Monthly Archives: February 2017

Comments posted on a Daily Herald article – 4 candidates for CUSD 200:
(A letter to the editor by Dan Wagner 2/28/2017

All comments were made by Jan Shaw


We have seen this movie before!!!
Dan Wagner and his wife Lisa tried to ‘bully’ the D-200 taxpayers during the failed Jefferson referendum in 2013. They have a reputation and behavior of supporting BIG spending at the expense of others. They should be reminded that BIG money can’t shape the outcome of education and cannot buy votes of financially savvy D-200 taxpayers. This block of voters will beat back this referendum and the irresponsible and misleading propaganda being shared with the public.
CUSD 200 has two full time PR staff and spent nearly $200,000 on mailers, videos, and consultants since the failed 2013 referendum. Additionally, the school PTAs are helping fund the pro-referendum campaign.


Jim Mathieson voted YES the $10M back door referendum and the current $132.5M referendum. He continues to support spending even though he sits on the finance committee and knows full well the punishment taxpayers will incur due to the impact of this referendum. Watch the Feb 12, 2014 CUSD 200 Board Meeting starting at the 1:13:10 time mark.  Jim Mahieson explained the tax code, how they can get around the tax cap and why we will always be in debt.

Brad Paulsen is a vote YES man as his record confirms. He supports the $132.5M referendum. I suspect referendums are good for his professional career as a school architect.

Rob Hanlon was encouraged to run and is supported by current board member Chris Crabtree whose record of voting YES on all spending measures is well documented.

Ginna Erickson attended very few Board of Education meetings and lacks passion and knowledge of the real issues facing D-200. In fact, her lack of passion for a board role was evidenced by the fact that she collected only 5 out 72 of her petition signatures. Over 90% were gathered by Barb Intihar, an existing Board member, and another citizen.

Since all four are listed by Dan Wagner, you can be assured that all four will be voting for status quo.


For those who do not know me, I ran for D-200 school board in 2013 and was the only candidate to speak against that $17.6 million referendum. That one was just for a new Jefferson and would increase the capacity for pre-K by 40%. I thought it was too mush $ and too much space. Furthermore, the district had received a $14 million grant from the state that was sitting in reserves. I did not understand why they wanted taxpayers to pay for the whole project with new taxes.


I have been a district watchdog since 2013. And I am backing the four candidates who are opposed to this referendum. They have finance experience and a commitment to provide our children with the best education.
• Harold Lonks,
• Thomas E. Hudock,
• Neil F. Harnen
• Marcus D. Hamilton

CUSD 200 PR spending

How much has CUSD 200 been spending on public relations?
Was this a good use of taxpayer funds?
What did it provide for the students?
Should this and other funds (we are working to identify) have been spent of building maintenance instead?

Jan Shaw put in a FOIA:

…all money spent on consultants (facilitators, survey takers, or outside firms) for community engagement and public relations from 12/1/12 to present (2/4/17).  This should include, but not be limited to purchased services for:
  • The 2013 Jefferson referendum.
  • Engage 200.
  • Community surveys.
  • Videos about the District.
  • Mailings.
Rather than insisting upon invoices for all, we agreed to data queries for payments made.  Sorted data, determined most likely project for some vendors based on the date, and the vendor website, summed entries… In summary:
prejeff pr spending
They did not give up – in the next 4 years:
pr spending 2017 ref

* Jim G was told the final cost for Engage200 was $80,000.  The board approved estimate for Unicom was $49,500.  See below for more detail.
† Jim G said the community survey was $30,000.  Are we missing something?

This (almost $200,000) figure for PR in anticipation of the referendum  does not include:

  • Perkin Wills for the Master Facility Plan project ($250K)
  • Engage 200, table & chair rental, room set up and take down, printed handouts (done in-house), snacks or
  • staff time.

Prior to 2010, public relations was part time work for one of the administrators and administrative assistants.  A new PR position  was created in 2010.  From the supplemental personnel report dated 9/22/2010:

pr erica hired 9_22_2010

She is now Erica Loiacono, Director of Communications.  According to Ms. Loiacono earned $73,588 in 2015.
And she has an assistant, Mary Ann Gudmundson (did not find her salary)

[update 3/2/2017 – From the IMRF Compensation report for school year 2015-2016 we find that ERICA LOIACONO has a base salary of $79,317, and $41,441 for other benefits for a total compensation of  $120,758. The report can be found on click department->human resources then in the left column “Compensation Reports.” Her assistant is not listed.]

