Category Archives: Schools

CUSD 200 new Early Learning Center without taxpayer approval

Wheaton-Warrenville, CUSD 200 is now planning to build a new early Learning Center (ELC) as an addition to Monroe Middle school and they plan to borrow the money to pay for it, without asking the community for permission via a referendum. They claim they can do this because the money will be paid back with existing funds – no new taxes.  Initially, they thought a “new building” required a referendum and were looking for a way to avoid that.  Now, they realized that if it is paid for with debt certificates a referendum is not required.  (Hmmm…)


September 15, 2017, CUSD 200 e-mail newsletter contained the following:

Board Narrows Down Early Learning Solution and Financing Option 
At their meeting, the Board reviewed an option to construct an addition at Monroe Middle School as a solution to our early learning facility needs. This option was one of 
nine possible scenarios the Board has reviewed following the April 4 Referendum Plan. The Board’s Facilities and Finance Committees ultimately recommended this intergovernmental plan as it allows the District to retain the current Jefferson as an asset, would not require a tax increase and will be paid for out of current and future operational dollars.

How will this option work? Doesn’t the park district own the property next to Monroe?
Through an intergovernmental land swap agreement with the Wheaton Park District, the school district would swap the vacant land (ball fields) immediately south of the current Jefferson property with a portion of the park district’s Graf Park that is immediately east of Monroe Middle School. The early learning center addition would be constructed on the current Graf Park property and would be connected to Monroe Middle School.

How will the Board pay for the early learning center addition?
The Board is reviewing an option to pay for the addition through fund balance (savings) and 
debt certificates. Debt certificates provide a way to borrow for improvements that allow for debt payments to come from the existing operational budget, not through a tax increase.This option allows the Board to access funds to complete the project without increasing taxes. The Board will also consider a private fund-raising campaign to potentially offset a portion of the building cost.

What does the new design look like?
A preliminary concept of the new building can be found 
here. The Board’s Facilities Committee will continue working with our architects and construction manager to refine the design and cost estimate of the project. As part of the presentation, the Board received a projected timeline for this option that projects groundbreaking Summer 2018 and opening to students for the 2019-20 School Year.

Currently, the District provides early learning and special education services to students ages 3-4 at Jefferson, Madison, Whittier and Johnson. To learn more about our early learning program and the need for a facility solution, watch this video.

ELC in the news

My Suburban published a related article on 9/20/2017:…

History / Cost

elc estimates2017

In 2013 I (Jan Shaw) ran for school board and posted information on my web page along with the first three lines in the above chart.  This blog is based on that blog with updated info.  For the 2017 estimates, I could not find construction cost broken out from total cost (demolition of old building, landscaping, and furniture assumed to be $2.2M – same as 2013 referendum numbers).  The data for the last line came from the board packet attached to the Sep. 13, 2017 board meeting.  At that meeting they discussed leaving the 2 Head  Start classes where they are and reducing the new ELC by 2 classrooms.


From “Janshaw200″  2013 post:

CUSD 200 has enough money in its building fund to renovate or build an appropriate new pre-school – without a referendum. Please vote NO on April 9,

  • According to RSMeans the average price for building a school in the Chicago area is around $200/ft2. (reference – 2017 link no longer works)
  • 59,000 square feet at $200/square-foot is just under $12 million.
  • Note: the in the current Jefferson 12 classrooms are used for classes and one for specialist.  In the proposed one there are rooms for specialist in addition to the classrooms.
  • Currently, CUSD 200 uses 14 classrooms for pre-k (12 at Jefferson, 2 at other schools). The older estimate increases that to 18 classrooms, a 28% increase. The current proposal is 20 classrooms that is a 42% increase.
  • Why is CUSD 200 looking at something so big and so expensive ($260/ft2)?
  • According to the Turner Building Cost Index, construction costs are not up since 2008.
  • In May 2012 the state of Illinois issued a check to CUSD 200 for $14.46 million as a capital improvement grant.


The current Turner Building Cost index is available at

If we assume the 2008 estimate was a good one $234/ft2 what would one expect the price to be for each of the dates in the above chart?  (The index is construction inflations since 1967)

elc inflation v estimate

Since the district is not planning to demolish the existing Jefferson building, my estimate for construction cost may be low.  I understand Jim Mathieson questioned why the building costs so much. Based on the above chart,  he has good reason for questioning it.

