CORRECTION: To be clear, the age of 40 mentioned in my headline is for a Superintendent with 18 years experience to possibly receive a $14,000+ monthly pension (see the link below). Getting right to the point: Illinois’ top paid teacher in 2010 is high school Physical Education teacher, Mr. Mintz, who made $191,124, BEFORE BENEFITS. Second highest paid at another school is middle and high school English teacher, Mr Liesz making $189,219 BEFORE BENEFITS.
Twenty-six of the Top 100 are Physical Education teachers – 13 of them in the Top 50! Six are English teachers, 3 are U.S. History teachers, 2 Biology teachers, none are simple Math teachers. There is 1 Calculus, 1 Trigonometry, 1 Geometry, 1 Algebra, 1 Physics, 1 Chemistry, and 1 Political Science/Civics teachers on the list.
By contrast, there are 9 Driver Ed teachers, 5 Learning Behavior Specialists, and 4 Drama/Theatre Arts ranking in the Top 100.
The average salary for the Top 100 salaried teachers in Illinois is $158,432 BEFORE BENEFITS. The average salary for the 26 Physical Education instructors is $167,544. The average Driver Ed instructor makes only about $4,000 less than the average of all others on the list. Get this: the average salaries of English teachers in the Top 100 is $159,623 – well under the average of Phys Ed instructors.
But the focus here: the laughability of saying that the public sector makes less than the private sector, as you will see below.
ABOUT BENEFITS: Remember, all of the salaries below are BEFORE BENEFITS in Illinois. All of this is the work of Bill Zettler. In an email he said to add the following to the salaries shown:
Add 30% for state portion of pension cost and $5-25,000 for insurance, 10-15 days sick leave each year, 2-3 personal days and a 182 day contract.
He provided a link to this piece of his excellent research, coming to him through his FOIA request. Don’t miss the Co-Curricular pay – example: Pom-pom $7,100. Don’t miss the days actually days worked. You and I working 5 days a week will log 250 days in a year (excluding 10 days vacation) and 2,000 hours. The Illinois teacher? Only 167 days and it isn’t an 8-hour day.
Buy Sick Days for $20 Each
Under Illinois law (see here) teachers may, at retirement, use up to 340 unused sick days as 2 years service credit i.e. it is just as if they worked those 2 years. Under this contract teachers can buy extra sick days for $20 each up to the maximum (see page 54 of contract). So for $3,400 a teacher could buy an extra year of “work” and receive about $3,000 in extra pension each year for the rest of their life. How does that compare to the return on your 401K?
School District Could Pay $300,000 or More to Allow Teachers Early Retirement
Under Illinois law teachers may use ERO (Early Retirement Option) to retire early without penalty (see details here). The plan is very complicated but basically involves large lump sum payments from the school as well as the retiree to the Teachers Retirement System at the time of retirement. For example a teacher wanting to retire 5 years early would pay 57.5% of her highest salary and the school district (the taxpayer) 117.5% in order to retire penalty free.
The following is taken from Mr. Zettler’s work here, where you can see the Top 100 Teacher Salaries list. My compilation below is to make a few points: 1) how laughable it is to say that the public sector makes far less than the private sector; 2) how few core classes are among the highest paid, 3) how many non-essential classes are among the top 100, and to show the preponderance of Physical Ed salaries dominating the Top 100.
I believe Physical Ed is important. I see nothing on the list as unimportant, but with schools in crises financially, the work force in crisis for lack of duly educated graduates, communities in crisis because of huge numbers of undereducated, often-turned-criminals on the streets, I find it hard to justify 26 of the Top 100 Teachers being Phys Ed instructors – with 13 of them in the Top 50. With just a little prioritizing, we might actually graduate a high number of students capable of supporting themselves, no matter the condition of the economy.
So, moving down the list linked above from the 1st and 2nd positions, we pass three more Phys Ed teachers, a Graphic Design/Commercial Art teacher, a Guidance Counselor, a French teacher, finally arrive at Mr. Wietlispach, a Physics teacher making $172,164 BEFORE BENEFITS.
