If You're An Illinois Taxpayer With High Blood Pressure, Don't Read This

Authored by Adam Andrzejewski via Forbes.com,

We mapped the exclusive club of 30,000 Illinois educators with either salaries or pension payouts greater than $100,000 costing taxpayers $3.7 billion annually.

Illinois teachers are starting their three-month summer break. But when it comes to teacher salaries, there’s no break for taxpayers. Last week, the Illinois legislature passed a new mandate requiring base pay of $40,000 for Illinois educators. (Cue the teacher’s union cheering.)

Yet, lawmakers refuse to cap the payouts for the most highly compensated public employees who burden the system with unsustainable salary and pension costs. The payouts are so large, by our calculation, the equivalent of $1 out of every $3 in individual income tax is paid out to retired teachers.

For 30,000 Illinois educators, the new “minimum wage” is $100,000+. Nearly 20,000 of these employees are currently working, while the other 11,766 are retired – pulling down six-figure pensions.

Thanks to an interactive tool we’ve built at our government transparency web site, OpenTheBooks.com, every taxpayer in Illinois and across the country can search the $100,000 Club at the teachers' retirement system by zip code. Want to see who in your backyard makes a $150,000 salary for teaching drivers ed or PE classes? What about the retired art teacher with a $100,000+ lifetime pension annuity?

It’s a game the whole taxpaying family can play! Use it and be amazed – and also help out reform-minded legislators and Gov. Bruce Rauner’s team identify waste. Click here to access the map below.

Search the $100,000+ Salary & Pension Club 2017 (Teachers' Retirement System, TRS)

Using our interactive mapping tool, quickly review (by zip code) the 30,000 Illinois educators who make more than $100,000 – either from a salary or public pension. Just zoom in, click a pin (zip code) and scroll down to see the results rendered in the chart beneath the map.

Here’s how it breaks down in just three of 850 school districts:

  • In Township HSD 214 in Arlington Heights, 617 working educators made $100,000 or more in addition to 578 retirees receiving six-figure annual pension payouts.

  • In Palatine Township HS 211, there were 594 educators pulling down six-figure salaries and 533 retirees receiving six-figure lifetime pensions. Read the superintendent’s response here.

  • In Naperville CSD 203, there were 374 educators making $100,000 or more while another 278 retirees received six-figure pension payouts.

Top 10 IL School Districts Paying $100,000+ Salaries & Pensions

In Illinois, some of the worst performing school districts award the largest salaries – and it hasn’t helped student scores. In many cases, administrators making $300,000 or even $400,000 have districts where a majority of their students come from families receiving public aid, living in substitute care, or are eligible for free or reduced-price lunches.

Consider these examples:

  • Troy Paraday made $407,145 as the superintendent of Calumet CSD 155 even though enrollment is just 1,200 students. Meanwhile, the kids are struggling. Nearly 70 percent of are from low-income families and just 16 percent are considered ready for the next level. Paraday’s paycheck is up from the $384,138 last year.

  • Joyce Carmine, former superintendent of Park Forest SD 163, retired on a first-year pension of $290,526 (2017). Last year, Carmine earned the #1 salary in the entire system with a massive salary increase from $81,382 (2000) to $398,229 (2016). She earned this largess even though less than one out of four students in her district were considered ready for the next level and 88 percent of students were considered low-income.

  • Gregory Jackson received $340,405 (up from $325,208 last year) as the superintendent of Ford Heights SD 169. Why is Jackson making a massive salary when just one in five children in his district passed the statewide PARCC exam? Further, there are just 434 students in the district, and 97 percent are from low-income homes.

  • Arthur Culver made $265,000 as the superintendent of East St. Louis SD 189, even though just six percent of students are considered ready for the next level and 96 percent of students are from low-income homes.

Review the Top 500 Illinois teacher and administrator salaries in 2017, click here.

Top 10 IL Salaries 2017 - Teachers' Retirement System

The legal corruption is so bad even union bosses are muscled into the teacher’s pension system. Unions are private-sector organizations but, in Illinois, the unions received a special legislative carve out making them members of the government pension system.