TOTAL Spending on Public Relations is the salary and benefits for these two people, the purchased services ($198,000 in the last four years, as documented in this post) and the celebration the PR department hosts (see )  We have a rough estimate of at least $200,000 per year.

Purchased Services in more detail – same data

There have been a lot of mailers, meetings, and surveys.  (“pdf page(s) refers to the page in the response file linked at the end of this post)


pr_FOL newsletter


po online print


pr boost marketing

See:   cusd-200-referendum-videos

There have been 3 more videos posted in February 2017.  Will there be more charges?  When were these charges approved by the board?

pr_2017 referendum

pr_2017 ref mailer

pr grand total

And finally, for those who would like to see the raw data:  the pdf response file: pr purchased services

CUSD 200 Referendum videos


CUSD 200 paid Boost Marketing LLC $19,818 from 1/30/2015 to 12/30/2016. We believe this was for a series of  18 videos – total run-time 33:40.
Three of these videos have been posted in February. Will there be more charges?


Investing in Our Future – April 4 Referendum Overview 4:08 1,033 views 4 months ago
April 4 Referendum – Capital Improvements 1:15 184 views 3 months ago
April 4 Referendum – Secure Entry 2:15 436 views 3 months ago
April 4 Referendum – Library Learning Centers (LLC) 2:15 251 views 2 months ago
April 4 Referendum – New Early Learning Center 2:17 407 views 3 months ago
Why do we need to renovate our schools NOW? 1:11 228 views 3 months ago
April 4 Referendum – Financial Impact 1:18 83 views 2 weeks ago
April 4 Referendum – What Happens if a referendum is not approved? 1:45 93 views 2 weeks ago
April 4 Referendum – Why is there so much work? 1:36 69 views 1 week ago
Facility Projects at Franklin Middle School 2:28 946 views 3 months ago
Facility Projects at Monroe Middle School 1:59 869 views 3 months ago
Facility Projects at Edison Middle School 2:34 745 views 3 months ago
April 4 Referendum – Projects at Bower Elementary 1:29 255 views 3 months ago
April 4 Referendum – Projects at Emerson Elementary 1:23 374 views 3 months ago
April 4 Referendum – Projects at Hawthorne Elementary 0:49 245 views 3 months ago
April 4 Referendum – Projects at Johnson Elementary 1:07 209 views 3 months ago
Facility Projects at Wheaton North High School 2:06 943 views 3 months ago
Facility Projects at Wheaton Warrenville South High School 1:45 817 views 3 months ago


CUSD 200 video – $180 is misleading

This video is misleading. At the 0:34 mark, Dr. Jeff Schuler says

“The 132 and a half million dollar bond question will cost taxpayers an additional 180 dolaars per year on the bond and interest portion of their tax bill. That 180 dollar impact is to the median vallue home in this district.”

Does that mean $180 per year for 20 years?


It means $180 the first year. They have back-loaded the bond repayment schedule.
Multiply that $180 by 41 to estimate your total cost
That $180 “per year” is more like $7,416 over the life of the bonds.

This and two other videos were posted in February.  The others were posted late last year.   Might these be in response to questions raised after the referendum was placed on the ballot?

Retirees Out-Earn Teachers Who Replace Them

Look at the “TRS IL Comprehensive Annual Financial Report for the fiscal year ending June 30,2015”

pdf page 100 has active member data.  Page 109 retirees.


In 2015,

  • Average salary for new teachers (under 5 years of service) is $47,796
  • Average salary for soon to retire teachers (25-29 years of service) is $94,410
  • and (30-34 years) $100,785


Then look at retiree data.

  • Those retired less than 1 year who worked 25-29 years have an average starting (and current) benefit of $3,222/month = $38,664
  • And 30-34 years experience have $5,646/month = $67,752


Note, those retired longer, may have a higher current pension.  Current pensions peak for those retired 10-14 years ago (that would be retired in 2002-2006)

  • 25-29 years experience have a current pension of $4,580 = $54,960
  • and 30-34 years experience have a current pension of $6,295 = $75,540

This tells us a couple things.

