Message from the NSEA

Message from the NSEA in response to the report prepared by Superintendent’s Citizen Facilities and Finance Advisory Committee (SCFFAC):

The NSEA is in support of the district finding a way to restructure schools if necessary to maintain excellent school quality as well as fiscal stability. Everything the NSEA has done, including through negotiations, has been completed with careful research, school quality and the financial stability of the district in mind. The final report of the SCFFAC, however, is not accurate regarding several factors, including the negotiated raises of teachers in District 112.

Several figures in the report are misleading or factually incorrect. For example, the report states: “ …all District teachers receive a 3% annual “step” increase in salary, as well as a 0.5% increase for additional coursework/education.” That statement is not true. Some
teachers received 3% increases. Some teachers received only a 1% increase. Some teachers also received an additional increase for completing master’s degree coursework. An accurate statement would be that teachers received raises of differing percentages, many as low as 1%. Generally speaking, the most experienced and senior teachers in the school district received the lowest percentage raises.

There are other significant errors in the report. It states: “Historically, the salary and benefits established for the District’s unionized teachers generally serve as a benchmark for the compensation of administrative personnel …” That certainly is not the case for the
district’s highest ranking administrators. In his most recent contract, the Chief Financial Officer is receiving a salary that is comparable to that of the Superintendent. The CFO’s increase over the past two years is 37.5% in addition to insurance benefits (last year = $26,142 cash option), travel benefits of $5,400, and pension contributions of $18,271 (last year). The Superintendent has received, in addition to his $224,424 salary, “other pay/stipend” of $37,889. Teacher increases cannot objectively be viewed as a “benchmark” for those administrators’ raises.

The report also states: “The District needs to be prepared to assume additional pension liability starting at approximately 0.5%/year.” While there have been many ideas related to school funding and pension debated in the General Assembly in recent years, there is nothing in the current law that changes pension obligations. And there is little indication that any significant change will occur. All teachers are responsible for their own pension contributions.

The NSEA is responding to the report by attempting to correct some of the misleading figures and statistics contained therein, as well as showing those figures and statistics as compared with some administrative personnel. We believe this report puts forth potentially valuable data that may be helpful in the future. Its accuracy is of paramount importance.