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Was the School Board Right to OK Pay Raises?

Arguments can be made on both sides of this issue; take our poll and tell us what you think.

On Monday night, the board for administrators and non-union and non-certified staff retroactive to July 1, 2011.

There are compelling arguments on both sides. On the one hand, for the coming years so it's only fair that these employees receive an increase in salary and wages as well. On the other is a question of whether the district can afford it given that it's facing an estimated in the 2013 fiscal year and even larger deficits in the years after that.

In other words, it's a tough call either way. What do you think of the board's action? Take our poll below and weigh in.

Butch February 15, 2012 at 02:26 PM
The board is owned by the unions. There is not one member on the board that didn't have the support of the unions. They just do what they are told
Jeff February 15, 2012 at 02:41 PM
Butch is right about the majority of the board being controlled by unions. The Bonuchi and Galt households will now be 3,000 a year richer due to the vote. If one of them had voted no this increase would not have been approved. Our Supt will now make almost 8,000 a year more. Shame, shame, shame.
judi February 15, 2012 at 03:37 PM
Amazing how educated people can be so financially irresponsible. We should send them back to college for an accounting degree. That includes the school board, state of Illinois and the Feds. Or maybe they need a dictionary to learn what the word deficit means. They all just think the American public is stupid so they can just make us pay more to fill their huge bank accounts. The other person is correct, people don't vote.
Miguel Sanchez February 15, 2012 at 03:47 PM
If the increases were passed in the name of fairness, that is nonsense. The rest of the world has little to do with fair.
Concerned Parent February 15, 2012 at 04:53 PM
What bothers me #1 that they got raises during this struggle. We originally hired them during the good times and started the original pay way to high. Now they have been in a pay freeze for a few years still making more than most at other big districts. They get a raise for what ever reason fairness blah blah. But they still only have to pay 10 percent monthly towards health insurance. Teachers took a pay freeze this year but pay more for health insurance almost 15 to 16 percent of it monthly. They took a loss of almost $50 to $60 every two weeks on the paycheck. How is this right someone who makes less has to pay more for health insurance. These people should be paying the same as teachers have to pay towards insurance if you are going on the fairness basis. Don't like it LEAVE, GOODLUCK. Jobs are tight and they probably would have to take a pay cut. Dr. Harper advised the board agaist approving some of these raises. Why are we not listening to what our school district adminstrators have to say at times like this.
Concerned Parent February 15, 2012 at 05:12 PM
We also hired four new people for the Tech Department. Next year we now have to figure in an additional $240,000 for these positions. The figure that was approved is for the rest of this year. When we purchased the software programs did we not think that we would have to hire more people to install, convert and run theses new programs. Someone in that department also got a $30,000 raise to over see the three people who are currently incharge of the MIS info. All in All next year we just added an additional $600,000 plus benefits to a budget that needs to be cut. I could care less about tech and software programs verse teachers and specialists. WAKE UP BOARD and start doing the right thing. Spend our hard earned money on where it counts the most, our childrens and education and not on making a few employees lives easier.
Concerned Parent February 15, 2012 at 05:18 PM
Some new board memebrs may have had some sponsership from the teachers union this year but it got the teachers nothing this year. Wasted money down the tubes. The people who got the raises this time around are not in the teachers union.
Concerned Parent February 15, 2012 at 06:26 PM
Superintendents get a nice cushy contract with perks. Check out other districts comparable to income and size to ours and he is being paid around what they are being paid. Remember factor in length of time in that position. When Adminstration actually advises against something to save us money ( no raises, no turf, no new software) The board might want to listen a little more. I am not saying that he is always right with his recommendations. The Board has the final say.They are the rulers of what actually gets approved or denied. They just approved an additional $600,000 that Administration has to work into a budget when Administration knows they have to cut $3 million. So now what extra/additional positions do we cut to make up that difference. The board was at fault for not searching other Superintendent options. The board approved his contract and any changes to it. Remember we were big, rolling in the dough never thinking the bubble would burst back then. Well it did!!!! Our board likes to spend and not save for a rainy day.