I also question the wisdom of building a new building rather than renovating the existing one with a small addition since the taxpayers have said “NO” twice.


It’s for the kids – 2017 Staff Celebrations

Last year I submitted a FoIA for 3 years of district “Celebration” expenditures, compiled the results and spoke at the July 13, 2016 board meeting.



According to the Illinois Constitution “Public funds” are to be used only for “public purposes.” The purpose of Public Schools is to educate the children. How do parties and gifts for the adults serve that purpose?

Last year’s FOIA covered 3 years was 428 pages.  This year was 71 pages.
And it is good to see that total spending per year has come down.
2013-2014          $19,372.0
2014-2015          $17,856.6
2015-2016          $28,479.26
2016-2017          $7,395.58

This year’s spending….


Retirement dinners at Cantigny – still happened


This year, the 59 attendees included
16 retirees,
15 retiree’s guest
17 administrators
2 union reps
6 school board members (Jim Gambaiani paid for his dinner)
3 spouses of board members (all paid for their own dinners)

note: 2016 was the last year that the 6% end-of-career salary spikes to increase pensions was available.  

A total of $10,650.20 for “Retirement clocks” over a two year period (2015 & 2016) – still buying them
This year it was 32 clocks for $1,754.00

Individual Service Anniversary gifts ordered from Eagle Recognition – still happening
2015: $8,054.96
2016: $9,698.52
2017: $2,285.96

The last sympathy / congratulation bouquet (flowers or edible delights) was sent in July 2016
That is good, if the board or administrators want to send something, they should pay for it themselves, not with taxpayer funds intended for students.

And yes, they still bought

  • a couple sheet cakes (one was for the board meeting at which the new board members were sworn in).
  • And it appears the district purchased meat for a staff picnic in the summer.

Lack of transparency

I’ve looked at the annual budget, and monthly financial reports.  The only way to find how much is being spent by the communications department, human resources, superintendent or other administrators is to request it via a FOIA.  School board members approve spending every month as part of a consent agenda.   They should request  that spending be broken out by department.

CUSD 200 – who’s in charge?

I attended the Wheaton-Warrenville board meeting tonight.

The good news is: Lacrosse players and their parents showed up to support one item in the consent agenda, which did pass:

Approval to Recognize Lacrosse as a High School Sport Under a Fully Funded Parent Agreement

It is a pity that the district could not find any money to put toward this sport.  After all, it is for the kids.

The other good news (as expected) the administrators, including superintendent Schuler, accepted a salary freeze rather than the 1% originally proposed.

The bad news, no benefit concessions from the administrators.  The district will still spend $600,000 for their pension contributions.  They still pay less for insurance benefits than teachers pay – which is less than many in the private sector pay. They still have their end of career bonus.  They claim they discussed it twice in close session and comparable districts do the same.  There has been no real discussion in open meetings.  And I can’t help but wonder if there wasn’t side lobbying.  So, who is greedy?  Who is in charge?

Jim Gambaiani made a statement as to why he would be voting NO.

  • $600,000 pension pick up
  • $850,000 benefits
  • $25,000 per employee maximum retirement bonus (does not count toward pension)

See the compensation list (note: top pay for a governor is $180,000) personel admin 2017

Facilities Plan Update-Early Learning Center

They are still planning on a new, larger facility for the district early learning center.  Many scenarios  were presented.  The ones they will continue to investigate are

  • Renovate and Expand the current Jefferson Early Learning Center, or
  • Build a new pre-school as  an addition to Monroe Middle School  with a connecting hallway. This option includes land swap with the park district.

By doing an addition, rather than a new building, they claim they can do it without a referendum.  And after 2 failed referendums, they’d rather not try again.  The price of each scenario was in the ball park of $20 million.  Jim Mathieson questioned the cost.  He said we need to bring it down to $15 or $16 million.  They are looking at spending reserves and hiring a firm to do fund raising on behalf of the district.

Yes, I agree, we need to do something to improve the Jefferson building – at least to maintain it.  But, should we spend our reserves when we cannot count on the school funding from the state?  The district just received the third out of four payment from last year.  Even once the school funding bill passes, how will it be paid when the state’s piggy-bank is empty?



CUSD 200, Still Partying on Taxpayer’s Dime.

