The pro-referendum information is full of half-truths and misleading information. For example:
These are not “wants.” They are crucial repairs and updates needed to protect our student’s health and safety, the educational excellence our community expects, and our property values. You may ask, “how did we get to this point with our buildings?” In large part because the state of Illinois is 50 out of 50 in percentage of funding for education. Dead last. This has meant that since 2008, District 200 has lost $40 million in state educational funding. Therefore, it is up to us, citizens of District 200, to repair our schools.
Technically, this (50 out of 50) may be true. Most states collect and disperse education funding through the state. Illinois funds our schools primarily via property taxes. Operating costs per student would be a much better measurement. Adjusting that for cost of living differentials would be even better. The number they are using is the percentage of education funding from only state sources. Yes, IL consistently ranks around 49 in that regard. However this is a disingenuous number since the state funding formula is based on the amount of local funds that go to support education. When you consider total funding, Illinois is ranked 14th (see: governing.com/…html).
- We have some of the highest paid teachers.
- Salaries (& operating cost per student) have gone up faster than inflation.
- Number of students in district 200 has been going down. (The number of pupils peaked at 14,484 in the year 2000, and had dropped 12,560 not counting pre-K or to 13,024 counting pre-k in 2016.)
- Number of administrators, teachers, and support staff up.
I have in my files a copy of the 1990 school report card. It has a five year look back:
According to it, in 1986
- Average teacher salary was $31,728
- Average administrator salary was $45,595
- And operating cost per student was $3,317
Placing these numbers in an inflation calculator, based on inflation we would expect the following in 2016:
- Average teacher salary inflation adjusted should be $69,427
- Average administrator salary inflation adjusted should be $99,846
- And operating cost per student inflation adjusted should be $7,264
In 2016 the actual values are:
- Average teacher salary is $74,282
- Average administrator salary <haven’t found yet>
- And operating cost per student is $12,636
That operating cost per student, $12,636 vs. $7,264 is 74% higher than one would anticipate.
In 1986 the student/administrator ratio was 304.1 now it is 239.
My guess is we’ve gone from around 43 administrators in 1986 to 55 now. Why?
The average 2016 salary of $74,282 vs. the anticipated salary of $69,427 is $4,855 higher than anticipated. Multiplying $4,855 by 1079.68 (the number of full time equivalent certified staff (teachers) in 2016 (from a FOIA)) we get that the district would have $5,241,646 ($5.2 million) more per year if the average teacher salary increases had not exceeded inflation. The annual increase of the salary curves did not slow down until they literally ran out of money.