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District 180 Teacher Salaries Below Average for DuPage County

Teachers seeking a new collective bargaining agreement with the district receive competitive compensation with nearby districts outside DuPage County.

The union representing the teachers in Burr Ridge claims teachers in the district "" and "" in the area. The union . They say the latest contract offer from the school board is inadequate.

Members of the District 180 Board of Education say they have made a fair and competitive offer for a new collective bargaining agreement with teachers, who have been working without a contract since Sept. 1, 2011. Board members say teacher salaries rank in the middle for the area.

Who’s right?

The negotations in the district have sparked much discussion about , including several .

The board has posted information on the status of negotiations on the district website, noting that it has offered teachers a salary increase of at least 10.5 percent over the four-year period covered by the contract proposal. Teachers are seeking an increase of at least 16.5 percent over the same time period.

So how do current teacher salaries in the district compare with those of other elementary educators in the area?

During its own recent contract negotiations with teachers, the Maercker District 60 School Board compared teacher salaries across all elementary districts in DuPage County for the school year ending in 2011. This information shows that salaries for District 180 teachers rank in the bottom half of the county.

The base annual salary for a teacher with a bachelor’s degree in District 180 is $40,334, which ranks 20th among the 29 elementary districts in the county. A District 180 teacher with a master’s degree receives a base salary of $47,115, which ranks 15th in the county.

For purposes of comparison, salaries for teachers in Maercker District 60, which includes parts of Westmont, Willowbrook, Clarendon Hills, Darien, and Hinsdale, rank among the highest in the county. A teacher with a BA earns a base salary of $43,502, seven percent more than a teacher in District 180. That ranks sixth in the county. A teacher with an MA has a base of $52,624, which ranks third in the county.

In actuality, teachers do not receive their full base salary, due to mandatory contributions to the Illinois Teacher Retirement System (TRS). For example, the base salary for a teacher with a bachelor’s degree in Community Consolidated (Hinsdale) was $47,838 for the 2010-2011 school year. The net salary, however, was expected to be $43,341 after a 9.4 percent TRS deduction.

Changing lanes

While comparing base salaries across districts can be useful, it does not provide the entire compensation picture. The information compiled by the Maercker School Board included a helpful “primer” on teacher compensation, noting that a teacher’s actual salary includes step increases based on years of service, as well as “lane” increases, which teachers can receive by earning continuing education credits.

Both step and lane increases can skew any comparison of salaries across districts. For example, the base salaries for teachers in West Chicago District 33 rank among the lowest in DuPage County ($38,471 for a BA, $45,473 for an MA). However, the base salary for a teacher in District 33 with a master’s degree and a minimum of 10 continuing education credits is $70,060. Only Hinsdale District 181 ($77,497) and Downers Grove District 58 ($72,492) offer higher bases for educators in this “lane.”

In District 180, a teacher with an MA and at least 10 continuing education credits has a salary base of $58,841, ranking 22nd in the county.

To complicate the compensation discussion further, the lanes on district salary schedules are not uniform. For example, the lanes in , which includes parts of Burr Ridge and Willowbrook, are based on increments of 12 credits, not 10. A teacher with a bachelor’s degree in the Gower district has a base salary of $44,240 for the 2011-2012 school year. However, a teacher with a BA and 24 education credits starts out at $48,222. A Gower teacher with a master’s degree and 36 credits has a base of $55,521, more than $5,000 above the starting salary for a teacher who has just earned an MA.

Stepping up

School districts also differ in how they look at salary increases based on years of service, or “steps.” District 180 offers eight steps for teachers with a bachelor’s degree. The base salary for a teacher at the highest of these step levels is $47,944.

For comparison, Gower District 62 offers 10 steps for a teacher with a BA. The base salary at the highest step level for the current school year is $60,830.

District 180 offers 10 steps for teachers with a bachelor’s degree and 10 continuing education credits. The base salary level at the highest step in this lane is $52,387.

A teacher with a master’s degree in District 180 can achieve a base salary of $77,204 by reaching the highest of 21 steps in that lane. Gower District 62 offers three less steps in that lane, but the base salary at the highest step is $82,950, nearly $6,000 more than the highest step in District 180.

What about other counties?

District 180 lies in the southeast corner of DuPage County. Portions of several elementary districts based in Cook County are within a five-mile radius of District 180, including (which includes parts of Burr Ridge,) La Grange 105, and Lemont-Bromberek 113A. How do salaries in District 180 compare with these districts?

The base salary for a teacher with a BA in Pleasantdale District 107 is $36,164, more than $4,000 less than in District 180. The base salary for a teacher with an MA in District 107 is $39,548, more than $7,000 less than in District 180.

Salaries in Lemont-Bromberek District 113A are more competitive with District 180. The 2010-2011 base salary for a teacher with a bachelor’s degree was $42,223. The base salary for a teacher with a master’s degree was $47,546. Lemont-Bromberek also offers 25 steps for teachers with master’s degrees. The highest base salary level, for a teacher with an MA and at least 45 continuing education credits and 25 years experience, is $88,086. That’s still more than $2,000 less than a teacher with similar credentials in District 180.

The salary schedule for teachers in La Grange District 105 is similar to District 180’s. A teacher with a BA in the La Grange district has a base salary of $40,700. A teacher with an MA earns a base of $46,181.