A year ago, I reminded the board that public funds are for public purposes only.  Then I went over a list of spending on the adults with no educational purpose.  I expected the board to direct the district to cut this out.  Nothing has changed.  Why wasn’t this cut rather than increasing student fees?  Why do they keep crying poor when this is going on? Who is in charge?  The school board? The superintendent? Or do we just do what everyone else is doing?

My comments from July 2016 when I told the board about the amount of money spent on celebrations and gift for the staff are available on  (2 minute mark)

A friend put in a similar FOIA this year – Nothing has changed!  The entire file is 71 pages, I’ve included a sample below:

celevrate 2017 p7_10

celebrate2017 p13_16

There is a board meeting tomorrow – 8/16/2017, 7:00 PM at the School Service Center (130 West Park Ave. Wheaton, IL).

At this meeting they plan to approve the 2018 budget, then this year’s contracts for the 50 administrators whose contracts expired 6/30/2017.  It appears they will be taking no raises.  However, I have spoken out in June and July about aligning their benefits with the teacher benefits   and doing away with the lump sum they will get when they retire. (I’ll post more on this tonight)

Would love to have others show up and speak out!

Budget Review

With a budget review set for August 16, and the top administrators currently working on expired contracts, a little public pressure could help convince the school board and the administrators that CUSD 200 cannot continue business as usual.  Taxpayers and teachers should insist that administrators pay their own pension contributions just like teachers do. This would save the district about $600,000 per year and slightly reduce future TRS pension obligations.

A little history:

It appears that the district was in good shape financially back in 2001, and had to make major cuts by 2010.  That is a time frame in which many in the private sector were taking pay cuts or at least not seeing the raises they had been getting when inflation was so high.  School districts including CUSD 200 were giving step & lane increases as well as end-of-career salary spikes.  They had yet to curtail anything.


The Education Fund: total expenditures, salaries and benefits had gone up significantly faster than inflation from 2001 to 2010.  They were running out of cash by the end of May each year. The balance would have been negative in 2008 without Hubble construction loan, and in 2009, 2010 & 2011 the district issued tax anticipation warrants in order to avoid being in the “Red.”  In May 2012 the district received $14,478,784 from a capital improvement grant.  This year, at its low point (May), the districts end of month balance on hand was down to $6.3 million.  With State funding being unreliable, reductions should be made now while renewing the administrator contracts.  And a precedence set for next year when the teacher’s contract will renew.

I have recommended that all administrators pay the same for benefits as teachers do.  And that the post-career-compensation (lump sum at retirement that replace the salary spike) needs to go!

Take a look at what parents said in 2010 when student programs were threatened.  This could happen again.

minutes 2010_3_3

And the value of the proposed 2010 cuts.

2010 cuts proposed


CUSD 200 Budget for Public Comment

To Wheaton-Warrenville, CUSD 200 taxpayers & Parents:

A public hearing will be held on August 16 at 7:00 p.m. prior to the Board Meeting for any community members who would like to share feedback and comments on the Tentative 2017-18 Budget.

I (along with everyone else on CUSD 200’s e-mail list) received this email about next year’s proposed budget being posted for public comment.  Please take a look, and come comment if you have any feedback on it.

You can find the budget of the CUSD 200 transparency page

The email content:

Board of Education Meeting Highlights
The following are highlights from the July 12, 2017 meeting.

Tentative 2017-18 Budget posted for public review
The Tentative 2017-18 Budget is posted for public review at the School Service Center and on our website. Important points to note for the balanced $166 million FY18 operating budget include:
·       Total revenue from the State of Illinois, just over $18 million, is projected comparably the same as last year. With the passage of a State budget, the District is hopeful that revenues will flow from the State as expected.

·       Expenditures on high priority capital projects (roofing and flooring) is approximately $3 million, which is an increase from the prior year.

·       Deferred expenditures including the hiring of 2 vacant administrative positions ($174K), Drivers Education simulators ($162K) and purchase of new student information system ($270K) allowed for the increased allocation to facility projects.

·       A 2% decrease in purchased services, 4.8% decrease in supplies and 2.2% decrease in out-placed tuition from the prior year’s Education Fund budget have also allowed for an increased allocation to high priority facility projects.

·       While there are contractual salary increases for teachers and support staff, overall salary expenditures have remained relatively flat since 2010.

