can respond by e-mail and save everyone time, including you and me.

First Issue

A typical teacher's salary increase consists of five components:

1. Step increase for extra year of service

Example: MA9 in FY2007 to MA10 in FY2007
$59,002 to $60,595.......2.7%

2. Contract increase from Board

Example: MA10 in FY2007 to MA10 in FY2008
$60,595 to $62,595......3.30%

3. Educational increase (lane change)

Example: MA10 in FY2008 to MA+12 10 in FY2008
$62,595 to $64,714......3.39%

4. Additional stipends. This depends on what additional
responsibilities a teacher takes in the District. Lunch room supervision, summer school, coaching, activity

5. Retirement increases

Back in 2008, teachers received 20% salary increases in the last three years of service. Now they receive 6% increases in the last 8 to ten years?

Again, we have not considered this item.

In summary, this typical teacher would get an increase of 6.09% if no additional education was pursued. If the teacher took 12 credit hours (three to four classes), the salary could increase by 9.68%.

In various research, the Champion web site has shown average increases of 7% for returning teachers for the last ten years, in line with this example. There are also issues of retirement bonuses and other salary increases that we have not addressed.

Second Issue

Mr. Higgins has stated that a typical teacher's salary has increased by 3.52%. Instead, this number compared to a 6 to 9% increase based on the analysis above reflects reductions to the benefit of the taxpayers for teachers that retire and are replaced with teachers at significantly lower salaries. This 3.52% has never represented a specific teacher's salary increase year over year.

We are using the fiscal year 2007 to 2008 numbers since these are the most recent items posted on your web site. Also, one other factual piece of information. What is the projected teacher salary increase that is incorporated in the financial projections?

We recognize there are many policy matters, but it would be useful to understand where the numbers currently stand based on existing contracts that end in 2010, just before property taxes decline.

Dan

Mr. Zager's response

-----Original Message-----
From: David Zager [mailto:] Sent: Friday, March 06, 2009 5:14 PM
To: Daniel D
Subject: RE: Teacher Salary Information

Hi Dan,

Let me see if I can define the issues in your first point right now. We can get additional information or examples, etc., as needed - but for now:

1. Teachers receive a "step increase" each year till they max out in whatever lane they are in. Fewer steps in the bachelor's lanes - more in the masters lanes. I attached the salary schedules. Based on the scatter gram (placing all the current teachers in the cells, then moving them all up one step) the annual cost of Step increases (by itself) is 1.8%.

2. They also receive the % that the whole schedule is increased in any year. For 2009-10, the schedule is increasing 2% (it increased 2% for 2008-09 and will increase 2% for 2009-10).

3. If they take classes toward their masters or doctorate - and hit the hours (classes have to be approved by HR), they can move over a lane.

4. Yes, extra duty assignments (beyond contractual supervision
requirements) carry extra pay as well - coaching, extra-curricular, etc. Depending on what is done year to year, this could increase or decrease salary.

5. Retirement enhancement is different under the current contract.
They can receive 6% increases - but that is "all in." there can be no other increase in pay - so any increase due to 1 through 4 above has to fit into the 6% cap increase. The 6% was available for up to four years, depending on retirement year - not all who took it initially were retiring in 2010. Any "signing up" now (prior to May1, 2009) could only get one year of the enhancement. This is described in Section 6.14, Part C. of the NUEA contract - it is on our Website under the "Human Resources" button.

The 20% retirement was ended with the 2005 contract negotiation.

I will also attach a memo I wrote relative to the recent contract with NUEA back in 2007. At that time the Champion report had come out as well - I have some information on that in there, as well as our observations on the methodology used.

Hopefully, this is a start of what you are looking for. Let me know if this gets at it, can try to pull out more for you as needed.

Dave Zager

Dan,

Don't waste your time. Ignore Higgins.

He has not bothered to respond and he takes one of your comments out of context to think it destroys 100% of your credibility.

You told him it took 8 hours just to do 2009. So he has the audactiy to tell you to waste your time to either find the hard copy to support your claim or recalculate the numbers?

Ignore him. Everyone knows your tried to get a common ground on numbers and he backed off.

Let him play with his friends. Don't waste your time.

-1. If you want to offer a time frame other than 98-08, please do so and give us that percentage.

As for you semantic troubles; this is from you ”Yes, average salary has increased "only" 3.62% per year”

I state; “average increase in a teachers salary….” And you go crazy. Tell you what. You decide what convention you want to use for the two issues and I will adhere to it as a courtesy to you.

As for -2 and Dan’s latest comments, you guy's can post whatever you want, but at the end of the day you have to face the fact that it was I who initiated the discussion with Mr. Zager, It is my organization who has posted the only in-depth salary analysis here; Overview of Teacher Salary Increases for Fiscal Years 2007-2010 that Dan most of the time agrees it legitimate (he better he posted much the same last year).

Dan continues to dodge and weave on his fictitious 8.5% -9% raise claim and -2 is doing his best to give him some cover. But seriously gentlemen do you think anyone's buying these excusable? I love his latest; ” Second, I was not the primary person responsible for compiling the numbers for the Taxpayers Ticket . and, Do I have the specific sheets for the ten years? If I do, they are in a box somewhere. I would love to put my hands on it and shut up Higgins, his bullying is tiring. But I can't and refuse to go back and recreate this information.”

Ah, Dan? All the information you need is Here

It would take what, an hour or two? You have spent 10 times that blogging here. You need to prove your number or recant. It's as simple as that.

Thom Higgins

QE203.org

http://www.newsweek.com/id/234592

This is a big part of the problem. We must do away with tenure for teachers. It is harming our children and we must do it for the kids.

Wow, more personal attacks from Thom. I really do not want to dignify them.

First, go ask Dave. That is a change from your comments over the past year.

Second, I was not the primary person responsible for compiling the numbers for the Taxpayers Ticket. But I was responsible for using them. Now this detailed work was three years ago. I fully vetted the six year change as 7.2%. You never dispute this number, I believe -1 has even posted details similar to our calculations (by the way, I do not know who -1 is, Thom has been communicating).

During the process of compiling data including references to the Champion News, I recall either a press release or a spreadsheet that indicated average salary increases for a given year in that six year period were even higher than the 7.2%. In the 8 to 9% range. And if an average is 7.2%, it is arithmetically possible for numbers to be in that range (thank you -2).

Do I have the specific sheets for the ten years? If I do, they are in a box somewhere. I would love to put my hands on it and shut up Higgins, his bullying is tiring. But I can't and refuse to go back and recreate this information.

Do I misrepresent these averages? Do I call them 20%? Do I try to represent them as 3.54% instead?

Of course not. Look at how Thom tries to mislead everyone. He points to an average teacher who makes $53,000 in 1998 and would only be making $73,000 in 2008. Totally not true. That teacher is making between $85,000 and $120,000. Why this deception.

Rather than personality issues, the key disagreement is as follows:

I believe a teacher should be paid a fair wage based on a compensation plan. And I think that over the past five to eight years, a fair compensation would be 2.5 to 4% total increase. The impact of retiring teachers have no impact on this amount except to make certain the District does not Deficit spend. If this compensation will cause a deficit, a referendum should be held BEFORE the contract is authorized.

Thom feels that teachers should be paid 7% more each year. And I have no clue what he feels about fiscal responsibility.

As to the elementary teachers, two simple points. First, all elementary teachers would no longer supervise recess. The class day would be expanded by recess (I do not think there is a mandate to have recess, but I might be wrong). Yes, this requires fixing the bus schedule.

Second, in order to be an elementary teacher in District 203, you will need to have credentials to teach a language at an elementary level. We pay the best, this would be a requirement.

The only extra cost, non teaching monitors at minimum wage. And fixing the bus schedule.

Thom,

We know your despise Dan D. You are doing everything possible to marginalize him for a recollection from reams of data that are almost ten years old.

If it is so important for you to prove that Dan either had received material in error or misquoted information, then run the numbers. Or shut up.

You NEVER answer my simple questions. And EVERYONE KNOWS WHY. THEY PROVE YOUR HOT AIR WRONG.

Notice that nobody EVER questioned or nitpicked your numbers. -1 shows how your 3.54% really was 3.84%. WHO CARES?

The real issue is that people earned raises ranging from zero to whatever percent (see, here is where Dan could get tripped up, I would say a number of 15%, but this is irrelevant), but AVERAGED 7.2% (Taxpayers Ticket) or 7% (-1) and you denied these REAL NUMBERS.

Let's say it again. District teachers have done exceptionally well earning an average increase of 7% that has now been reduced to 5.77%.

NOT YOUR PHONY BALONEY 3.54%.

And I, along with EVERYONE else do not care if the number was 7% or 9%.

And where were you when Dan met with Zager? You are finally going to check to see if Dave will do the other years? Again, no credibility. And I think Dan has been VERY consistent here. It is easier for the District to prepare reports than others trying to extract information.

And Thom, there is a difference between a "Payroll Position Control Report" and the W-2 files. But you will NEVER figure this one out.

But again, if Dan's reasonableness check shows the numbers are within 0.25%, it's good enough for me.

Mr. Higgins,

I would propose that you ask Mr. Zager the questions I asked. Show him my numerical statements from this blog. Ask him where I am wrong. We've been through this many times. I believe I have been correct the vast vast majority of the time.

You keep using 1998-2008 when convenient. I have other years which make sense, based on significant change in OEPP and loss of bond costs.

We don't need to argue about 8-9%. We need a final answer for someone who actually has the data. I am agnostic on this matter.

From the Illinois State Board of Education report card we know that the average increase in a teachers salary for the years 1998 to 2008 was 3.54%

I will repeat. Using "increase in a teachers salary" is a deceptive phrase which only adds to the sense that you still do not understand the salary issue. You were told. You continue to use it. Please stop. I believe you know better.

Specific years can have a much larger average raise if they are just prior to retirement (20%) bumps or the lane or step structure changed. Average lane and step are just that. The costs of lane and step will vary from year to year.

Back to the Zowie. This is a real question. You attacked the taxpayers ticket over the years. You kept the 7.2% raise sheet and others. Why? Likely because you thought they were lying about this number. Your statements last year showed a lack of understanding of what they were talking about.

You misunderstood the key driver of your 3.54% number. So I ask you now. What role did you lack of understanding have in your vehement opposition to their statements? Can you even separate this out or has your cognitive dissonance protection mechanism been so effective that you cannot see it. Clearly as of 2009, you felt that 7% raises for 20 years were out and out ludicrous, couldn't be, and never happened. Your true feelings are known in the Zowie Moment.

These questions are not for you to answer here, but in your own mind as you drift off to sleep.

-1

Well, you all have been busy today haven’t you?

Let’s try this one more time…………

From the Illinois State Board of Education report card we know that the average increase in a teachers salary for the years 1998 to 2008 was 3.54%

Why is this important? Because 3.54% is what it actually cost the taxpayer. Level of accuracy 100%. I know you all hate this number but it has one sterling quality; it’s from the ISBE and it’s what the taxpayer pays, no matter how anyone tries to spin it otherwise. If -1 wants to claim this needs staffing level adjustments, let him make his case here in the blog.

From the Ast. Supt. of Finance we have his analysis for the years 2007-2010. Average raise; 5.57%. Level of accuracy 99% (not adjusted for very small variances in staffing)

My estimate of the average raise based on the known base contract percentages and historical costs for steps/lanes and retirement enhancements; 6.42% for the period 1995-2009 Level of accuracy I’ll say is 90% as it includes all teachers.

-1‘s analysis of teachers employed in 2003 that were still there in 2008 using data from The Champion, a cohort of 700 people; Average raise 7%. Anyone who was employed in 2003 but retired or left before 2008 is absent from the list, as is anyone who started in 2004 and was still employed in 2008. In addition the list itself was incomplete. Level of accuracy 70-80% in my estimation due to the fact it doesn’t cover all employees just those who happened to be employed for all 6 years.

note; average raise is different that the average salary increase. Please see Overview of Teachers Salary Increases For Fiscal Years 2007-2010 May I gently suggest Epi-nonymous that you spend a little quality time reading this page. It will help you better understand the difference between average raise and average salary.

Dan spends a lot of time alternatively taking credit for this and challenging the validity of the data in the above referenced website. His latest claim is this; ”I again qualify that this schedule has NEVER been reconciled by either Mr. Zager or Mr. Higgins to actual salary data”

Wrong, wrong, wrong. The numbers given to us from Mr. Zager were pulled from a payroll report that the district runs.

As to this; But remember. Dave Zager REFUSED to prepare this schedule going back to 1998, even though he was using the same salary and accounting systems. And it took our group about five years to refine our calculations--to be fair and accurate rather than simply using the Champion numbers that did overstate increases. As -1 said and I agree, I am not digging out the old data.

I really love this, Put simply Dan’s “caught” and he’s wriggling to get off the hook big time.

Put bluntly, Dan made up the 8.5%-9% raises. His own website’s analysis for a longer period only shows 7.2%, and here’s Dan’s problem; He can’t produce the calculations so he’s hoping he can bluff his way out of this. Problem is for the period he claims the raises were 8.5%-9%, (2002-2005) the average base salary increase was only 3.5%. It is simply impossible that the step and lane increases equaled 5% to 5.5%. to get to the 8.5%-9% number.

For him or -1 to claim that the longer time frame (2000-2006) lowered that average to 7.2% the outlier years (2000-2001-2006) would have to have had base increases on the order of .5% that’s 1/2 of 1 %. So what was the average base increase for those three years? 3.77%! If the 8.5%-9% was true, then the average for the longer time period would have to be even higher, not lower.

Sorry Dan, no cigar. Either prove you claim or apologize for making fictitious claims.

Lastly this from Dan: ”Look how Thom whines like a baby about this.”

"Once you or Dan (or Mr. Zager!!!) runs the numbers, this discussion can end. Dan will likely have to say OOPS, which he seems to have done accepting the 7% or 6.5% or whatever."

Ah Dan? That would be -1 “whining like a baby”, not me.

A note on Dan’s claim that Dave Z. “REFUSED” to go back farther that 2006-2007; M.r Zager was wonderful to meet, (upon my request) with Dan and I to help us better understand teachers salaries. He didn’t have to do it frankly. He went back to the 2005-2006 school year. Did Dan ask and did Mr. Zager refuse to go back farther? No he didn't. I will ask Dave when I see him next about running a couple more years.

This from Dan is too good to pass up. And I have no clue on what Thom is saying about elementary school teachers. The issue (besides the school bus!!) was the cost. But if a teacher was NOT ASSIGNED to supervise recess (assume 30 minutes) and instead was directed to teach a foreign language for 30 minutes, more education. Now either eliminate recess (that can be a waste of time) or hire monitors at $10 per hour to supervise the recess. Have them do lunch and we save another $9 per hour.

I hardly know where to start. Will Dan please tell us who these freed up teachers are supposed to teach a foreign language to? Their classrooms are at lunch/recess, the remaining students are in class with their own teachers. OK says Dan “eliminate recess” Sorry that would violate ISBE rules. Schools must provide recess.

Thom Higgins
QE203.org


These are some precious comments from Thom Higgins

"We are supposed to be angry that the entire agreement isn’t posted on the district website? Why? We aren’t voting on it, and if the SB doesn’t approve it, it’s pretty much moot."

I am very confused. Why don't the taxpayers who have to pay for the bill have the right to review and comment? What country are we in? Pelosi looks like a right wing Republican compared to Thom's bizarre comment.

In addition, we have a cursory summary and how can anyone figure this out. For example, take the following provision:

"In the first year (2010-11), the base and step, or “all in” increase, is 0.0%. A maximum of two lane changes will be allowed or credit for a Master’s degree."

Let's see the new contract schedule for 2010-11. Does it show that entry level teachers and teachers with one year experience are being paid the same? They would also need to add a step as well. Otherwise, the schedule should look EXACTLY as the 2009-2010. Any change would make the cursory statement a lie.

As to Thom's comments about teacher salary increases. During the past ten years, hundreds of schedules have been thrown around. That is why I agreed to get a common backdrop. I am comfortable for the first three years of the schedule that QE203 has printed and that I worked with Dave Zager to develop. I again qualify that this schedule has NEVER been reconciled by either Mr. Zager or Mr. Higgins to actual salary data. I tried and the actual numbers were 0.25% higher. Not enough to change the summary.

But remember. Dave Zager REFUSED to prepare this schedule going back to 1998, even though he was using the same salary and accounting systems. And it took our group about five years to refine our calculations--to be fair and accurate rather than simply using the Champion numbers that did overstate increases. As -1 said and I agree, I am not digging out the old data. If Dave Zager runs this report and it shows numbers less than 8 to 9%, I will either accept that as the upper limit for all years or take the 8 hours to check the numbers like I did for 2009 (and that I sent Thom the files). Or I will accept these numbers.

Look how Thom whines like a baby about this.

"Once you or Dan (or Mr. Zager!!!) runs the numbers, this discussion can end. Dan will likely have to say OOPS, which he seems to have done accepting the 7% or 6.5% or whatever."

Have Zager do the numbers!!! Thom, you have the methodology from what I sent you. Run the numbers on years 2000 to 2004 on a consistent basis and see what number they come up with. I don't have 40 hours to redo this and have no clue where the papers from 2003 are.

A twist to these numbers. Notice how the "retirement benefit" gets buried with the lower cost of new teachers. How much is that number estimated to be over the next four years? Better yet, let's tell all teachers who want this retirement benefit that we will pay them 24% higher salaries this year, pay the penalty to TRS, and end the program June 30, 2010. A TOTAL LAST CHANCE. Anyone wanting this benefit, LEAVE.

And I have no clue on what Thom is saying about elementary school teachers. The issue (besides the school bus!!) was the cost. But if a teacher was NOT ASSIGNED to supervise recess (assume 30 minutes) and instead was directed to teach a foreign language for 30 minutes, more education. Now either eliminate recess (that can be a waste of time) or hire monitors at $10 per hour to supervise the recess. Have them do lunch and we save another $9 per hour. And the teachers have time to meet with their principals.

What other work rules hold back District 203 education? Did the administration evaluate? Were there public hearings? Did I miss something?

Transparency. Why is it so hard for 203 to be honest to the people who foot the bill?

Why does Thom Higgins duck comments and just ramble.

Here is one of his classic quotes:

"When will he admit he (Dan D.) made up the 8.5%-9% raise claim?"

First, all people are posting their thoughts on this blog do not 100% fact check or for that matter edit their comments. The key is what they are saying.

Second, his quote indicated that there were calculations back in 2000 to 2003 that showed salary increases as high as 8.5% to 9%, long before you had anything to do with monitoring the District.

Is this possible? Has your daughter completed my word problem yet? It is a third grade level problem, so she should be able to complete it.

The answer for the missing two years--8.875%. So the claim of between 8.5% and 9% could be valid. Is it possible that someone gave him that number from the data? Absolutely.

You can tell me if I solved my question correctly. Of course, you ignored it since it proves Dan's statement is correct.

But remember, all of this could be solved if the District would provide the actual details of the salaries. Why does Dave Zager refuse to do so?

The answer EVERYONE but you concludes is that RAISES WERE HIGH.

And Thom, I also know that Dan reached out last spring to put an end to the noise about salary increases and get a common set of numbers. You dropped out of the process. Your end product is more propaganda. And I do not think you even understand the details.

TH,

Uh, so you admit that "one specific teacher erred by sending one union document through D203 servers one time! yes' but Davitt wanted the DuPage State’s Atty to charge the guy. Sheesh!"

Please be fully honest on this issue: The District (Dr.Leis) was first asked to investigate this matter, and the answer received was that it would be too expensive! A word-search on their email system was "too expensive". After further prodding, they decided to do SOMETHING in house, under the cover and secrecy of the darjest night (in this case the fake coverage of HR files) and swept it under the rug.

So to add to your comment, one teacher was caught breaking the contract one time.

We will never know if it was more teachers or more times because the SB & administration hid it from the public.

TH,

Exactly what kind of crap are you full of?

First, you earlier in this very thread admit the total per person raises avergaed 7.2%, now you say it was 3.4%.

What happened to the rest?

Who pays for it if not the taxpayer?

Why do you insist on basically lying to all of us and leaving out Steps and Lanes when you discuss raises?

Do you somehow not consider these items raises, and if not why not?

Second. you posted "If you both are going to hang you hats on the slight variance in years; 2002-2005 vs 2000-2006 (especially as one resides within the other) as a defense of Mr. Denys shenanigans, well good luck with that kids."

Now, for a guy who writes volumes on numbers, I would think you more than anyone would understand that adding 4 more years onto a 4 year study (ie, if you missed it, doubling the population of data) can easily and materially change the outcomes, in this case the average raises.

If you really think doubling the population of data is a "slight variance of years", than you simply demolish any credibility you thought you had on these blogs.

If so, than I must say Good Luck with that, kid!

Come on, everyone! Let's all be a liitle more honest on these blogs.

Busy day so I will respond in detail tonight but I have to correct this;

"Seems like you do not have a problem with Mr. Davitt's concerns after the parenthetical comment. Good to know."

No, no, no. My comment is; irrespective of what issues Mr. Davitt might have with teachers or their contract, anyone who claims to "despise teachers" is unworthy of the position of SB member, or the communities respect.

Thom Higgins
QE203.org

(I had a more detailed post but it disappeared...This is a quickie.)

Lastly, once again let’s try to get some closure on the salary/raise issue

From the Illinois State Board of Education report card we know that the average increase in a teachers salary for the years 1998 to 2008 was 3.54%

Deceptive!! Watch your wording.

Why is this important? Because 3.54% is what it actually cost the taxpayer. Level of accuracy 100%.

No. This needs staffing level adjustments.

From the Ast. Supt. of Finance we have his analysis for the years 2007-2010. Average raise; 5.57%. Level of accuracy 99% (not adjusted for very small variances in staffing)

If calculated correctly this needs no staffing adjustments.

-1‘s analysis of teachers employed in 2003 that were still there in 2008 using data from The Champion, a cohort of 700 people; Average raise 7%. Anyone who was employed in 2003 but retired or left before 2008 is absent from the list, as is anyone who started in 2004 and was still employed in 2008. In addition the list itself was incomplete – see statement from the Ast. Supt. of Finance below regarding Champion data.

Including only employees who got decent raises in 2003 in the data would make the 2008-2003 raise seem smaller than reality. Mr. Zager does not seem to dispute the 2008 data.

Level of accuracy 70-80% in my estimation due to the fact it doesn’t cover all employees just those who happened to be employed for all 6 years.

So this continues to be about your defense of your Zowie moment. We cannot discuss continually employed teachers getting 7% raises over 20 years? Follow your gut instinct. When you go to bed, you know the truth.

Dan's 8.5% could be real for at least one year. I refuse to re-mine the data. There was a year with 5.79 increase in average salary. This could be a year with average raise over 8%. I have not supported the 8.5-9% number. But I have not seen it refuted.

Your "confusion" was addressed with data. Once you or Dan (or Mr. Zager!!!) runs the numbers, this discussion can end. Dan will likely have to say OOPS, which he seems to have done accepting the 7% or 6.5% or whatever.

I have discussed the 3.54% number many times, and I feel it is too high for the many previously mentioned reasons. I understood what it was from the beginning (unlike you, sir). I have no problem with the 3.54% number existing. It does. It is too high.

Seems like you do not have a problem with Mr. Davitt's concerns after the parenthetical comment. Good to know.

Coming later: Under-worked 100k+ AMPE teachers staffing lunch/recess is NOT a freebie. Grade school day should be longer. Grade school pay should be lower.

-1

Some quick comments on the following;

On Dan’s attempt at deflecting scrutiny on his fabricated raises.

We are supposed to be angry that the entire agreement isn’t posted on the district website? Why? We aren’t voting on it, and if the SB doesn’t approve it, it’s pretty much moot.

When will he admit he made up the 8.5%-9% raise claim?

On LLTT’s comment on calling for the rejection of the contract due to the 6% retirement kickers

QE203.org was the first organization to publicly call on the SB to eliminate them. That said, we all must remember that a teacher must have had at least 15 years continuous employment with the District prior to retirement and give early notice. Additionally benefits for this category are lower than 6% since any salary increase a teacher is otherwise entitled must be netted against this benefit.

Is it worth urging the district to reject the contract because it contains this provision when the average raise over the contract willonly be 1%? No.

For -1;

A longer elementary day will necessitate significant bus costs as the district uses the same buses for all schools. I doubt it will happen in this economic environment.

As I’ve indicated previously a teacher is expected to perform certain duties as part of their salary. Recess supervision is one of them; it’s a freebe for us. If they want to work during their lunch hour supervising the lunch room they get paid $19.00 an hr. and it is included in their credible earnings. Next.

A reassessment of tenure? Yes, I’m excited that the district and teachers have agreed to compensation reform.

As for our Mr. Davitt, well, he does excel at making a mountain out of a molehill doesn’t he? Did one specific teacher err by sending one union document through D203 servers one time! yes' but Davitt wanted the DuPage State’s Atty to charge the guy. Sheesh! If it’s acceptable to you for a school board member to state “I don’t hate teachers, I despise them” for any reason or provocation, we will just have to disagree. Big time.

As for your questions 1.& 2;

Complete ignorance? Please spare me. You want me to hold my head in shame because I confused the average increase in teachers salaries with the average raise, after acknowledging my error, when Dan Denys just makes up numbers in his head to purposely misled people and won’t admit it? Do you not agree that his actions are highly unethical? You give Dan a pass but I’m supposed to feel bad? Seriously? Or should i say ZOWIE!!!


I am the only person on the blog with a website so people can read and asses it’s content. You and the others seem to hate it when I let people know that the average increase in a teachers salary has averaged 3.54%, and the significance of that number is it represents is what the taxpayer actually pays, I find it a source of constant amusement that I am the only one that is willing to talk about that number. Why is that?

Thom Higgins

QE203.org

For Epi-nonymous and -2;

If you both are going to hang you hats on the slight variance in years; 2002-2005 vs 2000-2006 (especially as one resides within the other) as a defense of Mr. Denys shenanigans, well good luck with that kids.

I will note Mr. Denys complete silence on the matter. One might reasonably assume he’s hoping no one will notice his lack of a personal defense.

As for Mr. Denys doctoring the ISBE form, let’s see if he’s willing to break his silence over this as well.

.
Lastly, once again let’s try to get some closure on the salary/raise issue;

From the Illinois State Board of Education report card we know that the average increase in a teachers salary for the years 1998 to 2008 was 3.54%

Why is this important? Because 3.54% is what it actually cost the taxpayer. Level of accuracy 100%.

From the Ast. Supt. of Finance we have his analysis for the years 2007-2010. Average raise; 5.57%. Level of accuracy 99% (not adjusted for very small variances in staffing)

My estimate of the average raise based on the known base contract percentages and historical costs for steps/lanes and retirement enhancements; 6.42% for the period 1995-2009 Level of accuracy I’ll say is 90% as it includes all teachers.

-1‘s analysis of teachers employed in 2003 that were still there in 2008 using data from The Champion, a cohort of 700 people; Average raise 7%. Anyone who was employed in 2003 but retired or left before 2008 is absent from the list, as is anyone who started in 2004 and was still employed in 2008. In addition the list itself was incomplete – see statement from the Ast. Supt. of Finance below regarding Champion data. Level of accuracy 70-80% in my estimation due to the fact it doesn’t cover all employees just those who happened to be employed for all 6 years.

The only known actual analysis that can be tied to Dan Denys (from the Taxpayers Ticket website) much like -1’s analysis, this uses the Champion salary information but does it for the years 2000-2006; Average raise 7.2%. Suffers from the same limitations as above. Level of accuracy 70-80%.

Dan Denys claim of 8.5% to 9% raises for the period 2002-2005. No backup provided after numerous requests. Level of accuracy 0%.

From the Ast. Supt. of Finance regarding Champion;

Q. "The Champion.org” website has previously claimed that teachers received overly large annual increases. Is this true?

A. No, not as reported by the “Champion” in their teacher salary study for 1999 through 2005. A closer look at the listing for District 203 shows that, at best, only 80% of D203 teachers/principals/administrators are on the list. It also shows many receiving increases of 10%, 20%, 50%, even 200%. There are a number of reasons for this, for example, some teachers took an unpaid maternity leave in the base year, and then came back for the following full year, and the Champion.org incorrectly counted the difference in salary as an increase. Some teachers were hired at half time in their first year and became full time in the next, all were incorrectly counted as receiving large increases by the Champion.org. Some teachers, or administrators, started after the beginning of the school year and then worked the entire next academic year–and again, all incorrectly counted as an increase by the Champion.org. Other teachers became a coach or taught extra classes– all were counted as a salary increase.

In fact, given these circumstances, one would expect there to be teachers who show decreases in their pay as they worked a full year in the base year and only a part of the next year due to maternity leave or maybe were a coach in the base year and gave up the position the next. However, there were no such decreases reported by the Champion.org; they only reported increases–not decreases–in the overall payroll. Anyone with a decrease in pay was excluded from their data!

Thom Higgins

QE203.org

Sorry to offend anyone who watches Fox News seriously (not me), but there seems to be a good article called "Building A Better Teacher" from the New York Times.

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/07/magazine/07Teachers-t.html?em

-1

I assume there is more to the contract than just the pay scale.

Like a longer day for the grade school?

Like paying AMPE teachers part-time if they are not teaching 24 hours per week? Lunch time/recess duty should NOT count towards that. 100,000k+ per year and getting time credit for lunch duty is asinine at best.

Like tenure reassessment?

Mr Higgins. Mr. Davitt's feelings regarding apparent unethical behavior of several teachers and the union money grab (5.2% ALL-IN) when the district over-collected revenue are not out of line. Do I approve of his exact wording? No. Do I agree with his feelings after his parenthetical comment? Absolutely. Thank you for posting the entire blurb. Could you please tell us what he says after (blah liberals blah) you disagree with?

I will ask you again:

1) Please revisit your Zowie! moment. Does it still feel the same? Please share.

2) Please reread your old comments with the understanding of your compete ignorance of what was being discussed and see why people got so mad at you. They should have felt sorry for your lack of knowledge.

If we ignore the state of the TRS, I think we should cancel the 4X6% bumps, offer a single 20% now (2010-2011) and pay the penalty. If teachers want to teach past 2011, no 6% retirement bumps. Let's do what businesses do. There are MANY teachers out there who might like to come to D203. Give them the open positions to do so.

-1

OK, let's see who really stands behind their words.

I ask that Thom and Dan join in asking the Board to reject the contract since it includes the 6% retirment. Ask that the money be earmarked to create a longer elementary school day.

Thom????

Dan?????

QUESTION

Why isn't the proposed contract to be voted on Monday night published on the internet (under the Board agenda) so that all can read?

Even the Democrats in Washington give people 72 hours to review the bill.

What is the Board ashamed of? What are they trying to hide?

For Epi-nonymous ;
I could write a book filled with all of Mr. Davitt’s hate speech towards teachers and anyone else who disagrees with him. I don’t have a lot of time today so I will simply point the reader here

This from Mr. Davitt is a real gem;

"Having respect for eternity, I'll only respond to one point within Higgins' endless rant. For the record, I don't hate teachers. I despise them. (I do though hate liberals who think money grows on trees; who equate money with education; and who resort to bullying on blogs). I have a problem with 75% of the teachers who threatened to strike in 2005 because they were not getting 5% raises. I have a problem with the teachers who were caught campaigning during the last school board election using school resources in violation of the state's Ethics & Gift Ban law. But then again, the end justifies the means for this group. I have a problem with a former teacher and union president (now running to fill Joe Dunn's seat) who produced ads implying I wanted to hire sex offenders for bus drivers and custodians. I have a problem with a certain girls basketball coach coming before the board saying "Central is a dump, and should be torn down." The money's been going to striking teachers, coach (would you volunteer to free up some of your strike-gotten gains for facility improvements for the students?). I have a problem with administrators who rate 75% of tenured teachers as "excellent." That's one hell of a public sector bell curve, and pure B.S. And I have a problem with enablers of this militant out-of-touch union. I hate to ruin my reputation, but I actually wrote a letter to one of my children's teacher's this semester complementing her for her hard work and creativity work. Not as creative as Higgins' rant though.

We have a fair amount of pages from Mr. Davitt's anonymous websites (hold203accountable.org and the real NUEA.org) I'm more than happy to post them and let the reader decide. Believe me, it's not pretty, and his statements are not those of a person any same individual would want on a school board.

As for your and -2's attempted defense of Mr. Denys, I will respond to that later tonight.

Thom Higgins
QE203.org

Everyone,

Here is the relevant section on how much a teacher needs to work. Now maybe I am reading this wrong, but an elementary teacher has 26 1/4 of instructional time. The last sentence says that recess supervision counts in instructional time. The before and after school does not. So as children assemble in their classrooms, the teachers supervise them, but do not instruct.

But read the section and you make the call.

C. Elementary Schools — Elementary school
teachers with classroom instructional
responsibilities shall have an average of not
more than twenty-six and one-quarter (26 1/4)
hours per week of instructional time, except
that kindergarten teachers shall have an
average of not more than twenty-five (25)
hours of instructional time each week. Such
employees shall typically have one hundred
fifty (150) minutes of preparation time per
week during the normal student day provided
preparation time for kindergarten teachers
may be outside of the normal student day, in
which event it shall be in lieu of the same
amount of supervisory time. Employees may
be required to supervise students before and
after the normal student day up to one hundred
twenty (120) minutes per week. Recess
supervision shall be deemed instructional
time.


I really like Thom's defense of the implementation of the referendum. The state changed the law so that no other District can abuse taxpayers like 203. It is illegal now, but it wasn't then.

Notice how he conveniently FORGOT that our neighbors emphatically said $511, not $1,250 (or whatever the precise number is). So Thom's argument is that it was OK for neighbors to lie to you because it was not expressly prohibited.

ZOWIE!! I'm glad I don't have friends like that.

And do you know what? In the end, I really don't care. I was fortunate to get an assessment adjustment that offset all of this spending (the amount of $511), so others including Thom get to carry the burden. As well as the 75% who simply don't vote.

I'll let the TEA Party deal with 203. But don't ask me for any support until you have come totally clean.

To -1

There are only two years to solve for. And you will be waiting forever for an answer from him.

You know, Higgins never answered your original question, not because he did not know or it was too complicated. Rather, he was trying to MISLEAD everyone that a teacher making $53,000 was only making %74,000 eleven years later. He knows they are making $90,000 to $115,000 (depending on how energetic they were in taking classes and taking on extra duties).

He should know they are making substantially more. To be constructive and not stoop to his level, either he simply does not understand or he is attempting to deliberately mislead the public.

In either case, he should be ignored. Remember, it took him three years to admit he was wrong on salaries.

Now he says we get the best teachers. REALLY?!?!

Does 203 go out and recruit at Ivies and the other top 30 universities in the US? Or was most hiring done based on nepotism? Funny how there are several Resckes, are they from Yale or are they related to the previous board member?

And all of this nonsense of destroying Wheaton and Plainfield. I thought there was no correlation between spending and performance?

He must think 203 is Goldman Sachs. What a joke!!

Uh, Th, question:

In your rant above (12:05 a.m.), you somehow try to match a comment on salary increases of 8.5% to 9% for the years 2002 to 2005 against a previous website that published accurate (7.2% a year, a number which as I recall you support) that covers a different series of years!

This certainly sounds disengenouos on your part (at best), so why is it you so quickly throw stones at Dan D.?

Additionally, two more questions/requests:

1)Please provide this doctored document you refer to as we would all love to read it (and theproof it is doctored, and that is was doctored by Dan D,)

2)Please, in the future when you refer to Davit and his comments on teachers, PLEASE provide the entire context so we can all understand it better. As I recall, he himeself has provided it a few times in your previous hate rambles. If my memory serves at all, his entire littel speech of swill went on to point out it was directed at the teachers and union reps who were working so hard, and in violation of the contract the union had signed with the District, to get him ousted from the Board.

So, please: be fair in your personal war with those two citizens and gentlemen. That makes it more entertaining for the rest of us and ensures your skills aren't diminshed by the lazy writing of personal hatred.
Thank you.


A quick response to -1’s post of 3-5 @ 4:19

For whatever reason the papers usually do not include lane changes, (additional pay for advanced course work). I kinda doubt this is a “union pr ploy”. I’ll speculate that the papers view lane changes as promotions, rather than raises.

As for the 2002 referendum, The PTEL law was amended to make the wording of an operating referendum request more specific as to the time period a successful referendum would operate.

It will come as no surprise to you that I disagree with your comment about being having an opportunity to be “more frugal” with teachers salaries due to the economic downturn.

In the coming year (s) as other school districts face massive deficits, layoff off large numbers of teachers and cut programs, there will be very clear winners and losers. Locally, Wheaton-Warrenville, D204 and Plainfield look to be huge losers. The education provided to those students will most certainly suffer.

For the students and taxpayers of D203, their fate will be different. Balanced budget, no layoff’s, no canceled programs, and District 203’s continuing efforts to improve and enhance their students educational experience will continue. Think for a moment of what this means to this community and its children. Contra Dan Deny’s ridiculous claim that relocation consultants are blackballing Naperville, I will wager that homes in the D203 boundaries will become more valuable. Think about it. If you were moving into the area and had school age kids where would you move? Will parents pay more to be in D203? Yes they will.

So, no, D203 has a golden opportunity to attract the very best and the brightest teachers as this unfolds. I value teachers and the contribution the make every day to my childrens educational experience. I’m not interested is seeing how cheap we can get a body to fill a position.

Thom Higgins

QE203.org

Thom Higgins is just full of hot air.

Look at all that poor attention to Dan D. Thom, that might play in your home town of Cicero (or whatever town raises people with such hatred), but we appreciate civility here in Naperville.

Let me try to defend Dan D.

-1 creates a schedule showing that salary increases were 7% over ten years. Thom says that they were 5.75% for the last three years.

Thom, ask your daughter to solve the following math question. If an average increase over ten years is 7%, for three years the increase was 5.75% and for five years the increase was 7%, what is the average increase for the other three years?

For me and most other people, we do not care if the number was 7% or 8.5%. It is still too high.

And why doesn't Dave Zager compile this information. For example, how much exactly does this 6% retirement kicker actually cost the District? Dan D. indicated that if a teacher had a 4% increase anyway, then it would be 2%. Not as bad as 6%. To me, it sounds like a way to pay teachers that are already out the door and is a waste.

And your personal attacks of Mike and Dan don't hold. These men have devoted their lives to their families. They do everything to help their children. And they care about ours. Thom, name me one academic program you have advocated for. I know Dan D. identified deficiencies about Naperville Central and conincidentally they were mostly addressed either when Caudill was fired or after Dan raised them. Kate Rudolph and Kevin Hu would not be a top North Suburban Math League competitor if Dan did not raise this issue.

