$138 per hour 2nd Grade Teachers Will Bankrupt the State

To Avoid Financial Armageddon Salaries, Pensions and Benefits Must Come Down.

The city of Des Plaines has some very expensive part-time employees working at CCSD District 62 including a second grade teacher who makes a salary of $153,466 per year for a six hour day, 37 weeks a year. That adds up to 1,110 hour a year or about 22 hours. Per week. Of course she doesn’t really work 185 days because she gets 3 personal days and 15 sick days off per year so if we subtract those she only works 990 hours. Per year and makes $154/hour.

So how are these ridiculous wages possible? Lets take a look at the teachers’ contract involved.

Contract school day – of the teachers, by the teachers and for the teachers: The contract calls for a workday from 8:50AM to 3:40PM or 6 hours and 50 minutes.

But wait there is more. Teachers get a 50-minute lunch break so that puts the day down to 6 hours.

Except on Mondays and other “Early Release Days” when the workday ends at 3:25PM instead of the harsh, slave-like 3:40PM. Those days are 5 hours and 45 minute days.

And except for first day and last day of school when students are released at 11:30 and 9:30 respectively. Those days are1 hr and 40 minutes and 40 minutes respectively.

Insurance and pension benefits.

The school district pays 100% of her health insurance cost and 2/3’s of her families cost. She also gets district paid life and dental insurance.

And over her last 3 years she received salary increases totaling an absolutely incredible $51,518. This increased her pension by $600,000.

By definition she, and every Illinois teacher, is a part time employee.

In 1996 Illinois passed a law Public Act 89-170 which defined a policeman as part-time if he worked less than 1,560 hours a year. This teacher’s 1,110 hours, and that is a generous calculation, is less than half the hours the average white-collar works at 9 hrs./day, 240 days per year.

Her salary is $19,000/yr more than what the Bureau of Labor Statistics says the average Illinois Pediatrician makes ($134,000). Obviously, any government that pays part-time employees more than MD’s is headed towards financial oblivion.

And, geez, I wonder if pediatricians work more than 6 hours a day, 9 months a year?

Just one of many.

She is not alone either. There actually were two other grade school teachers who made more than her last year. Here are the highest paid K-5th grade teachers for 2009 and the salary increase they received their final year:

K-5th Grade Teacher Salaries 2009
NAME SCHOOL 2009 Salary 2008 Salary 1 Year Increase Per cent Increase
O’Hara Lake Forest D 67





Hiler North Shore D 112





Ehnert Des Plaines D 62





Jannusch Des Plaines D 62





What is the purpose of taxation?

The purpose of taxation is to provide for the common good. What common good is provided for by paying part-time public employees these kinds of salaries, benefits and pensions? None that I can see.

And in fact, the question must be asked: what common good is being denied by allowing these kinds of personal and political benefits to be funded by taxes intended for the common good? If these 4 people alone had been paid $50/hr plus extremely good benefits, $400,000 would be available to help the poor, the sick, the homeless and the hungry. Which of the above are “common” good versus “personal” good and which should taxes be used for?

The teacher union – politician industrial complex must end.

Teacher unions have donated more than $45 million to Illinois politicians since 1995 and the politicians in return have given them free reign over contracts like the one outlined above. That is how 14,000 public school employees now make more than $10,000/month.

In addition politicians have continually enhanced teacher pensions to the point where every teacher retires a multi-millionaire at the expense of every other common societal good.

It will only end when we vote out of office every politician who has taken money from the teachers union – and that is most of them.

Bill Zettler is a free-lance writer and consultant specializing in public sector compensation.