The District ended last year spending $390,000 less than budgeted. The District is still owed in excess of $5.6 million in funding from the State of Illinois. The District expects to receive just over $18 million annually from the State, which is approximately 11% of the District’s total operational revenues. Any excess revenue this year will be dedicated to the Board’s fund balance (savings). The Board and staff continue to find difficulty in addressing high priority facility projects due to inconsistent payments from the State of Illinois.

In spite of challenges in State funding, the District continues to be responsible stewards of public tax dollars. At $12,636 per student, District 200’s operating expense per student is BELOW the state average of $12,821; our FY16 Fund Balance (savings) was at 29.7%; our Standard & Poor’s Bond Rating is AA Stable; our State Board of Education Designation is Financial Recognition (the highest possible); and our balanced FY17 budget marked seven consecutive years of a balanced budget in spite of dwindling State revenue that has decreased by over $40 million since 2008.

A public hearing will be held on August 16 at 7:00 p.m. prior to the Board Meeting for any community members who would like to share feedback and comments on the Tentative 2017-18 Budget.

Enrollment projections updated, utilization of buildings analyzed
Every three to four years, the Board of Education updates their enrollment projections. Prepared by University of North Carolina demographer Dr. John Kasarda, the 2017 Enrollment Projections Report is an update to the District’s 2013 Report. To prepare the report, Dr. Kasarda reviews population and housing dynamics and analyzes recent enrollment patterns, including comparing graduating seniors to incoming kindergartners, to make projections for future enrollment. Dr. Kasarda provides three series of projections: Series A (less students than anticipated), Series B (anticipated number of students) and Series C (greater than anticipated number of students). Historically, Dr. Kasarda’s Series B projections have shown accurate for enrollment across the District.
In conjunction with enrollment projections, the Board of Education asked staff to take a deeper look at classroom utilization to provide further understanding of how we are using the space at all of our schools. The full presentation and 2017 Enrollment Projections are available on our website. After reviewing enrollment projections and building utilization, key takeaways include:

  • Based on Series B projections, enrollment district-wide should remain stable for the next 10 yearsand consistent to today’s enrollment of just under 13,000
  • Based on Series B projections, the classroom utilization analysis indicates that all schools are needed and appropriately utilized
  • Special populations that impact space, like special education and English learners, are expected to increase

Preuhs & Associates provides update on fundraising feasibility study
Through the Vision 2018 Plan, a goal was identified to explore alternate revenue sources, when available, to support district needs. As part of the Facility Master Plan, an option had been discussed to conduct a fundraising campaign to raise dollars for special projects in the April 4 Facility Referendum Plan like an early learning center, science labs, a performing arts space and libraries.

Conducting a feasibility study is an important step in determining levels of private gift support available in the community. The study will be used as a research tool to determine if a fundraising campaign is viable in our community. Earlier this spring, the Board hired Pruehs and Associates to conduct the study, with half of the cost being covered through private sources.

To complete the study, Preuhs and Associates is interviewing key community leaders and historically generous individuals to gather feedback. While the study is expected to be completed later this summer, an update at the Board Meeting revealed that:

  • private fundraising is an idea that is supported by many and willing volunteer leaders and potential funding sources are being discovered;
  • collaborations are being considered and potential leaders are being recommended; and
  • building trust in the District should continue to be a focus of the Board and staff.

Facilities Committee prioritizes projects, identifies scenarios for an early learning solution
As previously reported, following discussions and review of the Post-Referendum Survey results, the Board’s Facilities Committee has reviewed and re-prioritized facility projects and has decided that for right now, the Board focus their facility planning efforts around the most critical projects, capital projects and secure entries. The current focus on capital projects and secure entries is significantly scaled back from the complete April 4 Facility Referendum Plan that included multiple other projects.

The updated estimated cost of capital projects and secure entries (going out 8+ years, including escalation and loss of referendum plan efficiencies) is approximately $93 million in work. That estimate includes $5 million in capital projects at Jefferson Early Childhood Center. Given the amount of capital improvement projects at Jefferson, the Facilities Committee is also reviewing options for our early learning needs that do not include construction of a new building.

Based on those recommendations, the Board’s Finance committee, along with District and School Administration, will begin developing a plan to allocate $8 million toward capital projects and secure entries for the 2018-19 School Year. It is expected that a proposed cost reduction plan for the 2018-19 School Year will be developed by early fall.

Erica Loiacono | Director of Public Relations

CUSD200 Admin contracts renewing SOON

The current administrator contracts were approve last year at the June 8, 2016 board meeting as entries in the personnel report which was attached to the meeting’s agenda.