I wonder if they fixed that unqualified teacher for the advanced math class. And I like Dan's idea of affiliating our high schools with a four year college like Benet is affiliated with Bendectine University. COD might be OK for associates degress, but a North Central or better yet a Northwestern transcript would be great.

Name me ONE idea you have put forth except to rationalize teacher pay and higher spending.

I wonder what the electorate would think if the election were to be held today. Would 75% sit at home and let this union looting of the District continue.

Regarding Dan Denys continuing unwillingness verify his constant claim of year over year 8.5% to 9% raises as typified by his latest comment below;

”1. The comment about increaes (sp) being as high as 8.5% to 9%. This was the case for the year of year salary comparisons for 2002 through 2005. I was supplied the data from others. Disprove it.”

Dan has been making his claim for some time. When challenged to substantiate it he claimed the person who did the analysis moved, or somebody named Lee G. did it. He has never offered any real tangible proof of his claim and now he says tough “disprove it.”

Well, OK, let’s do just that using an analysis done in 2007 by;

DAN DENYS AND THE TAXPAYERS TICKET!!!!!!

Join with me now in entering the dusty archives of the Taxpayers Ticket website and a page titled
7.2% a Year!

So, gee Dan, which is it? The 7.2% you claimed in 2007 when you were running for the SB or the 8.5%-9% you claim today? Which is the “truth” and which is the “lie”?

This is but one example that illustrates how Dan feels free to just make stuff up now that he’s not running for the school board. He does it constantly. One of my favorite Dan Denys fabrications was when he claimed that the rebuilt Central was going to be a Taj Mahal, and that the classrooms were too large. There he actually altered an ISBE fire safety document and tried to pass it off as a document outlining the standard for instructional space per student. The man has no shame.


There are many in this town who understand shenanigans like this are just par for the course with Dan Denys and Mike Davitt, as illustrated by Dan's countless bogus claims, and Mr. Davitt’s infamous (and anonymous) hate filled anti district 203 websites. Thankfully the public saw through them both, ousting Mr. Davitt and denying Mr. Denys a seat at the table. Had Mr. Denys and Mr. Davitt the wisdom and integrity to make legitimate arguments, they both could be sitting on the SB.

Lastly, as Dan keeps bringing up this;

” Listen, DR. Mitrovich, you have done a decent job until now, but you have a big problem to fix. Here is an example. Did you know that teacher supervision of RECESS (yes RECESS) counts as instruction time? Why not hire a para-educational person at minimum wage for playground supervision and require the time freed up for the teacher to teach a foreign language? “

Classic, classic Denys bamboozlement; if you read the contract it is clear that what it is saying is that recess supervision is part of a teachers instructional duties, as is the requirement that teachers monitor the before school line ups, meaning they do not get paid any extra for it.

Thom Higgins

QE203.org



The initial read of the agreement sounds like a not so crazy salary schedule, although a slight cut for the reasons mentioned above and a 2-tiered system would have not been unreasonable (but maybe unworkable). We'll have to watch the lane changes and later see how they tie in to performance.

Now about tenure.

-1

Thom, don't forget what Mike Jaensch said about his union. He said if they didn't get what they wanted out of American he'd have the union take American down with the pilots. Classy guy that Jaensch is.

For the last two years the teachers have been working on a two-year contract extension that provided average annual pay raises of 3.87 percent, The extension was on a three-year agreement approved in 2005 that came just hours before teachers were set to strike. That agreement called for three years of pay raises averaging 5.2 percent.

Mr. Higgins. I will address this to you since I do not see an answer above. Do you think these are correct numbers she is using? Or was this is the union's way around including lane changes as part of a PR ploy? Would you mind writing a letter to the editor saying the numbers are wrong, according to QE203's RESEARCH?


________________________________________

claim the district stole millions I might not say STOLE, but the implication in the 2005 D203 memo by Dr. Leis is that Dr. Leis knew that the district got enough money at a certain point to cover the expenses it used as a selling point for the 2002 referendum. It chose to do something you agree with, but which, in the end, took the choice out of the hands of the public. The implementation was also controversial, locking in a higher rate than expected in perpetuity.

All future referendums should have a time-limited or financial-limited element to them. I suspect you can agree with this statement.

____________________________________________

I think many of us in management-type or owner positions see the downfall of our competitors (less financially viable districts) as both a warning and an opportunity.

We have the opportunity to be more frugal with employee pay since the labor market and D203 working conditions are in our favor.

I look forward to seeing whether or not the present board will need to be replaced prior to the next negotiations.

-1

TH,

Your 11:48 post on moving salaries from the back-end of the scale to the front-end of the scale also misses the mark. That would create an imbedded base of salaries that would be impossible to sustain over time and would crush the system (do the numbers yourself --- given historical data on turnover, retirements, hiring patterns, you hit a point where the salaries you describe destroy the system).

The answer, using your premise, is simpler and more accurate IF you take SOME of the money from the top end and re-distribute it to the low end, and keep some for the taxpayers, you can find a reasonable solution. I would be interested to see if you and Dan D., and maybe pi or -1 or -2, could agree to get together on that and present it to the taxpayers and the School Board?

It is with disdain that you say Dan D. wants to save money. What is wrong with that?

By any definition 203 is less of a bargain than it was 15 years ago. The District has great test results (assuming that is your measure), yet the per pupil spending has doubled and the District’s spending per pupil has gone from below the State average to over the State average despite our obvious economies of scale that should apply given our size.

I am sure you will come back with something about what a great district it is and how you love it and all that. Please don’t. That would be condescending and would imply that anyone who disagrees with you on spending either thinks less of the District or has some issues with teachers, etc. Open your mind a bit and think it through another way: Perhaps we just think that the teachers are very fairly paid, that they are part of a community getting hammered by the economy, that the additional monies being thrown into the education system have severely diminished returns at this point (think of it like an investment --- is our money now just going into a zero-interest saving account?).

Also, as an avid reader, I would appreciate it if you could stop bombarding us with incomplete or misleading numbers. No one cares that teachers get a base raise, and they get a step raise, and they get a lane raise. We DO CARE that they get total raises, and we would all like to know on a regular basis what that raise total is. Now, given the past 15 years, I believe it was stated that the average raise for that period (total raise) was a little over 7%. That number, and its ongoing equivalent, is the only number the rest of us care about. When this little contract is announced, can you (and Dan D, and pi, and -1, 02, etc.) commit to giving the rest of us THAT number, and not some half-hidden gibberish?

Thank you all in advance.

Responses to Thom

1. The comment about increaes being as high as 8.5% to 9%. This was the case for the year of year salary comparisons for 2002 through 2005. I was supplied the data from others. Disprove it.

2. The relocation comment was given to me by a friend who was moving back to Chicago. It was also confirmed by another friend who is in the relocation business. But as you well know, black lists are typically not published. But it makes sense with taxes skyrocketing in Naperville compared to other communities.

3. Thom, do you have a problem reading entire posts. In that same post, I complimented the District on 4 actions (including eliminating the BS with these AMPE teachers, what a joke) and stated:

"Listen, DR. Mitrovich, you have done a decent job until now, but you have a big problem to fix."

Now is that an insult? He had dealt with the clear stupidity of the Board and Leis (AMPE and redistricting), but is he going to stop there? Will the Board step in and start promoting the union interests who they owe their loyalty for election?

4. Comment regarding Zager. Thom, we would not have this 8.5%, 6.4%, 7% dispute if he would simply do his job and publish honest numbers. As you know, he will not touch the 1998 to 2006 period. HE PLEADED THE FIFTH. Report back about the recess issue. You seemed shocked!!

5. Zager and Mitrovich are public figures, they have a tough job and need to take criticism. I hope they read these comments (and I am sure they do). They have a tough job reversing ten years of administrative disaster. Naperville 203 under Weber was viewed as a total disaster by the educational community. You NEVER address that. Albus left town for a lateral job, unable to sell his house, and his father in law will not let him buy a new house until he sells it. Leis could not address. Mitrovich has taken a couple of bold moves. I also admire his initial letter where education needs to be improved.

But maybe Dave Griffith and his fellow union supporters Jaensch and Price will stop him. These are the weak links in the District.

6. Your comments about who is at fault in the state funding.

Guess what, Thom. Local school districts have led the local government funding bubble. This is the next financial disaster after the housing bubble.

District 203 education cost in 1995.....$5,750 (estimate, but close)
District 203 education cost in 2008.....$10,500 (another estimate)

Spending growth in 13 years.....16.8%
Inflation during same period....2.5%

The property tax, income taxes, and sales taxes were all based on growth that did not exist (bubbles). The governments spent every dime and more.

Result--ANOTHER BUBBLE TO BURST.

And 203 does not have a "problem" becuase its property tax is too high. What about the 3,000 vacant houses in Naperville? I was in my old home town, they are starting to board up these vacant houses. Very wierd. The last time I saw this? Five years ago driving through Detroit.

No Thom, unfortunately you are wrong. Educators are a major part of the problem. Fixing this will be just as painful as fixing the banking system. The housing market, greatly influenced by local government, has not come back.

This, coupled with the expiration of the Bush tax cuts and the new Obama taxes, will drive our ecomomy into yet another recession. And I do not think economists have been focused on the local government problem.

Statement on the tentative contract;

We are but a day or two from knowing the details of the D203 teachers contract, regardless, I will offer the following thoughts in advance.

I’ve read a lot of hyperbole in the last few weeks (a lot of it here) about D203 and how the district is on a financial precipice, and how the union will bankrupt the district with the school board as a willing accomplice. It’s all complete rubbish. Perhaps there are other districts in better financial shape than D203, but this district is financially sound, run by people with ability and integrity, and if there is one thing I will guarantee it is this; There will not be mass layoff’s to compensate for large raises (there aren’t going to be large raises) and whatever is agreed to, it will be sustainable. The district will not approve a contract that creates deficits, and this district will continue its tradition of fostering academic excellence.

The issue of the State funding, while a concern for 203, is only $8-9 million dollars. if it all went away (it’s unlikely all of it will) D203 would be able to adapt. And no that doesn’t mean a referendum.

Tragically, this will not be true for many other districts, especially those who are more dependent on the State for funding. All one has to do is read the papers and see what terrible condition many, many, districts are in. Huge deficits, mass layoffs, programs gone; there is no doubt that this will affect the quality of education the children who attend these districts receive. I grieve for these students and their parents. They will not receive as high quality of education that their older siblings enjoyed and that is a tragedy. In an increasingly competitive world, this nation needs to produce the most highly educated young adults we can. Instead, it looks like we are going to go backwards as a nation for a time. We in 203 will be some of the lucky ones.

I will also state that I find the argument that the state funding crisis is all the teachers or school districts fault to be laughable. Illinois has some real financial challenges certainly, but it is the huge drop off of revenues from income and sales taxes that put the State in the soup, not the schools. Illinois will continue to fund public education, perhaps not at the current levels, but it will continue to fund.

There will always be those critics of public education who will never concede what a jewel D203 is, and will use any pretext to slam the district (often unfairly or untruthfully). But know this, you can say you despise teachers, fantasize firing all of them (shame on you KD), claim the district stole millions, operate your anonymous websites (all the while talking about integrity) and generally do everything in your power to attack D203 and public education in general, but it will be in vain.

I look forward to seeing what the new contract brings.

Thom Higgins

QE203.org

For what I believe to be Dan’s post but went up as Anonymous @ 10:28 AM

Dan,

I’m more than willing to move on to other things, but, in all seriousness, you still need to either come up with the years and methodology for the 8.5%-9% raises, or simply concede you were wrong. As you well know, I did it with the salary issue, you can too.
Regarding this; I am also willing to accept your "guess" (estimate) that salaries increases excluding the retirement benefit over this period is 6.4%.

I plugged in .25% for retirement kickers for all years, although I’m not sure what, if any kickers there were in the late 90’s early 2000’s.My estimate may be high if there were none.

As I said above you have to prove this one; All I know is Naperville is a high tax area and on the avoid list for relocation companies.

Lastly, if you think this comment of yours below is a compliment then all I can say is Zowie!

Dr. Mitrovich, prove that you were not part of a diploma mill and see if you can create a great school for the children rather than one that distributes cash to the teachers.

Implying that Dave Zager might “take the fifth” isn’t particularly respectful in my view either.

All I can say is I hope after all the digs you have made against the district, Dave Z. and Dr. Mitrovich, you better hope none of them read this blog.

Thom Higgins

QE203.org

Some general thoughts on Dan’s e-mail to the School Board;

I guess I have to start by saying that sending recommendations to the SB after an announcement that a deal has been struck, seems to be a bit like closing the door after the cat got out.

In reading his statement what I personally find so perplexing is his primary focus on imposing a25% pay cut to starting teacher salaries. First, it’s more than a bit impractical for D203 to reduce starting salaries to $32,000, thereby making D203 probably the lowest starting salary in the Chicago land area for teachers and actually at the bottom of the scale for college grads in general. How would D203 attract the best and the brightest candidate then? Simple answer, they wouldn’t.

Let me state I’m not interested in hiring the cheapest teacher. I value the difference that D203, its teachers and staff, make to my children education. Teachers aren’t assembling widgets, they are educating our children, my children, and I want the best, most dedicated and talented teachers that we can afford.

But perhaps more confusing, for someone who complains about “excessive raises” and loves to point out salaries over $100,000, why doesn’t he join me in a discussion on reforming the “back end of the salary chart” and moving some of those dollars down the chart as I have talked about previously? I suspect Dan would like to reduce the top lanes just to save the money, while I’d like to push it down the chart, but regardless, I’m truly surprised he’s focusing on the starting teachers, and ignoring those at the top of the pay scale.

I have to take complete exception to Dan’s comments about how D203 was once the most “economical school value” but changed in the early 2000’s, as well as his claim that under Weber and Leis salary costs were not controlled. It’s plainly, and verifiably, not true, not even close. As far back as the 1987-88 to 1991-1992 contract, the average raise (all in) was 6.87%, and base increases have all been in the 3.0% to 4.0%. range until the 08-08 and 09-10 contract where they were reduced to 2%. He chastises the district for the “failed” 2005 negotiations, when in fact, the increase of 3.3% on the base, is on the low end of the historical range. All in all, Dan is simply, completely, and utterly wrong here.

If the following is true I say let Mr. Denys offer proof. I say it’s completely false: For example, Naperville was removed as a recommended relocation community in 2006 as a result of soaring taxes. Major corporations using the consortium of relocation companies that compile these lists were directing employees to other communities.

As far as his 7 recommendations, I find this opening statement perplexing With the above background, here is a salary proposal, one that has been used by numerous North Shore districts for almost 20 years without any contention.

Also, Dan's #2. is incorrect. Teachers have two windows for receiving credit for advanced course work. They do not get it "throughout the year"

I would dearly love to know exactly what school districts (north shore or otherwise) follow the seven recommendations. Personally I don’t believe there is one that has these seven.

Thom Higgins

QE203.org

Question for QE203

Are you guys going to join the Taxpayers Ticket and now the Tea Party to protest the boards apparant action to ignore the taxpayers of this District? Do you guys have REAL MORALS or just some dumb puppets of the Union? Or maybe the lame brains on the school board.

Curiuos minds want to know.

Did Suzanne Price really say that taxpayers were too lazy and too stupid to explain rational of the salary increases? Besides being on the State of Illinios payroll (there is a cost cut that should immediately be made), she is also paid by the teachers union?

Why else would someone have such a terrible view of their neighbors and punish them financially?

Suzy, tell us your opinion.

Thom,

I think based on this blog, we have enough information on the salary issue. I unfortunately do not have the time to purse through the volumes of information that quite frankly should be prepard by the professionals at the Board and fully vetted. Just like a public company.

While the exact number is not important, I am willing to accept -1 calcuation of 7% compound increases since 1998 for typical teacher salaries. I am also willing to accept your "guess" (estimate) that salaries increases excluding the retirement benefit over this period is 6.4%. I note that using both of these number that the change for several years could be the 8 to 9% that others had supplied, but it is not worth the additional effort to detail this exact charge.

I stipulate to YOUR facts and again conclude that teachers have had a very generous run, better than most other teachers and better than more private individuals. You have a different interpretation and that is where we disagree. I sent you the article on the limitation of economist's views, I would not stake my life on them being correct. Your interpreation of their views are even more suspect.

Do the math for the entry level teacher, $32,000. Remember, District 203 has over 400 teachers aides with teaching credentials making $8 to $12 per hour or a total of $15,000 or less per year. They would jump at the chance to work for $32,000.

To the point about recess time, go to page 9 of the contract, last sentence under elementary teachers. Better go talk to Zager, he might plead the fifth now!! REport back!!

Thom, the people in the District you cite have a better value since their property taxes are lower than ours. They have more wealth and dumber children. Does that mean we should spend more money? I simply do not care what other people are doing, I do not compete with the Jones. All I know is Naperville is a high tax area and on the avoid list for relocation companies.

Boy, you do not read. I complimented Mitrovich. I am impressed he dealt with the AMPE noncense effectly. The redistricting was a no brainer, you know that was one of our key stances.

He is 2 for 2 in my book. Keep going!! What about those overhead teachers. Watch him cut more of those that you blindly defend.

And the District has not deficit spent--yet. They would not if they control salaries and reduce staffing based on enrollment declines.

My letter to the Board

To all,

I have sent this information to a couple of board members. I attended the Monday night meeting to see how you are approaching these very important negotiations.

After the last failed negotiation in 2005, the District proved to be ineffective negotiators. Prior to that, the community allowed the Board to become controlled by the teachers union and Dr. Weber resulting in destruction of what was once the most economical school value in the Chicago metropolitan area. A real travesty.

At that time, the Board said it would review all of its procedures and thoroughly critique its performance. Great idea, never done. It indicated that it would engage the community, the people that pay the bills, but this was never done.

Now we enter yet another negotiation. Has the Board solicited the input of the community on this matter? Has the Board established goals for its negotiation? On the first issue, the answer is a clear no. On the second topic, rumors are that none have been set.

I, for one, will tell you what I think the goals should be. Fairly simple, but difficult to achieve. The teachers should be paid a fair salary at a reasonable cost to the community. If you review salary negotiations prior to 1998, you could not argue with the District.

However, the inflationary salary bubble that resulted from the destructive Weber years and not controlled under Leis have contributed to the demise of the District. This forced the deceptive tax increases from 2002 to 2006 that have pushed the District out of favor. For example, Naperville was removed as a recommended relocation community in 2006 as a result of soaring taxes. Major corporations using the consortium of relocation companies that compile these lists were directing employees to other communities. Your actions can have a direct economic impact, in this case, negative.

And with the current recession that will take years to recover to the 2006 levels, there are two realities. People with secure jobs are simply happy to keep them. Even if they have to take cuts of up to 20% (25% of American companies have done that in the last three years and are only slowly restoring such pay). Second, the pool of qualified candidates is substantial. It will not be difficult to fully staff a school with highly qualified candidates. (Ironically, the real estate bubble of 2006 also corresponded to the "teacher shortage" at the same time.).

That said, we do not have to compete with Barrington, St. Charles, Wheaton or our even poorer district to the west. And unless District 203 establishes separate elementary/high school pay schedules, the District will never be able to compete with the handful of Cook County high school districts that offer higher pay. I am told teachers take pay cuts and less credit for experience to work in District 203, reinforcing the claim that salary is not the motivating issue.

As a former school board candidate, I understand that the most difficult aspect of your position is salary negotiation. Consistent with basic economic principals of supply and demand, the demands for salary increases by the teachers always exceed the supply (capacity of the District) to meet them. But this is your job and you need to balance the financial resources of the tax payers versus fair salary compensation.

Most importantly, you have published a financial forecast that shows deficit spending in three years. This is unacceptable. The primary cause is paying teachers higher increases than you are receiving in revenues. If you do not correct this situation now ("bend the cost curve"), the taxpayers are going to be forced into another unfortunate referendum as 2002.

With the above background, here is a salary proposal, one that has been used by numerous North Shore districts for almost 20 years without any contention.

1. Revise all steps and lanes on the salary schedule so they are worth only 1.5%. (One more year of experience gets 1.5% salary increase, extra education gets 1.5% salary increase). Anybody who exceeds the salary level after adjustment is grandfathered in. However, no adjustments until the new schedule would provide one. Also, consider fewer lanes (i.e. increases for additional education).

2. All lane changes (extra education) are determined at the end of the school year (June 30) and go into effect only one the following year. Currently, teachers can get increases throughout the school year as they complete a class.

3. Freeze any change to revised salary schedule. No increases at all other than teachers with less than 21 years experience for a step (the 1.5%).

4. Eliminate all retirement incentives. Teachers have to leave by June 30, 2010 or they get not extra.

5. Implement a two tiered salary schedule for all new teachers. That schedule would be 25% below the existing schedule as modified in 1 above. This is the same thing they are doing in the auto business and the airline business. There are plenty of teachers so let's take advantage of the surplus, lower salaries. Maximum experience credit on new schedule would be five years.

6. Allow for elimination of any position that is not a direct classroom position.

7. Any transfer of pension cost from the state to the local school district will have to be paid by the teachers. No additional local taxes.

The most controversial aspect of this schedule is a call for a two tier salary schedule. I have proposed this because we have had a decline in property values and all other state revenues of 25%. The current Federal budgets predict paltry economic growth of less than 5% for the next five years and that might be difficult to achieve. In response, companies are downsizing to a lower level of economic activity. Look how the airlines are reducing their direct fleets and outsourcing. Construction activity has come to a virtual halt. I think a couple of the Board members know how their futures are being changed.

The District needs to do the same or the taxpayers will be burdened with costs they simply cannot afford. Or the District will be burdened with a contract it cannot afford if the property values are reduced over the next three years by the 25% of more decline in value. Such a reduction that appears inevitable will put the District's taxation at its maximum tax rates and force either cuts or future salary concessions. Taking proactive action now when the market will accept the changes will avoid future issues. And part of these changes can be reversed if the market suddenly reverses its direction.

Lastly, this contract process needs to be done before July 1 or the District will be compromised again by the teachers union. But do not rush to a contract that does not achieve reasonable goals for all stakeholders of the District. And while others call for total freezes or even salary cuts, a contract in line with the above is both very fair and achievable.

Dan Denys

Do I read the SUN correctly?

The 203 School Board is allowing the union the courtesy of reviewing the new contract with their members, for a week, before we the Taxpayers even get a chance to see it?

What are they hiding from us?

And then, we will only have a few minutes prior to a Board vote to approve it?

WTF!

[To Sissy, above: You fail to relaize that there are NO undeperforming teachers anywhere in Naperville! Don't you listen to our School Boards and look at the lucrative contracts they continue to approve every few years?]

Mr. Higgins,

Maybe add this to Mr. Zager's list.

IF teachers only get increase in base pay raises once they are past 22 years, how can anyone make more than the top level of the lane they are in when they do not have an activity sponsorship.

Example MA22 2005
The space on the sheet for MA22 2005 gets increased by the base pay percentage increase to get MA22 2006.

The PERSON who was MA22 2005 gets base pay increase only, making MA23-2006 get the same pay as MA22-2006. This activity gets propagated through time so that nobody should be making more than bottom of the lane. Why is this not true in reality?

And..Does he think the present champion numbers are flawed?

tyia

-1

Part of the reason my family chose to live in district 204 is because of the incredible opportunities available for our children. But I am often concerned that the abundance of opportunity degrades the value of the opportunity and that parents get so wrapped up in winning they don't realize the importance of losing (or anything else for that matter).

Don't miss the opportunity presented by the budget deficit. It is not about deciding who picked the right horse, who's the smartest, how bad Illinois government sucks, where a school should be or if it should be at all. It's about deciding what is important. Please stop getting angry and get involved. Our schools will be exactly what we make them.

It is wrong the district is going to release non-tenured teachers instead of releasing underperforming teachers. Instead of fighting over the merits of union vs nonunion why don't we ask district 204 to ask the teachers to re-negotiate their contract or plan a switch to non-union teachers? Why don't schools ask for more help from parents? Do you need me to read with 3rd graders 1 hour a week? Do they need a guest lecture to discuss the democratic process or a world renowned chemist to demonstrate scientific method? What?

Stop trying to scare teachers and parents and make a plan to make our schools strong with the resources we have. Our resources are abundant include more than cash. Maybe if we all realized our worth is not based on a dollar figure we would actually appreciate what we have.

-1;

Once you are past 22 years you lose any step increase. A teacher can still get credit for additional educational attainment (lanes) in addition to the base increase (or CPI for the last two years), but step payments end.

-2;

-1 seems to be working on your question.

Regarding; Anonymous on March 3, 2010 10:01 AM

"I can still say that the average increase in teachers salaries was 3.54%"

In fact, I think it is a deliberate lie. Anytime one purses words in such a manner, it can only be seen as intentional. Yiou even post that the avg raise was around 7%, so why take this low road now?

One can fairly and honestly state that the average teacher’s salary increased 3.54% over 11 years, at the same time that the average raise for an incumbent teacher was 6.42%. Why the difference? Because of turnover; older teachers retiring and being replaced by younger lower paid teachers. The actual cost to the taxpayer is 3.54%, not 6.42%. For a discussion of how teacher salaries are structures please see; Overview of Teacher Salary Increases for Fiscal Years 2007-2010

This is as good a time as any to talk about the new contract. The best estimate I can create for the moment tells us that historically the average raise was about 6.4% till the 2008-09 and 2009-10 contracts, where the average was say 4.8% (all these including base, step, lane and retirement). Dan is offering an over/under for base and steps pegged at 3.5%. He didn’t mention lanes here so I’ll assume he isn’t including it. I’ll take the under. Base and Steps will be below 3.5%. (with lanes too actually). I’m thinking we will see a two year base freeze, with steps and lanes intact. Total increase 2.8% avg. Wouldn’t break my heart if they froze steps as well.

What is important to realize is that if the teachers get that 2.8% average, the net increase will be perhaps 1%. If they freeze the steps, then the average teachers salary will actually decline for the years 2011-2012.

My understanding is that the district is using the assumption that the $8-9 million is state funding goes away. They are also committed to not asking for additional monies via a referendum, so any agreement has to work within those parameters. Contrary to what some have said, there is no desire for a referendum, so whatever they agree on it has to be sustainable.

Lastly, for Dan Denys;

Dan, If you want to claim that the average teachers raises were in the 8.5-9% range, fine, but please tell us what years and tell us, (better yet post it) how you arrived at that percentage.
The Champion lumps teachers and administrators together in the same data base. You have to click on each name to see if they are a teacher or admin. This confuses people. Sven posted a number of salaries including administrators in the Herald. He made no distinction because he probably didn’t realize it.

I find it interesting that you agree on my concerns about the top of the schedule but you yourself are advocating for a two tier system in order to pay young teachers less. How much less than $42,000 do you want to pay them? And no, D204’s salary chart is quite comparable to 203’s, with comparable raises in the early years.

I find your comment on teachers supervising recess as instructional time of interest. It flies in the face of what Dave Z. told me. Please elaborate.

I’ll also mention that I was talking to a SB member and that person indicated the board has not received any communication from you regarding the contract talks.

Reading your last post, well I give up. You seem to have got up on the proverbial wrong side of the bed today! Dan you can say what you want but the fact remains D203 is the top 6th performing SD based on ACT scores. The top 5 spend 35% more than 203 to get there. So, no, D203 is far from mediocre and no it doesn’t have the highest ratio of people opting out for private schools. My analysis What is the Best Educational Value in Chicagoland? as well as links to national and local studies shows what an exceptional district 203 is, and how fiscally responsible it is.

You make a lot of claims and suggestions (as well as insulting the new Supt.). Are you just blowing off steam, or are you serious? If you are serious will you send this to the SB and Admin? If you do send it you might want to decide if you want to complain about the surplus (reserve) or complain about the Districts financial plan being based on deficit spending. Kinda hard to build surplus’ when you are deficit spending.

Thom Higgins

QE203.org

From London Calling off the state budget strand, and I think applies here too...

By London Calling on March 3, 2010 12:20 PM
Good grief! I hope this is not business as usual, but it usually is right?

1) Propose tax increase because of huge deficits - "the sky is falling, you will lose this or that poor citizen"
2) People cry out NO!
3) Hire study group
4) Study group recommends raising taxes, and making other cuts
5) Editors chime in and provide free coverage delivering the message
6) Taxes get raised, but surprise surprise...what - no cuts?

Do not fall for this trap good citizens of Illinois. Some politicians feel they can manage their way through this with cutting some "show" fat, like not filling positions that were never filled, freezing salaries for 6 months, then giving it all back and more later; and many other tricks of the trade - yes the trade of "government gone wild".

Some - particularly at the very top - may even look at this as an opportunity to increase the money flow - period. I think Naperville is one of the best run, safest communities in the country by the way - when I say these things, but they even struggle some times.

What can we do? We can tell our leaders to change or lose their jobs and their pensions. Do not support a single tax increase until drastic cuts are already made to government.

Unfortunately, the "stimulus" plan only stimulated inaction on the part of leaders, because fatty budget holes were simply filled. On top of that, money was "borrowed"(?) from fed funds earmarked for critical services, like children's special needs, etc., to use for general purposes.

In Illinois, general purposes often means politcal pay-backs and self-dealing to family/friends. I saw one note going around that said the best return on investment is donating to a political campaign. Why? Because it is not their money, but your money, and some pols do not care about where your money goes, just that it keeps flowing.

Let worker replacement to fix the problem of entrenchment. If workers/educators do not have the ethical and fiscal responsibility to compromise, then let the workers strike, and replace them with more affordable, equally skilled, eager, talented service workers and educators from other municipalities.

Also, use bankruptcy - which forces all parties to negotiate before an authority who will make the changes needed for solvency. The smartest pols in the room, should not fear the fiscal black eye, but should be revered as a hero for taking the needed steps to fiscal stability!

Have some guts for once. I have great respect for police, fire and teachers (but less for bureaucratic administrators), but to go down a road that will bankrupt your own municipality or state, looks very bad for these usually fair citizens.

What I would like to know who where the parties (ie. traitors) that engineered the changes to our state constitution - transferring the risk to all citizens for a self-dealing windfall for the ethically corrupt pols, service unions and the financial services lobby - (yes people, there they are again - always around - to turn what little wealth you have into their year-end bonus, and then say they are delivering great value to American families when many should be in jail for theft).

This approach is literally destroying our economy, and eventually your lives, but still many leaders HAVE NO INTENTIONS of losing one dime from the public skimming now going on for 50+ years and counting.

An comment regarding pensions in the Sun recently rolled out the standard response why cops and fire fighters need big pensions - "to aid families of those who die in the line of duty"! Give me a break. The only time Naperville police draw their guns is to clean it!

And there is in-the-line-of-duty insurance for that low probability outcome. Thanks to the very stellar safety and security record in Naperville, any insurance company would take the bet and provide handsome coverage should any public service worker unfortunately die on the job.

Pensions are for the workers and their families, but they need to be benchmarked with the rest of society where most companies do not have pensions, and have replaced them with 401k plans or the ilk.

Finally, could someone see if the state and local constitution/laws have been violated by politicians who effectively are not allowing a vote on taxation, by selling assets for front-end loaded money used in the running of government (a la Daley) and in changing local pension plans to state pension plans. Local government need to be managed locally.

Stop the fiscal insanity of paying ludicrous benefits like annual escalations for people already retired, paying 100% medical premiums for government workers in many cases, - to name only a couple stupid benefits -and that has even well-run Naperville paying $2 for every $1 worker contribution. Other communities are not paying none of their obligations in some cases - building the psunami coming in the future for your children.

Here's hoping that wiser heads prevail, but start paying attention this time, to what is going on with your family's wealth - being systematically stolen! DO NOT STAND FOR IT! VIVA L' PEOPLE!

Maybe the Board and the Union (boy I would hate to be a union member, what a put down) might surprise us. Some recent surprises.

1. QE203 (the mouthpiece of the Unioin)calling for a salary freeze and elimination of the retirement benefits.

2. District not taking the fifth year of the tax raises.

3. Remaining honest regarding the 20 borrowing for the referendum bonds.

4. The first year rebate from the referendum bonds.

My hope is they stay on the Wagon. Here are potential pitfalls to come.

1. Lack of engagement in the community on the future of schools.

Listen, DR. Mitrovich, you have done a decent job until now, but you have a big problem to fix. Here is an example. Did you know that teacher supervision of RECESS (yes RECESS) counts as instruction time? Why not hire a para-educational person at minimum wage for playground supervision and require the time freed up for the teacher to teach a foreign language? I must correct myself, the reason for the shortest elementary INSTRUCTIONAL DAY is the bus schedule and recess.

2. Establish a spending policy (that includes salaries) to the resources the District has adjusted for inflation less student attrition.

It is a shame that the District's financial plan is based on DEFICIT SPENDING. If we had such a plan, the players would know what the rules are. There should be no spending authorized that would allow for a deficit unless the voters have a approved tax increases to address the deficit. Not the other way around. That led to the demise of the District from 1998 to 2002.

3. Complete the capital needs analysis of the last 19 schools. My God, it has been two years. The head of the building program comes in with muddy shoes. Are we in Hooterville? Or Siberia?

4. Once the full capital plan is identified, then let's start returning the surpluses. It looks like the surplusses for capital have been transfered and there is still a $37 million surplus laying around.

5. What about magnet schools, alternative charter schools? Why just a boring PUBLIC (mediocre) education? Take some surveys folks, it is ordinary. That is why 203 has the highest ratio of parents opting to send their children to private schools.

Dr. Mitrovich, prove that you were not part of a diploma mill and see if you can create a great school for the children rather than one that distributes cash to the teachers.

It's all about the kids!!! There it is again. Mike Jaensch is a terrible board member. He needs to be removed.


It is more than misleading to say the following:

"I can still say that the average increase in teachers salaries was 3.54%"

In fact, I think it is a deliberate lie. Anytime one purses words in such a manner, it can only be seen as intentional. Yiou even post that the avg raise was around 7%, so why take this low road now?

Wow, a contract after a couple of weeks of negotiating.

I wonder if they made elementary teachers work a longer so 203 would no longer have the shortest school day in DuPage County? What about those AMPE teachers having to put in a full day even if they have to travel between schools.

What about allowing Charter and Magnet school choice?

How about limiting salary increases to the revenues of the District?

Looks like the same old water downed transfer payment to the unions.

Maybe this board might surprise us.

Interesting article about what teachers actually feel is important. It's based on a study done by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
http://www.comcast.net/articles/news-national/20100303/US.Teacher.Survey/

STILL NO ANSWER.

Let me try again. If a teacher was earning $53,075 in 1998 (the same as the average), you said that the average annual increase for a typical teacher was 6.4%, then would that teacher be making $105,014 if he earned the average salary increase?

Is this a hard question? I looked at that Champion site for District 203 and there must be hundreds of teachers making over $100,000.

"As to me giving out wrong answers"

NOT TRUE. You have NEVER answered. Who do you think you are, John Kerry?

One simple question. Make your next post one number. Then you can explain it. But anything over three sentences will be ignored.

Or do I have two year and eleven months to wait until you figure this one out?

First, for all interested, I am taking wagers on the over/under for this contract.

Base and step composite increase--3.5%

Second, Thom again reverts to namecalling.

Third, my position was sent to the Board, they know what we want. We were more interested in what others were saying.

Fourth, this concept will take Thom at least five years to understand, but I will say it again. There were years that teachers year over year salary increases (only relevant to those teachers that were employed in each year) were 8.5 to 9%. -1 calculated a ten (or 12) year average of 7%. Thom "guesses" it is 6.4%. And Dave Zager is silent (most people are hiding something when they are silent--plead the 5th).

Let's accept these numbers. What is the difference between Thom's 6.4% and -1 75 (that would include years closer to 8 to 9% that I aserted if the last three are 6.3%, by the way)? The portion of the year over year salary increase related to payments to enhance retirement benefits. These payments were 15 to 17% before being capped at 6%.

And from a policy perspective (my opinion), this component of the salary increase should not be held against the teachers. Hence, I am willing to go along with the 6.4% number (although again, I don't know why the District does not calculate the number and print it) rather than -1 7% (or the even higher numbers from the early 2000's).

In life, I always learn something new every day. I consider this latest comment to be enlightenment rather than "foolish".

And here are a few of Thom's misquotes from the Champion (remember, I sent him all of the data!!)

1. Administrators can be identified, they have a different code in the file. The 2009 file extracted from the Champion News I sent Thom showed 108 administrators salaries.

2. Of those numbers, 14 administrators made over $125,000. 51 made over $100,000. Almost half made less than $100,000 (a little surprising).

3. Of the 1,522 teachers with salary, 7 had salaries in excess of $125,000 (a little more than "an exception or two"). There were 238 teachers with salaries in excess of $100,000. Over 15% of teachers paid. Show me any organization so top heavy.

4. All of this information was supplied by District 203, so if there are errors, go back to them.

Another surprise. Thom's comment. The salary chart is too back end loaded. AGREED. Thom constantly philosophies about appropriate compensation particularly in comparison to CPI. But the "economic reality" is that if you are doing the same job, you are "lucky" to even get CPI. Thom is absolutely correct.

But entry level teachers are overpaid particularly since they are learning on the job at the potential expense of your children. In compiling these numbers, I am struck by the number of teachers making less than $50,000 that leave. These are entry level teachers that quit. I know there are many reasons, but imagine if your child had a bad apple. A year lost.

That is why a two tier salary schedule is needed. And a formal process to actual supervision, at least 20% of the teachers contact time.

District 204 kept salaries low for the first six years and then gave teachers a 15 to 20% jump. This makes sense. Earn your wings and then get to fly. Just like in the private sector. Before then, supervise.

Sorry folks. One more.

For the last two years the teachers have been working on a two-year contract extension that provided average annual pay raises of 3.87 percent, The extension was on a three-year agreement approved in 2005 that came just hours before teachers were set to strike. That agreement called for three years of pay raises averaging 5.2 percent

Do these numbers match reality? If so, which reality?

Mr. Higgins:

It is important to note that teachers reach the end of the salary schedule after 23 years and then, historically, only receive any base salary increases after that.

This seems to imply that (prior to the latest contract) everyone in the same lane over 22 years (23-35 for example) would be paid the same provided they launched off the edge in the same lane and stayed in the same lane. Is this true? If so, it will change my calculations above. I certainly do not object to the concept that experience over 20 years has minuscule marginal value.

For Mr. Zager:

Can we get a plot or a spreadsheet of the number of full-time certified staff in each step and lane of the contract?

-1

I'll recheck my answer to -2 later, but I may have double raised for certain years beyond 22.

"It's all about the kids," ... These words are a clear sign to run for the hills.

