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?



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