The salaries for our sample administrators are:
admin 2017 salatiesEach received a 0.8% increase.

Several years ago I asked the board in my public comments if they had any idea what they had approved?  The board packets listed who had contracts renewing, but nothing about salaries or benefits.  I thank the board for including the administrator’s salaries in the personnel reports after that.

However,  I don’t see a sample contract attached to last year’s agenda so that the board & public can know what benefits are included.

There is a finance committee meeting at 7:30 AM on May 31.  Meeting Notice  And the next regularly scheduled board meeting is 7:00 pm on June 14.  That board meeting is when the administrative contracts should be approved.  Expect the meeting notice to be posted on the preceding Friday.  By law it must be available at least 48 hours prior to the meeting. 

  • The administrators contracts that I have were all for one year – expiring June 30, 2017.  That is the end of next month! (correction the ones I have were for July 1, 2015 to June 30, 2016.  The renewed last year)
  • The current WWEA teacher contract expires June 30, 2018
  • The Classified Education Association (CEA) 2014-2017 (support staff)  also expires end of June.
  • The Superintendent’s contract also runs through June 30, 2018

In my opinion:

  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.

For my analysis of the current contracts see:

Admin compensation – CUSD 200 (part 2)

For part 1, see:

I was wondering just how much more generous the administrators’ contracts are than the Teachers’ contract. This posting will look at Holidays,  vacation days, sick days and their affect on the pension/end-of-career payouts.  The Sick Day Bank can be quite large at the end of a career.  It can be used to increase the pension payout or to take a lump sum at retirement.

 While looking at these detail, I noticed a couple perks in the latest teacher contract that  were not in their previous contract, and I had not seen when the contract was approved.  Note: the contract was not available until  weeks after it was approved. 

The latest WWEA contract increased the sick days allocate as well as the post-employment-compensation.  Neither  were in the highlights that were posted for board approval.   Although the increase in post employment compensation was mentioned by board members as they voted for it.


The current teacher contract is for July 1, 2015 to June 30, 2018.

The WWEA (teacher union) contract is negotiated with union reps on one side, and school administration on the other.  For the current contract, no school board member was on the negotiation team.  In fact, I was told they didn’t have anyone even watching.

The negotiating team from the WWEA contract:

wwea negotiating team


Generally, the administrators will get what the teachers get and then some (like pension pick-up).  Who is representing the taxpayers?

Leave of Absence

See the contract for the full set of rules and details for all types of leaves (seick leave, Bereavement leave, personal leave, Religious holidays, Parental leave, family medical leae act, general leave of absence, military leave, & Professional leave)

Number of days worked

For Teachers, based on the school calendar  teachers are scheduled to work 186 days a year – 5 of those days are teacher institute/work days with no students in class.  They receive two months off in the summer and all the school Holidays.

Administrators who work 12 months, have 260 working days
(364 days a year, 52 weekends is 104 days, 364-104 = 260)
They each receive 12 holidays, 23 vacation days, and 15 sick days.
Each can carry up to 36 vacation days to the next year
Up to 59 vacation days can be cashed in at the per diem rate at termination (retirement).

Vacation and Holidays

From Biscan’s contract (sample admin)

days off

Note: the maximum number of vacations days that an administrator may have is 59.  According to their current contracts days in excess of the 36 if not used are lost.  This wasn’t always the case.  For instance, Bill Farley cashed in 5 vacation days in 2013 for $3,606.19.  I do not see this listed in Farley’s current contract, but we have a FOIA that lists this dollar amount.    And it is in Dr. Schuler’s current contract

schuler cashout vac


Bossier’s contract (the one grandfathered in with the 6% end of career salary spikes) allows excess vacation days to morph into unlimited sick days:

vac holidy bossier



From Biscan’s Contract:



What is this sick leave worth?

admin sick leave bank


The maximum number of sick days to count towards pension service with TRS is 340, where 170 days = 1 year.   Up to 15 sick days can be cashed in at the per diem rate at retirement (days count for one or the other, not both)

WWEA (teacher) contract is more generous

weea sick leave

Why are they increasing the number of sicks days per year as the size of the sick bank grows?  Could it have anything to do with TRS accepting up to 340  sick days as credit towards pension?    I do not see a line about cashing in unused sick days at the per diem rate in this contract.  pdf

From the WWEA contract for July 1, 2012 to June 30, 2015 (no longer posted on the district web site) we know that this perk was new in 2015.

wwea12to15 sick

Was the school board aware of this increase in sick days for  teachers as they approach retirement?  The extra sick days were NOT in the contract highlights posted for the board to approve.