And He said the district considered the economy in its proposal, but also had to weigh the continuing success of the district.

uhhh...what does this mean? More overpaying? This is a scary statement.


-1

-2

I thought of a nice solution to your question.

What about the answer to my question. The specific teacher who made $53,075 in 1998 (equal to the average) made how much in 2009? Is the answer $105,014?

Stick with me. This works if the steps/lanes have been constant. I will take 11 years of raises.

1998-99 salary = 53075. What is the corresponding 2009-2010 salary with no lanes/steps?

Now multiply 53075 times the sheet-to-sheet raises in that time to see where that person would fit on the 2009 contract. So I will go with 11 years of sheet-to-sheet raises as outlined above by Mr. Higgins. I will use the smallest consecutive 11. In this case I get

53075*1.04*1.04*1.04*1.034*1.035*1.031*1.033*1.033*1.033*1.02*1.02 = 75545

Now we must go to the present salary schedule 2009-2010 and find where 75545 sits. It is on pdf page 36 of this contract.

Go from this and add 11 years of experience to that lane. To be fair use a raise of the last multipliers above for the years beyond 22. So if you need to add 5 years, multiply by 1.031*1.033*1.033*1.02*1.02. This underestimates for the past 2 years since they got 2.4 and 4.1 instead of 2% and 2%. You can adjust your finals numbers to compensate.

Now if there is a lane change or two in that time, additional raises will be in effect. Walk out to whatever edge and add additional years.

For Mr. Zager

1) How did he calculate row 1? Did he use individual year-to-year raises of full time certified teachers or did he use total payroll for those teachers and find the increase in that? Or did he do something different?

2) What is the value of row (1) for prior years using the same methodology.

3) Out of interest, what is the value for 2003-2008 using individual teacher averages of those teachers who remained employed by the district.

4) Does he really believe (2) is as written? In other words can we state (1)-(2)=(3) (or even (2)=(1)=(3) ) . Please ask him to think this through before answering.

5) How did he calculate (3). Was it total payroll increase or actual average salary increase? There is a year where the numbers are far off of the ISBE data.

6) What is the corresponding increase in labor costs which would match the calculations for the real ECI (NOT ECI(wages)) ?

-1

That was quick...

D203, union reach tentative contract agreement


March 2, 2010
By KATHY CICHON kcichon@stmedianetwork.com

One week after they started negotiating, Naperville School District 203 and the teachers union have possible reached agreement on terms for a new contract.

"As of an hour or two ago, we have a tentative agreement," board President Mike Jaensch said shortly before 8 p.m. Tuesday.

Neither side is releasing any details at this time, Jaensch said. First, the Naperville Unit Education Association will present the details of the contract to its members this week, the date yet to be determined. The members will then vote on the contract, he said. Then the board of education will schedule a special meeting — most likely early next week — to discuss the matter in closed session and then vote on the contract in open session.

Union representatives could not be reached Tuesday night for comment.

For the last two years the teachers have been working on a two-year contract extension that provided average annual pay raises of 3.87 percent, The extension was on a three-year agreement approved in 2005 that came just hours before teachers were set to strike. That agreement called for three years of pay raises averaging 5.2 percent

During the past week's negotiations, no board members were sitting at the table, Jaensch said. However, officials spent hours with the district's negotiating team offering guidance, he said.

Jaensch praised the union, saying he has nothing but positive things to say about their negotiations.

"They're consummate professionals, very thoughtful," Jaensch said. "And I think both sides of the negotiations handled it in a very professional, thorough and successful manner."

Keeping the economy in mind was something both sides agreed to very early on, he said. That included not just the current economic state, but also Illinois' financial situation.

"They were very sensitive to that," Jaensch said. "There's a lot of individuals in our community that are experiencing economic hardship."

At Monday's board of education meeting, two residents spoke out against offering teachers any kind of raise.

"It's not appropriate to talk about raises right now when people are hurting," resident Janice Anderson said. Anderson asked for a wage freeze for the next two years while the parties negotiate a new contract.

"I, too, think a freeze of two years would be an excellent idea," said resident Jay Sprovier, who represents Illinois Tea Party. "I think there are many of us that think that this state is headed for insolvency. And I disagree — I think it already is."

He said the district considered the economy in its proposal, but also had to weigh the continuing success of the district.

"It's all about the kids," he said. "It's more than just dollars."

-2

There is no set salary course. A teacher earning the average salary in 1998 would see a significant difference in his income based on whether he completed additional course work or not. To get to the top of the schedule a person would have to be in the district for 22 years and have the equivalent of a PHD, or very close to that + stipends coaching etc).

You have to be careful about the Champion. They often (always?) lump administrators with teachers. If you see salaries in the $125K and above those are administrators, with perhaps an exception or two.

I have a philosophical question to ask everyone. If total salaries are X and you feel teaches are paid too much, (and by that I'm assuming you mean say the top 20% salaries) if total salaries paid remained at X but the raises were pushed down into the early years,(meaning that the top would be lower and the range narrower) would that be acceptable? My beef with the salary chart is it's too back end loaded.

As to me giving out wrong answers; there’s a lot of that going around. Dan Denys’s claim of average raises in the 8.5% to 9% range is looking a bit foolish as well. I can still say that the average increase in teachers salaries was 3.54%, even if it is not the average teachers raise, and it needs to be recognized I’m the only person on this blog who posts information to the web for people to see and have demonstrated a willingness to revise it.

-1;

From; Overview of Teachers Salary Increases For Fiscal Years 2007-2010 Teachers reach the end of the salary schedule after 23 years and then, historically, only receive any base salary increases after that. The 2008-2009 and 2009-2010 contract deviated from this as the salary increase for teachers after 23 years, with a Masters or above, was pegged to inflation, i.e. the 2006 CPI rate of 2.4% for the 2008-2009 year and the 2007 CPI of 4.1% for the 2009-2010 contract.

Will you please get me your questions for Zager when it’s convenient please?

LLTT;

I hate to break this to you (and everyone else for that matter) but just because total EAV declines, that doesn’t mean your taxes will decline as well. The PTEL law regulates (limits) the total levy that a taxing body can collect as last years levy plus CPI, or 5%, whichever is less. If the total EAV declines, the rate is simply adjusted upwards to compensate. There is a limiting factor that constrains it, but my understanding that total EAV would have to decline 30% for that to take effect. Last stat I saw was that Naperville declined a total of 15% in 08 and 09, and remember, they take a three year rolling average for EAV.

As for the remnants of the Taxpayers Ticket, Dan Denys was at last night’s SB workshop but did not make any kind of public presentation to the SB. We made ours at the January 19th. SB meeting; Quality Education 203.org Statement on the Upcoming Contract Talks

In case anyone missed it, the Chamber of Commerce also made a public presentation at the February SB meeting. you can read it here.


Thom Higgins

QE203.org


How come the Sun is not reporting that the far left liberal QE203 organization and the conservative Taxpayer Ticket group both support a total salary freeze for Naperville teachers for the next contract? This is big news.

Last night the TEA Party is coming after the school district. "The attitude of, “let’s spend as much as we want, THEY’LL PAY for it”, has become a government mantra no matter the level. This, I assure you will not be tolerated."

The teachers better settle quickly or the people in Naperville will wake up and demand a 25% salary cut, across the board, based on the lower home values and the taxes that the would generate.

And what are people worried about? Their kindergarten children having to make new friends. What about the lack of money to support these disasters?

-2

Come on. Get in line. Wait a year or two like the rest of us. Instant gratification is not available on this blog.

My answer: Not sure, but I suspect your number is pretty close to the median of teachers continuously employed who made 53000 in 1998. There are some pretty big steps later in the contract, but once they are at the end of the lane, they supposedly get only CPI ***.

*** Someone please verify this. According to my read of the latest contract, salary inversion is possible since lane 22 gets bumped by the sheet-to-sheet amount and if this amount is greater than CPI, EDD+22 would make more than EDD+23.

How that grade school AMPE discussion go last night? It seems as if they want the AMPE teachers to actually teach a "full" load of students. What an outstanding idea. 24 hours per week of instruction time. I hope they do not get burned out.

-1

I feel left out. At least Thom Higgins gave -1 and Dan D. wrong answers to their questions only to correct them three years later. He still does not answer my question.

Is the median salary $105,014 for a teacher making $53,000 in 1998?

There are many teachers making in this range on the listing on the Champion News. Are these salaries wrong? Do they publish bad information?

Typical Higgins diatribe.

Thom,

First, I much more appreciated your tone on your last e-mail.

These are very tough issues and quite frankly, they are typically beyond the grasp of municipal officials. Had they understood what was happening, they would have stopped matters a couple of years ago rather than cruising for disaster. Notice the benefits of 203 taking their foot off the accelerater two years ago for salaries (in response to the Taxpayers Ticket) compared to 204 that did not (in trying to catch up to 204).

”The retirement impacts are lower since the new state law limiting retirement increases to 6%. If the base is increased by 3%, then the retirement impact is 3% instead of 17%. So for the last five years, this number has not been as significant.”

"Dan, you can’t be serious………"

Yes, I am. More importantly, do you know who told myself and Bob S. this comment? Allen Albus and Dr. Leis in response to our questions on why the retirement benefit was reinstated in the two year extension. Think about it Thom. If these teachers are gettin 2 to 4 percent under customary terms, they can only get 2 to 4 percent more so they would not exceed 6%. The law forces the district to pay a penalty for any salary over 6%. Fortunately, the contract prohibits any salary increase over 6% for retirees. Ask DAve Zager to explain.

I will check with both Lee and another person who ran numbers for us. You know the format because I ran it for 2009 (and you have a copy). Also, look at that schedule, a picture is worth a thousand words. It might explain why you can do a comparison for only those employees that are there each year.

As to your comment about mentoring, I am proposing that one of the assistant principals and actual employees/consultants work on that project. They would physically observe 10 to 15% of class time and it would last for five years. I think the current "mentoring" program is far more informal. Otherwise, who is maning the classes of the mentors when they are observing the new teachers? I did not see "mentors" on the staffing report.

Remember, the mentors are only part of the reason for the lower salaries. The rest is the market.

Guy’s, -1’s 7% was only for teachers employed continuously from 2003 to 2008.

Uh...no. I mentioned this several times. Employed in 2008 and employed in 2003 and showing up in the database both years. There is nothing guaranteeing employment in all of the intervening years.

This method should avoid the 20 % spikers.

And finally this is an idiotic conversation (I can only blame myself for continuing it) since the real numbers can be calculated with an appropriate method by the district. In the absence of that, we have the champion data. I even foresaw this discussion back here. At that time I thought there were 20-20-20 raises and it turns out there was a single 20, and Mr. Higgins was still thinking the average raise was 3.54%.

As you can see, Mr. Higgins had the data in March and gave us the Overview right away...after waiting 7-8 months and adding in more editorial.

And finally, back to my example of the grade school PE teacher (and coach) making 120000 (now 130000). Does anyone think his starting salary was 27000 back in the 80s or were they paying more in the 80s than 1995? Yes.. I know there is likely a stipend jump for coaching, but...Mr. Higgins, I know you can do it...

Say it. I know you can. zzzz...ooooo..www...iiii.....eeeee.

More importantly, Mr. Higgins, the emotion which made you make the Zowie comment is what many of us who have been harping about this feel all the time when we look at these numbers. Please understand that and do not discount your true feelings. Also remember that your gut reaction was about a hypothetical teacher who was continuously employed, so you cannot discount my 2003-2008 analysis as flawed on that front. It goes directly to the point of what those teachers who have remained in the schools make so that when they ask for our sympathy during the negotiation we can know what kind of raise they have been getting.

Better yet for everyone else, go to:

http://www.familytaxpayers.org/salary.php

and look it up yourself for any individual teacher and make your own value judgment.

Once again, I think the QE203 salary negotiation statement is a good start.

-1

Disclaimer: I know nothing of what other content is on the site linked above. It just happens to have the data. The sun-times had a database, but they now charge for it. Since nobody seemed to refute the champion data (same as above) as compared to the sun-times data when I asked in the spring, I can only assume that the champion data is correct. Anyway, it is the only free data source out there. If someone has something better, I am happy to use it.


Quickly, for -1 and Dan;

Guy’s, -1’s 7% was only for teachers employed continuously from 2003 to 2008. While 7% might be the correct number for that population, it is not the total population.

For Dan, do you have, and if so, will you send me the WDTA salary analysis for the years 2000-2005? Also if lee G. is the expert please ask if he will share his analysis on any prior years. I will post in on the QE203.org website verbatim as submitted. Also -1’s analysis was for the years 2003-2008 not 2000-2008 as you posted. -1. I’ll make the same offer to you, perhaps you can re-send it. For both I’d like to see the supporting Champion data.

Regarding this from Dan; ”The retirement impacts are lower since the new state law limiting retirement increases to 6%. If the base is increased by 3%, then the retirement impact is 3% instead of 17%. So for the last five years, this number has not been as significant.”

Dan, you can’t be serious………..

For -1. Will you give me a list of your questions for Dave Zager so I have them exactly? Want to join us?

Thom Higgins

QE203.org

Let me try again.

You have not given Zager's methodology for raises. Does he add up the salary of all year-over-year teachers and look at the increase or does he do it person by person and take the average?

My quibble is that you had only 2/3 of the population, and a questionable source, to make the argument that the average raise was 7%. Which people are you talking about? I had a specific population and it isn't 1050 due to turnover or leaves or whatever! This is the 2nd time I am saying this.

Why is the source questionable? If you have a better source, I am happy to run the numbers. Mr. Zager has not done that.

If you mean to imply that the champion sneakily withheld info on small raises and only included large raises -- guess what-- the "large raises" would show up in 2003 data making the apparent 2008-2003 raise perhaps less than expected. They had no idea that I was going to come along in 2009 and do such an analysis.

Also note that my 7% and someone else's 6.5% could both be correct. Mine is for all teachers who were employed in both 2003 and 2008 (or whatever salary the champion data pulls up when 2003 and 2008 are selected). The other way is averaging the year-over-year raises. That's fine but a hell of a lot of work when Mr. Zager can do it with the click of a mouse (as long as he tells us his methodology...still waiting.)

1999 54,439
2000 56,015 2.89%
2001 58,038 3.61%
2002 61,131 5.33% WHAT HAPPENED HERE??
2003 64,670 5.79% AND HERE??
2004 67,234 3.96%
2005 69,719 3.70%
2006 69,770 0.07%
2007 72,071 3.30%
2008 75,112 4.22%
2009 77,764 3.53%

-1

It no longer matters what data is printed, it is all meaningless. Proerty owners can no longer afford to pay the government beast.

An immediate reduction of property tax is needed and reductions in the cost of public schools. Making up loss revenue needed can fall on the parents of school aged children.

The whole concept of public schools is flawed. The looming bankruptcy of government can happen, because of the exsisting solutions to the following government programs, public schools, public transportation, public health, and public retirement.

Thom says

"I will note than Dan never offered up his best guess on what the numbers are. Why is that? He criticizes me, but never comes up with his own number, curious (cowardly?) indeed."

Half true. I did not offer an "guess"--correct. I offered the numbers done by the Will DuPage Taxpayers Alliance analyst of 8 to 9% calculated from the W-2 File submitted by District 203 to ISBE and made available by the Champion News. Thom has the updated file for 2009 (becasue I sent it to him.) Look at the most recent e-mail post of mine on February 25, 2010 2:20 PM (it did not post Dan D., there were previous posts as well).

So I will give Thom the benefit that he did not note that posting was mine.

Note my posting on February 14, 2010 3:57 PM

"More interestingly, following the same methodology since 2000 (under the Weber and All-BUST regime), the increases were 9%." If you average 6 years at 9% and two years at 6.35%, you get 8.35%. So Thom, again, your demeaning comment is false. A retraction would be in order.

Now Thom comes out with a number of 6.4%. I could ask Lee G., who can run numbers around you on salaries and he knows the 203 system better than Zager, to update his numbers to confirm this difference. (WITH ACTUAL DATA RATHER THAN ESTIMATES LIKE YOU USE). But he needs his free time and it would not prove much more.

And let me restate for everyone else and Thom I will check with you in three years to see if you understand what I am saying, these employees would have contributed to a salary increase over 6.4% from the W-2 files. But they were gone shortly thereafter. So this is part of the turnover cost rather than what continuing people are earning.

The retirement impacts are lower since the new state law limiting retirement increases to 6%. If the base is increased by 3%, then the retirement impact is 3% instead of 17%. So for the last five years, this number has not been as significant.

Thom Says,

"My quibble is that you had only 2/3 of the population, and a questionable source, to make the argument that the average raise was 7%."

HUH?!?!

how can you compare the 25% to 33% of the employees that do not exist from one year to another? Thom does not understand that you can only compare the salaries for the people who are there. While we lost the saves of Kerry Wood, it is meaningless to compare his saves to Gregg's saves.

But I know Thom is not a financial analyst and appears not to have the appropriate training in the area. But for someone is sales to criticize numbers people falsely is truely amazing. I hope Zager does not drink his Kool Aid.

And if the data is questionable, the source is District 203.

Why did I not accept his number three years ago? Because you said a typical teacher was only getting a 3% increase. You were wrong as you continue to point out to all of us.

While 8.5% to 9.0% might be the year over year comparison for employees that were there for the six years from 2000 to 2005 and 7% was the right number from 2000 to 2008 (-1), some of this increase relates to the retirement benefit that should be paid once and then the District should benefit. This is a more accurate analysis and a number of 6.4% is a reasonable estimate of that number. This is more relevant for the salary debate going forward.

I will always try to respond to reasonalbe changes.

-1.

Here you go.

I goofed last night (gotta stop doing this at midnight) It’s 3.37% not 3.7% sorry.

Here are the base increases, from either the book or DZ;

1995-1996 3.8%
1997-1998-1999 3.0%
2000-2001-2002 4%
2003 3.4%
2004 3.5%
2005 3.1%
2006-2007-2008 3.3%

Avg. 3.37%

Calculated steps/lanes/retirement increase

3.05% 1996- 2006

2007-2009 actual per Dave Zager

The current contract salary schedules in on the district website under financial I believe. So you know I give you full credit for making the attempt at figuring this out. My quibble is that you had only 2/3 of the population, and a questionable source, to make the argument that the average raise was 7%.

.

I will note than Dan never offered up his best guess on what the numbers are. Why is that? He criticizes me, but never comes up with his own number, curious (cowardly?) indeed.

I appreciate his accepting mine, (Why didn’t you do this three years ago Dan?), but I must point out that his 9% argument is in complete tatters right about now.

I could also go point by point refuting much of his latest comments but I’ve got too much to do, so I’ll just offer a response to this;

”The difference. The retirement bonuses. These items are limited to 6% now, they were 20%. I suspect that these retirement benefits account for the difference.

Well, no. The district offered 1-20% bump then and now offers up to 4- 6% bumps. It’s pretty much a wash (they don’t compound I believe). Also, my salary analysis has .24% plugged in for all years to capture the retirement bump.

OK, one more from Dan;

”I will add one new point. A two tier salary schedule to reflect excess supply of teachers coupled with a funding mechanism (a portion of the 25% savings) to fund a FORMAL mentoring program. This is needed to protect parents whose children are being educated by inexperienced teachers and to provide guidance to such teachers to succeed.

This has been in place for some time.

As for the Mill Street School issue I will offer the following; The Naperville Area Homeowners Confederation next meets on March 18th. A member of the Wil-O-Way HOA board is a director of the Confederation. I will gladly make an introduction and let anyone who wants to discuss the matter with him. He was active and will confirm.

I will note that I will not be around much this weekend, Play nice everyone….

Thom Higgins

QE203.org


Did anyone notice that the attachment to the the post By Thom Higgins on February 26, 2010 12:57 AM referenced to the transfer of students from Mill to Elwood?

Last paragraph of the attachment.

And Thom, keep posting the comments from the Taxpayers Ticket. Glad to see that Mitrovich found their materials.

When is Jaensch going to fix the short elementary day? What a do nothing board member. He probably will give teachers raises he did not get.

And congradulations Thom, it takes you three years to understand what everyone else knew in 5 minutes. I hope you keep your car quotes straight so you don't lose money for your employer!!

For Thom,

Another possible interpretation of the email from Mill St you cited above is that during the campaign for the referendum, the District wanted to give the appearance of considering the redistricting possibility so as to build popular support for the referendum as a better alternative.

A similar strategy was used last spring when the need for fewer AMPE teachers was unnecessarily linked to the completely separate Enrichment Assistant program. A popular but optional (i.e not state- or federally-mandated) program was threatened so as to generate public support to spend more money.

Likewise for the referendum in 2002 when foreign language and fine arts were threatened to motivate people to vote for it.

TH,

1)Smarminess does not make for correctness!

They said it live ---- it was clearly, by this point and based on your "deep dig" attempts to rationalize it, intended to mislead.

2)You give no date on the Leis talk (year?) so it is meaningless to me. But, again --- who cares what he said in a letter to parents when the group said otherwise in the face-to-face meetings at NCHS that inckluded the 60% of citizens who are not privy to Leis's letters?

The mere fact that they said one thing to people at the walkthroughs (and other events), and something else in print, is indicative of SOMETHING wacky.

3)Note to all: the Taxpayers' Ticket said during their run at election that redistricting was inevitable, and as I recall they specifically mentioned Mill and Elmwood (and two others, I think).

Your response, above, shows that you agree with my statement --- thank you for acknowledging the facts on this one.

You also uncharacteristically add that the Taxpayers Ticket guys actually wanted to approach faciltiies correctly and perform a complete review of all District facilities so 203 could approach the concept of fixing ALL of them! Gasp! What a concept!

Now, on the ECC ---- It must be good to feel that only you have the right answer on an issue (especially when the rest of the world understands that there is an array of correct solutions to the same problem).

You believe that only a separate ECC is the answer. There is a school of thought (like the pun?) there. Now, as I recall the Taxpayers' Ticket guys argument was that segregating the ECC kids in a separate facility removes them from the mainstream both socially and developmentally. There is a school of thought on this, too! Eureka! May solutions to a similar problem, Who would have thought it!

Yes, I am a bit snarky on this, but only because your disdain for the Taxpayers' Ticket folks is sometimes so palpable that it makes you look close-minded and small. A little diversity would be welcome on these "pages".

After all of this painful back and forth, we finally have a number from Thom. 6.4%. Thom, you should refrain from posting until you have an answer and not waste all of our time when you post wrong info. It might be three years, but you are finally on the same page as everyone else, as it relates to the facts.

And let me stress, we are all entitled to our opinions about the facts. But let me stress, those are opinions. Items such as reasonableness of salary increase, value, etc. These are all opinions. And no matter how hard anyone tries (including you), you cannot quantify opinion.

But let me make one more observaton about the salary numbers. I will use Thom's 6.4% increase and -1 7% calculated number (and some that were higher at 8% to 9%).

The difference. The retirement bonuses. These items are limited to 6% now, they were 20%. I suspect that these retirement benefits account for the difference. And just as I say that the savings from turnover should accrue to the District, so should the cost.

So I go all in and agree with Thom's number of 6.4% as the salary increases in the last ten and fifteen years.

And my opinion, this has been VERY GENEROUS for people who have not been promoted to another job. Those that earned more, they are earning it by taking on other duties particularly extra cirriculars that enhance school life and help students gain admission to top schools.

And to summarize, everyone supports Thom's recommendation for a total freeze salaries for the term of the next teachers contract. I am OK with a one year contract. We cannot take any further risk.

And I totally support the elimination of the retirement increases of 6%.

I will add one new point. A two tier salary schedule to reflect excess supply of teachers coupled with a funding mechanism (a portion of the 25% savings) to fund a FORMAL mentoring program. This is needed to protect parents whose children are being educated by inexperienced teachers and to provide guidance to such teachers to succeed.

HOw about the QE203 reaction to this last proposal.

Funny thing, the only people opposed to these changes are the school board. The unioin member Jaensch, public employee Price, and Crotty (I saved $100 million-right). I hope the others on the Board have better leadership skills.

So Thom,

What about the answer to my question. The specific teacher who made $53,075 in 1998 (equal to the average) made how much in 2009?

Is the answer $105,014?

There are many teachers on the W-2 file making this amount. Just tell me if I am correct.

Why do you have such a hard time answering simple questions? I think your muddling or whatever you are doing causes this blog to be confusing. Is Dan D. correct that you do this on purpose to confuse people? (Note a yes or no answer).

"What are you going to do about the pension deficits caused by the teachers and administrators? That is above and beyond the 126 million the City of Naperville is in the hole for."

You may want to look into the reason for a good portion of the deficit. Our state lawmakers, going back a number of years, have neglicted to make the required payments into the pension plan. They illegally skipped pension payments to help "balance" the budget. One of the main reasons we are in trouble in this state is now the state needs to find a way to fund the parts of the pension that they ignored in the past.

Whew, three years and we finally got a number from Thom. Thanks Annonymous.

And it is at least two times inflation, consistent with EVERY OTHER POSTER on this page, in fact, more than Mike Davitt.

So, if you think that everyone got a 6.4 compound salary increase (without getting a promotion, by the way), then the salary is fair. Otherwise, the taxpayers have been more than generous to the teachers.

By the way, for all of these teachers whining about lack of pay increases, when I was running these numbers, all of those teachers who jumped into administration could double their incomes. So there is an avenue to both take a risk and make money in education. All of those teachers who complain don't want to take a risk. As the old adage goes, not pain, no gain.

As to the Mill Street transfers, let me tell you what the Will O Way parents were concerned about when we raised the idea. Not the change to Elwood. Rather, they were infuriated that their children would go to Naperville Central. They said it was an inferior school than North. And they are still saying it after this rennovation.

Lastly, to the ECC, Thom, as usual, misportrays our position. First, our concern is that their will be at least two empty school buildings in the next three to five years. The demograpaher assumed that the enrollment drops at kindergarten/first grade leveled off in 2008 to project the lower enrollment. We did not agree.

Second, right now, if the district would redistrict the south side schools without increasing class sizes, one elementary building could be closed. We recommended that this be done and that the building be converted to the ECC.

Third, the people will be really disappointed in this ECC. Steve Deutshch thinks it will be a competitor to Avery Coonley and other top rated pre schools. NO!!! This building is primarily HEAD START, a special ed program. Due to District 203's interpretation of the policy of "inclusion", they attempt to recruit regular students so there will be a mix of regular and children with learning disablities. The focus of the classes pursuant to the Federal funding (that is diminishing) is on the learning disabilities, not a competitive pre school. This is like fielding a basketball team with half basketball players and half lacrosse players. Thom will rail me on this, but even my running mate who has an extreme special needs child (who would not be in one of these mixed classes) agrees with me. I strongly disagree with inclusion in many instances. This is one. I have heard from many disappointed parents in 204 when they discovered the same situation.

Lastly, when you take a look at the substandard construction of the ECC (steel frame) compared to the other district schools (solid masonry) you wonder if this will be such a good investment.

Here’s how I did it. I’ve been trying to figure out how to capture the income and raises of 100% of all employees back to 1999 (and after your request 1995), and through various sources, I found the base contractual increases for each year from 1995 onward (they average 3.7% in both scenarios interestingly).

Can you please post these numbers HERE year by year. Thanks. If you have a copy of the salary schedules and can post those at QE203.org that would also be beneficial.

By the way, 3.7 + 3.05 = 6.75 not 6.4.

-1

http://blogs.suburbanchicagonews.com/newsblog/2010/02/schools_face_state_funding_cut.html#comment-109918

I gotta tell you. I see nothing in this letter shows that Dr. Leis addressed the issue one way or another.

It shows concern of someone at the homeowners association about what might happen, given what happened before.

Is there reason to not trust the district to tell everything which might happen? Of course!

We had a referendum where the board used funds in a way which was not addressed before it was passed - 2002 when the funds were later misappropriated for Site and Construction. There it is abundantly clear that Dr. Leis knew what they were doing in 2005 was NOT adreesed in the referendum yet the board went along anyway.


For EPI-nomymous

Regarding this; I don't care WHAT is in their little publications. Who reads them, anyway?

You mean the official documents provided by the district and the referendum committee? Perhaps the reason you are so confused is you didn’t read them.

Regarding your comment; "I DO CARE about the face-to-face conversations (which everyone I talk to remember very well), and at those face-to-face conversations we were all TOLD IT WOULD ELIMINATE OVECROWDING AND REDISTRICTING!

You might want to read the email excerpt I posted above. Dr. Leis met at last once with the Mill St. School H&S to talk about the issue of redistricting to the Elmwood school as a way to relieve its overcrowding.

Regarding this; Note to all: the TAxpayers' Ticket said during their run at election that redistricting was inevitable, and as I recall they specifically mentioned Mill and Elmwood (and two others, I think).

Here are all the relevant quotes from the Taxpayer’s Ticker website;

Q. What is your position on facilities improvements?
A. Before we do anything, we need a comprehensive Master Facilities Plan for all 21 schools, not just two. It's only prudent to know exactly what your needs are going to be for all schools before you commit $100 million to two or three. One other thought on this matter. If we had Board leadership that did not put the interests of the union first by awarding excessive contracts, we would be able to spend more on facilities. The Mill Street solution needs more scrutiny and more discussions with parents.

Determine the needs of all 21 schools, not just 2 buildings, and commit to spending for safe, well-maintained buildings and exploring all options for relieving any overcrowding.

Early childhood classes should be spread around the district to: 1) take advantage of empty classrooms, 2) reduce travel time around town, 3) keep the children from being isolated from older elementary students who act as reading buddies.

Messrs. Davitt and Denys are on the record against building the ECC, and my remembrance is they wanted to re-district, instead of any construction whatsoever. The idea of putting the ECC students wherever space can be found it a really bad idea, and demonstrates their lack of understanding of the issue. You, and readers in general might find this discussion regarding Early Childhood Center helpful.


Thom Higgins
QE203.org

For Becky,

One last comment. While you might not have been aware of the plan, Mill St. parents were. The following is part of an e-mail talking about Dr. Leis’ speaking at the Mill St. H&S. It is from the Will-o-way Homeowners Assn to their members (I know some of the folks there);

I wanted to pass on this information regarding our next Home and School Meeting Tuesday,November 13th at 7:00 pm in the LRC. District 203's Superintendant - Dr. Alan Leis is going to be there to address our facilities at Mill Street School. This will be a great opportunity for questions/comments...also a great way to show our support for improvements at Mill Street. PLEASE COME!!!

Is there any way to email all the Wil-o-way families that you may have emails on for this meeting? We think it is really important to get this information out to our subdivision and to have a strong representation at this meeting. This impacts all our families and Leis needs to know that we care about where are kids potentially being moved to. This has happened to the Wil-O-way kids before with Mill, and then later on where switched back. There are parents who still live here that state it was really a difficult thing to go through. Is there any way to do a mass communication about this?

Thom Higgins
QE203.org

OK here’s my best, dare I say? Guess.

Interestingly, I have the same answer for both. Average raise = 6.4%

Here’s how I did it. I’ve been trying to figure out how to capture the income and raises of 100% of all employees back to 1999 (and after your request 1995), and through various sources, I found the base contractual increases for each year from 1995 onward (they average 3.7% in both scenarios interestingly). To this, I added 3.05%, which is what D203’s Ast. Supt. Of Finance indicated is the historical percentage increase of steps/lanes/ and retirement bumps. Here I could be off if the salary schedule format changed appreciably in those earlier years from what it is today, or changes in the teaching force (tenure-advanced degrees) shifted that percentage up or down. Dave has previously said to me it has been pretty constant ,and I saw a comment in District 203 History that looks to confirm the 3% figure as it was talking about the early late 80’s and early 90’s as having a contract that returned total increases in the high 6% range.

My favorite fun fact the starting salary in 1995 was $25,200, and as indicated above grew at an average rate of 3.7% to the starting salary of $41,969 for 1999.

The advantage of looking at it strictly from this perspective is it covers 100% of staff. I dislike analysis’ that only cover a certain percentage of the total. It does rise and fall on the assumption that steps/lanes/ retirement bumps = 3.05%. I’ll give it a margin of error of +/- .25%

I did violate your request to not reference Dave or obscure references, (when was the last time you saw District 203 History?) sorry, but I think anyone who is going to offer an opinion needs to explain in some detail how they arrived at it.

Lastly, as I’ve said before, the past is not prologue. If we take the last 4 years, 2007-2010 the same figure is 5.77% due to the last two years only having 2% base increases, and the step/lane/retirement figure being only 2.5% approx. These of course are verified numbers provided by the district. Do I think the upcoming contract will return 5.77% or something close? Not a chance, it will be lower.

Thanks for doing this.

Thom Higgins

QE203.org

Thom,
What are you going to do about the pension deficits caused by the teachers and administrators? That is above and beyond the 126 million the City of Naperville is in the hole for.

With regard to the redistricting/renovations at Mill St. debate,

I realize this is done now and was probably a worthwhile update to the District facilities. What bothers me is that this District has a habit of describing things in the most expedient way at any given time. Regardless of what District leadership knew at the time of the referendum, they encouraged, or at least allowed, voters to believe that the referendum would prevent redistricting because that was perceived as the strategy most likely to get 'yes' votes (or to prevent 'no' votes.) While the web page that Thom cites above could be interpreted now as hinting at redistricting, that is definitely not how it was perceived at the time.

Why is this worth talking about? Because it's kind of like the NUEA saying that they are negotiating for what's good for kids when they are really negotiating for what's good for their members. Which is totally within their rights, but they can't have it both ways.

To Annoynumous

I think the relevant time period should be the ten year preriod ending in fiscal year 2009. I think this is the scorecard for these periods.

-1................7%
Dan D...........8.5%
Thom H........."low 6’s" (let's use 6.2%
Dave Zager,....pleads the 5th, will not provide a number
Lee G...........9% to 2006, 6.5% to 2008, no number for last year
David Griffith..too little (union negotiator)

CPI during this period.....2.5%

It is a little scary that the person (Dave Zager) who is providing input to the board on negotiations either does not know the numbers or is hiding them from the taxpayers..

Anonymous:

I do not know the answer to your question. I do not have data back 15 years.

For ten years back go through the data here: http://www.familytaxpayers.org/salary.php and go year by year person by person. Find your favorite teacher and see the year-over-year raises. This is quite tedious.

I tried to do that for all teachers employed in both 2008 and 2003 and got the 7% figure. Mr. Higgins disputes my analysis despite not understanding what I did. I sent him the spreadsheet. If he has comments on it, he can go ahead.

Mr. Zager has the ability to do this for any time frame in probably about 2 seconds flat, but he has not.

As Dan points out a few percentage points makes a large difference.

-1 (aka e^(i*pi) )

To -1, -2, Pi, Dan D, Thom H.:

Ya'll have most of us out here confused not only with your conflicting numbers, but also your varying vocabularies, inclusion/exclusion of data, etc.

So I have a simple question that requires nothing but two numbers from each of you. These are the "Total Wage Increase Percentage for individuals" (ie not total salary pool, which includes good management of turnover) in 203:

What is it for the 15 year period ending school year 2009?

What is the 10 year period ending 2009?

Now, I have my own view of this, and when you take the total individual wagem step & lane increases each year for consistent populations, I clearly come up with well over 6% for both periods in question.

So, will you guys offer the rest of us your Two numbers and NOT keep refernecing some obscure spreadsheets or websites or golden boxes in Tibet or Dave Zager or the Great Kreskin ---- Please?

By Thom Higgins on February 25, 2010 8:32 AM

Here are my SPECIFIC RESPONSES to Thom's questions.

Q "1. How can you claim that 4.92% is “ACTUAL” when you have to manipulate the Champion data to get to it?"

A. I could leave all the changes >15% or less than -15%. If I did that, the increase would be 5.5%. Don't know what is causing these changes. I think they result from teachers resigning half way into the school year (you know babies cannot always be scheduled) or returning in the middle of the year. I have been very conserevative not to OVERSTATE the number.

To repeat again, Dave Zager DOES have this information and could adjust for these 100 or so employees. But as we have said before, he will not do this.

By the way, Dave Zager supplied all of these numbers to ISBE and that the Champion posts. Ask him for the reasons the next time you see him.

Q "2. If the Champion data is gospel why did you feel you had to make adjustments for it?"

A. First, it is not a gospel, it is the Torah. Seriously, this file is a "W-2" file. There are 1,500 records over both years. The key is to isolate those employees that worked full time in both years. Many people are there one year and gone the next year. Clearly, these people either left after 2008 or joined in 2009 (turnover). We cannot use their salaries in the salary comparison.

If a person had a salary change of more than 15% (increase or decrease), I assumed it related to time of service. There is a field in that allows the District (yes, the DISTRICT) to note that period of time a salary covers. However, most are either 9 or 12 months. They do not provide guidance on how many months a person worked.

If we left all of these numbers in the equation, the increae would be 5.5%. I felt it to be prudent to be more conservative.

Q "3. Since D203 actually creates and reports teachers salary data including FTE, (and from this Dave reported the 4.76%) and the ISBE uses both in their end of year calculations, how can you claim that your number and it certainly is,your number, is more accurate knowing full well that the Champion does not solve for FTE which is why you had to make your 15% (+/-) adjustment?"

A. The District very well might create various payroll reports to various regulatory agencies. If the information on time of working reported to ISBE is not accurate, how do we know if these other reports are not accurate?

Dave gave us this 4.76% number off of his original "budget" data BEFORE THE YEAR STARTE and it NEVER CHANGED. The data does not support that. He would not reconcile this number to the actual data even though I noted similar discrepancies in 2007 and 2008 data (again, between 0.25% and 0.50%). As a trained accountant, I would never put out public information without fully vetting the numbers. On the other hand, the policy decisions are not impacted by these discrepancies.

Are you contending that these salary numbers reported by Dave Zager are wrong as well? If so, how can we trust ANY numbers? I must admit that Zager's refusal to reconcile all of these reports casts doubt over all of the numbers the District prepares. I think they are within a half of a percent and these numbers are within my "tolerence level" and do not change my positions. And even you are almost there since you now admit that "real salary increases" are in the "low 6’s" rather that 3%. But a half of a percent for $100 million is $500,000.

I am only looking at the water, not putting anything into it.

TH and others can hide behind anything they want on the overcrowding thing ---- I don't care WHAT is in their little publications. Who reads them, anyway?

I DO CARE about the face-to-face conversations (which everyone I talk to remember very well), and at those face-to-face conversations we were all TOLD IT WOULD ELIMINATE OVECROWDING AND REDISTRICTING!

It is a canard to try to defend these face-toface comments via a publication that says otherwise. It is a simple understanding of teh facts: EITHER they lied to all of us in the face-to-face meetings, or they had NO HANDLE on the facts yet using blind faith sold the referendum anyway.

