Wednesday, January 24, 2007

$400,000 School Superintendent Saga Continues

First let me concede that the Elgin School District 46 is the second largest in Illinois. In the 1970’s I represented its west side in the Illinois House.

But, surely there is a disconnect between the school superintendent, the school board and the taxpayers.

Today those who run the Elgin Schools displaced those in Carpentersville District 300 in the “Let’s Criticize the Schools” coverage in the upper Fox River Valley.

Yesterday, Elgin’s Courier News told of school board member Daniel Rich’s resignation in protest of pending school board action, which he said would bring School Superintendent Connie Neal’s compensation package to $400,000.

Today, the Courier’s headline is

Neale-Rich pay dispute heats up
I wonder why.

“I’ve been getting the same raise that the teachers have been getting,” reporter Erin Calandriello writes, noting that all U46 employees got a 5.95% pay raise last year.

Think people reading that second paragraph information will be a bit angry that the government employees got probably twice the raise they did, twice the increase in the cost of living?

Speaking of her critic, Neal observes,
“So, perhaps he didn’t understand the process,”
because the three-year school board member was attending his first superintendent’s salary negotiation meeting.

Supt. Neale also admitted giving 10 top assistants “$5,000 bonuses and that’s on top of the $30,000 to $50,000 increases in their salaries over the next few years,” Rich is quoted as saying.

Neale said that was “absolutely not true.”


Ex-school board member Rich retorted,
If she’s going to tell me she didn’t mean what she said and that none of what happened and that whatever perception I had was off, people are going to know she’s lying.

You can’t keep kicking things under the rug.

The public is crazy if they reseat any of those board members.
Also today, the hotly competitive Daily Herald’s Emily Krone got on the story.

Her lead is just superb
Six school board members called it an acknowledgment of a job well done.

Superintendent Connie Neale called it routine.

Former school board member Dan Rich, who resigned in protest Monday, called it a shakedown.

District teachers called it outrageous.
Krone reports the $43,000 pay raise would be retroactive to July 1st of last year.

So, what would you do with a $20,000 check?

And what about this “school superintendents-eyes only” information that was in Neale’s memo?
customary acknowledgment of performance success for superintendents is a tax-free, 10 percent to 20 percent bonus, when major accomplishments are made.
That’s sounds like something Diane Rado of the Chicago Tribune should do a statewide story about.

The memo also noted,
for the past two years her salary ranked 40th and 56th in the state.
How sad.

$242,000 just isn’t enough.

Since neither reporter talked to taxpayers, I expect a third round of stories soon about how the people who pay Neale's salary feel about her getting a raise that is a large part of their annual salary.

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