Contract approval

The contract was approved at a special board meeting on June 4, 2015.  The contract was approved based on  contract highlights .pdf which was made available approximately 48 hours prior to the meeting.  At the time I  questioned why they could not wait until the next week at the regularly scheduled board meeting.  I also questioned the wisdom of passing it without actually seeing the contract.

The BOARD has a fiduciary responsibility to the taxpayers.  Part of that is to be part of contract negotiations, not just a bystander who votes on what is brought to them.  The boards failure to be a part of these negotiations is a failure of the board and another example of what is wrong with so many public officials.  Disregard for the public is no longer being tolerated!  CUSD 200 Board actions were no different than those of COD with their golden parachute votes.

Prior to the meeting I was advised that “They MUST recite key elements of the contract with enough information as to inform the voter of the actions being taken.”

From a 6/3/2015 email from Jan Shaw to a few friends regarding my thoughts for public comment:

  • 3 year agreement covers the 2015-16; 2016-17; and 2017-18 school years
  • OK
  • and provides for a balanced budget based on current revenue projections.
  • OK
  • It also contains a limited re-opener memorandum to address any drastic changes in funding or revenue enacted by the legislature.
  • Sounds Good – want to see it
  • This agreement addresses staff professional development time,
  • OK
  • eliminates staff access to the State’s Early Retirement Option,
  • Good – does this affect the amount that is paid into the pension?
  • eliminates the salary step increment,
  • Define please?  Doing away with steps?  Or same chart for 3 years?
  • and includes increased staff contributions for health benefits.
  • Does it include a “Good for the Goose, Good for the gander” clause so that all administrators will need to pay into the pension and for health care like teachers do? 
  • Not here, but section 12 of the existing contract gives a lump sum to retirees based on years of service (unless they opted for the old 6% for 4 year option) $500 per year-of-service
  • 20 year = $10,000.  ALL end of career goodies need to GO!

Missing minutes for 6/4/2016

The June 10, 2015 agenda include “Approval of Minutes – March 25, 2015 Open and Closed, May 13, 2015 Open and Closed, May 18, 2015 Special Closed, May 27, 2015 Open and Closed, and Approval to Destroy Recordings of Closed Sessions Prior to January 2014 as Allowable by Law”

The July 10, 2016 agenda has “Approval of Minutes – June 10, 2015 Open and Closed, and Approval to Destroy Recordings of Closed Sessions Prior to February 2014 As Allowable by Law”

Where are the 6/4/2015 minutes?

The podcast of the meeting

is available on youtube: CUSD200 6/4/2015

11:05 Dr. Schuler
15:55 Dr Rammer – what is in the contract.
16:20 board discussion – Brad Paulsen,
18:15 Dr. Schuler – overview of salary schedule.
20:40 Intihar
22:30 Swanson
24:30 Coghill
27:40 roll call vote with comments
30:00 Gambiani’s comments as to why he voted “NO” (worth listening) “…Total salary increase approaching $6 million.  Total salary percentage increases that could reach 8.5%.  Total stipend increases of 6% and 50% increase in post employment payment. In the 2016-2017 school year, this district will enjoy a $4 million windfall, given the fact that 60 retiring teachers will be replaced with teachers at lower salaries. This situation presents the district with a unique opportunity to have access to funds that could be used for building maintenance… It is important to acknowledge that the district has numerous current and future financial challenges that can no longer be ignored. Unfortunately these available funds are being used to support the teachers’ contract…”

33:10 Vroman covers more (include $250 more per year for post-employment compensation)

Based on the comments, the board was aware of at least one change that was not in the posted highlights.

