Union, Health, and Budget Review

Regarding tonight’s School Board meeting, please attend if you are able, or you can use the button at right to submit comments to the Board.

If you haven’t had a chance to read the documents before tonight’s meeting, one of our BRG members submitted a summary review, pasted below:

September 30th Bullets

First, Tony [Inglese—Finance Director] and whoever helped him has done an outstanding job of creating a transparent, plain language budget document.  Good Job!

Second, I noticed that no Tax Anticipation Warrants were needed for the second year in a row.  Again, Good Job!

Third, I remember a 2 million dollar surplus – again a good job!

Fourth, I’m glad to see you have held the line on overhead costs, with very small increases in administration, buses, etc.  Good job!

This translates to an argument for local control by local community school Boards.  If you have a good Board and a good staff,  good things can happen.  (Of course, we can’t forget engaged citizens who serve as, I have to say it, watchdogs of the district operations and budgets).  I’ve always said everybody needs a watchdog to provide challenge to ideas and debate over direction.

Now to the BEA contract – for the most part the District does have hard working and dedicated teachers.

Now for the Shoe to Drop:

Everyone who isn’t a teacher in Batavia would love to have a work contract with the salaries and benefits in this contract.

  • Generous salaries,
  • perks,
  • every kind of leave you could think of (I counted 9 areas),
  • holidays and long vacations,
  • “CADILLAC” level health, dental, and vision plans,
  • guaranteed retirement at certain ages and with certain incomes for the rest of their lives. 

Nobody I talk to in my neighborhood has a contract close to this.

Social Security has had many years without any raise in the last ten years.  Medicare and supplements are taken right out of their base monthy payment, thereby reducing their paycheck.  They lose ground to inflation and rising costs every year, raises never keep up, let alone exceed inflation every year like in the proposed BEA contract.

Are the teacher paid enough now?  Not to be facetious, but, I see the teachers driving very nice cars and dressing very nice.

Also, for residents in the 10,000 plus homes in Batavia, most are paid based on a measurement of their performance and value added to the company.

I read the proposed BEA contract and then searched for the word “evaluation” and no word “evaluation” was found in the document.  I noticed raises and increases for “actions”, but, saw no raises or rewards for performance.  There is an old saying that “activities” are not a true measure of “accomplishments.”  Is it hard to do an evaluation of a teacher’s accomplishments with objective measurements?

And is the great work environment considered when negotiating the contract?  The teachers get to drive into a safe town, work in safe schools, and have students that mostly come from stable homes to teach.  And I would guess most students have been taught ethics, values, and morality at home verses some other student populations in Illinois.

A couple comments on the budget.  I noticed that percentages either way can be deceiving and require some analysis.  A big percentage hike on small amounts could be insignificant.

I did notice though on page 17:

 

Data processing services [4]  188,850 238,045 829,283  248.4%

 

and I find that footnote:  ” 4 Increasing technology maintenance and student software; reclassification of software supplies to professional services” was a little short on detail for such a large change in expenditures.

Has this been planned and discussed and approved by the Board?

 

And from another BRG member:

Included in the BEA contract is pension-spiking of 6%/year in the final 4 years before retirement. The Teachers’ Retirement Service pays a pension of 75% of the average of the highest 4 years of salaries in the last decade of employment (plus 3% annual compounding COLA increases!). Pension spiking only adds to Illinois’ pension crisis and further burdens taxpayers.

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