For example, Reginald Weaver was the President of the National Education Association (NEA) in Washington, D.C. – the de facto national teacher’s union. Today, Weaver’s Illinois teacher’s pension is $24,869 per month, or $298,437 annually. During his working career, Weaver’s total investment into his pension was only $287,107. Now and every year, Weaver pulls out more than he ever paid into the system.

In 2014, a pair of union lobbyists substitute taught for one day in the public schools, and then we found them collecting over $1 million of lifetime public ‘teacher’ pension payouts despite a state law expressly designed to stop them.

We forecast that Illinois taxpayers will be on the hook for more than 20,000 six-figure educator pensions by 2020. The number of retirees receiving $100,000+ pension payouts increased by 60 percent in just the past two years – from 7,333 in 2015 to 11,766 in 2017.

Here are more of our findings:

  • Six retired educators received more than $300,000 in annual pension payouts last year including Lawrence Wyllie from Lincoln Way CHSD 210 ($331,086); Henry Bangser from New Trier Township HSD 203 ($321,834); Gary Catalani from Community Unit SD 200 ($320,403); Laura Murray from Homewood-Flossmoor CHSD 233 ($315,221); Mary Curley from Hinsdale CCSD 181 ($306,151); and Larry Fleming from Lincolnshire-Prairie View 103 ($300,813).

  • The top five school districts conferring six-figure pensions were Township HSD 214 (578); Palatine Township HSD 211 (533); Glenbard Township HSD 87 (279); Naperville CUSD 203 (278); and Maine Township HSD 207 (257).

Northern Illinois school districts are driving the majority of $100,000 pensions. In fact, 9,699 six-figure pensions for nearly $1.2 billion in annual payouts were conferred by districts in the Chicago metropolitan area. Yet, income taxpayers across the entire state guarantee these retirement annuities. Consider the following examples:

Top 10 IL Pensions 2017 - Teachers' Retirement System

We’re not against outstanding educators being fairly compensated, but the costs to taxpayers are so obviously unsustainable.

Unfortunately, rather than bringing reform to the most out-of-control and corrupted parts of the Illinois education pay-and-pension systems, the state legislature passed a bill to pay educators more in their first years of teaching.

Legislators should worry more about highly compensated educators at the top and the taxpayers who are funding their payouts.

*  *  *

Adam Andrzejewski (say: Angie-eff-ski) is the CEO and Founder of OpenTheBooks.com – one of the largest private databases of government spending in the world.

Search all $100,000+ salaries and pensions in the Illinois Teachers' Retirement System on our interactive mapping platform here.


Lie_Detector Newsboy Mon, 06/04/2018 - 21:35 Permalink

I know lot's of people who put up with that. My wife works nights, no benefits, less than $10 per hour and gets treated as if she is an enemy by her supervisor. She gets NO vacation (paid or unpaid), no night shift premium and she does not complain. Give me a break. These are some of the greediest people I have heard of. They need a taste of reality. 

In reply to by Newsboy

August Son of Loki Mon, 06/04/2018 - 22:23 Permalink

For quite a while, school districts with the worst student/teacher performance would receive increased funding, compared to those which showed better performance... because equality. 

Eventually, even the dumb bunnies in Seattle education figured out that, just maybe, poor performance should not be explicitly rewarded.

In reply to by Son of Loki

dchang0 Newsboy Tue, 06/05/2018 - 01:54 Permalink

This is probably true, but that verbal abuse is both well-deserved and justified.

Public school in certain jurisdictions uses the threat of lethal force to force attendance (truancy laws, plus anti-homeschooling, anti-charter-school restrictions); governments use the threat of lethal force to force funding for school via taxes, even if you don't have kids to send to school.

If I kept threatening you year in and year out to participate in a racket that's rigged in my favor and harms you, wouldn't you start to viscerally hate me?

The teachers might not be the ones doing the threatening, but they are part of the whole immoral system. It's like being the customer service rep for a giant evil corporation like Verizon or BofA or Comcast--it might not be your fault that the company is evil, but you should get used to being yelled at by customers all day long.

In reply to by Newsboy

MoreFreedom Newsboy Wed, 06/06/2018 - 09:32 Permalink

"As a teacher you get verbal abuse and no respect all day and all year long."