Either scares me.

To finish ---- Please, TH, do not continue to so blindly defend something when it is not defendable! Sometimes you just need tio admit a mistake was made and move on. Your nonsensical defense via the publication just keeps the absurdity of teh situation alive and kicking.

Come on now, you can do it ---- go ahead, say it: It was a mistake of them to sell th e construction changes as a way to avoid redistricting and overcrowding at Mill!!!!

There --- you should feel better.

Note to all: the TAxpayers' Ticket said during their run at election that redistricting was inevitable, and as I recall they specifically mentioned Mill and Elmwood (and two others, I think).


Hmmmm ------ funny how they now seem so rational and normal after the vile, left-sided attacks on them during that election.

..and another
I have been rereading what has been written.

Do we know how Mr. Zager figures out the average raise? This is an important question.

If Mr. Zager is doing

Teach1_2009/Teach1_2008 + ... + Teach(n)_2009/Teach(n)_2008 and dividing by n, I am okay with that if he is using full time teachers for comparison.

If he is doing

(Teach1_2009+ ... Teach(n)_2009)/(Teach1_2008 +...Teach(n)_2008) then I have a problem. The 2nd is the ratio of the total salary of those full time teachers who stay in the district from year to year. Since Dan was saying something about budget numbers and not exacts, then I suspect it may be the latter we are seeing. Please verify methodology.

Sorry for the multiple posts.

Here’s how D203’s Ast. Supt. Of Finance explains it;

"Lifetime salary increases for an individual teacher, assuming they receive an Ed Doctorate and qualify for the retirement bump, over 34 years is 2.8% in constant dollars. If the Base Schedule is increased 2% (as for 2008-2010) that would be 4.8% inclusive. The prior contract increased the Base Schedule by 3.3% (2005-2008), resulting in an average inclusive annual increase of 6.1% for an individual teacher."

This reasoning is not good for determining the average raise across all teachers, especially coming from a Ast. Supt. Of Finance. The 6.1% may be correct; it may not. I understand what he is trying to say, but it does not seem to apply to a specific set of years for many teachers, each of whom is taking a different arc to the endpoint. Also, the shorter a teacher works to a certain educational level, the higher the yearly raise will be as they avoid the averaging in the end of career stall in raises. So doing the same analysis of someone with 25 years or even 30 years would show a higher average raise in present dollars.

When I figured out a sheet-to-sheet raises before, it was not consistent across the sheet. I think the latest contracts (2005-2008) are better with that. I may be recalling it incorrectly. I'll try to check that later at work.

-1

Let's get to the real point here.

The biggest cost factor facing District 203 is the upcoming teacher salaries. I will lay out my points for GOING FORWARD.

1. No guaranteed staffing commitment to the union. (They have asked for this. However, if enrollment drops, teachers employment should drop accordingly. Same for the anticipated savings that Mr. Mitrovich is seeking to implement.)

2. Complete salary freeze for existing employees for first year of new contract.

3. Elimination of all retirement incentives. If you want to retire, retire now. Last chance. This was suppose to stop two years ago, but this was part of the secret deal during our last election.

4. Increases for the remainder term of contract limited to CPI for total salary increases. The cpi increase would first fund steps up to 1.5%. Any excess, if any, could provide an accross the board salary increases.

5. Establish a new salary schedule for all new teachers, 25% below existing salary schedule. The savings resulting from this new schedule would be spent as follows:

a. 25% to fund a mentor program that would hire outside consultants, retired teachers, or "internally purchase" excess time from existing teachers to monitor new teachers for first five years. One assistant principal should be assigned full time to this task. Lack of supervision of new teachers is a real short coming of the current system. This would address this matter.

b. 25% to offset state cuts. Even if the state does not cut funding, the District should establish a five year plan to be State Funding independent.

c. 25% to future salary increases or one time bonueses for ALL teachers.

d. 25% for tax relief (unless state cuts are more drastic).

6. Extend time a teacher achieves tenure to five years consistent with mentoring program.

I think we need to beging preparing for an overall contraction of our economy of between 15 to 25%. Otherwise, the pain will be substantially greater. It is always easier to increase salaries, but difficult to cut salaries.

There will be no shortage of teachers even after a 25% pay cut in entry salaries. 203 would still be significantly above the median. Instead of 400 applications for each job, there would be 200.

Companies make these corrections periodically when the economy stalls. Entry level salaries have been decreased during every recession. Why shouldn't 203 take advantage of the market as well. Let the people try to get the Barrington jobs if Barrington is foolish not to follow our lead.

And rememeber, other than the two tier plan (that really came to me as this economy sours), Thom and his "liberal" QE203 group supports all of the above.

Now does the school board reflect the community or are they going to pull a Barak Obama on us?

And all of the other discussion centers on one point. Teachers in district 203 have done VERY WELL in the last ten years. They should be volunteering to take a pay freeze so the District will be able to survive. Yes, survive. This economy is much worst than people are spinning it.

Some comments on this from Dan;

”The Actual numbers are in. Salaries for teachers that remained with the system increased 4.92% rather than the 4.76% QE203 is reporting. As I stated earlier, the numbers are close, but not accurate.”

To Dan, As anonymous said yesterday, it’s hard to understand just who’s saying what. You statement here is illustrative of how you confuse people. The 4.76% figure is not mine, iIt was given to both of us by the Ast. Supt. Of Finance and is included in my Overview of Teachers Salary Increases For Fiscal Years 2007-2010 and your chart . It is not my number it is the districts.

Worse is your claim that the ”Actual numbers are in” and that the true number is 4.92%.

As the spreadsheet you sent me indicates you took your data from the Champion website, and adjusted it by removing any changes greaten than 15% (+/-) to compensate for the Champions not solving for FTE.

I have three questions

1. How can you claim that 4.92% is “ACTUAL” when you have to manipulate the Champion data to get to it?

2. If the Champion data is gospel why did you feel you had to make adjustments for it?

3. Since D203 actually creates and reports teachers salary data including FTE, (and from this Dave reported the 4.76%) and the ISBE uses both in their end of year calculations, how can you claim that your number and it certainly is,your number, is more accurate knowing full well that the Champion does not solve for FTE which is why you had to make your 15% (+/-) adjustment?

This is why people get confused. You can't truthfully claim that 4.92% is the "ACTUAL" number and you shouldn't claim the 4.76% is mine. It's the districts and it's the most accurate we have. All you comment did was muddy the water.

Thom Higgins

QE203.org

Teachers always feel they are underpaid. They want to be paid like Barrington or New Trier.

I have a simple proposal.

Let's pay teachers in the same manner that these Districts do. Here is the formula.

1. Calculate median income of residents of Barrington and New Trier north shore communities.

2. Divide average teacher salaries in these two districts (have to add the elementary teachers in the underlying districts for New Trier) by the median income of these two communities. The teacher salary ratio.

3. Calculate the ratio of non residential tax base in 203 versus these two district. If 203 is greater than one (meaning more commercial tax base to support education), then multiple the teacher salary ratio by the amount calculated in 2. This is the adjusted teacher salary ratio.

4. Multiply the percentage calculated in 3 (the adjusted teacher salary ratio) times the median income in Naperville. This should be the median teacher salary in Naperville.

You could do the same for Bolingbrook.

I have no clue what the answer is, but my I think that we pay a higher tax burden based on median income than these two far more wealthier communities. I for one cannot keep up with them, I could not afford to live there. I should not have to pay teachers the same as these out of reach communities.

We have to live within our means and quit pretending we are more than we are.

I like the Annonymous poster remain confused.

Thom, for the second time, what is the right salary--$76,499 or $95,049?

A simple multiple choice comment. Instead we get a "Robert Gibbs" nothing answer. You don't like people calling you on the matter, but you said nothing, you did not answer my question. If you use Todd H. that Dan posted, the number would be closer to $95,049.

Another quote from Thom H. last post.

"but in the end the average raise has not been 10%, not 9%, not 7%, but somewhere in the low 6’s. (again my estimation)."

I thought your cousin Vinny said 3%. The $95,049 is based on 6%. So is that the average salary for a specific teacher that was making $53,075 in 1998?

I cannot understand why you are being evasive?

Lifetime salary increases for an individual teacher, assuming they receive an Ed Doctorate and qualify for the retirement bump, over 34 years is 2.8% in constant dollars.

So 2.8% per year above inflation. Sounds good. And minimal risk of layoff after tenure and a pension which pays them 83%+ of their effective take home pay* and health benefits which far outstrip the private sector in a district which pays about 25% above the state average.

Mr. Higgins, I ask you to ask Mr. Zager, what about someone who has been a teacher for 20 years? What is her average raise in that time? Could it be, gasp, close to the 7% which you ridiculed with a Zowie?

Or might it be closer to 6% as you propose above but pooh-poohed back here.

I think the most dangerous thing I am reading here is that Mr. Zager appears to be negotiating on the side of the teachers.

-1

* before arguing, try to figure out why I can say this

Mr. Higgins,

Readers see that Dan and -1 are spending a lot of time highlighting the upper end of the raises/ salaries, and sure those raises/salaries exist, but in the end the average raise has not been 10%, not 9%, not 7%, but somewhere in the low 6’s. (again my estimation).

Where have I focused on upper end of raises? I gave years (chosen to allow some time averaging and to make sure there were enough data points and to avoid 20% end of career bumps.) where I spent the time to separate out each teacher who was employed in D203 in 2008 and 2003 and found the average raise for each one over those years. Included are several who probably had leave during that time and this had smaller than expected raises. I gave some numbers for specific groups.

You, on the other hand, refused to believe average raises of more than 3.54% until this fall, despite me sending you the spreadsheet and explaining it multiple times. Your response now is to call into question the number of people included in my analysis.

Why would you think the average raise is around 6% in the years I showed? Was the contract less generous? Oh yeah, it is your estimate for an unspecified time frame.

You try to compare to ECI(wages) when there has been a 2.5years per teacher drop in seniority. Does the ECI include such a drop?

You chose to include 1998. How far out of norm was the ECI and raise the year compared to the other 10 years used. It is kind of like using Lisle in your comparison. At least there you saw the error of your ways.

Did you recalculate your numbers with true ECI -- all benefits included?

The ONLY individual people I have singled out for raises are the NEUA negotiating team as a specific example. The lead has received 8.5% per year for the past 10 years, and the lowest was at 4.0%.

I am certainly offended by a grade school PE teacher making $130,000 and so many grade school librarians/media specialists making 100,000+. That has nothing to do with raises. It has everything to do with my perception of utility.

I would ask for anyone to go to the site Dan D suggested to see the salaries/raises that were received whatever teacher who will be pleading with you about the contract. In your mind the salary/raise might be too low. In your mind it might be too high. Make your own decision on unfiltered data. I suggest the IIRC site to compare districts.

Regarding this ” Since D203 was at 93.5% of state OEPP(2000)” Yes for one year when the district was in financial distress. I again ask you to add the three prior years; 1997 98.21% 1998 100.78% and 1999 101.19%. You will find that the average over 12 years is 99.45% Mr Higgins, you show an amazing ability to not want to figure out what has happened. I ask you to answer the question I asked back here after the bonds were retired in 2000.

It is clear from looking at IIRC average salary data and IIRC Instruction expense data (linked above) that teacher raises accelerated in that time beyond inflation, beyond ECI, and beyond what we can continue to afford.

-1

First, for Anonymous on February 24, 2010 1:51 PM

All I can say is Amen! (and my apologies) I would dearly love to have an independent arbiter referee. All I can say is I’m trying my best, using official source information and posting it on the internet , so it can be seen and studied. The laugh is when Dan and I met with 203’s Ast. Supt of Finance. I thought we had found some common ground. If you compare Dan’s Chart to mine above you will see the significant similarity, especially in the numbers. I did mine later and had the benefit of one more years data.

I’ll recap for a moment. Here is what I believe is a fair and accurate representation of D203 salaries and raises, using the ISBE documents and data provided by D203.

From the ISBE (Illinois State Board of Education) we know that the average increase in wages for the years 1998 to 2009 was 3.54%, this is the average increase we pay for as taxpayers. It is almost identical to the national average increase in wages (3.42%) as Illustrated by the ECI (Employment Cost Index). Anyone who wants to claim the ECI isn’t the appropriate comparison is free to take it up with D203, I’ve illustrated their use of it in budget documents posted on the districts website.

So, does this mean that the entire nation only received 3.5% raises for the last 11 years? The answer is, of course, no, and I don’t know that percentage nationally. For D203 teachers the average raise for that same time frame I’m estimating (more on my methodology when I have a sec) at 6.2 to 6.5%. From data supplied by the District we know (within a few .10th’s) that the average raise for the years 2007-2010 was 5.77%. Remember this is the average raise. Some get more some get less.

We all know the refrain that teachers should receive only raises equal to CPI, and certainly there are industries such as manufacturing that this is indeed how people are paid. But if you look at teaching as a profession, they, like all other professionals, are going to receive more than CPI increases.

Readers see that Dan and -1 are spending a lot of time highlighting the upper end of the raises/ salaries, and sure those raises/salaries exist, but in the end the average raise has not been 10%, not 9%, not 7%, but somewhere in the low 6’s. (again my estimation). And one more time, our net cost , (what it’s really costing us) has averaged 3.54%

So to get to -2’s question ” How much is that teacher making in 2009--The $76,499 that Thom says or $95,049 (I'll use the low end) that Dan D. says?”

Remember the number I quoted $77,764, is the average teacher salary It is on the ISBE D203 Report Card for all to see. It is not a specific teacher. Some are making more, some less. I don’t see how Dan can possibly dispute this. I will also note that in his response to you that even he didn’t explain where he got his two salary numbers.

For the current contract the beginning salary is $42,808(in 1999 it was $29,500) and the maximum salary after 22 years and the equivalent of a Doctorate (MA+ 54 hrs) is $105,000. And of course no t everyone stays 22 years or gets a Doctorate. (stipends are additional). And after 22 years you only can receive the base increase (historically 2-4%) and 20-22% of teachers are here on the scale. So you have people all over that salary range and also getting different percentage increases depending where they are on the chart. It’s not linear. Here’s how D203’s Ast. Supt. Of Finance explains it;

"Lifetime salary increases for an individual teacher, assuming they receive an Ed Doctorate and qualify for the retirement bump, over 34 years is 2.8% in constant dollars. If the Base Schedule is increased 2% (as for 2008-2010) that would be 4.8% inclusive. The prior contract increased the Base Schedule by 3.3% (2005-2008), resulting in an average inclusive annual increase of 6.1% for an individual teacher."

"The actual cost to the School District of Teachers Salaries is less than the individual annual inclusive increase due to attrition."

For-1

Regarding this ” Since D203 was at 93.5% of state OEPP(2000)” Yes for one year when the district was in financial distress. I again ask you to add the three prior years; 1997 98.21% 1998 100.78% and 1999 101.19%. You will find that the average over 12 years is 99.45%


Thom Higgins

QE203.org

The Actual numbers are in. Salaries for teachers that remained with the system increased 4.92% rather than the 4.76% QE203 is reporting. As I stated earlier, the numbers are close, but not accurate.

Another reason this number is decreasing is that teachers are too far down the salary scale. They no longer get major step and lane changes.

Anonymous,

Sorry about the details. Details make or break any deal.

Mr. Higgins: My comment is regarding the Bond expense (counted in OEPP) which was averted by the inappropriate use of 2002 referendum dollars for the latest capital plan. Poof .. expense disappears from the OEPP ledger. Are you also implying that all teachers are involved in revenue-generating curriculum development and therefore deserve the raises we've seen?

Since D203 was at 93.5% of state OEPP(2000), it appears that the teachers have decided that ALL of the drop due to paying off bonds -- included in OEPP -- should be funneled back to them. I could give numbers, but anyone can go to teacher's salary and OEPP. In particular note how the instructional portion of the D203 costs has escalated compared to state instructional inflation (which itself greater than CPI). Where is that expense? In raises which have exceeded even the state education inflation.

Better yet, see my above posts to look at the plots of OEPP over time.

-1

To Anonymous on February 24, 2010 1:51 PM

I must admit that I get confused by the numbers that Tom throws out. And I am a CPA.

But let me tell you why he attempts to confuse things. Because he wants to bury the facts.

Take this aveage number concept. Just like you, -2 is confused. In 2009,is a teacher making $76,499 that Thom says or $95,049? Simple question. Did you notice Thom's last response? He needs more time to respond to the question.

HUH?!? A multiple choice question with two choices.

My interpretation--Average 203 teacher salary
1998......$53,075
2009......$76,499 (a different group of people)

Average Increase (11 years) 3.38% (a compound #)

Specific Teacher
1998.......$30,000 (entry level)
2009.......$63,145

Average Increase (11 years) 7.0% (using -1 number)

To illustrate what has really happened, here is a sample teacher's actual salaries since 2000 (Champion News archives data to 2000)

Todd H.
Year....Salary...% Change
2000....33,074
2001....35,708...7.96%
2002....40,128...12.38%
2003....47,658...18.76%
2004....50,251...5.44%
2005....53,274...6.02%
2006....56,707...6.44%
2007....60,440...6.58%
2008....66,680...10.32%
2009....81,228...21.82%

Average % increase...10.64%

More than Thom, more than -1. Did you do as well in the last 9 years?

You can check EVERY 203 teacher on this site. You can make sure I picked up the right amounts for Todd H. Here is the link so you can review yourself:

http://www.familytaxpayers.org/salary.php

Does this help? And I would be GLAD to answer ANY question you have until you are satisfied.

Perhaps it's just me, though I am beginning to suspect that it is not, that my feeling on this is perhaps more widespread, but it needs to be said -
Tom, Dan, I don't believe either of you anymore and am beginning to believe that neither of you has the remotest idea of the actual situation. You may continue to fight it out here, and I actually hope you do. I'll keep reading, but I'll also keep shaking my head at your collective inability to lay out a clear argument with numbers that both sides can at least agree on. You've gotten down to silly minutia, and going round and round with all of it is no longer illuminating, to me at least.
If you can't even agree on a simple, beginning set of data, then interpretation will never come to pass, so why even try? I get that you've tried to work this out in the past, but really. What we're going to need is a pair of referees, a CPA and a statistician. THAT would be useful to those of us playing along at home.

For Becky,

All I can do is point you to the published documents from that time. Mill’s renovation only included one full size classroom. If there had not been a discussion about re-districting after the Early Childhood Center ‘s completion freeing up space at Elmwood, I suspect there would have been a riot as people would want to know how one classroom was going to handle the overcrowding . Here’s the pertinent webapge links ;

BTF203 Mill St.

District 203 Facilities upgrade plan

-1;

I will talk to Mr. Zager when he’s available. Negotiations are now underway for the teachers contract so he’s a little busy.

Couple comments about this ”I am also concerned that the OEPP is likely several hundred dollars shy due to the use of operating referendum funds for site and constriction, thus hiding real numbers.”

The “O” in OEPP stands for operations as you know, but others might not. If you simply took the total budget and divided it by ADA (Avg. Daily Attend.) you would have huge swings at times. D203 is the perfect example right now. If you compare the last two years budget the difference is like $50 million, a huge number. But that’s because of the facilities referendum, not because D203 is going crazy spending. The rationale of excluding it is to have a measure on what district is spending on education. D204 is another example. They have a lower OEPP but taxes are higher in 204 because they have all these new schools to pay for.
-2;

I need more time than I have right now to respond. I’ll address your questions tonight.

Thom Higgins

QE203.org


Regarding By Epi-nonymous on February 21, 2010 12:31 PM
"First, in the lead-up to the last referendum I attended many, many meetings. In fact, I went on two of the “walk throughs” of Central. I may be mistaken, but one of the walk-throughs was led by the facilities guy and the parent that was helping lead the referendum sell and included soon-to-be Board member Weeks, and the second included a guy who I think is now on the school Board (not Weeks --- the other new one).

Guess what, folks? They all distinctly stated that the new buildings & improvements would
A)Guarantee no redistricting for 203, and
B)Would solve the overcrowding issues at Mill St school"

I agree. At the time of the last referendum, I was at candidate forums and General H&S meetings, and had conversations with SB members and administrators. The topic of redistricting was universally avoided. Nobody would touch it. Regardless of conversations district leadership may have had in private, redistricting was definitely NOT part of the sales pitch for the referendum (which was coordinated by the union-based firm UNICOM-ARC.)

Thom Says

"Using 1998 as the starting place (Avg. teachers salary $53,075)

Average Teacher salary increased by 3.54% annually to $77,764 as -1’s chart shows.

The average annual increase in CPI was 2.55%. Had a D203 teachers salary increased by CPI their ending salary in 2009 would have been $70, 008.

The average increase in ECI (wages) was 3.42%. Had a D203 teachers salary increased by ECI their ending salary in 2009 would be $76,499."

Dan D comments:

"Your analysis would be fine IF the ending salary for a specific employee (not the average employee) was $77,764. It isn't. The actual salary is between $95,049 (6%) and $125,000 (9%). Go to the W-2 files, this is where these people salaries are. These increses are obscene, "smashing" to quote -1."

How much is that teacher making in 2009--The $76,499 that Thom says or $95,049 (I'll use the low end) that Dan D. says?

Simple question, how about a simple answer.

One more for -1;

Your comment here;

You chart says ECI = 3.2% giving a salary of 74595. If you want to use this as a starting point for an across the board 4.35% salary slash and include the 2.5 years lost to seniority for another 5%+, I think many would agree with you.

My chart Overview of Teachers Salary Increases For Fiscal Years 2007-2010 does show a 3.2 ECI. I’d have to go back and find my notes on how I derived it. However, for my latest worksheet I did change to the June number to match what D203 uses. That could account for the .24 variance. As for methodology, I took the1998 average salary and calculated what that salary would be if the teachers received raises based on the actual yearly increase (no averaging) in ECI for the years up to 2009, so it is very accurate. Doing that calculation (I found a little glitch) returns a 2009 avg. salary of $76,826, or $938.00 less than what D203 teachers receive.

Again, all this slightly provisional until I match my index numbers with D203’s, etc.

As for you advocating that they should receive less due to their average tenure dropping 2.5 years, I take your point but let’s not mix straight statistics (teachers salaries increasing by .12% more than the national average) with a judgment ( lower avg. tenure should = lower pay). BTW you will note that the advanced degree percentage is constant, which I think is more important.

This is a good point to talk about D203 teachers vs. other SD’s. Not all district’s operate in the same manner, and when it comes to curriculum and curriculum development D203 places far greater demands on its teachers vs other SD’s, and the district is a recognized leader in curriculum development. Some brief examples;

D203 has been an innovator in identifying educational needs and responding to them. D203 is justifiably famous for its Project LEAP which is 20 some years old. D203 actually has a deal with an ed publisher for an early reading program and receives royalties on it. The district also helps train local teachers in the national Reading Recovery a comparable national program.

The district creates a vast amount of its own curriculum with teachers and staff collaborating together to create, and then, monitor and revise the curriculum. This demands more active involvement by all parties. If you’re a teacher and just want to teach from your textbook’s planning guide, this is not the district for you.

Another example on curriculum innovation is the district’s piloting Standard-Based Education in selected schools.

It’s a vast subject, and this is overly brief, this district and its teachers are committed to continuous improvement.

Thom Higgins

QE203.org

Mr. Higgins,

May I request, yet again, that you try to read and understand what I am saying.

As for your analysis of the average raise for teachers/admin from 2003 to 2008 returning 7%, you later indicated it only comprises 700 positions. What about the other 350? Are you claiming/implying that the average raise for all staff for the years 2003 through 3008 was 7%?

There were 1109 FTE certified teachers in 2003. There were 1079 FTE teachers in 2008. I am not sure how many administrators (about 60). Not all of the teachers were Full Time both time periods, so they would not be included in my analysis. 1109 FTE also does not mean 1109 Full Time.

If you are proposing that there were 1050 Full Time Teachers/Admin who were employed by the district in both 2003 and 2008 -- great. I'm not sure where turnover is coming from. I can only use what is there. (note: I just checked and the administrators listed and after removing the negative raises came out at 6.75%)

As I said before this is an EASY number for the district to calculate. SIMPLE. Ask Mr. Zager to do it, and publish the methodology. In the absence of that, we can only use the champion data. Since the champion did not know what analysis I would be doing, I suspect it didn't specifically hide data from me. I removed data which showed too large of a raise and included the few who got negative raises.

The fact that this covers all people who were there in 2003 AND 2008 removes 20% bumpers. It also removes the non-tenured who were not likely into the lane shift categories and were replaced before getting lane change raises.

Anyway this is a stupid exercise since Mr. Zager has data. Give it up!

I would like you to please publish his exact methods for calculating lines 1 2 and 3 in your report. Did he take all full-time individual teachers for part 1 or did he take total payroll for teachers who stayed in the district and average that or not even average it, and take the percent change. For part 3, is this increase in average salary or increase in total payroll. Despite my prior thoughts and Dan's and your claims that it is the former, the difference from 2006 may indicate the latter. Or maybe a six month shift is enough to throw things off that much.

These are simple things to verify. Please tell us what you find out.

On the raises, what I care about, as I said before, is what happened when D203 was at 93.5% of the state average for spending to now? I am also concerned that the OEPP is likely several hundred dollars shy due to the use of operating referendum funds for site and constriction, thus hiding real numbers.

We can see that average teacher salary has outpaced state inflation for average teacher salary in the time frame listed on the IIRC. Is inflation somehow higher here in Napervile that we must beat the state in that also.

Subgroup analysis of interest per-year raise on average. All pretty similar.

PE : 7.46%

Elementary self-contained 7.19%

Librarian/Media Specialist 7.11%

By the way, Mr. Higgins, I sent this excel file to you in the spring. Try to find it. I had 2757 salary point including admin, nurses, and so on. 788 were there for both years as Full Time. Of those with data points in both years, 763 had raises which caused less than a doubling of salary.

Again, ask Mr. Zager to get the numbers.

-1


Responding to some of Dan’s post (too much to do all in one night). His comments in Iitalics;


The "analyst" for the Will DuPage Taxpayer Alliance who moved out of town calculated averages of almost 9%,


Oh yeah? My cousin Vinny before he disappeared calculated it at 3%! Gotta do better than that Dan.


How accurate is the denominator supplied by the district? Or does the report card use the Champion data?


Oh, so now the ISBE is going to the champion for their data? Dan, this is just more of your typical sophistry.


But my point is that this average salary increase is lower than the "same universe W-2"


If you are saying the average salary increase (line 3.) is lower than average raise (line 1.) in my Overview of Teachers Salary Increases For Fiscal Years 2007-2010 I agree.


I know of NO EMPLOYER that uses this methodology except Thom. And maybe unfortunately District 203


Dan’s been beating this one pretty hard. Let’s face it, it kinda messes up his excessive teachers raises/salaries narrative when the average percentage of increase in teachers salaries so closely tracks the nations wage increase percentages. He sure wrote a ton about it today and how wrong I am. For the record I consider his assertions pretty laughable.


He keeps trying to claim this is just my uninformed construct and he sure hopes that D203 isn’t doing this. Well I think if Dan’s so concerned about D203 using this flawed methodology then he better get down to the next SB meeting and demand that heads roll, and roll now! Here it is, The terrible truth revealed! Pg. 77" I hope not too many people lose their jobs over this………..


For-1.

As to line 2. (turnover) we are at an impasse. As I said previously, the next time I see Mr. Zager I will show him your comments and report back.

As for your analysis of the average raise for teachers/admin from 2003 to 2008 returning 7%, you later indicated it only comprises 700 positions. What about the other 350? Are you claiming/implying that the average raise for all staff for the years 2003 through 3008 was 7%?

Lastly, responding to your claim of D203 ”smashing through state average”, I’ll just re-post my prior comments;

” Yes, yes, D203's OEPP has gone from slightly below to slightly above the state average for the years you choose to highlight , although if you go back three years more, we were again slightly above the state average for those years. Your argument about a slight acceleration in spending for your chosen 7 years, lacks impact when one sees that at the end we are spending so much less than other SD's. Claiming that we are on some sort of unsustainable trajectory due to your chosen 7 years, seems tenuous to me.”

As I’ve said repeatedly, D203 at 2-3-4% over the state average, pales when you compare it to its academic and economic peers. The top 7 high school districts spend 35% more than the state average and Lisle next door with only 1500 students approaches 50% more than the state average.

Lastly, if you go back and look at the years where D203 was spending was the lowest compared to the state average it was the time just before the referendum when the district was in financial difficulties.

Someone made the comment about economies for scale saving tax dollars. The following two spread sheets illustrate the difference in costs between D203 compared to the top 7 CUSD’s and D203 compared to the top 7 High School districts

Lastly, regarding this;”My chart shows Average teacher salary increase = 3.64% (NOT 3.54%)

I went back one year farther. Both are correct.

Thom Higgins
QE203.org

Naperville is not unique here. Apparently the state owes the following:

Chicago State: $10.6 million
Eastern Illinois: $23.4 million
Governors State: $9.5 million
Illinois State: $40.5 million
Northeastern: $18.4 million
Northern Illinois: $59.6 million
Western Illinois: $21.3 million
Southern Illinois: $119.9 million
University of Illinois: $431.7 million

http://www.metroplanning.org/news-events/blog-post/5778

NIU said they just made payroll in Dec. This is nuts!

So how about those Cubbies??

Mr. Higgins:

Average Teacher salary increased by 3.54% annually to $77,764 as -1’s chart shows.

The average annual increase in CPI was 2.55%. Had a D203 teachers salary increased by CPI their ending salary in 2009 would have been $70, 008.

The average increase in ECI (wages) was 3.42%. Had a D203 teachers salary increased by ECI their ending salary in 2009 would be $76,499.


My chart shows Average teacher salary increase = 3.64% (NOT 3.54%)

You chart says ECI = 3.2% giving a salary of 74595. If you want to use this as a starting point for an across the board 4.35% salary slash and include the 2.5 years lost to seniority for another 5%+, I think many would agree with you.

-1

Epi-nonymous:

Yes, 7% by taking MrA2008 / MrA2003 then taking the 5th root. I did this for all teachers employed in both years and excluded what seemed to be excessive raises as mentioned above.

The district could give a simple answer by looking at the raises given to returning full time certified teachers over each of the past 10 years, but they have not. We are left to pull the data from the champion database and try to work it out ourselves. It seems as if I am trying to be as fair as possible with the data.

I'll re-post the info on expenses here.

http://iirc.niu.edu/District.aspx?districtid=19022203026

Go to Test Results, Scatter Plots, Compare by $Per Pupil Exp.-Oper then press the green GO button. Then go back year by year to see D203 smashing through state average. The year drop-down box is at the left of the graph. The red triangle is D203.

-1

BORRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Thom,

Again, a sincere "thank you" for presenting the School District's point of view or a sympathetic point of view; or there would be no discussion.

You have moved closer to answering my question about the cost per square foot the school district pays for new construction so that I can get a comparison to other buildings. I know that we can all agree that we don't want the cash starved school district paying more than they have to for new buildings.

Again, my sincere thanks.

PS any chance the construction background board member can get on this blog and answer some questions?


xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

By Thom Higgins on February 22, 2010 11:38 PM

As always a lot to comment on and I’m not going to be able to comment on everything;

First the status of the renovation, this document was presented at the last SB meeting. With 15% left to bid on Central, the entire renovation program is $9.6 million under budget. This summer work starts on the renovating the old part of Central. If there are some “surprises “ lurking, then the $9.6 will be reduced.

-1,

If I understand your post correctly, you are saying that per your review the percent increase of salary by individual was 7% for the 5 yr period?

I had done something similar 3 years ago covering the previous 10 year period and cam up with an average of about 6.4% for the 10 years. In that same time period I had inflation at right around 2,4% (the genesis of my “..about three times inflation” comment to TH.). This is limited to just salary/wages --- when you include other salary related it is a much worse picture!

In reading your “add-on” to Abides, I want to make sure I understand that correctly, too:

By “smashing through state average” are you saying that 203 did, indeed, go from a below-State-average spending rate to an above-average-spending rate?

If so, this is indeed a sad state of affairs as I agree completely that as such a large district we should have economies of scale that allow for below-average spending rates.

Thom's comments.

“More interesting, teachers with 15 years of experience from other Districts come to 203 and accept credit for only five years of experience and they get salary increases!! Can you imagine the moral problem with two teachers with 15 years experience being paid 20% different?”

I'm not sure what your point is. The max credit D203 will give is 5 years for a new hire, so that 15 year teacher goes backwards on the chart (meaning salary). Do you want to give them the full 15 year credit and pay them more?

Thom, this is not a put down, but your liberal filters make it difficult for you to see. As most other readers would immediately conclude, my point is that a teacher with five years of experience in 203 is paid more than a teacher elsewhere in the metro area with 15 years. District 203 has a very generous pay scale.

Reminds me of two of my high school classmates. One has been teacher for 25 years in Cook County. The other ten years in Naperville. Who makes more money? Naperville.

And Thom, "minor editing in your "Overview of Teachers Salary Increases For Fiscal Years 2007-2010". Be honest with everyone. You increased the narative more than four times what Dave and I had agreed to. So don't pass this off as Dave's document, I do not want -1 to fire him.

And Thom, we get your point. I, for one, do not agree. Take your calculation:

Using 1998 as the starting place (Avg. teachers salary $53,075)

Average Teacher salary increased by 3.54% annually to $77,764 as -1’s chart shows.

The average annual increase in CPI was 2.55%. Had a D203 teachers salary increased by CPI their ending salary in 2009 would have been $70, 008.

The average increase in ECI (wages) was 3.42%. Had a D203 teachers salary increased by ECI their ending salary in 2009 would be $76,499.

Your analysis would be fine IF the ending salary for a specific employee (not the average employee) was $77,764. It isn't. The actual salary is between $95,049 (6%) and $125,000 (9%). Go to the W-2 files, this is where these people salaries are. These increses are obscene, "smashing" to quote -1.

This summarizes your position and I for one do not feel this works. I would (and in fact have) supported salary systems that give returning employees CPI plus 1%. I have several client on the North Shore that use this method. They do not use your method.

Now don't get mad, this clearly illustrates our respective positions. You advocate that a teacher making $95,000 based on a 6% compound salary increase is ok based on the paying the teacher the benefits of turnover. I respectfully disagree.

Do you not agree that if there was no turnover then both figures would be the same?

NO. For the millionth time, please read my posts.

Is it fair or reasonable to ask teachers to have their wages increase by CPI when the national increase in wages is significantly higher? Tell me which teacher doesn't get a raise at least CPI? Using ECI(wages) and my analysis here, does QE203 believe there should be an immediate 9-10% pay cut? If not, why not? There has actually been a 2.5 year decrease in experience, so maybe you could advocate for a larger pay cut. Live by the ECI, die by the ECI.

Given Dr. Leis' comments from 2005 about the district incurring higher medical costs because private employers were cutting back (implying families of D203 employees were using D203 for medical benefits), I suspect that when benefits (and the past 5 years) are included, then the numbers are even worse. Also, I find it interesting that you say "The ECI is used by the Federal Reserve to set monetary policy; as the Fed has publicly stated, it prefers the value of this release to the Employment Situation Report's hourly cost figures, which just include wages." Yet you use wages only. Your quite an odd duck, Mt. Higgins.

How many people? About 700.

Too tired to argue about your low income comment. Another time. Not sure what the argument is. My perception (may be wrong) is that in the spring you seemed to not accept this idea as much as you seem to now. If there is no change in your belief, great. If there has been a change, what caused it? If you found my statement demeaning in any way, I apologize.

_________________________________________________________

LINE 3 COMMENTS

Subtle complaint about line (3) "Net average annual increase in salary cost incurred by the district and paid by the taxpayer (3.)" and from Dan "And -1, row 3 on Thom's spreadsheet is the change between salary expense in year 1 and year 2. If you took the average salary for year 1 and year 2 and compared them, you should get the same number." I had been assuming it was Dan's description, but rereading Mr. Higgins' words, it appears that it is a total sum salary increase.

I am trying to see why 2006-2007 is so far off. 3.3 vs 4.1 is a big difference. That's why I proposed the reason in my above post. Ask Mr. Zager what line (3) really is. It is a small point and not worth battling over. I was just surprised to see the two numbers so far off.

Whatever the real value, it does not allow line 2 to be all about turnover.

Yes Row (2) has a large component of turnover, but it is not the sole driver of "savings". In my example above you can see that smaller percent raises for higher paid employees can also create "savings". This is important for people who may believe that "savings" should be funneled back towards teachers.

-1

All of us have run numbers off the Champion bending over backward to give the District the benefit of the doubt. The "analyst" for the Will DuPage Taxpayer Alliance who moved out of town calculated averages of almost 9%, in those years with 5% average salary increases. If -1 gets 7% for 2003 to 2008 and I got 6.35% for 2007 and 2008, we now the average for the first three years is almost 7.5%.

When I was working with Zager and Higgins on a common ground, anything over 6% was obscene.

And -1, row 3 on Thom's spreadsheet is the change between salary expense in year 1 and year 2. If you took the average salary for year 1 and year 2 and compared them, you should get the same number. This is based on salary expense divided by average number of teachers should equal the number on the report card. But guess what? How accurate is the denominator supplied by the district? Or does the report card use the Champion data?

But my point is that this average salary increase is lower than the "same universe W-2" comparison becuase of changes in the composition of the staff. Generally, the change in the staff has been the elimination of higher paid, retiring teachers in year 1 with lower paid entry level teachers in year 2. Or the row 2 concept of turnover.

Now understand what Thom says. He says that when the Bureau of Labor Statisitics compiles median weekly salaries in their household survey or the employee cost index in their employer survey that they get a cross section of people with the SAME characterisitics as District 203. In other words, all employers (and the universe of employees) have the same characteristic as the District 203 employee pool. Therefore, teachers salaries should be INCREASED to reflect the changes in the employee pool.

I do not think the household report incorporates any turnover. Why? Because the person being surveyed had to be holding the job. The survey takes the entire universe and ignores people who are not employed. If done correctly, it should have the same number of teachers with one year experience and 30 year experience.

As to the employment cost index, they measure positons. People cannot stay in th same position for 30 years (as a teacher) and get salary increases. After five to ten years, your salary is frozen if you did not get a promotion. This contributes to part of the problem that teachers have with compensation. They compare their salary increases where they are doing the same job to their acquaintencnes in the private sector that are getting promotions. But remember, the ambitious teachers do pursue extra work or administration. The others, they take on nothing.

But then if you use the 2008 secondary teacher median weekly earnings of $949, then the median teacher makes less than $50,000 (by the way 35% over the average of ALL employees). District 203 just blows away this number.

