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Our view: Hold line on salaries in D-155

Published: Sunday, Oct. 27, 2013 5:30 a.m. CDT • Updated: Sunday, Oct. 27, 2013 12:52 p.m. CDT

Teachers in Crystal Lake District 155 generally have been doing a great job educating local students.

The district’s four high schools – Crystal Lake South, Crystal Lake Central, Prairie Ridge and Cary-Grove – score well when compared with other area and state schools on standardized tests and ACTs.

Can improvements be made? Of course. That can be said of any school district – any organization, really – in the country.

Our point is, we appreciate the job that District 155 teachers are doing and thank them for helping to prepare our high school-aged children for adulthood.

That said, we can’t support their union if it is looking for taxpayers to pay more toward their salaries and benefits.

District 155 teachers have been working on an expired contract since July 1. Their union has been in negotiations with the school board for many months, and is frustrated that a deal has not yet been reached.

Because the negotiations have been conducted in secret, the public does not know what kind of compensation package the union is seeking. There’s little doubt, however, that it’s seeking increases.

Teachers in the district already receive an average salary of $94,866. That’s a lot of money. The median household income in Crystal Lake is $77,550, according to the latest estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau. Keep in mind that’s household income. Two-income families skew that number higher.

District 155 spent $1.8 million more than the tax dollars it took in last fiscal year.

If salaries and benefits remain flat this fiscal year, the district would finish with about a $200,000 surplus. But every 1 percent in salary increases costs the district about $500,000 in additional expenses. So even a 1 percent increase could cause a $300,000 deficit.

We support teachers. They play a key role in preparing our children for adulthood. And, as we’ve said, teachers in District 155 generally do a great job. But we also support taxpayers. And taxpayers in the district already pay too much.

The District 155 school board needs to hold the line on teacher salaries that already are generous, and the union should be willing to accept that.

• Note to readers: The headline on this editorial has been changed since initial publication to correct the school district name.

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