Your comment suggests the teachers they hire don't command the respect of the students.  But then, given how the schools are run by the government employees, a lot of students consider it day jail, and what person respects day-slave owners? 

It's long past time, to separate school and state.  The Democrats don't want to, because they depend on the government tax monopoly on their funding to get kickbacks for their campaigns.

In reply to by Newsboy

NoDebt StheNine Mon, 06/04/2018 - 20:51 Permalink

Shhhhhhhhh...... it'll all be over soon.  When the system nears collapse, the fraud increases exponentially.  There is no point trying to milk the system for the long term any more because there ISN'T a long term any more.  Everyone grabs at the last scraps because there ain't no more after that.




In reply to by StheNine

silverer NoDebt Mon, 06/04/2018 - 20:55 Permalink

I still don't get it. Why are the leaders of Illannoyed still not raising taxes sufficiently to pay the bills? The voters voted them in to specifically enact the liberal left wing Marxist agenda. That involves destroying all private property rights and confiscating all assets to put them under control of the state. When are these politicians going to listen to their voters who really, really want this, and RAISE TAXES?

In reply to by NoDebt

NickelthroweR DaveClark5 Tue, 06/05/2018 - 01:22 Permalink


I'm not convinced that a city will be the worst place to be.  First off, cities are not designed for low intensity warfare which will shut off water and sanitation on day one.  Once that is gone then you are but a few short days away from everyone being dead.  Study a bit of military history and you will read that right up until recently, most soldiers that went off to war just shit all over the place, made each other sick and then died.  Sometimes it was 90% of the casualties on a campaign.  You can not pack people together without clean water and sanitation.  

It will all happen pretty quickly and people dying of thirst are not capable of causing too much of a fuss.  Anyone left probably made a plan for just such an emergency and wont be in too big of a hurry to lock horns with anyone.  After all building supplies will be all around.

In reply to by DaveClark5

philosobilly DaveClark5 Tue, 06/05/2018 - 10:09 Permalink

unfortunately stupid people see free stuff, and smart people see utopia. neither is possible, it must collapse, i never was in the cities. saw an interesting study, every major city on earth has roughly 48 hrs of food, after that, target practice as those who survived the cannibalism flow into the country side. it wont be the first time or the last time that its happened.  this is what happens when you let the poor vote.

In reply to by DaveClark5

Tarzan NoDebt Mon, 06/04/2018 - 21:24 Permalink

I guess I've become a cynical contrarian, non of this surprises me.

If you told me they enter the system at that pay, ya that would be excessive, and the burden on the schools with these Goldilocks retirement plans are over the top.

But, $100,000 doesn't strike me as a lot of money for a veteran teacher living in Chicago.  The cost to own a modest home anywhere near many of these schools could eat up half that.

It makes perfect sense for teachers to make up the bulk of salaries in a school system.

The real fat in the school system, no matter here in Florida, or up in Chicago, is in the Administration, of the schools themselves, the governing Boards, and the Teacher's Unions.

More often then not, teachers join these unions and pay their dues, under duress.

It is the fat cats running the quid pro quo, the kick backs, the inflated contract awards, the powerful purchasing agents and bid coordinators, The legacy Board Members, Union Bosses, and Superintendents, on and on, these are the people bleeding the school systems...

In reply to by NoDebt

philosobilly Tarzan Tue, 06/05/2018 - 10:12 Permalink

teacher choose to be teachers because of the largess of the govts and unions that require they give back part of their salary in the form of kickbacks. its a circle jerk, and your a participant if you join whether you like it or not. also that whole owning a house in chicago is expensive stuff is bs, do some research, youll find people inside the city limits pay enough taxes on their property to buy the property outright in about eight years. its always the govt and the stupid people that take advantage of their monopoly on force that bring down civilization, literally the worlds oldest unnamed ponzi scheme.

In reply to by Tarzan

techpriest gatorengineer Mon, 06/04/2018 - 23:23 Permalink

Some of the PhDs I knew end up teaching in middle/high schools, because we all studied renewables and then the price of oil tanked, invalidating our work for the last 5 years. Two years of teaching on fellowship was enough for me though, and I will never put my kids in a public school madhouse.

In reply to by gatorengineer