February 19th, 2020
Stephenson County Government Teachers Doing Well- Private Sector Workers Not So Good
The Illinois Taxpayer Education Foundation (ITEF) has just completed a research project on the public school salaries and benefits in Stephenson County, Illinois.
Jim Tobin, president of ITEF, brings up these facts: “Stephenson County Illinois has 10.5% unemployment rate with the median full time wage of $30,800 per year. Yet at Stephenson government schools, 98% of employees make more than the average Stephenson County worker. This is another case of the public school tail wagging the private sector dog.”
Tobin continues, “The pensions for teachers also raise some questions. Why, for example, did the taxpayers of Stephenson County, earning $30,000, have to pay for the over $1.9 million to the teachers retirement system to allow 50 retired teachers to retire early under ERO (early retirement option)? Teachers retire early anyway so almost $2 million of hard-earned taxpayer dollars were used to allow the teachers to retire earlier than ‘early’.”
“Stephenson County like all Illinois counties needs to see teacher and administrators salaries reflect the wages taxpayers earn rather than wages school teachers in other counties earn. How can the average worker making $30,000, living in a home valued at an $81,400 afford the property, income, sales and utility taxes needed to support public school salaries as high as $187,000 and outrageous pensions too? Public salaries, pensions and benefits need to be brought back to earth. There is a huge disconnect between public employees’ compensation and the everyday private sector worker who pays the taxes to pay them.”
Tobin also notes, “The average salary of the top 50 is over $8,400/mo in a county where the average worker makes about $2,500/mo if he has a job at all. So to all of my friends in Stephenson County, I say this is why your property taxes keep going up.”
Tobin concludes, “Stephenson County schools are of the teachers, by the teachers and for the teachers. While Stephenson County taxpayers struggle to make ends meet teacher’s work in a privileged environment of high-paying, guaranteed jobs, 3 months a year off, short work-days, early retirement on top of early retirement, all at a extremely high cost to the hardworking taxpayers of Stephenson County. Schoolteachers and all public employees need to live and work in the same employment environment as the taxpayer does. No guarantees, no short work years, no short workdays and retirement at 65 just like the rest of us. The days of special deals for teachers must end.”