So understand, Thom feels that if the average salary increases by 3%for all employees, then a teacher should bet at least another 4% or 7% total. (See Dude, I know what this guy says).

I know of NO EMPLOYER that uses this methodology except Thom. And maybe unfortunately District 203. If they succeed, they will always be doing better than the private sector. By the way, this problem is not limited to public sector teachers, but is the same for firemen, policmen, most civil servants. It is an issue only in the public sector where people cannot be fired. And that is where we have fiscal problems today.

I would hope that the District's new Human Resource director has not been corrupted yet by this perverse salary program. Taxes cannot afford it.

-1

Had time to read your post @8:31

How many people are you talking about in your list?

As for your comment to Mr. abides I really love the "smashing" adjective! I don't know about you but I'm just gonna re-post my previous comments. Stand by them 100%.

Too tired to argue about your low income comment. Another time.

TH

As always a lot to comment on and I’m not going to be able to comment on everything;

First the status of the renovation, this document was presented at the last SB meeting. With 15% left to bid on Central, the entire renovation program is $9.6 million under budget. This summer work starts on the renovating the old part of Central. If there are some “surprises “ lurking, then the $9.6 will be reduced.

From Dan; “More interesting, teachers with 15 years of experience from other Districts come to 203 and accept credit for only five years of experience and they get salary increases!! Can you imagine the moral problem with two teachers with 15 years experience being paid 20% different?”

I'm not sure what your point is. The max credit D203 will give is 5 years for a new hire, so that 15 year teacher goes backwards on the chart (meaning salary). Do you want to give them the full 15 year credit and pay them more?

Also regarding Dan’s s comments that once a teacher passes a course their salary is increased immediately. Course work must be approved, and upon completion of the course, if submitted by 10-1, paycheck increases begin in November. The second window is the first day of the second semester and are prorated at ½ of a years credit.

Some background for -1 aka E^(i*pi)

Regarding this from you; ” Both the Q & A and the ECI information were provided by the Ast. Supt. Huh? You are telling me that someone at the school district created the Q&A on teacher salaries on your website? I hope everyone reads the Q&A and asks for the resignation of that person. A private citizen writing an inane Q&A is one thing, but a D203 employee doing it is an entirely different matter”. (from post by Thom Higgins on February 16, 2010 7:51 PM -- link not working)

The questions included are either Dan’s or mine that were posed over a number of shared emails, and yes, the answers are from Mr. Zager, with some very minor editing for clarification by me here and there.

Regarding this from you; ” One of the prime differences between this number and the above number is that, although the people mentioned above WILL be included, the replacement of long-tenured teachers by new teachers helps lower the average salary number (as I pointed out above, though the difference is also due to differential pay raise calculated above and these numbers cannot be directly compared since they represent different populations.)”
As well as this; ” also ask you to stop saying turnover is the sole driver of the difference between the two numbers you are using. I gave you a concrete example above why smaller raises in the higher paid teaches cause a "savings".

To me all of this revolves around what Line 1. In my Overview of Teachers Salary Increases For Fiscal Years 2007-2010 actually represents. As I have mentioned previously, these numbers come from the districts Position Control Report. Line 1. Represents the average increase in salary for all incumbent teachers. It’s total wages/ FTE. It picks up any fluctuation in wages (including your examples). BTW I suspect Dave used the Feb/March report when he gave us the numbers for the years 08-09 and the Nov report for the 09-10 figures. The ISBE’s numbers are at years end (school year).

Line 3. Is Dave’s calculation of the Average Increase in Teachers salaries (which adds in any new teachers to the salary pool and again/FTE).

So yes, I continue to maintain that turnover is the “sole driver” of the difference. Do you not agree that if there was no turnover then both figures would be the same?

I’m wondering why you are thinking that the average raise may have approached 8-9% in 2002 and 2003. What are you saying caused it to increase so much in those years? just saw your latest post as I was finishing this. Will you give us your breakdown by year?

Lastly, thanks for posting the percentages. The careful reader will see that there is an ever so slight slight variation to the percentages in line 3. of my report. Namely 4.22% vs. 4.13% (07-08) and 3.53% vs. 3.63% (08-09). This is due, I’m sure, to the different timing of report Dave provided and the ISBE report. Regardless, slight variations in the .10’ths of a percent are de minimis.

I’m working on a spreadsheet to help, as accurately as possible, talk about D203 average salaries as it relates to ECI and CPI. A note to -1. The district uses the June ECI in its calculations I believe as it matches their Fiscal Year, so I am as well. I got lazy on the CPI and used December. I think the district splits it at June as well. The spreadsheet dispenses with averages and calculates based on the actual yearly changes to the CPI and ECI. Provisionally, as I need to vet it some more, here are the results;

Using 1998 as the starting place (Avg. teachers salary $53,075)

Average Teacher salary increased by 3.54% annually to $77,764 as -1’s chart shows.

The average annual increase in CPI was 2.55%. Had a D203 teachers salary increased by CPI their ending salary in 2009 would have been $70, 008.

The average increase in ECI (wages) was 3.42%. Had a D203 teachers salary increased by ECI their ending salary in 2009 would be $76,499.

So let me ask the rhetorical question. Is it fair or reasonable to ask teachers to have their wages increase by CPI when the national increase in wages is significantly higher?

That’s the best I can do for one night.

Thom Higgins

QE203.org


Epi-nonymous

what you are asking for takes some work.

Last spring, I took the champion data from 2008 and 2003.

I then did a ratio of the salary of everyone who was listed in both years.

I took the 5th root of that ratio for each teacher and then I averaged those numbers after deleting the top 45 or so ratios while still including any ratio less than 1.

There is no way this could overstate the average raise in this time. This was also a geometric mean for each teacher, not an arithmetic, so it would be smaller than what is being used in line 1 by Mr. Higgins. negatives - it did include administrators so those who went from teaching to administration may have had a slightly larger thane expected raise.

The number I got was 7.00%.

So a conservative answer for year-to-year average raise from 2003 to 2008 for teachers who remained in D203 is 7%. Yes 7% per year for 5 years.

Hope that helps.

Mr. Abides: I'll try to find my posts from last spring where I looked at D203 data compared to itself. The best way is to click on the IIRC website in my Name above. Go to Test Results, Scatter Plots, Compare by $Per Pupil Exp.-Oper and then go back year by year to see D203 smashing through state average. In the spring, this was an extensive discussion, but Mr. Higgins accepts statewide educational inflation as a good comparison, but even with that D203 keeps pushing away from the pack.

For what I think finally changed Mr. Higgin's mind about income levels was the graph where results are plotted against %low income.

-1

By-1 wrote : 2009 77,764 3.53%

In private industry, millions of people got no increases at all in 2009. They were lucky to hold on to their jobs. Government jobs and increases in pay are out of control.

"The reality is all these tax and spend liberals and their union ilk have bankrupted the country."

Take a look at the governors of IL over the last 30 years or so and notice which party they're from. Also look at the Presidents of the US over the same period of time. Mostly all Republicans too. The one thing I notice about Republicans is their constant drive for lowering taxes for the rich while wildly spending on wars, increasing deficits like crazy, etc.
There are hardly any union members left in this country compared to 50 years ago as we're all so intent on offshoring jobs. Now if we could only offshore District 204's highly paid administrators

Dan D,

I think what I wrote was correct:

Total Salary expense = average salary * # of teachers . If this is wrong, please tell me.

The number presented is the percent increase in this number.

That makes comparisons between (1) and (3) even less meaningful.

More importantly, since line (3) does not take other benefit costs into account it is much smaller than true increase in employee costs. Line (3) with benefits is WAY above CPI, again leading to the only possible conclusion -- teacher payroll and benefits costs growing at a larger rate than CPI means everything else in the budget eventually gets squeezed out.

As a business owner, I fully agree with your final comment.

-1

I am looking for the avg increase/raise, per year , of individual wages & related.

I agree with Dan D. and _1 that it ranges in the 6 to 9% range each year at a minimum.

Year, average salary, increase in average salary

Note: Average raise is much higher than increase in average salary, and average raise may have approached 8-9% in 2002 and 2003.

In 2006, there were multiple retirements due to the loss of 20% bumps, making an increase of .07%.


1999 54,439
2000 56,015 2.89%
2001 58,038 3.61%
2002 61,131 5.33%
2003 64,670 5.79%
2004 67,234 3.96%
2005 69,719 3.70%
2006 69,770 0.07%
2007 72,071 3.30%
2008 75,112 4.22%
2009 77,764 3.53%

-1

Dude

You make a good case. But in your example, you are inputting perfect "utils".

In District 203's case, how do you determine the economic value or loss of paying a teacher an extra 3 to 6 percent in salary each year. How do you measure the output of a teacher in Naperville versus Bolingbrook (who makes 20% less in salary)?

District 203 has 2,000 people showing up at a job fair for 40 positions. There is plenty of supply.

More interesting, teachers with 15 years of experience from other Districts come to 203 and accept credit for only five years of experience and they get salary increases!! Can you imagine the moral problem with two teachers with 15 years experience being paid 20% different?

Bottom line, none of this makes ANY economic sense. But that is because we do not have a market. People cannot pull their children out of a class with an incompetant teacher.

In the private sector, when managers determine their employees are being overpaid, they cut the salaries (except AIG when funded by the US Government). Not so in the public sector. Leis did it one year, he forced principals to higher teachers with less than 5 year experience and he reduced salary costs.

To -1. I do not think row (3) is what you think it is. Instead, it is the change in salary expense from one year to the next. That is the basis of my comment, if a District saves money, that benefit goes to the taxpsyers (shareholders), not the workers (except in collectives in any remaining Communist countries, if any).

e^(i*pi)

yes, we know there is some "noise", remember my statement; " The calculations Zager provided, while not perfectly aligning with the ISBE calculations down to the exact .10% are certainly more than accurate enough for our purposes and give a clear view on the subject.”

For the readers playing at home will you please illustrate the difference in %'s for both.

More tonight.

Thom Higgins

QE203.org


Which claims?

Is it the inflation rate comment?

The 15yr inflation rate was a little over 2.5% --- let's go with 2.6%.

The increases over that time per individual was around 6% ---can Dan D or anyone else (Pi?) support this?

Close enough for horseshoes.

Was it the comment on the diff twixt 3.6 and 3.2 as being significant? Sorry, man, but that is a judgement call and cannot be debated. I stand by the statement that the public sector should always be lower than the private sector (this is a basic economic point: the people paying for a service have to, in the aggregate, make more than those being paid or you have an eventual run-down of solvency. For a great example see the U.S. car industry and the carworker wages over time beginning in 1973.

As an observation, I think all of you are approaching the issue of spending for education the wrong way. It is too personal and too emotional (has Dan D. and Thom H ever actually met in person? If so, did you kill each other?)

Let's start with the assumption that there IS such a thing as overspending. I believe we can than make an accurate comparision here to the field of economics.

Perhaps we can create apartial equilibrium model for education like a supply & demand curve?

To do so, we would try to show that cost of education should function to equalize the benefits to the students, such as college acceptance and scholarships earned (ie D, demand) and the harm or cost to the families such as lost benefit of cash for other uses (ie S, Supply).

If we did, I believe we would find that there are, indeed, decreasing utils involved in spending on education (as there is for any effort). If so, we would then find that there IS a case for increased spending on education, but there becomes a point where the additional spending is bringing decreasing benefits per the cost curve (unless there is a shift of D1 to D2, th e utils continue to decrease and the investment is becoming a loser, or more importantly we result in a distorted Price (ie spending) caused by a lack of recognition of the dynamics of D to S, thus causing potentially significant harm to teh families.


Of course, this would all be impossible to plot given the lack of data, but I can submit that all involved, especially TH, needs to at least recognize such a condition of S&D exists even for eduction. otherwise, there can be no intellectual debate.

If recognized, than we can all agree that there IS such a thing as overspending on education.

If we come to that agreement, than we need to try and define what constitutes overspending.

This is where I guess we would all disagree. However, if we could combine actual spending over time along with capacity, spending per pupil, enrollment, headcount, test scores, spending per headcount, I suspect we will find some significant changes in these activities AND their relationships to each other.

In doing so, I think we would have to plot it both as a stand-alone entity (203 versus 203,) AND a separate plot versus other districts WITH THE SAME INFO FROM THOSE DISTRICT.

I have little doubt, from a gut perspective, that we will find that we have been very, very generous as parents and taxpayers in 203 over the periods in question (ssay, 15 years) versus both other Districts and our own history. The backing to my "gut" feel is the fact that 203 has gone from a below avg spender to an above avg spender (and given our size as one of the largest districts in the state, we should have some girth benefits that ALWAYS keep us below state averages.

Does anyone out there with a grasp of econ disagree? Would you change the X/Y lines?

Epi-nonymous

You make a lot of claims, back them up.

Thom Higgins

QE203.org

Mr. Higgins,

I find the number in the bottom of your increase in average salary (3) to be both correct and incorrect.

It does not correlate with the increase in average salary on the IIRC website (click my name). Go to About Educators, etc.

It may be that what you list is the increase in salary costs for all teachers added together (teachers*average salary NOT average salary). That's okay. The crux here is that fluctuations in number for teachers will make that number vary, whereas the IIRC average salary data does not. The problem is that this actually makes your subtraction (1)-(3) even more incorrect.

e^(i*pi)

-2, don't bother with Higgins. He says numbers are actual when Dan D. said they were budgets, now he tells you that the actual numbers are done already for the end of the year.

And Dave Zager refuses to compare his Position Control to the W-2 numbers he sends to the state.

Why bother? These guys throw around numbers like we are all idiots. Only Tnom Higgins knows what is right.

Another great quote from Higgins

"I fully agree that Naperville kids have a real head start and the fact that we don’t have huge numbers of low income or ESL students makes the teaching staff’s job easier."

OK, if that is the case, why are we paying them more? Teachers who have a harder job should be paid more.

What planet does Higgins live in? He should move to Hyde Park where people think like he does. Don't spoil our sacred conservative ground here in DuPage County with your comments.

Uh, TH: Your post Thom Higgins on February 21, 2010 11:28 PM:


First, the issue of TOTAL pay increases (which includes pensions, medical, etc) ---- Sorry, but you are wrong.

We already know that your avg increases by individual (which are the only numbers worth discussing intelligently) are incorrect and are actually higher by quite a lot, especially for the 12 yr period ended 2007. Also, even using your wrong numbers, the diff twixt 3.6% and 3.2% is quite a lot ESPECIALLY when discussing the public sector (which should ALWAYS lag the private sector).

Finally, I see you did not address the inflation statement ---- they have tripled inflation! This is unconsciousable and has come back to haunt us.

Second, your backpedaling on the issue of low income/parental effect on student achievement:
NO, your recollection on this over the year or so is incorrect. You NEVER took the side of the argument that only SOME of the credit should lie with the teachers. In fact, you have been loud and clear that the single, major effect is from teachers and that there is no blame! You have posted more than once when the issue of parents and social income being the only proven, directly correlative measure on student achievement has come up, and each time you have tried to demean i9t and give total credit to the teachers. Now, if your reason was that you had an assumption that the others were saying teachers had no effect, that is a different matter, but as an outside reader I never saw that from the others.

I will go further: You have often put words into the mouths of the two you mention when in fact they never said those things. I have read Dan D. outright saying teachers are a part of the equation, but that parents/income was a bigger part, and seen you trash those words and distort them to try to say something different (another example of your “hate” in this matter).

You also seem to diminish, even now, the issue. You post above that “..I fully agree that Naperville kids have a real head start and the fact that we don’t have huge numbers of low income or ESL students makes the teaching staff’s job easier”.

Even now you either misstate or misunderstand the totality of the issue. You fail to expand your view beyond just making the teachers job “easier” and refuse to outright state that the parental involvement overall is a significant factor regardless of teachers (and income levels have a strong correlation to these activities). To paraphrase Carville, “It’s about more than the teachers!” You fixate on the income issue and still ignore family involvement and influence. Shame on you!

Busy day, so I’ll just respond to -2 for the moment

The average raise for incumbent teachers from 2006/2007 to 2009/2010 was 5.77%. per the Ast. Supt. Of Finance. This is in the past. You claimed that I said they “will” implying the future. Figures are calculated from their Position Control Report. Also please not the following previously posted above;

” Let me first say that Dave Zager, the Ast Supt. of Finance was both gracious and extremely helpful with providing data and answers for numerous questions that both Dan and I posed. From this, for a brief time last spring, Dan posted a short document on the subject that wholly contained data and information that was provided by Zager. The calculations Zager provided, while not perfectly aligning with the ISBE calculations down to the exact .10% are certainly more than accurate enough for our purposes and give a clear view on the subject.”

As to raises in the 1999 to 2006 period, if Dan wants to claim they were 9% fine, let him show us how he arrives at that number, just as I’ve shown for the later years.

You can tell Dave that the HR director knows more than he does about salaries if you wish.

You also might want to speak in public forum about the amount of the reserve if you find it excessive. I will say that I was surprised to learn that Maine Township ‘s reserve was equal to like 90% of budget. 203 is what, 20%, if we exclude the construction accounts?

Thom Higgins
QE203.org

I have read through some of these blog comments, many of which are based upon all manner of weird "facts". I think we should all remember that good schools mean high property values, and good schools are one of the reasons we moved here. I think we need to set our goal to be excellent schools for our children, then figure out what that will require, given current economic problems (which were not caused by teachers or administrators).

Every one of us is trying to earn as much as we can, regardless of whether we are public or private sector employees. Why would anyone think that public employees should act like volunteers and not try to maximize their income?

My observation is that most teachers work extremely hard, care about their students, and put in long hours, just like the rest of us.

Higgins thinks money grows on trees, ignore him.
He is out of touch with reality.
The reality is all these tax and spend liberals and their union ilk have bankrupted the country.

www.truthin2010.org

Hey, let's bring back Joe Dunn, maybe he can help us with a "quick take" for that 3rd high school we never needed.

Another 250 million down the drain.

Doomsday coming for Illinois. If they enact these tax increases I predict an increased outflow of residents to the south.

http://www.nbcchicago.com/news/local-beat/Doomsday-Taxes-State-of-Illinois-84947527.html

I will give TH and QE203 credit for advocating a salary freeze and for doing away with the 6% bump in your statement to the board in January. However, it is too bad you came so late to the party. The Taxpayers Ticket advocated this sort of stuff 3 years ago (actually they didn't advocate a salary freeze, just cutting the avg. increases from 6% to 3%). They were far ahead of their time and were right on the money. For those of you reading this blog, please remember this next time elections come around for school board.

Thom,

You continue to duck these very important questions.

1. You say median teachers salaries will go up by 5.77%, but they have increased by 6.35% for the time when actual numbers are available. Don't we have to wait until the 2009 numbers are finalized to verify this lower number?

2. What is the similar number from 1999 to 2006. This is the third time we have asked you. The Taxpayers Ticket says it was 9%. You say nothing. Does that mean the Taxpayers Ticket is right? Is Dan D. correct that Zager wants to bury these numbers?

3. What has the new District human resource director say about salary increases? She knows more than Zager or you do.

4. Your comment about reserves. $40 million? That seems way to excessive.

Is it true we have both overpaid teachers and even over taxes taxapayers by $150 million?

I can't believe neighbors would steal from us. What kind of low life people are on this board?

Another reason the school district should look at a two tier salary schedule.

Increased supply of teachers due to layoffs in other districts.

http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSN2117085120100222

Mr. Higgins,

Now you see WHY the difference between average raise and increase in average salary matters.

The lead negotiator for NUEA has received, on AVERAGE, an 8.55% per year raise over the past 9 years. That person. The one leading negotiations.

The number people care about when teachers come to us complaining about how much work they do, how little respect they get, how little they get paid is their raise and actual salary. A raise number which far surpasses anything seen by private employees over the past 10 years is not acceptable. If you read the ECI release, you'll also see what better benefits teachers get compared to private workers.

When even the dead-ender teachers (highest part of the payscale) get 4% per year raises for the past 10 years, the system is broken.

When we have multiple grade school librarians and grade school AMPE teachers (with less than full AMPE schedules) making more than $100,000 per year, the system is broken.

Yes, average salary has increased "only" 3.62% per year. as I mentioned multiple times, that number is higher than CPI, higher than your ECI(wages). This leads to one inevitable result. Less money available for everything else.

I again suggest you try to pass of leases at .7% higher than what the customer thinks he should pay (3.62% vs 2.9% (CPI) in this case). See how well that goes.

-1 -- who would be a bit more angry in D204 with the Metea fiasco

A lot to comment on here. I’ll do my best to pick up the important bits.

Regarding anonymous’ question about money being siphoned off to connected contractors by overcharging for the renovation;

We are extremely fortunate to have a board member who is in commercial construction overseeing this for the district (no his company doesn’t have any of the business,) Secondly an independent construction management company is overseeing the bids (they are open bidding) which are coming in at or below estimates. BTW the decision was made to use any savings for more energy efficient materials/systems.

This from EPI-nomymous ”Even TH admits the Teachers wages have higher wage growth than the nation as a whole. I have news for everyone, though: For the past 12 years, the Teachers in 203 have had total salary/wage/pay increases significantly higher than the nation as a whole, than Illinois as a whole, than Naperville as a whole. In fact, they have almost tripled inflation over this period! Pretty rich by any definition.”

Sorry, you are not even close. The average teacher salary has increased 3.5-3.6% annually from 1998 to 2009. Nationally, the average wage increased at 3.2%. I did a quick calc and it looks like the difference between the two in dollars for teachers is about $2500, that’s it. All of this can be verified using the ISBE and BLS data.

And later this; ”Are you finally admitting income levels have a direct effect on school performance? Alleluia! I ask because for a few years now on these threads you have refused to admit this.

Discussing the effect low income students have on overall school/district academic performance is part of the larger discussion of what influences education outcomes. I’m sure I never said there was no effect, but rather that you can’t explain academic performance solely on outside factors and not give some credit/blame to the teachers and district (it goes both ways). I would hope readers know by now that both Dan Denys and Mike Davitt discount the impact both teachers and school districts have on students education. Mr. Deny’s, if not here, then elsewhere in the blog posts, claimed that academic success was simply a function of family wealth. (I can look it up if need be).

The difference between them and myself is that while I fully agree that Naperville kids have a real head start and the fact that we don’t have huge numbers of low income or ESL students makes the teaching staff’s job easier, I contend that teachers and school districts matter, and can either measurably help or hinder a students progress. Here’s a quick example using your low income perspective;

Naperville North has a 9.6% low income but a 24.8 ACT

Naperville Central has a 5.4% low income and a 25.2 ACT

So, why then does Nequa with only 2.3% low income only posts a 24.4? Or for that matter why does Waubonsie with 10.8% low income only post a 23.0, and Elmhurst with 7.9% low income only posts a 23 ACT score?

Certainly the overall socioeconomic status of these schools is comparable, but 203 students are doing better. I give the district and the staff a fair amount of credit for that differential, and that’s what I see as the difference between those two and me.

For -2;

All districts and municipalities need, and have, reserves. This is why I say that D203 is in pretty good shape as compared to other districts. Can they blow through it if they are not careful? Yes.

For Glock;

I have never advocated for artificial turf at the jr. high’s, in fact I’ve never heard it mentioned before by anyone. As for QE203’s thoughts on the upcoming salary negotiations and future referendums you might want to read . Quality Education 203.org’s statement on the upcoming contract talks

I'll also mention that D203 spends less than most of its peers as illustrated here; What is the Best Educational Value in Chicagoland

Thom Higgins

QE203.org

Dan and Thom can throw out numbers faster than Las Vegas bookies. But the reality is our economy, especially in Illinois will continue to sour for years to come. This puts the burden on Thom, not Dan. Thom is going to have to show how cheap big Ed. is. He continues to advocate more $ for everything associated with big Ed. be it increased labor costs or artificial turf at the junior high schools now that it is installed at both high schools in 203. And he will find that his future bond referendums will meet with some push back. I cannot wait to give some poor sucker an earful when they come door to door asking me to vote yes next time.

Oops, I posted on the wrong post.

By -2 on February 21, 2010 1:35 PM
Straight from the District 203 operating budget

Page 8 of the PDF (no number on document)

Title on page

2009-10
Naperville CUSD #203
All Funds Summary

Look in the middle of the page. It has a row called "Operating Funds Total"

Ending balance $39,840,721
increase in 2010 $12,372,592

Contingencies (not meant to be spent) $2.8 million

After all of the transfers for capital projects, there is still $40 million EXTRA. Looks like again the Taxpayers Ticket was correct.

Why are they whining about the $6 million? Mitrovich should keep looking for $6 million in savings. We, as taxpayers in 203, would be better off if 203 lost $6 million and the state did not raise incomce taxes. In fact, make it $12 million and cut our high property taxes as well.

http://www.illinoisisbroke.com/index.aspx

Check out this website Mr. Higgins.

Dan D., I think I know why Thom is so vile.

He knows you have worked (successfully) with governments for over 30 years. And all he can think to respond to you is to to put you down. I am amazed you do not lose it more over this guy.

And he is simply not objective. He just looks to justify the actions of the Board (or the Union, don't know which one).

Notice how he threatens you not to say anything more or he will slander you. Then when you ignore him, he posts these negative, unsubstantiated claims.

Let's ignore him if he does not add anything to the discussion.

1. Thom's personsal attacks on me.

Thom cites EIGHT (8) assertions. Let me put all of this into perspective, from over 1,000 pages of materials (kind of like the health care bill). All of those assertions were taken out of context, a couple of those assertions were put forth by third parties who were dismissed from the project and were upset they were not selected to work on the project.

However, I am simply not going to dignify Thom's latest comments, once again. First, as I have steadfastly stated, NONE of the assertions were ever translated into formal charges in either TAX COURT or FEDERAL COURT against myself or my firm. NONE. During this same time, the IRS has successfully prosecuted over 95% of its cases including cases against UBS and KPMG Peat Marwick.

Notice the exact word the IRS uses and Thom simply repeats. "Assertion" Per dictionary.com, this means "positive statement or declaration, often without support or reason." These "assertions" were simply that, "assertions".

And secondly, in totally, I did nothing wrong in that transaction. I could go throught the 8 assertions, but in totallity, NOTHING WAS DONE WRONG BY MYSELF OR MY FIRM. So Thom, in total, all of the 8 assertions are false.

And for all of you, to show you how small Thom is, I have specifically sent to Thom my responses on most of these items. And I will tell you, don't get crossways with the Feds, you are guilty until you are proven innocent.

And notice now he uses hearsay to disparage Mike.

2. Open comments from Thom

Go through this post. He avoids many pertinent points. Here are a couple that he has not responded.

a. What was the median salary increase from 1999 to 2006 for teachers who remain in the system?

b. Does the ISBE use ECI? It seems finally that he admits it has not basis in Illinois school documents.

c. He has not responded to the problem with steps in the current salary schedule.

d. What about the proposal for two tier pay scale?

e. If the state cannot pay teachers pensions, should be eliminate?

3. The taxpayer ticket felt that the capacity in the existing buildings could be used to set up an EC by redistricting the students. And we needed to identify the needs for all 21 buildings instead of partial solutions to two and Central. Still have not seen the needs for the remaining buildings. Two years have gone by. NOTHING!!!

To: Thom Higgins on February 19, 2010 6:32 PM

You posted "Sorry, hurrying too much. I meant to add that it isn't fair to compare Valley View SH to D203 academically because they have a much higher low income population."

Are you finally admitting income levels have a direct effect on school performance?

Alleluia!

I ask because for a few years now on these threads you have refused to admit this.

Thom Higgins

This post--By Thom Higgins on February 21, 2010 1:44 AM--is your response to Dan's request on who starting flinging personal attacks?

You are either really ignorant or just a totally blind bully. Did Dan kill your wife? What is behind all of your rage?

Go back to Dan's original post.

"I think you should look in a mirror. I think you were the first to start name calling in your "bamboozling" posting on 2/14/2010 @ 11:52. You know the old adage, when you live in glass houses, don't throw stones."

He also cites the first example that you quote in your latest ranting. Not regarding the quote, but rather that his tone might have been out of place. I really think Dan does not want to stoop to Thom's level.

There are many posters that are questioning your misplaced rhetoric. And they object to your name calling and slander. You quote a whole bunch of accusations from a single document. This is like it is the most inflamatory piece of information.

Dan has one simple response. Did the IRS fine and/or convict he or his firm of ANYTHING? For all of us, that is all that matters. Nothing else. If these accusations were so bad, why isn't he in jail with George Ryan? The Feds have a 95% conviction rate, why is he still in business.

And true to Thom Higgins form, NO ANSWER. Even your response to Dan's item (that he was not debating, but rather inferring he should fix his tone) is wrong. You infer that the average salary increase reported by ISBE is a data point/budgeting guide. Dan thought this was false and felt that you could not prove your assertion. And you admit that you cannot. His straw man's argument got the facts from you.

I think Chris should ban you from these posts just like CIJ. You should ask Chris to remove your last post in that you are wrong and slanderous.

I looked at this blog and while Dan D., -1, now -2 and even Mike Davitt are not saints, nobody is as rude as you are. If you cannot just make your point and let people decide, then you are too thin skinned to have ANY public role, including this blog.

I keep a-trying to stay quiet on this 203 thread, but I just can’t!

First, in the lead-up to the last referendum I attended many, many meetings. In fact, I went on two of the “walk throughs” of Central. I may be mistaken, but one of the walk-throughs was led by the facilities guy and the parent that was helping lead the referendum sell and included soon-to-be Board member Weeks, and the second included a guy who I think is now on the school Board (not Weeks --- the other new one).

Guess what, folks? They all distinctly stated that the new buildings & improvements would
A)Guarantee no redistricting for 203, and
B)Would solve the overcrowding issues at Mill St school

Now, back to the post above by TH: Maybe they lied, maybe they were honestly wrong, maybe attendance has changed since than (it really hasn’t), or MAYBE, just MAYBE, the new Super has a much better handle on the actual workings of the District and not just a pipeline into the Union like the last one. Perhaps thenew Super is just more honest and forthcoming?

Second, the issues & arguments on the Taxpayer Ticket (specifically the post on 12:08 am, 2/19/10): For some reason, TH has one of those unreasonable “Hate” jags going on for what, 2 years now, with Dan D., Mike Davitt, and the Taxpayers Ticket guys. You seem to personally insult just to get recognition from them! It is almost like one of those “guy crushes” people get in high school!

Now, here you are, all this time later, still engaging in what is often either factless, or just plain incorrect, insults. As a website leader, I would think you would be much more concerned with ensuring your readers get good info and NOT in the political hacking we have seen to date. Your website has some really good info on it, so WHY do you see fit to engage in such weak, worthless, personalized garbage on it? Please, why?

I think the By Dan D on February 18, 2010 4:43 PM post says quite a lot about the actual results since then. Many of the specific things they were trying to champion (through all of the hubris. lies, personal attacks, and garbage thrown their way by QE203, Dianne McGuire, the Teachers’ Union, and the Union PACs) were not only good things, they have come to pass.

A further proof that they were on the right track? The way the Teachers; Union RAN to the District to complete a secretly-negotiated contract extension during that election cycle! They were fully aware that they had a gravy-train and they were not about to lose it all easily!

The problem, was, and still is, that we have knee-jerk people in the District that refuse any true reforms that include the teachers and their contracts as part of any solutions, whether they be curriculum or cost savings.

You talk of the tax rate being frozen it the Taxpayers Ticket was elected --- well, looking at the way the inflation rates hit since then, it has not been much different, and yet here we are doing pretty well with a surplus, right? I can add that it was my understanding that the Taxpayers Ticket was really not so much for the surplus being refunded as they were for first stopping the fifth year and then ensuring future referendums were not implemented in the same legal, yet immoral, manner.

Thus your speculations on what today would look like are just that --- speculations. Compare them to a business model – it is based on assumptions which then drive the conclusion!

Third, there are worse things than NOT always walking in tandem, step-in-step, with an organized labor group of any kind, teacher or otherwise. This is especially true in the toughest times, of which we are not only in but probably not close to being out of yet.

Even TH admits the Teachers wages have higher wage growth than the nation as a whole. I have news for everyone, though: For the past 12 years, the Teachers in 203 have had total salary/wage/pay increases significantly higher than the nation as a whole, than Illinois as a whole, than Naperville as a whole. In fact, they have almost tripled inflation over this period! Pretty rich by any definition.

Thom,

First, thanks for providing the perspective of the school district or those who agree with them; or there would be no discussion at all. A sincere thank you.

Second, do you know the cost per square foot on the school projects? Based on a comment from a contractor that they were billing schools $200 and hour for skilled labor, I am deeply concerned that the school money we do have is being siphoned off by connected contractors and rules their friends in the Illinois Legislature may have put into place allowing rates at 3x to 4x the going rate for union workers.

Our State faces bankruptcy in the not too distant future, CA is already bankrupt, and NY is close behind. The FEDs have already gone over the cliff but have not yet hit the ground. IHMO there is little help our schools can count on from outside the district in the foreseeable future. If anything, funding will get worse.

For as long as I can remember, the attitude of the City of Naperville and the School Districts has been "don't let the door hit you in the ass if you don't like the we run Naperville".

The space for rent signs on the Tellabs building say it all:

"so long suckers" were off to China and India.

A little bit more for Anonymous @ 10:40 pm. This verbatim from the Build The Future 203 documents;

Mill Street Elementary School is among the largest elementary schools in the district. It has significant space needs. Next to Naperville Central, Mill Street is a major focus of this proposed facilities option. Some of these classroom needs may be alleviated by the creation of an Early Childhood Center in the Huntington Estates subdivision, but many more issues remain. Aside from the classroom needs, the core facility of Mill is badly outdated. If Mill Street is to be a viable educational facility for the foreseeable future, then several fundamental needs must be addressed. These needs can best be summarized as follows.

The current Mill Street Elementary School has:

• The lowest square foot per student, necessitating that instruction be done in hallways

• Safety issues involving both traffic and parking that requires students to walk between buses

• Inadequate library to serve the needs of student population

• Inadequate space for increased technology needs

• Offices too small for the administration of the building

• Gym facilities inadequate for both physical education and lunch facilities

• Lack of space for resource teachers, which are currently housed in mobiles

• $2.7 million worth of ongoing repairs of existing structure necessary within next 10 years

Thom Higgins
QE203.org


I agree that D203 took money from the taxpayers inappropriately. I am also of the strong opinion that Ms. Crotty was totally inappropriate in taking credit for saving the taxpayers any money. See here and here

I also ask you to stop saying turnover is the sole driver of the difference between the two numbers you are using. I gave you a concrete example above why smaller raises in the higher paid teaches cause a "savings".

For those who care, I did an quick analysis of the NEUA negotiating team's raises over the past 10 years back here.

More later on what the 2002 referendum explanation says about true employer costs. "Health care costs have escalated $13.7 million over original projections due to rising costs nationally and a marked increase in participation in the District’s plan, as private sector benefits have been reduced."

-1

For anonymous @10:40 pm.

You are correct about the district "telling the entire community Mill St. was over crowded and kids were sitting in the hallways."

But you have to remember that Mill's renovations were part of a larger plan that included the construction of the ECC. The plan was always to move the special ed program from Elmwood to the ECC freeing up considerable space there at Elmwood. If after the ECC's completion, Mill remained overcrowded, (remember that projections are for declining enrollment district wide) then the plan always was to re-district.

Again, please read The Sun article. Supt. Mitrovich clearly states; When the referendum was passed to remodel Mill, it was not with the idea that we would be expanding the capacity of Mill, but that we would be increasing the quality of the educational experience for the children that are there,"

You will also note there is but 1 new Kindergarten classroom, that's it, so the intent of the renovation was not to add classrooms to address the overcrowding, but to bring the school up to current educational standards.

Your comment about holding the line on salaries only works if the district would also continue to tax at the same rate. Consider the uproar if the district levied just to put additional monies in the bank for a rainy day. Regardless, D203 is in excellent shape financially compared to so, so, many other districts. Do the teachers need to realize that they have to accept a base salary freeze? Yup. but the sky's not falling.

Lastly regarding the pension mess. When it comes to teachers, it is a state issue. The teachers pay 9.4% and the district pays very little 1% or so. It is the state that pays the "employer" portion. This is not true with the municipal pensions (police-fire- staff) there the city pays and is very much a local issue. I agree that the state will never be able to fund the complete pension liability.

Thom Higgins

QE203.org

Regarding my problem with what I maintain is Dan’s continued attempt at misrepresenting my comments and misleading the reader in general about D203. It would take hours to rebut line by line the many misleading or incorrect comments, and I’m simply not willing to do that. He has brought this one up twice so I thought I’d address it as an example;

His first post is here

(This is me)"Both the ISBE and D203 (and I assume other districts as well) look at the net increase in salaries for incumbent teachers as a data point/budgeting guide."

HUH??!?!?! I find NO REFERENCE to this concept in the ISBE standards on setting salary increases. In fact, they don't have any. Thom, please provide a citation to some authoratative document that supports this assertion.

For that matter, how many school districts has Thom Higgins worked for in the last 30 years? Or does he chat with school teachers in the auto sales lot?

And later here;

I will admit I could have improved my civility in my e-mail of 2/13/10 @3:07 in my reference to your source of informaton being teachers talking to you in the use car lot. But the key point I was saying is that just because a number is published does not make it datapoint/budgeting guide. I did ask you to provide the written information that would support your comment (none provided).

This is a classic “straw man” argument. Dan asks me to show him where the ISBE standard for setting salary increases is, knowing full such a thing doesn’t exist. And of course I was referencing the annual publishing, by the ISBE, of the average teacher salary from which the net salary increase percentage is derived and is something that a school district kinda needs to know.

Here is my complete statement;

Both the ISBE and D203 (and I assume other districts as well) look at the net increase in salaries for incumbent teachers as a data point/budgeting guide. So while the top line number for raises (all in) has been in the 5.5% range, it is also true that turnover of higher paid teachers being replaced by lower paid teachers reduces that percentage by say 2%, for a net increase of 3.5%. This is what the increase in teachers income is costing the taxpayer. I know you have seen this number as reported by the ISBE. This is not my construct, nor my opinion. For anyone interested in how teacher’s salaries work, please see the following; Overview of Teachers Salary Increases For Fiscal Years 2007-2010 . While this is not a District 203 document, the figures supplied therein came from D203's Ast. Supt. of Finance.

.

In the same post Mr. Denys challenges me regarding his failed bond deal, although I agreed to drop it if he would stop with the misleading arguments. Fine, he wants to maintain he did nothing wrong, perhaps he can finally answer if these assertions made by the IRS of his actions are true of false;

*Legal council thought the suggested offering amount, made by Austin Meade was too large, ($300 million dollars) and prudence required the demand survey results should be discounted.