What was in the sick bank for those who negotiated this?

negotiator sick bank

Overly Generous in the Past

The district was once far more generous with this for at least a couple administrators.  Dr. Catalani was the Superintendent from 2000 to 2007.

catalani pay and pension

And there were two other top administrators who made out like bandits,  Sorrick and Belha.  For details, see:

Marfo Sorrick retired in 2011,

  • Sorrick had 33.026 years of service credit plus 1.974 year for unused sick-leave credit (total 35)
  • Her service included 1.026 years purchased credit for private school service.
  • From TRS she received a $23,001.62 refund ($18,592.62 for “2.2 refund” and $4,409.00 for not using the early retirement option)
  • From CUSD 200, she received lump sum payments of $ $21,085.22 ($6,487.76 for 53.2 vacation days and $14,597.46 for 18 sick leave days)

 Sorrick’s end of career raises were 6.26%, 20%, 0%, 6% and 6%.  Her contract ended in 2009 and was extended to 2010 and 2011.  Her 20% raise came 2008 – three years earlier than contracted  – the contract called for 20% for the LAST year worked.  It appears to have been effective the day after Superintendent Catalani retired and on the day Dr. Drury began.  We never found anything to show that it or the 6% raises for her last two years were approved by the board.  We are still paying for this as it increased her pension for life. 

Lori Belha retired in 2011

  • Belha had 37 years of service credit plus 1.97 year for unused sick-leave credit
  • Her service included 10 years purchased credit for out of system service.
  • From TRS, she received a $28,105 refund ($23,784.95 for “2.2 refund” and $4,320.21 for not using the early retirement option)
  • From CUSD 200, she received lump sum payments of $32,889.26 ($25,200 for 59 vacation days and $7688 for 18 sick leave days)


Belha’s end of career raises were 6.95%, 18.47%, 0%, 6% and 6%.  Same comment as above, although I wonder if her 20% was put into effect a month or 2 earlier.

Note Dr. Belha was the Assistant superintendent for Human Resources.




Admin compensation – CUSD 200 (part 1)

I had submitted a FOIA to Wheaton-Warrenville, CUSD 200, for some administrator contracts last summer [2016].  

I was wondering just how much more generous they are than the Teachers’ contracts. First thing we confirmed is that while teachers make their own pension payments, the district pays the employee portion for administrators.  Checking the compensation report we discovered that this cost the district $602,454.89  in 2016 [correction – thee FOIA was summer 2015 – time flies].

  • The bulk of the administrator contracts matched Biscan’s and were for July 1, 2015 to June 30, 2016.  I will use it as a sample.
  • One, Bossier is different. She had a grandfathered contract with the pension spike and she was on the retirement track.  I believe the last of the employees with this 6% end-of-career option retired in 2016.
  • Superintendent, Dr. Schuler’s contract is unique. It is a multi-year contract (Sep 2, 2014 through June 30, 2018). Available on the district website: Superintendent Contract
  • We also have some older administrator contracts which were even more generous.

These contracts contain some benefits that exceed what is in the teacher’s contract (WWEA) – available on the district website:  link to contract



From Biscan’s Contract:

contract length and pay


In Bossier’s contract the following paragraph was included. She was grandfathered into the old contract that offered 6% end-of-career spiking.

pension spike

For a history of CUSD 200 end-of-career salary enhancements see:

From the sample contracts for 2016, we have the following list of base pay and per diem pay.

pay per diem



For teacher’s the pension contribution is deducted from their paycheck (i.e. they pay their own).  For administrators, the district makes the TRS or IMRF payment.

From Biscan’s Contract:

trs imrf


Another verbiage for pension pick-up is seen in Bossier’s contract

bossier pension pick up


There are two compensation reports available on the district’s website click, Departments, Human resources.  Then Compensation reports.  You will find 2 reports.

  • 2016 Teacher Administration Salary Compensation Report click here
  • 2016 IMRF >$75,000 Compensation Report click here

I copied the entries that had a non-zero “Retirement Enhancement” which is the pension pick-up.   The total cost to the district is $602,454.89  (would this be better spent on  capital improvements?)

The administrators entries from the 2016 Compensation reports (I dropped the cents to save space): admin compensation 2016


Post Employment Compensation – Retirement Benefits:

From Biscan’s Contract:

post emp

And the retirement section from Biscan’s Contract:


From Bossier contract (the grandfathered version)

retire bossier

Compare this to what the Teachers have in the WWEA contract:

WWEA post emp compERO was the Early Retirement Option.  No longer available.

Teachers must work at least 18 years to receive a post employment lump sum (does not count toward their pension).  Administrators need only work 5 years for this payment, and the amount is larger.


We have made public comments for years, telling the board that end-of-career salary spikes MUST GO! and Then all post employment compensation must go!