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U-46 Board reviews ISBE salary, benefit data

By Seth Hancock
  On average, School District U-46 employees took 12.3 paid sick days, which is above the allotment allowed under contract, in Fiscal Year 2019 according to the salaries and benefits report generated by the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE).
  The 51-page report was presented to the Board of Education at its meeting on Monday, Aug. 12. Board member Melissa Owens was absent from the meeting.
  The salaries and benefits in the report represent a little over half the total salaries and benefits expended by the school district in FY2019 as certain staff and certain income expenditures, like stipends, are excluded from the report.
  “This is an annual report,” said Jeff King, deputy superintendent of operations. “We send information to ISBE. They send back the final report with who they want on it, what positions, etc.”
  The report required no vote from the board.
  According to Illinois’ school code, each “school board shall report to the State Board of Education… the base salary and benefits of the district superintendent and all administrators and teachers employed by the school district” and that report “must be presented at a regular school board meeting, subject to applicable notice requirements, and then posted on the Internet website of the school district, if any.”
  Sue Kerr, the board’s president, asked what salaries are included for those in the report to which King said “it would be their base salary.”
  The salaries listed in the report totaled $175.4 million while $397,833 was spent in annuities, $17.1 million in retirement benefits and $30 million in other benefits. The FY2020 budget was presented that same evening which showed U-46 spending $287.9 million in salaries in FY2019 and $389.3 million with benefits added making this report representative of 60.9 percent of salaries and 57.3 percent of salaries plus benefits.
  There were 2,402.4 full-time employees (FTE) included in the report representing only 50.8 percent of the 4,726 FTEs in FY2019 according to the budget presentation. Those 2,402.4 employees took 29,521 paid sick days according to the report for the 12.3 average.
  The U-46 teacher’s union contract in section 16.11, regarding sick leave allotment states: “Each employee will receive twelve (12) days of sick leave per year without loss of pay.”
  The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that only about 25 percent of American employers offer more than 10 paid sick days a year. A majority of employers offer between five and nine paid sick days while about 25 percent provide less than five paid sick days according to the BLS.
  Prior to vacating his seat on the U-46 board, former board member Phil Costello suggested that the district include a disclaimer on its website stating that the salary information is “misleading” because it does not represent the full data.
  “There should be a notation on the… staff salary and benefit information list of employees that indicates that there are significant disclosure limitations since the report only provides 60 [percent] of total compensation. Most employees on the list have multiple sources of U-46 compensation beyond the amount listed.”
  Costello also suggested the district “focus contracts on individual value of services provided measured by supervisors in performance evaluations and demonstrated positive outcomes rather than arbitrary increases based on length of employment.”




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