* Legal council withdraws due to concerns of the deal structure, and fees. Council States the deal structure was “an abusive transaction as a matter of Federal Tax Law”

* There starts to be concerns by IDFA regarding the survey, done by Denys company. NTN

*IDFA conducts own survey finds demand to be $110 million dollars. Austin Meade (owned by Denys) previously said it was $248 million dollars.

*Offering amount reduced from $300 million dollars (as suggested by Denys) to $150 million dollars, based on new IDFA study. Deneys partner Mahta resigns before bonds sold

*Denys company NTN gets fired, after it is discovered it was not legally able to act as a broker/dealer and offer the bonds. This happens after bonds are sold. IRS characterizes NTN’s actions as “fraudulent assertions and omissions” “NTN entered into contract (to sell bonds)fraudulently

*Denys resigns from NTN. Bond deal falls apart.

*IRS statement says “based on the faulty phone survey, lack of loans occurring, lack of reasonable expectations standard not met……the bonds do not meet reasonable expectations test section 149(F)IRS code.

I could go on, but will state that as Mr. Denys seems more than willing to talk about how D203 "stole" from the citizens of Naperville, perhaps it's time he explains these IRS charges.

Thom Higgins

QE203.org

That is utterly ridiculous Mr. Higgins. The entire community was completely sold on the idea of remodeling Mill St. to relieve over crowding. I cannot believe you are disputing that. I distinctly remember the board telling the entire community Mill St. was over crowded and kids were sitting in the hallways. My wife remembers the exact same thing.

We would not be in dire straights if the board had held the line on salaries. You can scream all you want but the facts are the facts.

If you recall the taxpayers ticket was in favor of spending 30-40 million on renovations NOT $115 million. It could have been done easily if the board had ASKED the community for the bonding authority and we would not be in this horrible position now. In fact Dan Denys and many other SMART residents did see this enormous slow down in the economy coming, you and others simply chose to ignore it and now want to plead, "we never knew this was coming."

Remember, I, Dan Denys, and others have been warning you for years about the coming pension crisis, yet you continue to pretend it's a state issue and not a local issue. Wrong again. More and more cities are now contemplating Chapter 9. Look what is happening in Pennsylvania now. It is coming here too. Mark my words. I suspect the state of Illinois will either go into bankruptcy or cut pension benefits drastically. I vote for cutting pension benefits drastically. They cannot raise taxes high enough to cover the liability. If they do more residents will simply leave the state making it worse.

Gotta stop posting while watching the Olympics. Regarding this;

No, Mill Street was/is not half empty. The reason why there will be space available at Elmwood is due to the special ed unit moving to the new Early Childhood Center, which btw the TT opposed building.

Should read No, Ellmwood was/is not half empty..........

A brief reply to Mike Davitt. I wonder if he is aware of the key role that he played in the teachers voting to strike in 2005. It was news to me when a teacher recently mentioned to me that the night the teachers voted to strike, a presentation was made of the many disrespectful and dismissive statements towards teachers Mr. Davitt had made. No one likes to be disrespected and I’m not surprised they voted to strike after seeing that, but I really wish they hadn’t “taken the bait”. I fault them for that.

As for anonymous at 5:45pm;

I think it’s a fair statement to say that had the TT won they would have refunded some/most of the surplus and possibly/likely reduced future levy increases. Would 203 then have the same surplus was we have today? Can’t see how, meaning that the impact of the state’s funding woe’s would be more serious, not less. Also, no one in 2007 was expecting the greatest economic crisis since the great depression to materialize in 2009. The funding crisis is due to reduced state revenue, and affects all school districts. To claim the states lack of timely payments is the fault of the teachers or D203 or that having the TT in control would have avoided this, is pretty difficult argument to make.

Regarding the Mill St. renovations; you are incorrect in a number of ways.

Your comment here - The Taxpayers Ticket guys said, "no we don't need to expand Mill St. we can move kids from Mill St. to Elmwood School since it is about half empty

No, Mill Street was/is not half empty. The reason why there will be space available at Elmwood is due to the special ed unit moving to the new Early Childhood Center, which btw the TT opposed building. The district never said that the renovations would handle all the overcrowding. Please note what the renovations accomplished, this from this week’s Sun article;

In the fall just under $7 million in renovations were competed at the 42-year-old school.

Those include a new 15,000-square-foot gymnasium/multipurpose/lunch area; a new kindergarten classroom; renovation of the building's core, centered on the Learning Resource Center and allowing for a dedicated computer lab and music space; reconfiguration of the original multipurpose room to provide instructional learning areas for educational support programs; and expansion of conference room, school office and school nurse spaces.

"When the referendum was passed to remodel Mill, it was not with the idea that we would be expanding the capacity of Mill, but that we would be increasing the quality of the educational experience for the children that are there," Mitrovich said. "The people who were here did they best they could in trying to forecast what the enrollment in the school would look like. The best forecast has not been able to adequately measure the enrollment of students there."

When the Ann Reid Early Childhood Center opens in the fall, the early childhood students currently housed at Elmwood will move to the new facility, Ryan said. That will free up space for the students arriving from Mill.

My memory is that the Taxpayers Ticket was opposed to expanding any schools, instead saying that the district should re-district yearly if necessary to balance enrollment.

Thom Higgins

QE203.org

Mr. Higgins please tell the COMPLETE story. You mentioned that the Taxpayers ticket wanted to give back the $40 million in over collection and thereby imply we'd be in worse shape now if 203 had done that. For those of you new to this discussion let me fill you in on the REST OF THE STORY.

What Higgins left out is that in fact 203 was facing a $15 million shortfall (due to excessive salary increases) and the board sold the community a bond issue in order to erase this deficit. THAT WAS HOW IT WAS SOLD TO THE COMMUNITY by the board and people like Higgins. What happened is 203 WAY over-collected what they needed and the board then changed course and said, "we need to keep this for building purposes." Dan Denys and other said no, refund it to the tax payers then go back to the community and sell them on the need for a building bond issue. The board refused and took the easy way out. Additionally, the board said Mill St. was way over crowded and we needed to spend $11 million to expand it since students were sitting in the hallways, etc.

The Taxpayers Ticket guys said, "no we don't need to expand Mill St. we can move kids from Mill St. to Elmwood School since it is about half empty." Higgins and the board laughed and said no we can't do that it won't work.

Well well well, guess what's happened 3 years later? The school board is now re-writing history and claiming they spent the money on Mill St. to relieve overcrowding and now they are going to re-district and send kids to Elmwood. Funny how that works.

Next time Mr. Higgins tell the complete story.

LLTT wrote: Most of the world blames poor schools on the demographics and lack of parental involvement. Yet, when students achieve, the teachers are to reason. Wierd, two answers to the same question.

LLTT, I have an idea for a bumper sticker. It is a variation on a similar theme to what you have written. The bumper sticker would say the following: "If you can read this thank a teacher...If you can't read this blame a teacher".!

I have family members in the teaching profession and have heard quite often that top quality students are the result of top quality teachers, while poor performing students are the result of lazy slacker parents. I submit to you that the most important educational factor in top performing students is a desire to learn that is instilled from their parents. This is closely followed by good, strong teachers to foster their growth.

I sometimes feel that educators want credit for high performance, yet do not take responsibility for poor performance. And to be fair, poor performance is as much a parental involvement issue as good performance.

This is quite a broad brush I know.

First of all let me say it is utterly incomprehensible to me how a person like T Higgins has the free time and lack of more meaningful aspirations to be able to blog 24/7 like he does. The number of rants over the years is mind boggling and bizarre to say the least.

For anyone new to this blog, let me go on record yet again and say I fully stand behind my "despise teachers" comment that Higgins is so fond of highlighting. For a bit of context, the teachers I was referring to were the 90% who threatened our community with a strike back in 2005 when a 4.99% annual increase offer was already offered because they said they weren't being respected enough. I think the majority of taxpayers in D203 who were then (and are today) experiencing no salary increases, minimal salary increases, or worse yet, layoffs, "despised" the actions of the teachers' union every bit as much as I did. Ten percent of the teachers did not vote to strike.

The blue state of Illinois is one of only 13 states remaining that still allows teachers to strike. This gives the unions tremendous leverage from which to extort unreasonable contracts under the threat of strike (and they know it). Every three years, the teachers' union shows its true bully colors. The way to deal with bullies is to stand up to them, but it requires backbone. Only a perverse pro-teachers-union organization like QE203 would support teachers striking for 5.2% salary increases during such dire economic times.

With all the free time Mr. Higgins clearly seems to have, it's curious he doesn't have the time to run for school board himself? I guess those who can't, blog and blog and blog and blog....

Way too much to address here right now individually, but the data I reference comes from 3 sources, The ISBE (Illinois state board of Education) District 203, and the BLS (Bureau of Labor Statistics) and so can be independent verified through these sources.

For example, LLTT challenges my figures regarding Bollingbeook's Valley View district. Anyone who references the ISBE report card on VV will find the figures I stated.

If people want to accuse me of making up numbers then it is incumbent upon then to show the correct figure, as opposed of simply making accusations.

Thom Higgins

QE203.org

Anonymous ONE

Everyone should jump in. Thom is not the king of this blog. I would like to see more perspectives than his or Dan D.

In reaction to your comments. You raise three types of questions. First, how does the money (wealth) of the District compare? Second, what are the differences in outcomes? Which District has more challenged students?

As to wealth, people don't get paid more simply because the area has more wealth. Does Jewel charge higher prices in Lake Forest than Naperville? Doubt it. I cannot see why we have more money, we pay teachers more. Most wealthy people keep the money for themselves. Or send their children to more elite private schools.

Outcomes. Who creates them? Most of the world blames poor schools on the demographics and lack of parental involvement. Yet, when students achieve, the teachers are to reason. Wierd, two answers to the same question.

Challenge. You would think that the employee with the harder job would be paid more. But instead, it is the reverse.

Now Thom states that the Bolingbrook teachers are paid below STate averages. Where did he get this info? Naperville teachers are paid at the top 5%, I think Valley View is in the top 25%. Why this deception?

They probably have more teachers trying to teach their more challenged students.

I don't get where we are getting the best values. If our average was $8,000 per students, we would be getting a great value.


I think we are in the top 10% in the state in spending, I am really confused by these other numbers Thom makes up. Do they mean anything?

Thom,

My unanswered questons.

Question 2. For your four year period, is it true there is not actual data for the last two years? Should we be staying with the 6.35% until that data is available? In fact, I do not know how you can calculate the change until you have the actual data. Can you explain?

Also, what is the comparable number for the previous 7 years for the top number? The Taxpayers Ticket says that was 9%. You seem to be ducking that number.

Questions 3 (Thanks -1 for your explanation, clearer than Thom's). Does the Illinois Board of Schools mandate that average salary increases be the same as this ECI? That sounds strange. I would like to see their materials on this subject.

And as to -1, is it possible that this increase in average salary could be zero or even negative? If you applied this number to the airlines when they were restructuring their salaries (pilots lost 35% of their salary, other workers 15 to 20%), would it be big time negative?

Thom, wouldn't a negative number be expected if these teachers making $150,000 retire and are replaced with entry level teachers making $25,000? If not, would you say that taxpayers are being ripped off?

I know my employer is eliminating postions of high paid employees and creating new positions with employees making less than half. Does this ECI reflect these position changes?

I agree with -1. These numbers seem very high. I guess I should have gone out and voted for the Taxpayers Ticket.

Just read the 203 newsletter.

1. It touts cuts in spending last year, are these actual cuts or just not increasing the spending as fast as 203 would like to?

2. The district is talking layoffs. For the remaining teachers with the most union seniority (in many cases not the best teachers) how big will the pay increases be? 5.77%? Once again Government monopolies providing less service for more money in an effort to maximize the salaries of the senior union members and administration.

3. Programs will be cut, again how big will the pay increases be?

Leiss threw the 203 homeowners under the bus when he sold out the parents at midnight; after stinging the talks along to the night before school was supposed to begin leaving parents in a lurch. What a hero.

Since so many of the parents are now sitting home unemployed trying to figure out how to pay for the senior union member teachers to get the 5.77% pay increase while trying to stay out of foreclosure; I say lets take the strike even if it lasts six months or a year.

It's all about the wants of the senior union teachers and administrators, our children are merely captive pawns used to extort monopoly wages and benefits from us.

If the teachers and administrators will flee to the private jobs market if they don't get their demands, I say let them see what it's like to have 2 weeks vacation a year, a 401K plan with no match and public health insurance when the get old along with a 15% pay cut in hard times.

Call the bluff!

to -2

The average raise is calculated from all teachers who stay in the district from one year to the next. The raise is calculated for each teacher and those numbers are averaged.

The increase in average salary is calculated from all teachers who are working in the district in a particular year.

(total salary)/(# of teachers)

One of the prime differences between this number and the above number is that, although the people mentioned above WILL be included, the replacement of long-tenured teachers by new teachers helps lower the average salary number (as I pointed out above, though the difference is also due to differential pay raise calculated above and these numbers cannot be directly compared since they represent different populations.)

I am still unclear whether Mr. Higgins is trying to support or attack the district with his quiz. The numbers seem pretty offensive over the past 4 years, and they were worse before that. Of note is that in 2006ish, the increase in average salary was almost ZERO since there was a retirement bump law change.

hope that helps.

-1

Sorry, hurrying too much. I meant to add that it isn't fair to compare Valley View SH to D203 academically because they have a much higher low income population.

For LLTT

Valley View has 17,611 students comparing fairly closely with D203 at 18,072.

VV teachers average salary is $60,361 vs. 203's avg. salary of $77,764

However, VV's Operating expense per pupil is $10,400, only slightly less than D203's $10.760. Both are consolidated districts.

Academically they are far, far below D203 (they are below the state average).

You may begrudge 203 teachers their salary (BTW Valley Views is below the state average) but considering the academic performance of our students and the fact that the district only spends a few hundred a more than VV, I'd say that moneys well spent.


You might want to check out What’s the best Educational Value in Chicagoland (soon to be updated) for a comparison of D203 and it's peers.

You will note that there are only 5 SD's whose students academic achievement is higher than D203. They spend about 35% more to do it. I don't call D203 Chicagoland's best Educational Value for nothing. Take a look.

Thom Higgins

QE203.org

Long Live the Taxpayer Ticket on February 19, 2010 2:53 PM
_______

LLTT,
I have no interest in entering the fray that is so apparent on this thread, but your question intrigues me. A research sociologist (of which I am not) would ask for a few more details in your teacher scenario.

What is the tax contribution to each of the school districts in your scenario (203 and Valley View) for an equivalent size home (3000 square foot 4 bedroom)?

What are the student and/or parent population demographics? (income, race, language, etc.)

What is the graduation rate and test scores (act, sat, etc.) for each of the two districts?

Armed with this information I may reach one of the following conclusions:

- Bolingbrook is underpaying
- 203 is overpaying
- All teachers are exactly the same in teaching styles and methods, therefore should all be paid exactly the same.
- There are many more factors in education than just teacher salary

Now before you rip into me please understand. I know you are questioning Thom Higgins on this and I won't begin to understand the dynamic. It appears that this argument has been rekindled from many previous discussions. I am simply responding to your latest post and playing a little "devils advocate" if you will.

I believe I follow your train of thought, I think you are questioning if Naperville Dist 203 is worth the extra 20K they may be paying their teachers because this comes out of your taxes?

As for the gas question. People have a choice which gas station they can buy gas from, but not the same as to which public school they attend.

If I've jumped into a private conversation or have missed your concept entirely just tell me to butt out. no big deal.


-2 cont.

Forgot this; If we are having large numbers of retiring employees, then that number should be negative.

You are confusing total payroll with the increase in average salary. Two separate concepts. You can give people remaining 20% raises and have the payroll go down if you let go enough people.

Thom Higgins

QE203.org

For -2

Question 1. As indicated in the notes, the 5.77% includes all forms of wages, including retirement enhancements and extracurricular activities.

Question 2. The 5.77% is the average for the 4 years quoted.

Question 3. The average raise for incumbent teachers for the years 2007-2010 was 5.77%. Due to the effects of turnover the increase in the average salary was 3.62%, this of course, being the actual increased cost borne by the taxpayer.

If you go to Overview of Teachers Salary Increases For Fiscal Years 2007-2010 you will see that the Increase in average salary over the years 1998-2008 was 3.52% and the ECI (wage growth nationally 1999-2008) was 3.20% meaning that D203 teachers wages increased at .3% more than the national average.

Thom Higgins
QE203.org

I have a question for Thom.

We have two teachers. One works in 203, went to Illinois State University, got his/her masters from National Lewis University, and has worked 15 years. This teacher makes $75,000 per year.

His/her twin got the same degrees, but works in Valley View (Bolingbrook) schools. He/she makes $55,000 per year.

Which school District is getting the better deal?

Ask another question. Mobil is selling gas for $2.79 9/10 per gallon. Citgo is selling the same grade of gas for $3.80 9/10 per gallon. Which gas does one buy?

Most Americans buy Mobil, of course. I guess the "Progressives" buy Citgo so they can support one of their cherished Bush haters Hugo Chavez.

Why should we pay $20,000 more for the same product? And some schools pay even less.

Thom asks and answers

"Now let’s talk about raises. A quick quiz; which of the following is true?
1. The largest 1 year raise a teacher can receive for a specific educational attainment and additional service is approx. 15%
2. The average raise for D203 teachers for the years 2007-2010 was 5.77%
3. The average increase in teachers salaries for the same period was 3.62%
4. The ECI (employment cost index) for the years 1998-2008 was 3.20%

Which one is true?

Answer; All of them."

Some questions about each item.

Question 1. What about those retirement benefits? What about extracirricular activities?

Qestion 2. The 5.77%. Two years actual numbers are not available. How do you know it is 5.77%? The first two actual years are much higher--6.35%. This is in line with what the taxpayers ticket said. What does Challenger Gray say the typical salary increase for professionals was in those years? I am guessing 2 to 3%. How about private sector unioin workers--negative. These numbers still seem excessive.

Also, what is the same number for 1999 to 2006? 9%?

Question 3 makes no sense. The average teachers salaries either increased 5.77% or 3.62%. Which one? As my smarter counterpart -1 observes, the 3.62% is the increase in salary expense. If we are having large numbers of retiring employees, then that number should be negative. Any good company uses those savings to cut costs. What planet is 203 on?

Question 4. What was the change in the price of tea from China for that same period?

Does the District's human resource leader believe in this ECI Hocus Pocus?

Thom, please remember that numbers lie and liers use numbers. You seem to be caught up in some union crap that most people simply don't buy.

Responding briefly to various posts above;

From Dan Denys; And one other point Thom ALWAYS misportrays. The unprecedented salary increases from 1999 (when the District was a reasonable TAX value) to 2005…… salary increases during this dark period increased between 7 and 9 percent. This led to the infamous $511 tax increase and the further abuse.

From anonymous; Are you saying the average increase a teacher found in their pay check was 2-3% "merit increase" plus 5.77% pay raise for a total increase of 7.77-8.77% per year while the USA is in a deflationary depression with 18% un-under-employment which is actually much higher since all of the layoffs are in the private sector?

.
I repeat my prior post, I ask the reader to please note the time frames;

Now let’s talk about raises. A quick quiz; which of the following is true?

1. The largest 1 year raise a teacher can receive for a specific educational attainment and additional service is approx. 15%

2. The average raise for D203 teachers for the years 2007-2010 was 5.77%

3. The average increase in teachers salaries for the same period was 3.62%

4. The ECI (employment cost index) for the years 1998-2008 was 3.20%

Which one is true?

Answer; All of them.

I could go on, but the fact is that teachers have just slightly higher wage growth (over the period 1998-2008,) than the nation as a whole. Please note anyone can calculate the increase in teachers salaries by using the ISBE report card data. ECI data can be found here. Readers interested in the subject will find my Overview of Teacher Salary Increases for Fiscal Years 2007-2010 of interest.

Thom Higgins

QE203.org


Long Live the Taxpayers Ticket says:

"I know of NOBODY who wants higher taxes. NOBODY."

I DO.

ME!!!!

Spread the wealth. Tax the rich 80% and give me the money.

Isn't it great? 50% do not pay taxes, we can steel from everyone else.

I have no idea why Obama is giving people between $50,000 and $250,000 a break. TAX THEM MORE. MORE WEALTH TO SPREAD.

Thom is great for increasing taxes, but he is wasting all of the money on those teachers. Unless they pay higher taxes, they should not be part of Spread the Wealth.

Thom,

I always get lost in the labels game.

Are you saying the average increase a teacher found in their pay check was 2-3% "merit increase" plus 5.77% pay raise for a total increase of 7.77-8.77% per year while the USA is in a deflationary depression with 18% un-under-employment which is actually much higher since all of the layoffs are in the private sector?

And, the people paying the teachers are experiencing layoffs, foreclosures, collapsing home values, food pantry lines, benefits cuts, salary cuts (if they are lucky and kept their jobs), and increased debt from the FEDs and State, and school districts that they will be taxed for one way or another; resulting in a further real decline in their standard of living?

Is this what you are saying?

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx


"2. The average raise for D203 teachers for the years 2007-2010 was 5.77%"

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A9PJEbUbGe0

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NYUUqYDEyuo&feature=related

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6o51u8AGDGo&feature=related

Watch what Gov. Christie says about teacher pensions. This is what needs to happen here in Illinois. Thom Higgins doesn't want you to watch these clips, but the Tax Payers Ticket was preaching this before it became popular. The chickens are coming home to roost.

Confused again by Thom Higgins.

His comment (I will try to follow his format, see if it is worth doing)

"So I think it’s fair to say they would have refunded some, or the entire surplus, and at the minimum, frozen, or even reduced, the tax rate thereby either freezing or reducing the districts revenue."

Here is what I do not understand.

1. Where did you get this policy statement. Never saw this in any of the extensive Taxpayer Ticket materials. Diane McGuire and "PURE"?

2. Isn't the "districts revenue" our taxes. So you are advocating for HIGHER TAXES? Just want to be clear.

3. If District 203 has this extra $50 million that Dan states, how would such a freeze impact at all District operations?

I, for one, would rather have my extra $1,200 per year (I think I saw that as the overbilling) rather than let some government waste the money. Oh, you will tell me that District 203 wastes money less than other Districts. BIG DEAL.

I think you need to be more truthful to the readers of this blog on why you would support higher taxes. Other than the filthy rich liberals with a guilty conscience (maybe you are filthy rich liberal), I know of NOBODY who wants higher taxes. NOBODY. Otherwise, why are there are there all of these tax avoidance programs?

And Thom, either answer all three questions or none. You do this to Dan D. all the time. You disparage one comment and ignore his other points. I am amazed about your terrible comment about his position on the salary increases. It's one thing to disagree, but only a small man would marginalize.

http://finance.yahoo.com/taxes/article/108866/muni-threat-cities-weigh-chapter-9

The freight train is coming Thom. Stop trying to rewrite history and just admit it, you were horribly wrong along with your goofy pal Peter Schuman. Now we are all going to pay a heavy price.

Re Thom's Post of 2/19/2009 12:08 AM

First, as I have always said, we lost. While annoyed (?!? pick the words) about the illegal union actions led by Diane McGuire, I was more disappointed about the 75% of the people who did not care. I can't tell you how many times people complain to me about local taxes, when I give them a couple of our planks, they say somebody should run on that campaign and love to tell them that we did and lost because they did not care.

Thom's comments about the ultimate Armengeddon are purely speculation. He did not know then and apparently does not know now.

Would Jerry, Mike and I have bankrupted the Distict? Of course not. But that was the hardest question of the campaign. People wanted us to do that, but we noted that a problem that grew in five years would take five years or more to correct. We would bring in a professional human resource person, surround that person with the best legal and consulting skills and negotiate a fair contract for the taxpayers and the employees.

Interesting, the District FINALLY did that after Leis left. You should have seen how inept Leis was in these teachrs negotiations. The unions had their team lean and mean, Leis had 25 people on his negotiating team, all principals and administrators and not even a lawyer. And he told us he could not negotiate hard against the union since he had to work with them. When we asked why he did not let professionals negotiate the contract (do you see Obama or Bush negotiate with the air traffic controllers), he looked confused.

And one other point Thom ALWAYS misportrays. The unprecedented salary increases from 1999 (when the District was a reasonable TAX value) to 2005. These contracts were negotiated between Weber and Tim Costello. Costello worked to get a union board elected that would reverse Weber's firing in return for major salary increases. Costello was such a tough negotiator as a teacher he was barred from his local school district. The Union controlled the board.

And that is how salary increases during this dark period increased between 7 and 9 percent. This led to the infamous $511 tax increase and the further abuse.

In short, the District was rolling in money and had overpaid teachers. I was alerted to this situation by another school administrator who chided me for being asleep at the switch at what he called the worst run school district in Illinois. ANOTHER SCHOOL SUPERINTENDENT. Naperville 203 was viewed as the worst run school district. People could not understand how Weber was hired in 203 after destroying Lockport.

In short, District 203 was out of control and the union controlled board brought in Leis since he would maintain the status quo and make it look good.

Even today, the District 203 budget has a $13 million SURPLUS in its operating funds for fiscal year 2010. And thats after transferring MILLIONS to the building program. That $13 million number is a major portion of the overtaxation from the 2002 levy. I know 2011 will be tough, but not if teachers compensation is moved to zero.

So in short, overtaxation probably now at $150 million or more and teacher salaries that are probably 2% too high for 8 years (so salaries are 16% higher today than they NEED to be). This is not how you run a public school system.

And here is another surprising fact. All of this was discussed between Thom and myself during the campaign. We talked for an hour when we hosted coffee at the Naperville Train station.

It would not be hard to better manage this awful situation. And remember, the current boards have basically been following our recommendations. And Mitrovich seems to be the person Leis was not.

Even Thom is advocating most of our platform. His call for a salary freeze is the same as ours and would have evolved under our leadership. I suggest he look at the step and lane a little harder, they need to be tweaked.

And lastly, from all of the sectors I work with, the US economy will not rebound to 2006 highs for at least ten years. Drastic actions are needed to survive. That is why I have added to my list, just in the last month, the call for a two tier wage plan.

We nee that because we need to be able to absorb a 25% reduced revenue in the next three years because the state will cut back money and property taxes need to be lowered or Naperville will lose more jobs. Look at the demands of Navistar to stay. It is only a matter of time that others follow. If relief is not given, the route 88 corridor will be a ghost town.

And individual property tax owners cannot afford another 25% tax increase that will naturally occur. Also, for every Naperville teaching job, there are thousands of applicants. There will still be thousands if salaries are 25% lower. There is no shortage.

This is the type of correction that NEEDS to be made in a major recession. Let's do it and move on.

Just a quick expansion of my state funding woes comments. As mentioned above, there are two major funding streams from the state for education. GSA (General State Aid) and reimbursement for specific costs districts incur i.e. bus transportation and special ed.

The state is behind in both categories. I have heard nothing about the reimbursement accounts being cut and expect it will continue at 100%. It is the GSA that is facing likely funding cuts. GSA is 3% of 203’s budget, the reimbursement amounts to 6%.

Thom Higgins
QE203.org

http://finance.yahoo.com/focus-retirement/article/108868/pension-systems-on-the-brink?mod=fidelity-readytoretire

Only 50% funded before the recent meltdown.

Schools and all government employees are just receiving to rich pension and health beneifts that are not affordable to Joe and Jill taxpayer.

Mr. Higgins,

You are a genius. I like your thinking.

Let's follow the trail.

ECI (wages) measures the increase in wage costs. This index tends to have a stable experience base.

You think D203 average salary should tied to ECI(W)

Average salary has increased by 3.64% per year for the past 10 years (my calculation -- from iirc D203 data)

ECI has increased 3.2% for the past 10 years.

So the teachers are overpaid by (1.0364/1.032)^10 = 1.0435 . So let's call for an immediate salary cut of 4.35%.

Wait. Experience has gone down by 2 years from 15+ to 13+. Since we feel each teacher should get additional raise for continuing to not kick the bucket, let's factor that in. 2 years experience at the MA level is about 5%.

So if QE203 is proposing a 9-10% salary cut, I think there are many who would agree.

Nice work.

Both the Q & A and the ECI information were provided by the Ast. Supt. Huh? You are telling me that someone at the school district created the Q&A on teacher salaries on your website? I hope everyone reads the Q&A and asks for the resignation of that person. A private citizen writing an inane Q&A is one thing, but a D203 employee doing it is an entirely different matter. (from post by Thom Higgins on February 16, 2010 7:51 PM -- link not working)

-1

I have read Dan's 4:43 pm post. I will reflect on it and post a response sometime over the weekend.

Thom Higgins

QE203.org

Responding to anonymous.

Globally, let’s ask a hypothetical question. Where would D203 be today had the Taxpayer’s Ticket won in 2007? I think it’s fair to say that the two main pillars of their platform was that the district was overtaxing the community and that teachers were making too much money. I would hope people remember Mike Davitt when he was a 203 SB member proposed returning surplus funds as well as abating part of the 2002 referendum increase to lower tax revenues going forward. Here’s Dan in a post above; Since District 203 stole our money under Weber and Allan "Al-BUST" stole the $90 million from Naperville taxpayers, the District has been more vigilient and is even working to give back $40 million through the construction program of the money stolen (so we are out only $50 million).

So I think it’s fair to say they would have refunded some, or the entire surplus, and at the minimum, frozen, or even reduced, the tax rate thereby either freezing or reducing the districts revenue.

What about teacher salaries? Let’s assume there was not a contract extension and they negotiated the 2009-2010 contract. Had they achieved the above, I suspect there would be insufficient funds for any salary increases or at best very minimal ones in 2009-2010, all but guaranteeing a conflict with the union.

Fast forward to today, where would we be? I will offer the opinion that D203’s reserve would be much smaller, making the $8 million the state pays all the more important to D203.

Leading me to the conclusion that the district could actually be in more dependent of the states funding, and thus in more trouble, had the TT won.

Regardless, no state official is talking about Illinois abandoning education funding. Will the state fund GSA at 100%?. Doubtful. And yes, all school districts have to be concerned about the states late payment, but when the dust settles will the state fund GSA at 70-80%? Probably. What will that mean to D203? A loss of a few million. Not fun but very manageable. If the unthinkable happens and the state defaults, at 3% of total revenue, D203 is in much, much, better shape than most districts.

Now let’s talk about raises. A quick quiz; which of the following is true?

1. The largest 1 year raise a teacher can receive for a specific educational attainment and additional service is approx. 15%

2. The average raise for D203 teachers for the years 2007-2010 was 5.77%

3. The average increase in teachers salaries for the same period was 3.62%

4. The ECI (employment cost index) for the years 1998-2008 was 3.20%

Which one is true?

Answer; All of them.

I could go on, but the fact is that teachers have just slightly higher wage growth than the nation as a whole. Please note anyone can calculate the increase in teachers salaries by using the ISBE report card data. ECI data can be found here. Readers interested in the subject will find my Overview of Teacher Salary Increases for Fiscal Years 2007-2010 of interest.

Thom Higgins

QE203.org


All you'd have to do to balance 203's budget is freeze salaries for 3 years. No one has to lose their jobs, no cuts in programs. It has been stated on here many times, contrary to what Higgins wants you to believe, the average salary increase is over 6% per year. That is NOT SUSTAINABLE, especially in this environment. If 203 tried to pass a bond issue for $85 million this year it would drop like a stone. What's the big deal between 2007 and now? The economy. Everyone (except the Tax Payer's Ticket guys) assumed the good times would continue to roll. Thom Higgins lead the charge on the bond issue too. He should be held accountable for his horrible mistake and the way he misled the community. Did Higgins do it purposely? No, I truly believe he bought into his own hype. But now we have the benefit of time to see who was right and it was Dan Denys, Jerry Buch, and Mike Davitt. I don't think this community can afford to believe Thom Higgins anymore, we are about broke.

Thom,

I think you should look in a mirror. I think you were the first to start name calling in your "bamboozling" posting on 2/14/2010 @ 11:52. You know the old adage, when you live in glass houses, don't throw stones.

I will admit I could have improved my civility in my e-mail of 2/13/10 @3:07 in my reference to your source of informaton being teachers talking to you in the use car lot. But the key point I was saying is that just because a number is published does not make it datapoint/budgeting guide. I did ask you to provide the written information that would support your comment (none provided).

As to the bond deal, your last post stated that my bond deal caused "the CPS to buy back the outstanding bonds and pay a fine." Again, not true. Post the actual reference to CPS. You can't, because it did not happen. The IDFA had to pay a $150,000 fine as the result of an action of another bond participant (not me), but the deal earned them $950,000. So they only made $800,000. I think you should concentrate on facts. There was no loss (unlike the deals in Florida and elsewhere done by others). So you can talk about the issue as much as you want, but you should have facts (or say nothing).

Again, I think my comments have been very concise and mostly factual. And I do not disparage you anywhere near to what you do to others. Your most recent quote:

"Call me crazy, but I don't think these guys are going to offer the kind of "effective collaboration" that this district needs."

Funny. We advocated redistricting, now it is starting. We advocated not taking the last year of the tax cap. The District listened and did not burden taxpayers by another $70 million. We said keep the bond issues to 20 years. They kept the bond issues to 20 years. We called for examining all operations for continued value. Looks like Mr. Mitrovich is doing that right now. We proposed a one year contract with a salary freeze. QE203 supports most of our position. We advocate the end of retirement "kickers" (the District did that in 2006 only to reverse the issue during the secret contract extension). QE203 now supports and advocates our positions.

Nah, we don't offer "effective collaberation."

Our other ideas. Charter schools, magnet schools, alternative high schools (a local math and science academy and arts academy). These are all part of the proposals to rush to the top.

Nah, these must be bad ideas as well.

Thom, again, you start this. I generally restrain, but use these references to people who act like you do. Don't act like them.

But I will follow your cue. Instead of saying we agree on 90%, you disparage. Stop that and others will.

For all the back and forth debating the amount of increases, the value of teachers' services and the cost of pensions, it seems to me we are losing sight of two unarguable facts: 1) Salaries and benefits are the biggest cost and therefore will eventually, have to be cut the most if there is any chance of balancing the budget without huge tax increases. 2) All the money - state and local- comes from taxpayers, it's just a question of which pocket.

Spending is out of control and has to be reigned in. There is no other option. It will be painful, but it has to happen or we will all be bankrupt.

Reflecting on the direction of the comments here in the blog has left me with this thought for Dan and his supporters.

If Dan (and others) will refrain from putting words in my mouth, and trying to tie me to any number of irrelevant characters,(obama, Ebbers. Lay Skilling etc.) and generally being abusive, I will drop the bond deal.

Dan. I am asking you to in the future to use the courtesy of saying something like "it is my understanding of of Thomas position...." as well as providing a quote of my statement that leads you to make your comment. This will help everyone better understand from where your comment is coming.

I will, of course, do the same.


Thom Higgins
QE203.org

Great signs on the schools District 204! Once again your poor decision making actually ends up promoting District 203. It's hard enough to sell a home in this economy without an advertisement on the local school that screams "Hey you might want to look elsewhere". Don't worry about declining enrollments in 203. District 204 is working hard to make sure that any newcomers will surely go the 203 way.

Thom Higgins quotes

"We cannot be tied to past practices, but must go forward with flexibility and effective collaboration between all parties to further the district in its goal of continued educational excellence."

"It is always dangerous to trust Dan's comments."

Dannosden is correct. But to me, I read Thom's comments and he is a real bully. Nobody asks to trust Dan D.'s comments, but to dismiss or even ignore them? He even agreed with most of Thom's salary ideas except for the incresed taxes.

The principal in the artile Thom posts, is that one of the people that State Senator Meeks says should be fired? Good source Thom.

I checked the court listings, no convictions of Dan, no penalties paid to the IRS. I thought that the IRS won over 90% of the time. If so, those charges had to be very flimsy, Thom.

I think that Dan is overstating his credentials. I checked this EMMA. The Chicago School bond issue advisors in 1996 was Northern Trust, not Austin Meade. Is he puffing his credentials? Austin Meade did not start until 1997.

One who Values You -- maybe you need to know more about the private sector before you spout off on 'real world'. I work for one of the largest corps in the world - over 400,000 employees and basically we HAVE been under a wage freeze ( for all but those newest to the company) - for at least 3 years...no bonuses and oh yeah, in 1999 the company stopped our PENSIONS. You know that item teachers and state/gov't workers still have ? MOST , if not all private sector companies, regarldess of size and profits have no traditional pension plan- when you leave you have what you've saved in your 401K period. Oh yeah, also no health coverage when you leave- even after 25-35-40+ years of service.
-- we have all had to find ways to cut our budgets at home also to cover those price increases you talk about..we're painfully aware. With people living up to 20 years longer today than when many pension plans were designed they are mathematically unsustainable today. They are bankrupting the states and feds - so you may not like the phrase "be glad you've got a job" - but most of us in the working world hear exactly that if we have concerns at work today..

I'm not saying you have to like any of these facts - giving up what you have sucks- I know, I had to to it as did many of my friends over the last 5-10 years ...but let's top pretending that somehow your hardships will be harder than everyone else's. I'd trade salary increases for the rest of my career for your pension plan.

for Long Live the Taxpayers Ticket.

The Bloomberg article stands on its own merits, and does the fact that Mr. Denys deal blew up after the IRS became involved, causing the CPS to buy back the outstanding bonds and pay a fine. I will offer the opinion that you do Mr. Denys no favor by continuing on this subject. If he or you want to re-hash it fine, but I suggest you read the IRS doc's first.

Thom Higgins
qe203.org

Leo, you are so all over this issue. This is a multiple issue. Yes the State is behind on payments and that is wrong. They are behind to the tune of $7.8M - however 204 is almost $20M in the hole. Why ?
Well contrary to the Super's statements that we are not spendng here. we just opened the most expensive high school in the state, and totally unnecessary. Why don't they explain that the ref was agreed to based on 10,400 HS students - and even when it became know that the current amount 8800+ is the absolute high water mark- and the MS-ES pipeline drops each year. We went ahead anyway and took the $124M the taxpayers voted in based on false info- and thru creative financing of bonds- have parlayed that into almost $150M that we will spend on the school ( Since we have yet to settle BB suit or sell 25 acres we own there). We also re financed exisitng debt at that time as well- putting taxpayers here on the hook for another 20 years. So add that to the additional operating expenses of the new school, along with the fact that we placed it as far from the population center of 204 as possible for transportation costs - and there are others who should be answering questions here as well. We've also spend considerable sums on consultants for everything from bus routes( thanks to the new boundaries) and referendum passing. SO before we start bashing local reps on where is our money, maybe the taxpayers should be asking our 204 leaders the same question.

