Monthly Archives: December 2017

Letter to CUSD 200 board

The day after the school board approved a new and improved four year contract extension for CUSD 200 Superintendent, Dr. Schuler, Mary Ann wrote a letter to the school board members.  Note: she references data from FOIAs (freedom of Information Act) I have yet to write them up.  Anyone interested in helping reach out to me.

Ms. Vitone;s letter:

To: Board Member <board@cusd200.org>; Jeff Schuler <jeff.schuler@cusd200.org>
Sent: Thursday, December 14, 2017 12:14 PM
Subject: Questions and concerns
To the CUSD 200 School Board members,
As a taxpaying citizen, very engaged parent and someone who believes in ethics and accountability, I am sending you this email with some observations and would like to challenge you to do the right thing.
I have read the FOIA emails between yourselves and the district.  It is very evident that you have questions about the agenda and you ask your questions and receive an answer from Dr. Schuler (who by the way is going to give you an answer you want to hear, I highly doubt you actually ask for some back up information to the response you receive) and then you keep that information to yourselves.  You say that you are transparent, so I am going to ask you to put your words into an action item and start posting on the website agenda, the Tuesday before the meeting, all of the questions that were asked and the answers that you received.  If you have questions, imagine how the public is left out of the conversation when everything is done behind closed doors.
 
It is very disappointing to see all of the meals that are being picked up by the taxpayers.  You made a commitment to serve on a board without compensation.  Meals, free tickets, parking passes  and gifts, etc. are all considered compensation and you should not be taking them.  You keep asking us for money, and Ms. Crabtree suggests parents should pay more in fees for a public education which should be covered in full by our tax dollars and she and the rest of you think you are entitled to and should have the taxpayers pay for a meal for you and the highly compensated Superintendent???  The optics don’t look good and your words and actions contradict each other again.  I would ask that you ask Dr. Schuler to credit all of those meals back to the taxpayers and if  he wants to treat all of you, to get in your good graces, he can take it out of his own pocket.  There is no reason these meetings cannot take place in his office or a conference room at the district building without food.
 
It is very disappointing to see that Ms. Crabtree’s daughter is working for CUSD 200 as a before and after day care employee.  It is a conflict of interest . You are supposed to be holding them accountable, not being their friend and enriching your family with your position as a public servant.  I know for a fact that there are plenty of part time jobs for our children to have while they are going to school and trying to earn some extra income.  Maybe Ms. Crabtree’s daughter could get a job at a Jimmy Johns, Panera Bread, or the many businesses in the area.  I know this for a fact because my son worked at a few of the places mentioned and many of these establishments are always looking for help.  People of this community had many issues with Ken Knicker and the nepotism when he was on the board and board members should not do anything to give the appearance of impropriety.
I understand from the meeting last night, that Dr. Schuler would not allow a field trip to Feed the Starving Children, because there was some religious pictures or something to that affect and and one person might be offended???  Newsflash for you, Wheaton is a Christian community, as is the majority of the United States of America.  If that is the case, he and the rest of the employees of District 200 should be working on Christmas and not take any break.  I would also call Dr. Schuler out on his double standard.  He and several employees of CUSD 200 have been charging taxpayers, for the last several years, to attend a Prayer Breakfast.  Does Dr. Schuler think he just gets to pick and choose when employees of the District can attend a religious event, yet deny our students the opportunity to do some good because someone might get offended.????  I would ask that Dr. Schuler and any employee of District 200 that had taxpayers pay for their breakfast, reimburse the taxpayers for this expense and he should rethink the decision he made.  How hypocritical and disappointing.
 