Passing a Drama teacher, two more Phys Ed instructors, we get to 13th place, Mr. Blundy a Calculus teacher.
Passing another Guidance Counselor, a Learning Behavior Specialist, another Drama/Theatre Arts, a Speech teacher, we get to 18th place, Mr. Hipskind making $166,410 BEFORE BENEFITS, teaching Political Science/Civics.
Passing Instrumental Music, Driver Ed, Phys Ed, we come to 22nd place, Mr. Adamowski teaching Physics receiving a salary of $163,587 BEFORE BENEFITS.
Passing Driver Ed, “Psychologist,” Guidance Counselor, Learning Behavior Specialist, Guidance Counselor, Phys Ed, Guidance Counselor, Physical Education, Physical Education, Co-operative Education, Phys Ed., we get to 34th place, Calculus with Mr. Gasper making $160,136 BEFORE BENEFITS.
Passing Drama/Theatre Arts, Guidance Counselor, Phys Ed we come to Biology at 38th with Ms. Naughton teaching grades 9-12, with a salary of $158,441 BEFORE BENEFITS.
Passing Phys Ed, Driver Ed, we come to 41st place, and Mr. Wilms making $157,251 BEFORE BENEFITS teaching Biology to grades 9-12.
Passing Learning Behavior Specialist, Phys Ed, Psychologist, Mr. Nihells teaches Algebra, ranking 45th, making $156,576 BEFORE BENEFITS.
Passing Phys Ed, Learning Behavior Specialist, Student Dean, is English teacher, Ms. Heiteen making $156,346 BEFORE BENEFITS, ranking 49th.
Passing Phys Ed, Phys Ed, at 52nd place, Chemistry teacher Ms. DeWald making $155,904 BEFORE BENEFITS.
Passing Spanish, Student Dean, Drama/Theatre Arts, Other Industrial Occupations, Driver Education, Art Spanish, Art, Driver Education, we finally come to another English teacher, Mr. Hurtig making $154,456 BEFORE BENEFITS, ranking 62nd.
Passing Librarian/Media Specialist, another English teacher, Mr. Fischer making $154,024 BEFORE BENEFITS and ranking 64th in the Top 100 2010 salaries.
Passing Gidance Counselor, Phys Ed, Learning Behavior Specialist, Spanish, Mr. Marsh teaches Geometry and ranks 69th, with a salary of $153,101 BEFORE BENEFITS.
AND FINALLY, we come to a U.S. History teacher, one of only three on the list of Top 100 Salaries. At 77th place, Mr. Lyons made $151,961 BEFORE BENEFITS.
Passing Phys Ed, Phys Ed 80th place is English teacher, Mr. Zabransky receiving $151,700 BEFORE BENEFITS.
Passing Phys Ed, Vocal Music, U.S. History teacher, Mr. Bradford received $151,368 BEFORE BENEFITS, ranking 83rd.
Passing Other Business Occupations, Driver Ed, Phys Ed, Consumer Ed, Instrumental Music, Phys Ed, Driver Ed, Guidance Counselor, we come to 92nd place, Ms. Glunz teaching Business Admin & Management, who received $147,639 BEFORE BENEFITS.
Passing Phys Ed, Consumer Ed, 95th place is Geometry teacher Mr. Nelson, making $146,572 BEFORE BENEFITS.
Passing Driver Ed, we come to an elementary/middle school teacher, teaching Language Arts, Ms. McGill making $145,187 at 97th place, Ms. Merilos teaching U.S. History, making $144,391 ranking 98th place, Trigonometry, Mr. Trotter at 99th place making 4144,157.
Last place, 100th, is yet another Driver Ed instructer making $144,027.
Illinois is one state. I can’t begin to guess how many others are similar in compensation. You know who pays these salaries and lifetime benefits – you and I.