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District 202 Board OKs 2.5% Raises for Administrators

Michelle Smith and Greg Nichols voted against the plan, which will also affect non-certified and non-union staff.

The board on Monday approved 2.5 percent pay raises for 164 district administrators and non-union support staff retroactive to July 1, 2011.

Board Vice President Michelle Smith and board member Greg Nichols voted against all of the raises, which will affect assistant superintendents, directors, building principals, assistant principals, non-certified administrators and non-union support staff assigned at the central office or at district level.

Administrators’ salaries have been frozen since February 2010, meaning the last raise they received was in July 2009. Administrators also paid an additional 10 percent of their health insurance costs in the 2011 school year.

Board President Roger Bonuchi and Secretary Eric Gallt both abstained from voting on raises that affect their spouses, who are employed by the district.

The raises are anticipated to cost the district about $322,600, which is included in the amended budget put on display last month and approved Monday, district spokesman Tom Hernandez said. The budget includes a $557,000 operating fund surplus for the 2012 fiscal year.

After the meeting, Smith said the district cannot afford to give raises to the administrators, noting that the district’s financial advisors have anticipated budget deficits in each of the next five years.

PMA Financial Network projected in January a for fiscal year 2013 and have said that costs, such as health and dental insurance, will continue to rise while state aid continues to drop.

Nichols said the district has been broadcasting that its administration has had its pay frozen to help out in tough financial times. He said he didn’t feel the board should change this position.

Bonuchi said administrators' pay has been frozen for two years, their health costs have increased and the board wants the district to stay equivalent of other school districts to attract a quality level of talent for the students.

In November, the school board approved a new . Their pay was frozen for this school year, and most teachers will receive raises of up to 2.55 percent for the 2012-13 school year and up to 1.5 percent for the 2013-14 school year.

In October, the board approved a . In that deal, the non-certified staff’s pay was frozen for this school year, and members will receive a 2.5 percent raise in 2012-13 and cost-of-living raises of no more than 3 percent in 2013-14 and 2014-15.

The board on Monday also approved adding four new positions in the technology department to implement the new student database system at a cost of $125,543 for the remainder of this year.

In other news, the district will continue to explore a county sales tax proposal that would benefit Will County school districts.

The board heard on Monday a presentation on a possibility to create an up to 1 percent county-wide sales tax to pay for schools’ capital development projects, building renovations, additions, land acquisitions or ongoing maintenance in Will County’s 38 school districts.

If approved by voters through a referendum proposal, the new sales tax revenue could also be used to abate property taxes, said Susan Krautstrunk, director of finance for the district.

District 202 is the largest school district in Will County.

Krautstrunk said 12 counties in Illinois have passed similar sales tax initiatives to help local schools, and voters could see a referendum as early as the November election if the majority of the county’s districts want to see it on the ballot.

While the tax burden would be spread to a larger population, cars, trucks, boats, prescriptions, unprepared food and farm equipment would be among the items not subjected to the new tax if approved.

School board members said they would like more information about the sales tax initiative before taking a position for or against the plan.

Butch February 14, 2012 at 02:43 PM
Great!!!
Jeannette February 14, 2012 at 03:31 PM
The district administration tooted that all of a sudden they cut a 9 million deficit into a 500,000 surplus.... Hmm interesting... They gave themselves a raise... But know it says we will be in a deficit and now they are looking at a tax hike! REALLY?! So what jobs are going to be cut over this? Teachers? The custodians? Office people? Counselors? What is that old saying smoke and mirrors?
Sheila Raddatz February 14, 2012 at 03:50 PM
It just doesn't seem fiscally responsible to "bank" on sales tax revenue on business that is already hard pressed to exist in our county due to the economy.
Denise Williams February 14, 2012 at 03:56 PM
Good to see that District 202 has figured out what to do with this year's surplus. They really couldn't find a more appropriate place to put that money? I'd really like to see the actual dollars involved, and whom among the administration is receiving how much. That information will go along way towards my decision when it comes time to vote. This may be a small town, but they are definitely playing like the big boys in Springfield and Washington. This is going to come back to bite them, and bite them hard.
Jerry February 14, 2012 at 05:59 PM
$322,600 spread over 164 employees = an average increase of $1,967.07 per employee. Divided by 26 pay periods = $75.66 per paycheck. Less approximately 35%for taxes = $49.18 difference AVERAGE per check ($24.59 per week) that will be seen by the employees. For the PR nightmares that this will surely cause the board, I have to agree that this might not been the best allocation of this money. Add to that the fact that this surplus is an illusion in the first place and you have to wonder what these people are thinking. Us private sector folks have all had to deal with increased healthcare costs, pay cuts, unpaid time off, etc. But employers and their employees have to learn to adapt and live within their means. This is going to get ugly for 202 and all those that voted for this fund allocation.
S Dian February 14, 2012 at 08:39 PM
I am so glad we voted in 2 people who care about the best interest of the community. The private sector employees are NOT getting raises, are paying MORE for our health care and all consumed goods. Now the geniuses want to add a 1% sales tax on top of our current burdens? We all know there will be no positive affect on our property taxes, so don't even blow that smoke up our skirts. Thank you Greg and Michelle for standing your ground. Find some others with similar back bones because we will be looking to fill some positions when these cowards aren't invited to return!!
Lisa S. February 15, 2012 at 02:39 AM
Who do you know that got a 2.5% raise this year? Or last year? Never mind retroactive to 2011. They also added a new 'MIS" director and gave him a new salary...also retroactive to 2011. This district has got to be the most irresponsible organization...it's like a never ending bad joke. Now they will consider adding a 1% sales tax? OMG..don't we pay enough already! We have some of the highest sales taxes in the country next to New York City! And I don;t even want to hear that teaser that it will help abate property taxes. In the unlikely event that it did, another taxing body would just use it as an opportunity to raise their share.
Barbara Seiden February 17, 2012 at 02:33 AM
A county-wide tax hike will only serve to drive businesses and consumers out of this county and could possibly end up creating a negative net tax revenue change. While the pay raises for administrators can be justified, by throwing the tax change into the discussion, all focus is drawn clearly to the negative - not a smart marketing approach.
taxpayer June 16, 2012 at 04:26 AM
Everyone needs to remember this next time we have the opportunity to vote out some of the board members. Board members should not be able to have a spouse that works for the district. It is a conflict of interest even if they abstain from the vote.
silentrippy July 31, 2012 at 01:19 PM
Greg and Michelle did the right thing here. People better start waking up to the fact that your property taxes are going way up if the pension reform goes in. Time to start e-mailing and calling the school board members. Doesn't this article sound like the voters and citizens work for government by implementing taxes? Remember one thing people, they work for us - we don't work for them.
Jimmy July 31, 2012 at 01:27 PM
Thank you to Michelle Smith & Greg Nichols for your vote. To those who can't vote on these issues, you shouldn't be on the board! Those of you who voted for raises should be ashamed putting these kinds of burdens on your neighbors!

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