The TaxPayers Ticket guys were right in 2007 and now the chickens have come home to roost. Now comes the next part about "we have to raise taxes or we will shut down athletics, music, drama, blah blah blah." You know the drill.

Freeze all salaries for 3 years and you'd wipe out any deficit and you wouldn't have to layoff anyone either I bet. But nooooo!!! The Union won't allow that.

Dan,

Bayh, just like the Republicans who got into the car with Bush, participated in approving and implementing Obama's policies:

* driving the finances of the USA over a cliff with basically the same: big government, big spending, the FEDS know best how to micro manage every aspect of everyone's life in the USA, and amnesty for 20-30 million (plus a 100 million follow on wave of high school drop out family members) permanently-welfare-dependent high-school-drop-outs programs.

Just like the last Harvard man Bush, the next Harvard man Obama is running into the same reality, Federally induced economic collapse and ultimately bankruptcy; severely diminishing our ability to defend the US and provide a decent standard of living for our children and grandchildren who's futures the R and D's have exported with their free trade (aka slave labor) policies.

By the time the 1 billion unemployed Chinese and Indians are employed in jobs that formerly existed in the US, the average hourly wage world wide will be something approaching .25 cents and hour. This is where the Ivy Leaguers are taking the country, as long they get to run the country. No Chinese factory worker can afford to purchase any product made for export in any Chinese factory. The have to settle for inferior sub standard unsafe products that last about a month.

Bayh got into the car with Obama for the drive by shooting of individual freedoms and rights and capitalism. Good riddance to him.

"If you can't do the time, don't do the crime" (to the economy and freedom)


xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

By dannosden on February 17, 2010 11:47 PM

Awful lot of energy into all these posts. You folks are all the definition of why nothing gets done politically anymore.

Its not a liberal vs. conservative or democratic vs. republican issue.

Civil conversation and give and take by both sides of an issue don't exist anymore.

Evan Bayh has got it right, just wish we had more people like him, republican and democrat alike.

I've stopped reading these blogs because both sides of these issues have good points but yet have such personal contempt for each other.

And nothing good comes of it.

At least CIJ isn't around to pile on anymore.

Thom

Which cars do you "independent contractor" lease? Non government motors?

Read the article, never said that Dan D did anything wrong. As to those IRS papers, where is the FINAL DETERMINATION? What you printed were the accusations. How much did he pay and when referred to court, how many years was he in jail?

These are pretty serious claims, you need to produce EVERYTHING. Or you are slandering the man.

I know his work from the bond trades. Go look at MSRB web page and look up EMMA. Search for Chicago Publc School Bond issues from 1996 to 2002. Look inside the cover, Austin Meade Financial. That is the key story. It also refutes all of you flim flam information.

This is the first I heard of any of this. But you might want to hire a lawyer, making disparaging comments based on a flimsy article like this Bloomberg and not having the final papers can be considered slander.

By the way, I saw his position on the salaries, for the second time. I think you owe him an apology on your misstatement as well.

dannosden,

We both know the napergate man would have solved this problem by now :)

Awful lot of energy into all these posts. You folks are all the definition of why nothing gets done politically anymore.

Its not a liberal vs. conservative or democratic vs. republican issue.

Civil conversation and give and take by both sides of an issue don't exist anymore.

Evan Bayh has got it right, just wish we had more people like him, republican and democrat alike.

I've stopped reading these blogs because both sides of these issues have good points but yet have such personal contempt for each other.

And nothing good comes of it.

At least CIJ isn't around to pile on anymore.

For Long Live the Taxpayers Ticket

It is always dangerous to trust Dan's comments. I do not currently, nor have I ever have worked for GM or any other manufacturer. I have spent my working career as account executive, leasing company cars to corporations, AKA fleet leasing. I have been self employed as an independent rep for over 15 years. This is a perfect example of how Dan twists things for his own purposes.

As for your glowing praise of Mr. Deny's stellar performance for Chicago Public Schools, Oh boy! You might want to read this Bloomberg article before you get in any deeper. I've read the IRS Proposed Adverse Determination documents that transpired from this debacle, they're not pretty. Actually, you might find this post of interest,

And of course since you mentioned Mr. Davitt, who can forget his famous ode to teachers; I don’t hate teachers I despise them.

Call me crazy, but I don't think these guys are going to offer the kind of "effective collaboration" that this district needs.


Thom Higgins

QE203.org

I had to laugh when I read the following quote from Higgin's organiztion.

"We cannot be tied to past practices, but must go forward with flexibility and effective collaboration between all parties to further the district in its goal of continued educational excellence."

SUCH HYPOCRATES. If Dan D. says blue, Thom and Peatey say red. They never give him credit for what he has done. He helped Chicago raise $2 billion for their schools (go ask Paul Vallas, Geri Chico or even Mayor Daley) and they think he is a fluke.

Since they so oppose Dan, Davitt and the Taxpayers Ticket they should insert after "all parties" the following "except any know associates of the Taxpayers Ticket."

Got to say it again. HYPOCRATES.

And I did not know that Thom worked for Government Motors. It puts many of his comments into perspective. You would think he would be happy he has a job.

This is draining.

You can tell Thom and BO are from the same cloth. He is "AGNOSTIC" about my position.

Let's summarize (I do not know how to link back to the original post).

2/13/2010 12:31 PM

Agree with Freeze except two exceptions

1. Steps should be fixed to be the lower of 1.5% increases or the increases provided by 75% of lower of Illinois schools. I think that would be 1.5%. Further, these steps should be awarded ONLY if they are needed to make teachers competitive (and not Barrington rather Bolingbrook, the local area).

2. Lane changes should be only awarded once a year. Any advanced education earned by June 30 of a year would determine a lane change for the following year. Yes Anonymous, lane changes occur EVERY PAYROLL PERIOD. This would effectively freeze this component for one year.

On that same date, I called on Mr. Mitrovich (he seems to be adopting the Taxpayers Ticket concepts accross the board) to zero budget the District operations. I agree with Anonymous 2/17 12:43 Besides classroom teachers and a (one) principal), what other staff are needed. Remember, for every classroom teacher, there is .87 "overhead" teachers. Higgins calls them specialists, I call them questionable.

On 2/14/2010 9:24 PM

Based on the extreme levels of unemployment, I called on the District to follow Barak Obama's example at Government Motors (and our Board President's airline)to implement a two tier wage system. All new teachers would work on a salary scale 25% below the current scale. No new teacher would be given credit for more than five years of work experience.

If 5% of the teachers leave, the savings would be as much as 10%, a great give back to the taxpayers who are overburdened. The success of our community (and the state)is to lower taxes. This would be an excellent step and would have NO impact on current salaries.

And my last point on salaries is that if the state eliminate the teacher pension plan or makes local districts responsible for funding, that obligation should be absorbed by the union and not the district. Distirct contribution should be limited to the 6.2% social security contribution.

Thom says.

"My understanding of Mr. Denys position is that he wants a complete salary and budget freeze."

You have all of the posts, where did he get that? I do not know what is more dangerous about Thom, being "AGNOSTIC" or simply being untruthful.

As I said before, we agree except he feels taxes should continue to escalate. He accuses me of trying to destroy the District. You can judge. Do the airlines work with a two tier salary schedule? Flawlessly. Are the automakers working? Look at Ford in Chicago, people who were laid off are clamoring for their jobs at half the pay.

Forget about ECI, run the business ruthless. If the current people don't want to do the work for a market wage, LET THEM QUIT. There is a line down the block to replace them.

And on a personal note, income taxes down 25%, sales taxes down 25%. Wages will follow down. Thom's ultimate employer, Government Motors will cut his salary. I am afraid we are in for hard times and the people and communities that adapt now will survive. The others will come crashing down in flames. Ironic. What Thom accuses me of doing will be the outcome of his plans.

Anonymous @3:12pm

From a earlier post;

The state has three separate funding levels for General State Aid. The highest level of funding is called Foundation and that is what I believe 204 is under. The next level is called the Alternate Formula and this is where I believe 203 is.

I did verify this. 204 qualifies for the highest level of aid because the assessed value of the property within its boundaries is less than 203.

There is no question that the crossing guards will be funded by 203 if it comes to that. So you know, the state reimburses all school districts for a number items including transportation costs, ie buses, and apparently crossing guards as well for a majority. You are paying for quite a few districts crossing guards in your state income taxes now.

For Anonymous @4:26pm

You are incorrect in a number of ways.

1. The TT folks did not support the referendum, including the Mill St. addition.

2. What the article described was talked about extensively during the referendum push.

3. It all comes about from the construction of the Early Childhood Center (opposed by the TT). The ECC will allow special ed classes to be moved from Elmwood to the ECC, freeing up space at Elmwood. Moving overflow from Mill to Elmwood (if needed when the ECC was completed) was always the discussed remedy.

4. The district never pitched the Mill St, addition as a complete fix to their over crowding.

Thom Higgins

QE203.org

(1)Pure economic facts, folks:

>Salary increases in the private sector ranging from 6.5% to 9% annually (give or take a percent say) since 2000 were simply too high!

>Averaging abut 6% for 15 years is insane!

>Excusing large raises as "not directly hitting our taxes" because of turnover, etc., is horrendous accounting! You are building an imbedded base that eventually comes home to roost in the form of layoffs and cutbacks --- perhaps we are about there?

(2)Note: brilliant post By Southsider on February 17, 2010 8:00 AM!!! As he states, it is not just the crossing guards, but all the free land that should tick off teh 204 taxpayers!

(3)I'll say it: YES! I WANT A SALARY AND SPENDING FREEZE IN OUR GOVERNMENT, SCHOOLS INCLUDED!IN FACT, I FAVOR A 2-5% BUDGET CUT IN ALL AREAS.

(4) I like Brady's thoughts. Unfortunatley, we all know that what will really happen is one of two things:
----- One, the State will pay more AND the prop taxes will stay high (hey! All that extra money!)
----- Two, the State will go to central taxing (unitary?) for school systems and we will lose local control to Springfield.

http://www.dailyherald.com/story/?id=359770&src=76

This is hilarious. Now the District 203 school board is advocating a proposal the Tax Payers Ticket did in 2007. Glad to see they are coming around!! Hahahahahahaha!!!

Of course if you recall this board sold us the expansion at Mill Street as a way to alleviate crowding and no way we could move kids from Mill Street to Elmwood!

This is a complete joke. Higgins bought into this line of reasoning hook, line and sinker. Dan Denys was right again!!!

Perhaps someone should verify the validity of the statement that their is a different funding status between 203 and 204 or if that truly is the case explain exactly why that exists.

Having said that, isn't it primarily the parents responsibility to see that their child gets safely to school? If 203 doesn't want to pay for it and if the city doesn't want to pay for it and if the state doesn't want to pay for it... then it sounds like these parents need to get together and pass the hat.

Don't ask me to pay for your kid. Nobody paid for mine and I took full, personal responsibility to make sure my kid got to and from school and activities every day. I can't believe the socialist attitudes where everyone expects the "government" to take care of everything.

Regarding the crossing guard issue, it is true that the city of Naperville was paying for D203 crossing guards, a practice city wants to end. D204 crossing guards are funded by state aid, an option not available to D203 due to its different funding status with the state.

I was not at last nights SB meeting so I do not know what 203's board has in mind (board member Dave Weeks seems to be leading the charge). There is a state provision for funding this though property taxes as a separate line item. Whether that can be accomplished within a district boundary, I do not know, nor do i know if this is what 203 has in mind.

I agree with the posters here that all of Naperville shouldn't be paying for 203 crossing guards.


Thom Higgins

QE203.org


In case readers here have not seen it here is link to today’s letter to the editor by Congresswomen Senger regarding education funding.

It is also of interest that Bill Brady on his website states the following; He has proposed using 10 percent of natural growth in state tax revenues each year to proportionately pay a larger share of local education costs and ease the property tax burden on homeowners and small businessmen.

Thom Higgins

QE203.org

Dan Denys is welcome to make any claim he wants, but the fact remains that are just that, claims.

I again refer readers to Overview of Teachers Salary Increases For Fiscal Years 2007-2010 for factual information on D203 salaries, and Quality Education 203.org Statement on the Upcoming Contract Talks which is our position on the contract negotiations. The reader will note that we our position is the district will have to live with whatever increase in revenue future increases in CPI allows. There can be no efforts at an operating referendum. We are calling for a base salary freeze. As far as step and lane increases, if they do not increase the average salary the district pays, we can live with that but the district and the teachers have to be cognizant of other funding issues such as an expected cut in state aid my negate the ability to do even that.

My understanding of Mr. Denys position is that he wants a complete salary and budget freeze.


Thom Higgins

QE203.org

I am so glad somebody brought up the crossing guard situation and you are right, D203 does have smarter parents than we do in D204! I am so grateful that my tax dollars are able to pay for D203's crossing guards. As an added bonus, I get to pay for our own crossing guards as well! It's difficult to believe that some folks down here in South Naperville feel that it's unfair that D204 residents from Naperville should be required to foot the bill for ANOTHER district's employees. D203 Board certainly sees it clearly as they also see nothing wrong with this policy and have appealed to the City Council to keep the status quo. Yes....D203 parents are smarter than us.

We have an overeducated (mostly at the the expense of the taxpayer mind you) and underworked (i.e. classroom size) teaching staff. What in the dear lord does someone need a masters or even more education to teach elementary school children? As long as we base the pay scale on education and then stand there and conveniently foot the bill for it we deserve what we provide.

Teachers aides, assistant principals, all kind of other staff that is questionable to start with. When I was a student our grade school had 2 teachers for every grade, a principal, and a janitor/building engineer... a grand total of 20 employees. That was it. Yeah, I know we were deprived. We didn't have a cafeteria and had to carry our lunch to school in a paper bag. We didn't have art or music or a band or cheerleaders. Heck we didn't have a library and heaven forbid had to go to the public library if we needed to write a paper. Didn't have gym or a gym teacher either. It amazes me when I see the millions we have and continue to spend on "physical education" when most of these kids can't do more than one or two push-ups, most can't do even one pull up, and the majority of the kids you see outside can't even run... they walk they are so fat and/or out of shape by the time they are in 7th or 8th grade.

How about getting back to the basics and just teach kids and get rid of all this other nonsense that along with salaries and benefits and retirement are putting the rest of us taxpaying working slobs in the poorhouse?

D204 needs to find a new source of cash! There is a reason that D203 has higher test scores than D204. Their parents are smarter. Thats right! They get us poor D204 folks to pay for their Crossing Guards $84,000/year. We also paid for Naperville Centrals Athletic Fields at the cost of the Garden Plots (that land is worth Millions). The Park District is now going to pay Millions to upgrade the Ballfields in Knoch Park so that Naperville Central can distroy them. D203 wants us now to move Ribfest so that they can have Knoch Park to themselves. Now they want us to pay for a bridge over 75th street for the students of Lincoln Jr. High. The parents of the D203 students love us. None more so than the D203 parents that live in Bolingbrook, Lisle and Woodridge that pay nothing! So maybe Kathy Birkett should ask the City of Naperville and the Park District to help fund some of D204. As I see it Metea should get the Test Track, Waubonsee maybe SaftyTown and Neuqua should get Frontier Park. Maybe the City could even pay the Broch lawsuit for us.

Thom did not BAMBOOZLE in his last post.

The difference between the 5.57 and the 6.5% I quote is estimates (actuals tend to be higher) and the last two years reflect the lower salaries the teachers took in the secret last minute deal with the Board for fear of the Taxpayer Ticket. And numbers calulated simiarly for the previous years (note, Thom does not quote them, just the regular salary increase).

Thom's mythical "turnover" number (he has never responded to -1) was simply higher as teachers were getting 20% salary increases to retire.

And Thom, to paraphrase Lloyd Benson, you are no human resource director. Instead of all this blabbering, let's let the District's hired expert do her job, not a moonlighter. I would like to see what she is saying.

And to repeat again, please show me an ISBE policy that states that teacher salary increases should be higher based on teachers leaving. All of the literature about inducements to retire were to LOWER SALARIES.

Had ANYONE followed the salary administration policies advocated by THOM HIGGINS, the respective company would be in bankruptcy. PERIOD. Follow what Thom is saying. Even though the median salary in Naperville was flat, to increasing by 2 to 3 percent (excluding entrepenuers), he is rationalizing salary increases at two to three times that rate. A Soviet politbureau boss could not make a better case to extract funds from the citizens.

So if you feel that teachers salaries are in line, post. But the rest should start joining -1 and myself (and we are not in lockstep by the way) for more sane and fair policies.

But again, no increases for 2010. But don't revert back to the insanity.

What did you expect. The state has been spending money like drunken sailors for decades and it has finally caught up with us.
I think a lot of people have an "it could never happen in Naperville attitude about cuts and layoffs but it is here and it is happening. The people of the state and the country have looked the other way too often and now we have to pay the price. Bring on the cuts, its the only way to put this thing behind us. The only other option is raise taxes.

Sigh,

6.5%? 9%?

Dan might want to go back and re-read the salary analysis. As stated, raises averaged 5.57% for the years 2007-2010. That does not mean the increase to the taxpayer was 5.57%. The average increase in teachers salaries for the same period was 3.62% Anyone can go to the ISBE report cards and verify this by looking up the average teachers salaries for the years listed. Actually the calculation returns 3.47% which is the official number.

As for prior years, again per ISBE records, the average increase in teacher salaries for the period 1998-2008 was 3.54%

For the record, my "sin" was mistaking the average increase in teachers salaries for the average teachers raise. What causes the variance between the two? Turnover. Lower paid teachers replacing more highly paid retiring teachers. I was surprised to learn that the turnover could create such a variance.

The point to remember is that the cost to the taxpayer has been in the 3.5% range annually for over 10 years per the Illinois State Board of Education. Not my opinion, not some made up number.

Another point to remember is that national wage growth (ECI) for the same period 1998-2008 was 3.2%. Meaning that D203 experienced wage growth .3% higher than the nation as a whole did. Again not my opinion, nor my calculation.

Figures quoted above can be found in my Overview of Teachers Salary Increases For Fiscal Years 2007-2010

The rest isn't worth commenting on.

Thom Higgins

QE203.org

From BAMBOOZLING TO BOMBAST

I did not impune the numbers, rather, I said for those three years, the numbers that Dave prepared were reasonable based on our detailed calulations for the first two. At the time, I felt a more accurate summary could be prepared, but this clearly illustrated that Thom was wrong, a median teacher in the District was making more than 6%, not the 3% he said. And he admitted as much 8 months later.

Look at what I said back almost a year ago. Our number was around 7% (based on actuals), Dave Zager said 6.5%, Thom said 3%. And if Dave did the reconciliation to actuals, we would have a better handle on the 7 versus 6.5%. As I said then, my difference of a half percent was due to a more accurate calculation than using a budget (an educated guess, but a guess no less).

And Dave will not touch the preceding years when we calculated 9%. If a siimilar relationship was in place, then maybe the increases are 8.5%.

But you know what? Our position is that salary increases ranging from 6.5% to 9% annually (give or take a percent say) since 2000 were simply too high, by at least 2 to 3% for a job with high job security and a good pension. Those are good increases for two recessions.

Tom starts spewing all of this other data and unrelated numbers. As I said earlier, he is in favor of these higher increases. Forget about his made up turnover number. Just say that.

Nobody else administers salaries this way and as -1 said, if we continue to give salary increases at 2 to 3 percent over CPI or ECI, we are doomed. Tom wants all to believe that EVERYONE is getting salary increases of 6 to 9%. In fact, I have even heard people in Tom's camp that feel that the median income in Naperville is $200,000 and teachers need to be increased to these levels.

But here is how to leave it. Tom is behind current salaries. I feel that they are too high, in fact, let's look for a two tier salary structure. Why pay more than is needed to hire educators? Every one has the numbers and they can judge for themselves.

We do agree. Salary freeze for 2010. My only concern is that we do no return to a bad policy.

-1, You need to reeducate Thom, he admitted his mistake, but went back to drinking!!

Responding to Dan’s comments earlier this am (as well as his previous comments in this thread) I will again state that it was upon my request that D203’s Ast. Supt. of Finance was good enough to provide historical data and background regarding D203 certified staff salary structure to Dan and myself. From the information the Supt. provided, I created Overview of Teachers Salary Increases For Fiscal Years 2007-2010. Dan created a briefer document, displaying the very same format and salary figures as mine, but without the 2010 information as he prepared his before it was available, and his does not include the Q & A and ECI information. Both the Q & A and the ECI information were provided by the Ast. Supt. Further, while this is not an official D203 document, as indicated above, this information came from the Ast. Supt. and the entire document was reviewed by him prior to publication.

For reasons known only to him, Dan seems intent on impeaching this information by making numerous misleading claims. I will offer the opinion that it is up to the reader to decide what to put their faith in; information provided by the district that can be verified, or Mr. Denys.

I have Mr. Denys salary document and his e-mail correspondence regarding ECI. When I have a moment I will post them, and again, let the reader decide.

Thom Higgins
QE203.org

Ummmm, can you please explain the relevance in this idiotic post?


By Anonymous on February 15, 2010 10:37 PM
At last, a school district willing to fire all teachers and start over!!!

http://www.projo.com/education/content/central_falls_teachers.1_02-13-10_A8HEI7Q_v61.3a65218.html

Two comments on the Thom watch.

In response to my question 1, he replies (source of his data)

"His (Dave Zager, District 203 Business Manager) response was they are derived from a report they run to monitor employee costs."

Same comment Dave told me. But this report done at the beginning of the year assuming an almost constant workforce based on expected salaries that were the basis of his budget. A budget number Thom.

He DOES NOT RECONCILE THIS NUMBER TO ACTUAL DATA AT THE END OF THE YEAR. And all of Thom's problems with the numbers is that they are not actual. Items 2 through 4 remain open.

ECI

We can all agree that statisticians monitor labor hours and employee costs. For all of you in the crowd, here is how Thom uses the number.

He feels that this statistic is an estimate of number 3 (to quote -1, the District Salary Expense). He then advocates that salaries be increased by his number 2 (the non fictional number per -1) to establish salary increases.

I could get NOBODY to agree that the ECI index should be used in this way, including an analyst in the department that prepared the index. NOBODY.

But let's stop this nonsense here. What does the human resource head of the District say? I know what corporate HR people I have dealt with. I also know of NO OTHER DISTRICT that uses Thom's interpretation and methodology for teacher salary increases. Sound liberal bamboozling, but not the way to run a company.

This BAMBOOZLING from somebody who does not do this for a living and who does not seem to understand. Kinda like the rookie President we have right now.

Regarding Dan’s post earlier today, I have previously discussed with Mr. Zager how he calculated the figures supplied to us. His response was they are derived from a report they run to monitor employee costs. So, no they are not "GUESSTIMATES" nor are they arrived from the budget numbers as Dan claims.

As far as what the comparable percentages were for the prior years, hey, Dan’s “party line” can claim it’s whatever he wants to, but the ISBE average increase in teachers salaries for the years 1998 to 2008 was 3.54%. Actually I have some information from Mr. Zager for the prior years, I’ll get it in some sort of comparable format to the current salary analysis and post it. Here’s the teaser, it’s not 9%.

As far as the validity, and the widespread use of the ECI (employee Cost Index), I could post hundreds of links to articles from business news organizations reporting on the ECI. Here’s a recent one from Bloomberg

This from; investopedia.com

What it Means for Investors
The ECI is watched primarily for its inflationary insights. Compensation costs represent the lion's share of the total cost for a company to produce a product or deliver a service in the marketplace (and can be computed per company by dividing cost of goods sold (COGS) by selling, general & administrative expense (SG&A) on the company's income statement). The relative percentages of COGS will vary by industry, making the data release valuable on an inter-industry level.

The ECI is used by the Federal Reserve to set monetary policy; as the Fed has publicly stated, it prefers the value of this release to the Employment Situation Report's hourly cost figures, which just include wages.

For -1;

First let me thank you for the helpful comments you have made regarding my comparison of 203 to other school districts. I am all but finished revising the high school district spreadsheet to remove the OPS score and replace it with a much more detailed comparison using ISAT scores (weighted, I looked up all the feeder schools). I will also substitute Lake Zurich in the CUSD comparison. Again, thank you, your comments help me offer a more accurate picture. And while you disagree with the whole concept, I believe it is entirely valid and helpful to illustrate how D203, as a district, compares in cost and academic performance with the other top districts in the Chicago area. I plan to continue to offer my analysis annually along with the other national and local studies discussing D203.

As for your concerns regarding the salary analysis, your comments about 2. remind me of this classic joke
Perhaps I should just put “miracle occurs here”! Anyway, while I know you will continue to disagree, I am confident that the illustrations contained in Overview of Teachers Salary Increases For Fiscal Years 2007-2010 are a fair and accurate explanation of the issue. The next time I run into Mr. Zager I will bring up your comments up to him and report back.

Lastly, with respect to arithmetic vs geometric means, as I understand it, the variance between them in this case (due to the fact that there are not large variances from year to year) is quite small, and as you have stated the geometric mean would return a lower value. So, in the end, is it meaningful to this discussion? Have you performed both calculations on the salary data to illustrate the variance?

Thom Higgins

QE203.org

At last, a school district willing to fire all teachers and start over!!!

http://www.projo.com/education/content/central_falls_teachers.1_02-13-10_A8HEI7Q_v61.3a65218.html

I must confess, we all get caught up in this school-eeze.

I agree number 2 does not exist. The amount was originally tossed around as retirement incentives were given to high paid teachers to leave. It is a calculated amount.

My earlier point is that NO SCHOOL DISTRICT uses this concept to JUSTIFY HIGHER SALARIES, only Thom Higgins. And my point is that if salaries were increased at 4% instead of 6.5%, this number would remain the same. But the net salary expense would go down 2.5% as well.

But teachers salaries should be based on two factors. What they are worth and what we can afford. Without $1,200 annual over taxation (did you notice that 203 will run a $12 million surplus this year--more over taxation.

And I am amazed at all of the things Higgins accuses me of saying.

But -1, he is not quiet their, he will relapse!!!!

Mr. Abides:

I apologize for not being clear. I was much more direct back here.

My comment about comparing D203 to appropriate other districts was in the context of Mr. Higgins' website with poorly thought out documents. I think Mr. Higgins is finally realizing what he said before about 7% raises. It is a slow but sure process with him. Bit by bit, I think he is coming around. The qe203 contract talks statement is a step in the right direction.

e^(i*pi) aka -1

You're all insane to be debating the edges of the A)High salaries ON AVERAGE we pay in 203 and B)The immoral INCREASES they have been receiving for 15 years.

Who gives a rat's butt how much they spend in New Trier (did anyone else notice even they turned down a recent referendum for more!), OR lISLE, or 204 for that matter: What I care about is what they are doing here, in 203, in the middle of the greatest threat to American economics since 1981 and 1932. For probably the first time since the depression, wonderful little Naperville! is being treated to the same pain as the rest of the State & country in one of these little "slowdowns". Look at your neighbors house and tell me everything is Okay in Naperstan!

Do you all know what is coming down the line?

Massive layoffs in the school districts around the country, especially Illinois. Also, there WILL be an eventual "bankruptcy" of our State and the pension system for the teachers, amoing others, will crash down like an asteroid within the gravitational pull of the earth. There will be tears, and screaming, and hand-wringing.

Once it is over, we will start over on a more accountable and responsible route.

Consider it a reboot ---- a chance to add order to the chaos.

Dan, walk a day in a teacher's shoes, then criticize the salaries. And don't think that teachers are the only thing that will be cut this year. When activities like kids' band and athletic programs are cut, we'll see who's complaining then. One won't happen without the other. In the meantime, move to a district where you are happy with the teacher salaries and send us a report.

Mr. Higgins,

Please understand.

There is no line 2.

It does not exist.

You do not, I repeat do not, take line 1 and subtract line 2 to get line 3. Okay, maybe you do. But nobody else does.

There is a line 1 and a line 3. I believe these numbers were appropriately calculated somehow -- be it actual teacher salaries used or budget line item divided by FTE. Dan thinks it is the latter, and you are claiming it is the former. That has nothing to do with what I am saying. There is a number you can create and call it (1)-(3) and place it in the 2nd row. But you cannot call it what you are calling it. (1) - (3) has no intrinsic meaning. It has a value. It has no meaning.

If you do not understand what I am saying about line 2, ask Mr. Zager. If he doesn't get it, heaven help us.

Since D203 has a monetary limit on what it can spend (CPI), introducing the ECI does nothing to help the case. This is especially true when ECI is lower than the increase in average salary AND the increase in other employee-related items is higher than the increase in salary. There's only one place that takes us, and it is not pleasant. Do you have a 2007-2010 ECI to place on the chart?

Please reread this post before responding. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat until you understand what I am saying.

Ask Mr. Zager. Twice, maybe three times if needed.

-1

p.s. To the nitpickers. Clearly AM>=GM not just AM > GM . We are discussing positive numbers only. In all cases discussed we have AM>GM since we do not have across the board equality for year-to-year raises.

The core problem is that the schools are a state run monopoly where the state puts all competitors at a severe economic disadvantage. The teachers union is the monopoly supplier of labor for the state.

A free market for education and elimination of the state monopoly economic penalty for those that want to compete are the answers.

By definition, monopolies don't compete.

Monopoly service model "you eat it the way we serve it"

Thom's open issues.

1. Check with Dave Zager on the source of his numbers. They are based on his budget, he does not reconcile them to actual results. You use numbers that you do not even understand what they were based on. VERY DANGEROUS!! That was the defense of Bernie Ebbers, Ken Lay, and Tom Skilling. Great company Thom!!!

2. Ask Dave to reconcile these numbers to actual data. He has the data. He can do the best job. He would not do it.

3. Make sure you quote me correctly from last March. I stated that the numbers were reasonable, within one half of one percent for fiscal years 2007 and 2008 (we have not reconciled 2009).

4. What are the comparable numbers for fiscal years 2000 (when the reckless Weber/ALL-BUST spending began) until 2006? Can you get Zager to prepare them. Until he or you prepare something, the party line is that they were 9%.

5. I could not find any support or for that matter knowledge from the economists I know. Nothing to report. So we have one obscure quote from Greenspan. Another Thom assignment. What does the new human resource manager from the foreign bank think? Silence is maddening. Show me an economist who uses these numbers. Everything I have seen lately is that the BLS has cooked numbers. What about the 1 million adjustment (increase) to the number of unemployed?

The lack of specific information is consistent with to Thom's constant "BAMBOOZLING". Where's the beef (in honor of the late Claire Peller)?

More amazing, this information provides OVERWHELMING SUPPORT to his contention that teachers deserve NO SALARY INCREASE in 2010. Has anyone heard the rumor for the University of Illinois professors pay change this July--10% SALARY CUT!!! Further, it argues that 203 should implement a two tiered system like other employees.

Notice how slick Thom is. He ignores the clarification about the "Average (Median) Teacher Salary Increase" versus "Annual Salary Increase". In light of all of his research, what is his conclusion about teacher salaries? NEVER SAID.

Oh, what are all of your other school contacts telling you? Thats right, nothing, you have none!!!

Beware of the Ides of March!!!!

Dan,

It hopeless to discuss this with you if you are not willing to make legitimate comments. You well know that the salary records, not the budget as you now claim, are the basis of the information provided, and that the ISBE numbers confirm it. So contra your continuing efforts to obfuscate the issue, We were provided with a "VERY ACCURATE" (your words) numbers. You just don't like them.

As always, I refer the reader to the document in question; Overview of Teachers Salary Increases For Fiscal Years 2007-2010

Dan's continuing claim of my adding misleading editorial commentary is due to the inclusion the ECI (employment Cost Index) numbers. Again, this is not my construct. D203 (and business' in general) use the ECI as a benchmark when analyzing salary growth. Dan's discomfort is due to the fact that D203's wage growth compares too favorably to the national ECI, which messes up his argument. The Ast. Supt. of Finance was good enough to provide this data.

And before Dan comes back and try's to discredit the validity of the ECI, I will note the following;

The Employment Cost Index (ECI) is a quarterly economic series detailing the changes in the costs of labor for businesses in the United States economy. The ECI is prepared by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), in the U.S. Department of Labor.

It is a widely watched series by the financial sector, yet the ECI gets less press coverage than the more commonly quoted Consumer Price Index (CPI)], which is also prepared by the BLS. While the CPI is a measure of inflation in consumer prices, the ECI is vital in that it gives an indication of whether employment cost changes are rising or falling, thus measuring inflation of wages, and employer-paid benefits. Former Chairman of the Federal Reserve Alan Greenspan said of the ECI, "The Employment Cost Index is indispensable to understanding America's economy. It ensures the accuracy of the statistics on employers' compensation costs that we rely on for economic policy making and for successful business planning." In making decisions to adjust the prime interest rate, the Federal Reserve often cites shifts in the ECI as having an effect on their decision-making process.

Dan, in his efforts to negate the validity of the ECI actually emailed some officials and asking questions in such a manner to allow him to claim the ECI is inaccurate. If he wants to continue with this claim fine, but he should make this claim to those same officials as well and let's see their response.

for -1;

I'm rushed a bit for time, but wanted to reply to some of your comments regarding the salary table. The top line number (1.) is based on using the salary records for staff calculated for FTE's (full time equivalent). Any changes to income; increases due to steps, lanes, stipends, or increases in time worked etc, as well as any decreases due to working less or loss of stipend, is captured in this number. Therefore, as 1. captures this, deducting 2. allows us to get to the net number 3.

Thom Higgins

QE203.org

Mr. Higgins:

2. The savings due to lower salaries of teachers replacing those that have retired or terminated for those years averaged 1.86%

*sigh*

If Mr. Zagar agreed to this statement, he should resign now. There are "savings" from having the highest paid teachers get smaller percentage raises than the lower paid teachers, so "savings" are not all due to turnover. See my example above. To truly calculate "savings", I suspect you should compute the payroll costs if the teachers did not retire (giving them each an appropriate raise) and subtract the payroll cost with the actual teachers. Simply subtracting the percentages is wrong.

I do not give a rat's patoose about Lisle. I am not giving them a pass. I just do not care about them. I do have a problem with a final column of data which is misleading. Your "average" column is less than illustrative -- especially so when Lisle is included.

You continue to use a single test at one grade level as the primary sorter for your comparison. A test which (as Dan D noted above) can be influenced by many factors including income and ethnic background. Check the IIRC for the Asian achievement on the exams. There is little difference in the M&E among the districts you compare.

On the raise issue. I doubt it was 9%, but more like 7+ish from my prior calculations from champion data with obviously excessive raises deleted. The contract sheet-to-sheet raises were higher prior to 2007, so the average raise would have been similarly higher.

**MATH SPEAK** Part of my prior analysis looked at the geometric mean. As we know, the arithmetic mean > geometric mean so that whatever I calculated before over several years is actually smaller than the average of the year-to-year raises. I looked at, say 2006 and 2001, took the 5th root of the ratio of each teacher's salary. This will be smaller than if I had looked at the 2002/2001 + 2003/2002 +...2006/2005 and averaged them. Why does this matter? Looking at the endpoints and getting the geometric mean will give a smaller appearing average raise than actually averaging the year-to-year raises. I would ask that all who give an average raise use averages of yearly data, not geometric means so the numbers are comparable. I think everyone is doing this, but I wanted to make sure. Actually I do not care which one is used, but we (I) should be consistent. **END MATH SPEAK**

-1

To all,

Thom has this habit of putting Dave Zager on the spot. Look, he has to defend the school district, but not Thom. It would be nice if Dave would reconcile the data in the chart to actual information rather than simply relying on his budget numbers. It would be nice if he would go back to 2000 when Weber and ALL-BUST went on the spending and taxing rampage.

But he notes that 75% of the people don't care. And they like to be taxed. In this last primary, 75% of the people did not vote. The Republican nominee for County Board Chairman voted to increase our sales taxes by a half of a percent to support the CTA.

So most people should not complain about their taxes. They have not participated.

On the other hand, 203 is walking a fine line because they know that if they push too far, the sleeping giant would wake up.

Also, Thom does not tell you why the salary numbers for the last two years are lower. Tell them Thom. The secret 2 yeare contract extension before the election we ran in. After we lost, they wanted to tear up the contract and return to the 9% incrases. They were upset that they gave up the three percent.

I wish more people spent the time. There are too many smart people in Naperville to tolerate this BAMBOOZLING of the taxpayer. Oh Thom ,you are number 2. Allen ALL-BUST has you beat hands down.

CLARIFICATIONS

1. People want to know what a median salary increase is for teachers who continue to work in the work force, not the average teachers salary paid. That question has been posed and reposed over and over again.

2. Many of us try to answer that question by taking the raw W-2 data (I think that was -1's reference) for all teachers who worked full time in the District year to year and calculate that amount. Since the District has refused to do so, several groups have done that using the Championnews. In fact, I at one time sent Thom all of the Excel worksheets. And we attempted to eliminate most of the distortions that Thom rails about.

3. I did agree to see if we can come up with a common baseline number. Dave Zager and I (and Thom) did. It was not the 3.4% that he had stated. He admited six months later after boycotting his agreement to post the numbers we all agreed on that he was WRONG (I do not know how to link to his late admission). I will also admit that he wanted to include, as he does on his QE203 page EDITORIAL PROPAGANDA to "rationalize" these amounts.

4. Dave Zager's numbers are based on his BUDGETS for salary changes. He has not reconciled them to actual numbers. In the three years we analyzed, the numbers were close (within 0.5%). And again, they refuted Thom's comments that the W-2 increases were below three percent. These numbers were tolerable, but unfortunately, not accurate.

5. I will again state that Dave Zager could calculate a VERY ACCURATE comparison of "W-2" salaries, but he refuses to do so. REmember, he supplies the numbers to Championnews.

6. While the median salary incrase for a returning teacher has been almost 6% (annual AVERAGE!!!) per Thom's schedule (we can only verify the first two higher years since actual data has not been posted by the District for the 2009 fiscal year and of course 2010 is not done), the comparable numbers for the five years before this schedule is closer to 9%. Thom, post it if you have the details. You know that Zager does not want to post it.

Where is the bamboozling? Here are some clear statements

Average teacher salaries went up 6.28% (within 0.50%) in fiscal year 2008.

Overall teacher salary expense increased by 4.13%.

Now the meaningful statement. If the appropriate salary increase should have been 4% (and was probably less in the private sector) for 2008, then overall teacher salary expense would have increased by less than 2%. Based on $100 million in teacher salaries, this works out to an EXTRA $2 MILLION in tax dollars.

Now the real question.

EVERYONE WHO HAS POSTED ON THESE PAGES EXCEPT THOM HIGGINS have inferred that salary levels for teachers have been more than generous. Some say wasteful.