  1.  When a teacher who worked a full career (30+ years) retires, the retiree will have a starting pension ($67,752) for not working that exceeds her replacement’s starting salary ($47,796) for working.
  2. Retiree COLA (3% annually compounded) exceeds the amount the salary curves are going up.

From page 100 of the pdf (active teachers salary chart)

trs salary2015

From page 109 of the pdf (retired teachers pension chart)

pension data 2015 p 109

It will cost WHAT?

Wheaton-Warrenville, CUSD 200 sent a flyer last week about the upcoming referendum.  This section on the financial impact reminds me of those ads with a “LOW introductory price.”  Is that false advertising?  Do taxpayers deserve to know the whole tax impact?

not telling you

Notice: your “share” is more than 2% of your home’s value.

Update 3/23/2017 – Found the district’s detailed estimate. Download estimated impact as PDF.   For the median valued home ($322,300) the last ten years of payments are estimated to by $531/year, and the total estimate is $7282

  • From a presentation that is attached to the Dec 2016 Board agenda …pdf page 5, the total debt services (principle + interest) is $206 million. cusd200 debt 206M
  • The first year payment is $5 million (page 3, same pdf) bond repayment plan
  • Each homeowners share is estimated as

total _share = First_year_impact  x (206/ 5)

Then take a look at this post: “Analysis: Property taxes rapidly eroding DuPage home values”…


home value change

Are high taxes taking their toll on property values?  Will passing this referendum increase or decrease the values of our homes?

CUSD 200 – $132.5 million referendum placed on the ballot

At the January 11, 2017 Wheaton-Warrenville, CUSD 200 school board meeting two items regarding capital/building improvements/maintenance were approved.

  1. The Sherman Dergis methodology:

Therefore, the Board will utilize the Sherman Dergis methodology to forecast annual renewal allowances for all of the district facilities.  The allowances will be incorporated into the annual budget each year.  The allowances will be tracked in the Capital Renewal Fund, which is a sub fund of the Operations and Maintenance Fund.   The allowances will be considered restricted for the intended use, but will not be counted as fund balance for the purpose of the Board Fund Policy 4.22.   – attached to the agenda

  1. Placing a referendum on the ballot to sell $132,000,000 worth of bonds.


Watch the video:

Public comments

9:20 Public comment directions

10:20 Jan Shaw (DuPage watchdog)

15:25 Harold Lonks (candidate for school board – opposed to the referendum)


Discussion and approval of Sherman Dergis Method.

34:00 action items – discussion of how future boards will fund capital projects.  Will Capital take priority over programs?  Note: they do not mention cutting administrators or support staff.

44:30 alternative funding methods should the referendum fail.

45:30 if a non-successful referendum…


Placing the referendum on the ballot

49:48 begins the board discussion of the bond resolution (referendum)

1:00:01 Brad Paulsen (incumbent candidate – promotes the referendum)

1:07:00 Barb Intehar (complements Paulsen – campaign begins)

1:11:25 Chris Crabtree (praises “an authentic process” the Engage 200, she thinks the community was driving the process. See engage200-all-a-plan and engage200-aka-well-oiled-lachine)


1:13:15 Jim Gambaiani (the sole “NO” vote gave his reasons for not supporting the referendum) “…Over the past 12 years, the average amount budgeted for building maintenance was less than half a million dollars.  Over the past 3 years, this district spent nearly $350,000 to study, survey, re-evaluation to gather data for the master facilities plan. In the end, we finally confirmed most of what was already identified” Tonight this board passed the Sherman Dergis policy thus providing an alternate funding source.  “…Personal property taxes have increased 42% and total district salaries and benefits increased nearly $27 million…”


1:16:45 Jim Matheisen (incumbent candidate – pro-referendum) If this does not pass , it will affect programs.

1:21:00 Joann Coghil – buildings have been maintained, but, there is work to be down.  Yes, the bulk of our money goes to our teachers and our programs.  If this does not pass, something will be eliminated.  Average home in Wheaton is $322,300 that is $180 more in taxes a year.

1:27:00 Intehar – when was the last referendum that touch the majority of our buildings? 1999. “How many of us have not done anything to our homes in 18 years?”

1:28:00 Vroman covers recent history – what all they have looked at.  “… Despite that, since 2008 this board has committed $19 million in capital improvements”

1:31:00 the vote passed 6:1 (Jim G being the lone “No” vote)