It is evident from your email correspondence back and forth that too much time is spent on patting each other on the backs, praising each other and planning social events than doing your jobs as public servants and getting our finances in order and overseeing the staff and curriculum.  It is obvious that you want to pass another referendum, which is why Ms. Crabtree makes mention in one of her emails that you need to engage the community, because you want more money from the taxpayers.
I understand that Ms. Ericksen, questioned a very involved citizen last night, as to his commenting on something he does not have all of the facts on??  Well Ms. Ericksen, do your job as a public official and start sharing your information with the public like you are supposed to be doing, and we would be as informed as you claim to be.  I guess after this comment that citizens will have to put in more FOIA’s so that we can get all of the facts before we comment.  I would expect that the District not complain about the FOIA’s since a board member is basically encouraging it.
I would once again challenge you to walk the talk and start making some changes to how you are voting, because you have no credibility to ask us for more money.  It was not a wise decision to vote the way you did on Dr. Schuler’s contract.  Again you are telling us you need more money, but you are lavishing an employee with our hard earned money.
Thank you for your time and consideration in this matter.
Mary Ann Vitone

CUSD 200 lavished Dr. Schuler with more

There was one dissenting vote at the Dec. 13, 2016 CUSD 200 board meeting when the trustees voted to give Dr. Schuler a four year contract extension with new / changed  benefits.

I regret not noticing this prior to the meeting.  However, The contract approval was already a done deal by the time it was placed on the meeting agenda.  Once the podcast becomes available, I will post more information.  And if we receive information pertaining to the cost of this deal we will of course publish that.

The lone “NO” vote was from Jim Gambaiani.

Gambaiani’s prepared remarks:

Dr. Schuler:  During your time as superintendent you have done a solid job providing direction and leadership for the District. My prepared comments tonight regarding this resolution are specifically related to certain elements within the proposed contract, not your performance. 

In July a new Admin contract  took effect. As a part of the new contract, the Board voted to freeze salaries. With Admin salaries in excess of $5.0M per year this decision had a positive financial impact on the budget and made funds available for other needs within the District. I want to publically thank the Admin staff for embracing the salary freeze.

I believe a salary freeze should be part of the superintendent contract along with eliminating automatic annual salary increases. There are many elements within the contract that I do support, but these 2 items are show stoppers.

There are many financial challenges facing the District. As a Board, we should capitalize on any opportunity that will secure additional funding for District needs like a new Early Learning Center, building maintenance, capital improvements, and Sherman Durgus. Additionally, the District may face other financial challenges in the future such as a property tax freeze, a pension shift to the district level, and changes to the school funding formula.

 Because of these financial challenges, I will not support the resolution to extend the superintendent contract as written.

What has changed:

Dr. Schuler’s (current) 2018 base salary is $238,586.00 which is the same as he earned in 2017.

  • According to the 8/29/2016 compensation report, his 2016 base salary was $232,087.50
  • And the 9/5/2017 compensation report lists his 2017 base salary as $238,586.00 (that was a 2.8% increase on July 1, 2016 and no increase on July 1, 2017.

He is guaranteed that his salary will increase to keep pace with inflation (with CPI).  Thus he has ensured that the one year pay freeze he accepted in August 2017 will be only for one year.

He will receive an annual bonus up to 2% based on his performance review.

He receives 25 vacation days per year on top of the 12 holidays and sick days.  Vacation days can no longer be carried to a future year, but can be cashed in for extra pay.

He will receive a bonus at the end of this extension: $10,000.00 if the contract is extended again, or $5,250.00 if not.

He has made one concession:

Starting July 2017 (2018 school year), he will be paying 20% of the “Health Benefits Program” – just like teachers do.

His annual sick day allowance will be “in accordance with the minimum number of days required under the Illinois School Code.”  Currently that is 10 days per year (ilga.gov 105 ILCS 5/24-6)

 

Jan Shaw’s previous recommendations

In public comments and a previous post I made the following recommendations.  They implemented point #1 and #3 for Dr. Schuler.

  1. The Board must know what is in the contract that they are approving – a sample admin contract should be attached to the meeting agenda.
  2. ALL post career compensation must go!
  3. Extra sick days for pension padding must go!
  4. Administrators must pay their own pension contributions, just like teachers do – and no, we cannot give them large raises so that they see no loss in net pay.  This is a perk they never should have had.

Associated previous posts

dupagewatchdog.org/2017/08/cusd-200-whos-in-charge/

dupagewatchdog.org/2017/05/cusd200-admin-contracts-renewing-soon/

dupagewatchdog.org/2017/05/admin-compensation-cusd-200-part-1/

dupagewatchdog.org/2017/05/admin-compensation-cusd-200-part-2/