Why doesn't Thom just come out and say that they are worth higher salary increases than everyone else? Why these crazy schedules?

I think he is as ashamed of these increases and simply hopes to "BAMBOOZLE" everyone. I might attempt, but I cannot succeed like the master. You are the best, Thom.

There’s been a lot posted today, I’ll do my best to address it from more of a macro perspective.

First, unfortunately (and as per usual), I need to correct some of Dan’s attempts at bamboozlement. When the question of teacher salaries and raises came up during last springs school board election, it was I who pushed Dan Denys agree to discuss teachers salaries with me and D203’s Ast’ Supt. of Finance, with the hope that we could agree on what the facts are and present them to the public. Dan in his statements above tries to; 1. Make it sound like it was his and the Ast. Supt’s work alone. 2. That the Ast. Supt. does not agree with the additional information that I have provided, and 3. (this is pretty illogical considering 1.) the district “REFUSED to do an exact analysis.

Let me first say that Dave Zager, the Ast Supt. of Finance was both gracious and extremely helpful with providing data and answers for numerous questions that both Dan and I posed. From this, for a brief time last spring, Dan posted a short document on the subject that wholly contained data and information that was provided by Zager. The calculations Zager provided, while not perfectly aligning with the ISBE calculations down to the exact .10%, are certainly more than accurate enough for our purposes and give a clear view on the subject. At no time did Dan complain about the accuracy of the information, and, needless to say, at no time did the district refuse to provide accurate data as he claims. Frankly, I’d pay real money to watch Dan tell Mr. Zager to his face that, after all of time he spent with us, he’s now claiming that Davie is just guessing.

As to Dan’s comment that Zager does not agree with the additional information that I provided , I guess I have to state one more time that while it is not an official D203 document, all the information contained here; Overview of Teachers Salary Increases For Fiscal Years 2007-2010 it is wholly derived from financial data and commentary provided by Mr. Zager, who reviewed it before I posted it.

So, what does this document tell us?

1. Total average annual increase to compensation for an incumbent teacher between each consecutive year for the years 2007-2010 was 5.57%

2. The savings due to lower salaries of teachers replacing those that have retired or terminated for those years averaged 1.86%

3. Meaning the net average annual increase in salary cost incurred by the district and paid by the taxpayer was 3.62%

note; this is only a calculation to find the net cost for increases in wages. A districts payroll can also increase if additional staff are hired, and decline if there is a reduction.

The ISBE annually calculates this net figure (slightly different methodology) and comes up with the same number give or take a few tenths of a percent due to that difference in methodology in order to calculate the Average teacher Salary. I recommend the interested reader to go to the ISBE report card website. There you can look up D203’s report card over a number of years and compare the average teachers salary listed. I believe it is also contained in D203’s annual audited financials.

Why is the above important? Anyone who has followed critics of the District such as Den Denys and his Taxpayers Ticket know that there has been constant criticism about all teachers getting 7-8-9-10% annual raises. While an individual teacher can get large increase under various scenarios, if you want to know what the average increase in wages (all sources) was from 2007-2010 it was 5.57%. However, the average teacher salary did not go up 5.57% due to turnover. The net effect, and what the district had to write a check for those wage increases, was 3.62%. Dan continues with his bamboozlement by implying that this district uses this calculation as a mechanism to give higher raises, when in fact any good financial person will tell you that if you are going to give out raises you better know how much it’s going to cost you, and that is, of course, the net figure.

For -1.

I appreciate you bringing Lake Zurich to my attention and I will revise the spreadsheet on the basis of it having a higher ACT score than Lisle. Where you and I will never agree is on this question of the size of a district. My perspective is nobody gets a pass just because of their size. In my view, a districts “product” is the academic achievement of its student, size is irrelevant (all other things being equal)

That’s enough for one night.

Thom Higgins


QE203.org

I meant to say to Thome

I FEEL THAT THE SAVINGS RESULTING FROM...

should be

TURNOVER

...SHOULD BE USED TO REDUCE TAXES, NOT TO PROVIDE RATIONAL FOR HIGHER SALARY INCREASES TO TEACHERS.

I hope Thom sees this correction before a coronary.

Can't add much here, except that the adults are acting like children. I think one person said to vote. Do that, and stop complaining or put forth some better ideas. Spoiled, jealous adult brats.

I thought car lots were closed on Sundays.

Just a couple of clarifications.

To -1 TEACHER SALARY INCREASES

Every teacher gets an increase. The amounts vary based on the value of the step, the increase to the step, and the lane value. For the last contract, the step and "inflation" increases were 4% (forgot the exact number) compared to 5.2% for the preceeding years. Teachers who are energetic make more than this through lane changes (taking extra classes) or taking on other duties such as coaching.

So since all got increaes, then the lower overall salary increase would reflect turnover, just as you suggested.

One furhter caveat. The Championnews does provide all the salary information for all teachers. It is supplied by the District. We, like Thom, were concerned about the accuracy of their increase numbers. First, they do only include teachers that were employed in consecutive years (as we do). But as Thom points out, those teachers that worked a partial year (in either year) distorts the numbers. So we further eliminated any teacher that had a change in salary of greater than 15% (again, either way).

Now we have asked that 203 do the exact calcuation (they have all of the payroll data). THEY REFUSE. Remember that the numbers that Thom printed are Dave Zager's "estimates" (GUESSES). But they were within 1% of the numbers for the first three years, so they do not distort numbers.

More interestingly, following the same methodology since 2000 (under the Weber and All-BUST regime), the increases were 9%. I had asked Dave to check those numbers, but he refused. I guess he must be as skeptical of ALL-BUST's numbers as we all are.

And Thom, to repeat for the 100th time, I do not mind the schedule. I FEEL THAT THE SAVINGS RESULTING FROM SALARY INCREASES SHOULD BE USED TO REDUCE TAXES, NOT TO PROVIDE RATIONAL FOR HIGHER SALARY INCREASES TO TEACHERS. I also think that teacher increases were one to two percent too high in the last four years, more in previous years. Agreeing to the numbers does not mean I agreed with the salary increases. That is why I disagreed with editorial comments on the schedule since they are not objective, they are editorial. Let people make their own judgements. Instead of ECI, put on CPI, the basis that other union contracts such as hotel and auto workers are given increases. Even airline pilots.

SPENDING REFERENCE POINTS

Higgins and -1 can argue about his irrelevant statistic. I reiterate my point. Educational successes at the margin are more the result of parental input, support, and direction (some say pushing) than the school. Students with more support and diverse experiences will do better.

An Indian acquaintence suggests that test performance is a function of ethnic background. In fact, he laughs why Americans such as Thom don't understand what is going on. India is a country of over 1 billion residents. Their people who are in the top 5% of IQ's (50 million) would swamp the US. Which Indian's are emigrating to the US? Not the bottom 95%. Same for the Chinese.

His observation. Any school that exceeds the national average of 4.5% Asian populstion will be among the top scoring districts. Looking at Thom's list of Districts, that seems to have more correlation than spending.

Thom, ask Peter if he has ever done regrssion analysis, and see if there is any causality for test scores. Include ethnicity.

Several years back, the Naperville high schools had over 50 National Merit Finalists. Last year, it was 25 or so. Has the school fallen back 50%? No. These are the outlying test scores and they will fluctuate for reasons totally unrelated to the school.

We should only care about what funds we have internally. If we were to implement a two level salary structure, the quality of teachers would not decline. A salary at 25% below current levels would still be in the 90th percentile. We should take this action now as a hedge against future deflation and when the state funding of teacher pensions are eliminated and transferred to local school districts.

Let's follow the lead of the airlines and auto companies so that we can sustain this system.

Mr. Higgins,

Are you trying to give a reasonable comparison of D203 to comparable districts or are you trying to call out Lisle on its spending?

It sounds like you are trying to do the latter. I do not care what Lisle thinks or does. I care what D203 does. I care about comparing D203 to similar districts. If you look at your list of districts, Lisle is such an outlier that its inclusion is ...not well informed. Using a non-weighted average further confounds matters. You are allowing Lisle's numbers to represent 1/7 of all the students in the other districts. Lisle is the only Medium Unit District on your chart. It has no business being there.

Lisle is NOT a similar district. If they choose to spend New Trier level money...have at it. That has nothing to do with D203. Zero. Your comment If lisle looks a bit better on a weighted basis will a parent feel better, or will they wonder why after spending New Trier money they so significantly lag 203 (and others as well) in academic performance? shows that you have no clue what I am discussing. It shows disdain for Lisle and a lack of understanding of my comments.

You said you used the high performing districts as a comparison. You did not. I gave you one example. There are several others in Kane and McHenry (and also near Peoria).

-1

Just took a peek at -1 and Dan's posts directly above. I'll comment in detail about the salary question tonight when I have time, but I think we can bring closure to -1's comments regarding Lisle.

My position is that I want to know how 203 is doing compared to other school districts. School districts are the governing entity, and I think is how most people look at it. It's certainly the basis upon which we pay our taxes. So to my mind it is statistically valid and helpful to compare 203 to other districts, irrespective of how many students the have.

Now, what I believe -1's position is that I should essentially compare 203 students to the total student population in the other school districts by using weighted averages. This too would yield a statistically valid comparison,and the number would be somewhat different.Is one more correct than the other? If lisle looks a bit better on a weighted basis will a parent feel better, or will they wonder why after spending New Trier money they so significantly lag 203 (and others as well) in academic performance? It would be interesting and not that tough to do the weighed average calc's. You game -1?

OK I'm gone, it's too nice out.

Thom Higgins

QE203.org

It was only a matter of time. As Kid Rock sang, What you sow is what you reap!

For years the voters in Naperville kept approving pretty much anything thrown their way. the reason, of course, was "it's for the children!"

The attitude has been "We are Naperville --- we have lots of money. We deserve to have the best. We are bter than the others." Instead of actually parenting, we preferred to throw money at all the problems of raising and instructing a child.

Now, we have an economic crisis the extent of which most have not seen in their lifetimes, and the panic has ensued.

Blame it on the State, blame it on the commies ----- DON'T blame it on us for letting our school baords spend too much under the aegis of "It's for the Children!"

The time for accountability is here, and all of us voters (more importantly, those of you too lazy or arrogant to vote!) to look in the mirror and see the problem: It is us!

Wake up!

Actually research and learn about who is running for office!

Don't just blindly listen to a talking head!

Look at the state of things as they are, not what you want them to be or what others tell you it is!

Vote!

Thom.

First, please stay calm. We do not want you to be joining Bill and George in requiring stents.

Second, you lose perspective of history. I CREATED THE FORMAT OF THE CHART, NOT DAVE OR THE ISBE. So if anyone should understand the INTENT of the chart, I should be first. Remember, it took you nine months to understand the chart and to add verbage that neither Dave or I agreed to. (You wanted to "justify" the largest.)

And the intent of the chart is that the typical 203 school teacher had an increase of 6.4%, 6.28%, etc. In line with the amounts that analysts for the Taxpayer's Ticket calculated from the Championnews.org by using detailed records. The turnover number was displayed to show how such teacher salaries would reconcile to the averages displayed on the state report card.

I will concede that Dave Zager contends that District 203 should increase salaries based on this net number and its comparison to the ECI. I disagree. The ISBE does not have this policy. No other school District follows this concept (unless Allan All-BUST has implemented it in Lake Forest--knowing that Board, they would never agree to such nonsense).

And I tried to determine how this forumula would apply to 203 including discussions with leading economists and staff people who compile the statistic. This is a broad messure and not intended to be used to negotiate. Just like CPI. You don't raise prices based on CPI, rather, CPI measures the price increases that result.

And again, almost one YEAR after I did this analysis, you are still working on your position. I am glad you are not an airline pilot, the plane would crash before you decided what to to.

In short, the reason 203 is not in as bad of shape as District 204 is due to two factors. First, the fraud against the 203 taxpayers by Weber and All-Bust results in the typical homeowner paying $750 dollars extra EVERY YEAR or over $90 million (probabably $150 million by now). District 203 dare not ask for more money, they have never corrected their actions of the past.

Second, enrollment is decreasing. The District should be able to reduce taxes as spending decreases. Let's see how much integrity this Mitrovich has.

On the other hand, based on our work as Will DuPage Taxpayers Alliance, 204 took even more money from their taxpayers than 203. But the taxpayers haven't held the line. They also have a smaller tax base, so it simply costs more to keep up with the Jones. They want to pay their teachers the same as 203 rather than the 20% lower salaries in Plainfield, Bolingbrook, and Oswego. They have to tax more than 203 to do so.

In fact, this is an interesting idea for the 203 teacher contract. Let's do what the auto companies are doing. Establish a two tier pay schedule. We all know that their are 500 applicants for each job, so salary is not the reason people join 203. Let's freeze the current salary schedule for only existing employees, limit total increases for this employee pool to CPI plus 1% (including lanes and steps--if these two components cost more than cpi, then no general increase).

All new teachers would come in on a new salary schedule that would be 25% below the current schedule. The reference Districts would be Oswego, Yorkville, Plainfield, and Bolingbrook, not Barrington, St. Charles and Wheaton. The new schedule would start with five steps (years of service). No new teacher would be granted more than five years a service credit.

There would be no shortage of teachers. The current teachers would be protected. As teachers retire, the taxpayers would get real savings. And we would get the same quality teacher. Tell Barrington, St. Charles and Wheaton to follow our example.

What is good for Government Motors should be good for 203.

In 203 can teachers really move lanes mid year? If so, that is unlike any district that I ever worked for. In those districts, lane changes only occurred at the beginning of the school year. So if you achieved a masters degree in December, you would not move lanes until August at the beginning of the new school year. I had never heard of a district moving people mid year before. Interesting.

Mr. Higgins,

I am not sure why I need to ask this each and every time I make comments, but please read what I wrote. I am not disputing the Average Raise and Increase in Average Salary. If I must remind you, that was your problem.

Who created line(2)? If it was you, please relabel it or remove it. If it was Mr. Zagar, he should resign now since he doesn't understand this topic. If it was Mr. Denys, ask his daughter to help him out.

I will try again (patiently). The difference between average raise and increase in average salary is not entirely due to turnover. Yes 6%-4% = 2%. No that does not mean that the "2%" is all due to turnover. Nor does it mean that it is appropriate to subtract percentages when they are averages for different numbers of people. It just means that 6% - 4% = 2%.

In my example there was no turnover, yet there was a difference between the 2 numbers in question. That behavior will be embedded within the data you present in lines (1) and (3). Yes, turnover will have a large effect, but different raises can also cause a "savings". In your example everyone got the same raise and was being paid the same salary.

I think you need to justify using Lisle. It does not perform as well as several other large unit CUSDs I found. Its sins are that you dislike how much money they spend and they are close. I agree. Furthermore, you continue to use Lisle at full strength compared to D204 and the others which are much larger. I propose it is you who continues to be blind to your bias. If you want to leave Lisle there, then you must use a weighted average (or better yet...consolidate...for the same numbers as the weighted average).

There are many other flaws in your documents, but I will leave it at these for now.

-1

-1

I take your point regarding Lake Zurich thanks for finding them, but I still don’t understand why you feel that it's not valid to compare Lisle to other CUSD’s simply because they are so much smaller. If they were a small rural district or were spending significantly less, I would understand, but Lisle actually spends as much as what it costs to send a kid through the New Trier school system, (reflect on that for a moment), and they are right next door. Why do you think a smaller district should get a pass when it comes to academic performance?

Now, regarding your comments about how the district and the ISBE calculate average teacher salary increases, here’s a crude example of my understanding of the logic;

10 teachers at $10,000 each = $100,000 total
2 retire
8 remaining teachers get 5% raises. 8 * 10,500 = $84,000
2 replacement teachers@ $9,000= $18,000
New total payroll = $102,000.

So the incumbent teachers receive a 5% raise but the cost to the taxpayer for those 10 teachers is only 2% more. Regardless, please remember that the figures and construct in this document Overview of Teacher Salary Increases for Fiscal Years 2007-2010 are not mine. They are the District and the ISBE’s.

For Dan D;

Dan if you question the validity of turnover reducing the total cost of teacher raises, and the usage of this number, why did you show this construct in the salary analysis you did? You raised no complaints regarding this in our discussions with Dave. If you want to see the official documentation then let’s make another appointment with Dave and he can provide it to you as well as the districts audited statement that I believe also has these figures. Actually, if you go to the ISBE report cards and look at the historical data it confirms the net numbers.

Thom Higgins

QE203.org

Mr. Higgins:

How about another L -- Lake Zurich. Large Suburban Unit district. Decent ACT score. Overall Meets and Exceeds is higher than Lisle.

What I did was go to http://iirc.niu.edu/District.aspx?districtid=19022203026

Compare district and filter by Large Unit >80% meets and exceeds. You can sort by M&E percentage. Go from there by looking at county. There are some other in McHenry and Kane, but I think Lake Zurich is a better comparison.

-1

When the state goes bankrupt, they should shut down all pension plans. Government employee's have the right to pensions earned, but if they were stopped today, they would not be entitled to increased penson benefits they would earn on future work.

The Illinois Teachers Pension is the largest problem. By ending it, the teachers unions can establish their own pension plans like the Teamsters and their other fellow union members. If those plans lose money, the union stewards cut the benefits.

Why should the public be providing pention plans? Let's end all now. Let the unions handle the retirement.

A simple question.

Thom Higgins says,

"Both the ISBE and D203 (and I assume other districts as well) look at the net increase in salaries for incumbent teachers as a data point/budgeting guide."

HUH??!?!?! I find NO REFERENCE to this concept in the ISBE standards on setting salary increases. In fact, they don't have any. Thom, please provide a citation to some authoratative document that supports this assertion.

For that matter, how many school districts has Thom Higgins worked for in the last 30 years? Or does he chat with school teachers in the auto sales lot?

Check a history lessen. Earlier retirement programs in government (and industry) including those for teachers were established to save salary costs. Retiring public employees that were higher paid would be replaced by lower paid teachers so governments could live within their means and moderate costs from taxpayers.

I, unlike Thom, have worked with many local governments. I do not have ONE client that offers higher salaries to employees because of turnover. Everyone uses this savings to help balance budgets. Same for private industry. (In fact, most governments keep their salary expenses within the tax cap unlike 203.)

For any adminstrator or company owner foolish enought to follow a concept that employees are entitled to a larger salary increases due to retiring employees are standing at the edge of a slippery slope. Bankruptcy is inevitable.

Look at the auto companies, they froze the salaries of the higher paid existing union employees. The new employees are coming in 50% below in salary. I do not see them giving the higher paid employees a higher salary. Must be different in the car lot.

Mr. Higgins,

Let me give a brief counter-example of why you cannot use the percentage subtraction method.

Example: 2 employees. No turnover.

A 100,000 104,000 ==> 4% raise
B 50,000 53,000 ==> 6% raise

Average raise = 5%

Increase in average salary = [(157,000)/2]/[(150,000)/2] = 4.7%

Switching the example we get

A 100,000 106,000 ==> 6% raise
B 50,000 52,000 ==> 4% raise

Average Raise = 5%

Increase in average salary = [(158,000)/2]/[(150,000)/2] = 5.3%

So we have a .3% "savings" in one case and a .3% "increase" in the other with NO turnover. This case is just a small example of why the difference does not mean what you say it means. To have it as a line item and say that (1)-(2)=(3) in your table is less than correct. (2) does exist, but does not equal the number you are using.

Another large flaw in subtracting is that in part (1) you are using, say, 90% of the teachers, and in part(3) you are using 100% of the teachers.

Let me try again on the CUSD document. Why don't you...say...consolidate the 7 (6 without Lisle) other districts. Add up their total costs (students*cost student for each district) and divide by total students. Do this for each of the data points you have (ACT, percentage low income...). Then rerun the data. By refusing to remove Lisle (NOT a large unit district, much smaller class size, no bulk savings) and also not taking a weighted average, you continue to put forward a deceptive document. Lisle with 1500 students has as much weight as D204 with 28000 in your calculations. Lisle is about 1/4 the size of the next smallest district. It has no business being on the list. Yes, Lisle bothers you as you have stated on many occasions. Tough luck. They should not be part of the comparison.

-1

I have read the QE203 salary position. I tender my opinion as 1/3 of the Taxpayers Ticket (I am amazed we are remembered, 75% of the people did not bother to even vote!!!).

I AGREE WITH TWO EXCEPTIONS.

1. The savings due to employee turnover do not belong to the teachers, they belong to the taxpayers. But realistically, step increases, once the steps are fixed (all set at 1.5 to 2%) can be retained. As for lanes (where people get the salary increases for additional education), the policy should be revised so teachers get this increase only ONCE a year, at the beginning of the school year. Right now, once they qualify, their salaries increase. If the once a year was implemented, there would be no such increases in 2010-2011, effectively a freeze. There is no reason that this increase should be immediate.

2. The Distirct should undertake a thorough "zero based" analysis of operations and programs. See what is no longer needed and eliminate people.

For example, when the new Naperville Central is completed, will the numerous entries be eliminated thereby eliminating the need to all of these "security people"? Same for all of the other buildings where buzzer systems were installed. How many people were let go since the office secretary could monitor the doors? For entrances, could cameras be installed to monitor the entries and people be forced to use only certain entries (try getting in the exits at the United Center before a game!! No way, of course). And address staffing reductions consistent with enrollment reductions.

CHANGE WE CAN BELIEVE IN?

Since District 203 stole our money under Weber and Allan "Al-BUST" stole the $90 million from Naperville taxpayers, the District has been more vigilient and is even working to give back $40 million through the construction program of the money stolen (so we are out only $50 million). Keep up the fiscal constraint (that is why no tax increase will be voted). We are waiting to see if Mr. Mitrovich can finally reverse the mismanagement that Dr. Leis was unable to conquer. And maybe even focus on better education that he says is lacking in this District.

203 could be unique, a school district for the students and not a money pit for the teachers.

(By the way, if Obamacare would get passed, the teachers would see there medical payments go up to the mandated 65% contribution levels. Why wait?)

-1.

I understand that you are unhappy about me including Lisle in the CUSD comparison, but the fact remains that Lisle 202 is 8th top performing CUSD in the Chicagoland area (unless I missed one). I don’t see what using weighted averages would bring to the conversation. Lisle 202, as do all other districts, has to rise and fall on their costs (one of the highest in the Chicagoland area at $5186 over the state average) and academic performance (ACT score of 22.4 vs. 25.0 for D203 and 23.8 for D204). The fact that they only have 1500 students seems to me to be beside the point.

Getting back to my prior comment about consolidating school districts, I have a hard time justifying a 1500 student district here in the Chicago area even if it is consolidated. They should merge with D203 in my opinion.

As to your “silly” comment; Hey, it is what it is. Both the ISBE and D203 (and I assume other districts as well) look at the net increase in salaries for incumbent teachers as a data point/budgeting guide. So while the top line number for raises (all in) has been in the 5.5% range, it is also true that turnover of higher paid teachers being replaced by lower paid teachers reduces that percentage by say 2%, for a net increase of 3.5%. This is what the increase in teachers income is costing the taxpayer. I know you have seen this number as reported by the ISBE. This is not my construct, nor my opinion. For anyone interested in how teacher’s salaries work, please see the following ; Overview of Teachers Salary Increases For Fiscal Years 2007-2010 . While this is not a District 203 document, the figures supplied therein came from D203's Ast. Supt. of Finance.

Lastly, I’ll mention that I believe that “Other State Aid” comprises payment for transportation and special ed costs. May have other components in it as well, I’m not positive. I haven’t read of this being cut.

Thom Higgins
QE203.org

Freeze salaries for 3 years? You should be lucky you have a job?

Ok, so then those of you with jobs outside of education are willing to freeze your pay for 3 years? You would not be trying to get a better paying job if you could just because hey you are lucky you have a job now? Expenses are going up, gas, food etc but just keep the salaries the same. So then what happens? You also have no idea how much these expenses will be in 3 years. Heck, insurance alone if that goes up & you have to pay those increases, much less if the school decides you have to pay more of it, then what? And are you suggesting the Administration freeze their salaries for 3 yrs also?

I went to Catholic grammar school & it was only 20 per class. We also didn't have algebra, computers, a vareity of sports, any foreign language & did not disect anything. The public school kids were way ahead of me by the time I got to public HS.

The larger the better? Ya that is why college students even love the large lecture hall sections. You learn so much better! Right! And fluff...right parents are complaining their child is not getting enough attention already & you want the aids/fluff to be gone. Make the changes you are suggesting and parents will be complaining like crazy. The parents better be ready to up their role in helping their child learn. Oh wait..they can't now because they are working longer hours or taking on a 2nd job because of the economy so now what? Is there waste? Sure. Look specifically at each school and what is being done. Look at where the govt plays a role in the waste. Look at states that are doing much better & find the difference.

Bankrupt state...ya so the people of IL should suffer because of how the politicians have run this state? Freeze their salaries for 3 years and put what would have been their increases into the state! Get rid of their waste and put that back into education.

I just love it when people who look from the outside & know how to solve everything. Those without education degrees/experience know how to teach better. Everyone knows how to be an officer or doctor or whatever better. I'm not saying you can't have any good ideas and that I don't get upset/complain about teachers/officers/doctors and see some things which they even agree could be better, but be very careful. Never Assume! Ask & find out first! It is amazing when I ask & they (docs, officers, other teachers) explain to me why something is done a certain way how I change my mind or I explain to someone why I do something a certain way you get the "Ohhhh I didn't know that. Ok." Now sometimes you also hear "ya, it doesn't make sense & I agree with you" and then you say "Ok, so what can we do about it together." Have a session with parents, admin & teachers & see if you can find some common areas where things can be done better and cheaper. Just cutting cost does not mean it will have a positive impact so make sure it does!

Thom Huggins:

"D203 seems to be in much better shape financially than D204, but again I have no idea, or opinion, as to why D204 seems to be in worse shape."

I appreciate your insight and POV into 203. As for your 204 observation I believe it can be summarized with the analogy of the real estate market and the old fashioned game of musical chairs. As long as the music kept playing (people kept buying, and building) their spending habits would eventually be 'caught' and propped up by new development. They apparently never considered the "what if" of the music stopping. They have no chair left to sit in as their year to year budget appears to have relied upon outside things as ABSOLUTE. These include state money coming back to them for things they file for repayment on and 'continued growth'.

When the music stopped both times (state repayment and continued buildout which added more to the tax base) they were left without a seat.

Nothing more and nothing less than a simple case of a few entrenched amateurs running the show who had no clue beyond the 'good times and things only get better tomorrow' to prepare for the worst and know that things run in cycles: Good followed by bad *plus* the understanding that the 'growth' that everyone 'witnessed' was on paper (thanks to future debt obligations but bank the 'goodness' of it in the present). Total and complete amateur screw job that probably began in 1991 and has continued to this day. Guess who has been around since then running things. It's very simple to see where the problem is and has been for the past couple of decades.

Mr. H:

Please fix your comparison chart to either remove Lisle or make a weighted average or both. Or have me continue to point out your lack of understanding. I will give you points for reconsidering the OPS, but you lose credit for the continued use of Lisle/non-weighted averages in the CUSD analysis.

I promise at some point soon to ask you to remove the silly "Savings due to lower salaries of teachers replacing those that have retired or terminated (2.)" That number does not exist as written. It seems to imply something it should not. Please remove it -- regardless of what Mr. Zager and Dan D may have agreed upon.

Back to the article in question. The loss of revenue for D204 was listed around 17 million. I suspect that was both "other state finding" and 10% cut in general aid, but I am not sure.

Regarding the "what do teachers pay?" Maybe nothing. Maybe 50%. hard to know. As Mr. Higgins points out the teacher has 9.4% taken out. It all depends on how you look at it. Some districts list pay with and without TRS. Medicare sees pay + TRS as income. The state and the feds do not see the TRS portion as income.

From the TRS website Active TRS members are required to contribute 9.4 percent of their creditable earnings each year. This contribution is allocated as follows: 7.5 percent for retirement benefits, 0.5 percent for post-retirement increases, 1 percent for survivor benefits, and 0.4 percent to fund the Early Retirement Option. Active members also make an additional contribution to help fund the Teachers’ Health Insurance Security (THIS) Fund. The fund finances the Teachers’ Retirement Insurance Program (TRIP), which is administered by the Department of Central Management Services. For the year ending June 30, 2009, the member contribution rate is 0.84 percent.

http://trs.illinois.gov/subsections/employers/employerservices.htm

The state has funding requirements also which have been...lacking.

D203 may be hit by the funding fiasco, but since State Funding is less than 10% of the budget, D203 will be hurt less than the rest of the districts.

-1

To Anonymous on February 12, 2010 9:25 AM,

You are right. There are plenty of schools and municipalities nationwide that are facing similar financial issues. You know why? BAD MANAGEMENT, BAD DECISIONS, BAD PLANNING, EXCESS SPENDING, SPENDING MONEY THEY DID NOT HAVE, TREATING THE TAXPAYERS AS A BLANK CHECK, etc the list goes on.

I think Leo nailed it in one.

Some thoughts and information on this issue;

The last study I saw ranked Illinois dead last nationally in the percentage of state funding going to fund public education costs. The percentage is about 27%. This is why our property taxes are higher relative to other states, we pretty much directly fund our schools through our property taxes.

The state has three separate funding levels for General State Aid. The highest level of funding is called Foundation and that is what I believe 204 is under. The next level is called the Alternate Formula and this is where I believe 203 is.

Regardless, General State Aid comprised 8.1% ($23.6 Million) of 204’s budget for the 2007-2008 school year. (Latest figures I have) and comprised only 3.4% ($7.5 Million) of 203’s budget. The less affluent the area, the higher the amount of General State Aid. In some districts the percentage of state funding is over 50%.

While the way forward is certainly not clear, I strongly believe that there is zero chance that General State Aid will be terminated. That said, I think there is no question that there will be a reduction in the amount. I read one report that talked about state legislators considering a 10% across the board cut. That’s probably a given at this point. Could the reduction be 20-30% this year? perhaps. Not fun, but not the apocalypse.

Someone above asked about pension and health care contributions. The teachers pay around 9% and the district was paying less than 1%, but I believe that is increasing due to the large stock market losses last year. The state picks up what you would call the employers contribution. It should be about 9% but due to the state not making contributions in the past, as well as benefit increases not fully paid for, and actuarial changes (longer life spans) the state should be paying around 20%. Sometimes it follows the schedule and sometimes it doesn’t.

As for health care, D203 teachers pay 30% for the first two years employment and then it drops to 15%. I have notes that say the policy costs $700 a month single and $1800 for family.

There are some questions regarding class size. While the ISBE report cards report average class sizes, (22.5-D203 and 23.4-D204), the numbers are deceiving as it included all classes, including many in high school that typically have smaller numbers of students, although the core curriculum classes are at 28-30 students. When D203 a year ago started addressing budget concerns, one of the decisions was for mandated 30 pupil classrooms for elementary (some school lost one section due to this). I believe this applied to middle and high school as well, but I’m not sure of the mechanics.

OK now the contentious part, teacher and administration compensation’s role in all this. Let me first say that I claim no expertise as it relates to D204. That goes double for the new high school. However, leaving aside paying for the bricks and mortar, if you look at what the two districts spend strictly for operations (that’s including teacher and admin salaries), both districts compare quite well with state averages, with D204 amazingly $719.00 under the average and D203 at $343.00 over the average. Anyone interested in an analysis I did of costs and ACT scores of the top Seven High School Districts and the top Seven CUSD”S (which is what 203 and 204 are) can click the following; What’s the best Educational Value in Chicagoland Please note; I'm in the process of updating this section. please disregard the Overall Performance Scores on the Top Seven High School District page.

D203 seems to be in much better shape financially than D204, but again I have no idea, or opinion, as to why D204 seems to be in worse shape.

As for the current D203 contract negotiations, I think the chances of the negotiation being business as usual are nil. Contrary to comments made here and elsewhere, the district and the teachers understand the economic environment. Whatever agreement that is hammered out will have to be sustainable, not only in light of state funding reductions, but also the minimal inflationary environment that we are in. Will D203 try to mount an operating referendum to pay for raises? Not a chance. At the January D203 business meeting QE203.org offered the following; Quality Education 203.org Statement on the Upcoming Contract Talks

The bottom line for us locally is that D203 should be able to whether this storm fairly well. The administration started last year to cut costs, which continues, and our new superintendent Mark Mitrovich comes from a state where school districts could lose 10-20% of its funding from year to year. He’s done this before and that is a huge plus in my mind. D204 seems to have a bigger whole to get out of, but even they are in far better shape than these districts that are truly dependent on the state for funding, or were in deficits before this all hit. I really worry for those folks.

Lastly, I'll toss off one idea that Illinois should adopt, namely, consolidating all school districts. From the research I've done it's clear that having a combined elementary-middle and high school district would say money by removing the numerous separate district administrations and provide economies of scale. There is actually an elementary school district (in the burbs) that has a total of 186 students. That's nuts. Districts with under 1,00 students are common. Besides saving money, I believe curriculum would be more consistent across all elementary schools and better aligned with the high school they feed into. I would also hope the quality of the district leadership would increase. Consolidated districts are required in some (many?)states. Illinois should join them.

Thom Higgins
QE203.org


None of this is the union's fault! We teacher's are underpaid, undervalued and just trying to make ends meet. Please keep voting democratic and ALL will be fine...
Right up to the point where the state files for bankruptcy thanks to the union control of Springfield.
Wonder how much money Mike Madigan will throw behind Dawn this fall?....

Sorry "No More Taxes" I wish class sizes were only 24. They need to do some strategic cost cutting, like most schools are doing.

District 204 will be fine. ALL school districts are scrambling right now.

To: Chillmaster on February 12, 2010 12:24 PM

I agree! I have been at a 20% pay cut since July '09 with no end in sight!

One easy way to solve the crisis is to call for a 20% decrease in all staff salaries in D204. Start with Birkett all the way down to the custodial staff. That way no one loses their job. D204 needs to start making these difficult decisions just like the "real world" does.

Can someone tell me what % of teachers pensions are paid by the school district and what % of their health insurance is paid by the school district and how that compares to private industry?
The Unions and past administators and school board members have dug this hole and I hope the Union is ready to come to gripes with economic realties we now face. The time has come for the Union to step up.

IPSD 204 is a mess but it isn't the state of IL's fault. It is our school board and adminstration's fault. We are in this mess because we built a school we didn't need in a ridiculous location. Look out everyone. The threats and cuts are coming. I think Waubonsie will be closed as well as the freshman center and Frontier campus. We'll be back to crowded high schools but we'll have spent over $150M to be back in the same position we were. The only difference is there will be no Waubonsie leaving two high schools on opposite ends of the district. One of them will be in area where less than 17% of the district lives. That's brilliant thinking, right? We have two school board members to thank for their part - Mark Metzger and Jeannette Clark. What a mess.

If you want a sobering visual go see 203's district offices and then go look at 204's. Each represents tax payer dollars collected in the name of education that did not go to educating children. 203's are miserly and their test scores are usually better than 204s. Now why is that?


What year were each of these distric offices built?

Do you live in 204, or are you simply saying "I told you so"?

There are plenty of schools and municipalities nationwide that are facing similar financial issues. The reasons can be tied to a number of factors, but the economic conditions are probably number one - not that the consituents are a bunch of lemmings!

Thom Higgins chickens are coming home to roost.

This problem can be solved without a tax increase.

The District is short money, let's say 20%. Current class size is lets say 24 (where is Thom Higgins when you need him).

Increase the class sizes to 29 students (20%). Deficit gone.

When we went to school, class sizes were 30 or more. The Catholic schools that out performed the public schools were 40 or more.

Class size matters, the larger, the better.

And 20% of the teachers would be fired. And some of those aids and fluff need to go as well.

If you want smaller class sizes, you need to go to a private school. These are the penalties of a "public option".

District 204 totally overpays its staff, especially the administrators. Metea HS was never needed, especially all the way over at I-88; all that had to be done was to build way cheaper annexes on Neuqua and Waubonsie. And who didn't know the State has been overextended by the billions for years? So we have two big overspending entities, the State and District 204. As usual, I will be voting against the upcoming increases that 204 will want.

Q
What do you think about this?

A
Progressive states like IL, NY and CA are leading the way to bankruptcy, this has been in the news for some time.

Q
Is it fair for local schools to suffer and people to lose their jobs because of the state's problems?

A
Well yes, the unions the politicians that they put into office with their money and their votes have spent too much and cupboard is now bare. The unions certainly ate more than their share and will probably get 5-7 percent pay raises at 203 and 204 again this year while 1 in six homeowners in Naperville is out of a job. At some point it will probably take a lengthy strike or various government bodies going bankrupt and the courts making the changes the politicians can't and the unions wont.


Q
Is there anything we can do on a local level to respond?

A.
The local government unions could take a pay raise holiday while the people who pay their salaries are getting slaughtered, losing their homes and feeding the families from the food pantry, just a thought.

No fault of their own? How dumb do you think the public is? Wait, don't answer that as the truth may be too sad.

People have told them for YEARS this eventuality would happen with the funding and relying upon reimbursements from a virtually bankrupt state and those people were labeled "anti-kid" and "anti-district" and "fear mongers". Several Candidates with professional financial backgrounds in the previous School Board election brought this up multiple times but no one listened and instead the public voted in people with 0 financial experience beyond a pocket-change PTA fund raiser. Enjoy. I hope you all have deep pockets because even without an operating referendum (which will be put forth and despite the lie about them not talking about it yet; they are) your taxes will go through the roof within the next 3 years when the bond payments for the new high school (and refinanced debt) really start kicking in. Never fear, everyone will be fine because the economy is prospering and people have more cash in their own pockets to pay even more for an already bloated school system.

If you want a sobering visual go see 203's district offices and then go look at 204's. Each represents tax payer dollars collected in the name of education that did not go to educating children. 203's are miserly and their test scores are usually better than 204s. Now why is that?

Yes - we can vote the bums out of office who caused all of this! I was one of the minority who voted in the primary - I wasn't afraid to "declare" because I know that is the process that is in place today. Do I like it? No - never have. But it's what we have for now. And come the real election, I will vote again. It happened in Massachussetts, it has to happen here. It has to. We can make a difference. Good teachers will lose their jobs because a bunch of idiot politicians were serving their own selfish interests. So no, it's not fair, but usually the ones who lose their jobs are victims of unfairness (me included).

The Tax Payers Ticket tried telling you all this in 2007 but it fell on deaf ears. Now the teachers will pay. Dist. 203 teachers are negotiating a new pay package now. They should just freeze all salaries for 3 years and be glad they are still employeed but it won't happen. They will blame everyone else but themselves and they whine for another Tax referendum.

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This page contains a single entry by Chris Magee, moderator published on February 11, 2010 4:25 PM.

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