Fiscal discipline called for at Lake Forest High School
Updated: July 29, 2012 6:47AM
Bill Zettler of the Family Taxpayers Foundation has written over 150 articles on Illinois teacher salaries and pension since 2005. His book, “Illinois Pension Scam,” was published this year and can be purchased from www.championnews.net.
In his book Zettler creates a powerful argument for immediate restrictions on Illinois public school salaries and pension in order to bring them into line with the private sector to prevent the state from bankrupting Illinois’s children’s future.
Wisconsin has eight teachers with salaries over $100,000. Illinois has 7,848 teachers with $100,000-plus salaries, 445 times more than the bordering states of Kentucky, Wisconsin, Iowa, and Missouri combined.
I naturally zeroed in on information found in Zettler’s book relative to Lake Forest High School, where information in a teacher database for 2011 listed 94 teachers with $100,000-plus salaries and another 38 in the $90,000-to-$100,000 range.
If these teachers elect to retire after 30 years of teaching, because of the built-in 3 percent compounding yearly pension cost-of-living adjustment, each one of them will have a pension of over $100,000 by the time they are 65.
LF District 115 is represented by two of Illinois’s top 19 teacher retirees in 2011 already have a beginning pension of over $100,000: Anthony Fillippo ($117,038 - 34 years, age 56) and Evan Richards ($106,299 - 35 years, age 57).
As excessive salaries lead to excessively high pensions, is it any wonder that Illinois has the worst-funded pensions in the nation?
Not to be forgotten is that state taxpayers are local taxpayers. According to a recent report by the Illinois Policy Institute, the true cost of Illinois’s pension and benefit crisis is $203 billion, or roughly $41,000 per household.
Isn’t it time that LF School Board 115 participate in fiscal discipline in an economic climate where property taxes are already straining the pocketbooks of many local taxpayers? Perhaps there should be a freeze on teacher and supervisory salaries? Why should the beginning salary of Harry Griffith’s replacement, Michael Stimeck at $250,000, nearly equal the level of Illinois’s top 100 administrators?
Why also should Lake Forest District 115, as determined by Bill Zettler from a report issued by the Illinois State Board of Education, rank as No. 1 in real cost/pupil in all of Illinois at $43,061 per student?
Nancy J. Thorner, Lake Bluff