Firemanfred1921 February 15, 2012 at 09:33 PM
Especially, the Plainfield Fire Protection District!
Plainfield Resident February 15, 2012 at 09:45 PM
My comments will likely upset the masses. Residents are upset as it is tax dollars that pay for a majority of school districts. Hard earned money. I am a resident of Plainfield and pay the tax dollars. I am a district supporter. I do not work for the district. Plainfield School District is the largest employer in Will County. While people are sick over Dr. Harper's salary, how many people do your companies employ and what does your boss make? I am pleased at the education my children have received from plainfield. Teachers work hard as do building administrators who are employed to lead those schools. Plainfield School District employees (support staff, teachers, and administrators) are THE lowest paid in the area. Check it out. Compare Valley View, Naperville, Richland, Etc. Most schools are around 900 to 1000 students and 100 adults. Imagine if you had to lead that. Teachers- educate OUR children and it is one of the toughest jobs. I challenge all of you nay sayers to stand in front of 100 teenagers and educate them. It is TOUGH. While, it is difficult to hear, educators, not just teachers, went to college and earn their pay checks. We choose our paths in life and sadly the economy killed a lot of our dreams. People are very sensitive about tax bills being high and not lowering because property values have dropped. This is not a local school district issue. This is a state issue. Raise the issue there. Tom Cross and others need to hear it.
Get the Facts February 16, 2012 at 02:22 AM
Harper's contract was specifically EXCLUDED from the vote. Bonuchi and Gallt abstained from voting as is required. And none of these employees are in a union. facts, facts, facts.
No Blind Eye February 16, 2012 at 04:33 AM
The Board can point fingers toward the State all they want, but if they really believe Springfield is going to suddenly pull money from parts unknown...they are delusional. Dr. Harper continually speaks to sustainable cuts, to which this Board turns a deaf ear. Band aids will slow the bleeding on a gaping wound, but the outcome is inevitable. ALL politicians, paid or otherwise, continue to spend us into oblivion. When or where will it end? Washington? Springfield? Plainfield 202? No politician gets re-elected by cutting...it's tiring year after year to wonder what'll be cut in 202 next?
John Westheirmer February 16, 2012 at 01:38 PM
If you think this is bad, take at look at the Plainfield Park District, their employees gets 100% Health insurance + vision + dental (including dependents) and if that is not enought they got a 6% raise + end of year bonus, oh by the way your taxes when up! Wake Up People!
Vera February 16, 2012 at 04:24 PM
According to Harper's contract, he will get the largest raise of all employees - 3 percent. That's the minimum. The board can give him more if they choose to do so. But that vote never ended up in a press release so taxpayers don't know what John got and how much unused vacation he has been able to cash in, according to his contract.
Miguel Sanchez February 16, 2012 at 06:04 PM
Hello Plainfield Resident. I appreciate your well written posting. The two words used I found most compelling were the words "OUR" children. How should Plainfield Residents who do not have children react to this deficit spending? If they could move away, some would. However, many can't.
Involved Parent February 17, 2012 at 06:25 AM
Apparently those who comment on these stories don't let the facts stand in the way of their opinions.
Vera February 17, 2012 at 08:18 PM
Good points. So far, the taxpayers have voted into office: Roger Bonuchi - wife is director of technology Eric Gallt - wife is principal of Lincoln and their son got a summer job as a painter Rod Westfall - wife is secretary for principal at Plainfield East High School One can't blame these gentleman for their inside connections but one has to wonder how their families benefit and how the taxpayers lose in the end. And, when the board approved last year to give administrators free vacation days during winter break - who was that serving? Eventually, the board undid the vote a few weeks later. But if there wasn't a fuss about it - those free days probably would have remained, giving administrators a raise of sorts during a pay freeze. When a board member abstains from a vote - it's technically a yes. When a member passes, abstains or does not vote, that member is deemed to have concurred with the majority of those who voted, according to Illinois School Code. So that means even when Bonuchi and Gallt abstained on voting on the pay raises on Monday - they were essentially giving a nod of yes based on the majority that voted. Isn't there anyone who wants to run for school board who doesn't have a spouse working for the district? You would think so!
Vera February 18, 2012 at 12:12 AM
Thanks to CVSRich - we know that Darlene is actually getting a 6 percent raise for a couple of years. That's higher than Harper and he has worked for the district a lot longer.

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