Will County District 92, serving Lockport and Homer Glen, lies just outside the five-mile radius from District 180. The base salary for the 2010-2011 school year for a teacher with a bachelor’s degree in District 92 was $38,784, a bit less than in District 180. However, District 92 offers more steps for teachers with a BA. Thus, a teacher with a bachelor’s degree at step 13 could earn a base salary of $52,540, nearly $5,000 more than a teacher at BA step 8 in District 180.

On the other hand, District 180 offers more steps for teachers with an MA than does District 92. The highest base salary for a teacher in District 180 with a master’s degree is $90,363, more than $10,000 more than a teacher with similar credentials in District 92.

Salary conclusions

As the preceding comparison illustrates, comparing teacher salaries from one district to another is rarely as simple as saying “Teachers in District X make more than teachers in District Y.” Salaries for teachers in District 180 rank a bit below the average for DuPage County. Compared with nearby districts in other counties, however, District 180 salaries appear to be very competitive.

It should be noted that the correlation between the affluence of a community and teacher salaries in that community is not absolute. It’s true that salaries for elementary teachers in Hinsdale rank at or near the top of the DuPage County rankings. It’s also true, however, that salaries for elementary teachers in Lombard rank near the top of the DuPage County rankings, ahead of districts located in some of Lombard’s more affluent neighbors.

Other factors

A teacher’s salary is just one aspect of his or her total compensation package. Benefits, including health insurance and tuition reimbursement, represent a major expenditure for school districts. District 180 has budgeted $648,000 for benefits for the current fiscal year. That’s 12 percent as much as the district anticipates spending on salaries ($5.4 million, which includes salaries for administrators and support staff).

Teachers also can add to their salary by picking up extra duties. For example, basketball coaches at receive an additional $3,497. Teachers can receive $553 a week for teaching summer school (12.5 hours per week).

Pay for extra duties also varies by school district. For example, Lombard District 44 pays $36.97 per hour for a teacher working crowd control at a Glenn Westlake Middle School basketball game, while a teacher on similar duty at Burr Ridge Middle School earns $32 per hour.

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Rose Lewellyn April 28, 2012 at 03:50 AM
In response to communities having "similar characteristics," in relationship to a school what do we look at? Are we talking about town demographics or school demographics? How about number of parks or businesses? It is clear that part of this issue in D180 is due to the difference between the community members and the student population. It is quite the hot topic for an affluent population to imply that "characteristics" of the community determine how much a teacher at a Title 1 school is worth. I do not believe a discrepancy exists to this extend in any other school community used as a comparison in this article. In regards to local property taxes, in the past year it has been documented at D180 Board of Education meetings that the district is financially sound AND that they refuse to negotiate a contract that is not "fiscally solvent." This type of double speak is hard to interpret. Especially since D180 was one of two districts in the state of Illinois to pass a referendum three years ago. How can a school approve 450,000 for new siding when it is asking for community support to get impact aide that is not guaranteed in order to poorly negotiate a raise for teachers? Also mentioned above is pay for extra duties. We don't question when someone in private practice takes on an extra job, why are we doing it to teachers? I appreciate your replies and am only seeking to make sure we are not neglecting crucial facts before throwing teachers under the bus.
John Sullivan April 30, 2012 at 01:35 PM
From what I've seen on the database, these salaries are lower than some in the Chicagoland area. However, only ONE school district in the state can have the highest salary level. The issue is, "How do teacher salaries, on a monthly, total compensation, basis, compare with the private sector that pays the salaries?" The answer, as illustrated on other articles on this site, that teachers make 3-6 times their counterparts in the private sector. After all, the median income in the country is $33,000 per 12-month year with no pension and very limited benefits. There is a vicious cycle federal, state, and local taxpayer money paying teacher salaries, teachers giving a hunk of that taxpayer money to the union, the union giving that money (about $140 million per year in Illinois) to politicians who, in turn, legislate more compensation of some sort for teachers which has to be paid for by the same taxpayers who provided the money in the first place. In other words, teachers take money from their communities and use it to screw their communities. A good word for this process is "despicable".
Bailey April 30, 2012 at 08:26 PM
Curiously, in all this discussion, is no mention of PERFORMANCE or ACCOUNTABILITY. It is akin to saying a surgeon who kills half his patients should earn the same as one who cures every patient, merely because he shows up for work. Comparison to other counties, states, countries, or whatever, is of no interest to me. What does matter is what - including benefit package- are teachers earning per hour(not per year) as compared to other citizens in comparable jobs. To note that salaries are 9% lower because of TRS deductions is meaningless. My employees get deductions of 6.2% for Soc. Sec. and 1.45% Medicare-and I match that, for a total of over 15%. And, yes, I consider the amount I match as part of their salary as it is a cost of hiring that person. Oh, and my employees take work home and work overtime and sometimes weekends to "get the job done". That is how salaried employees behave. From the numbers I see, for the number of hours worked per year, teachers are well compensated. If they don't think so, let them try to replace their job with one in the private sector that will provide them with automatic raises without any concern of performance. And no fear of being replaced by someone who can do their job better
Rose Lewellyn April 30, 2012 at 11:48 PM
Ok, some people are irritated with their property taxes, but come on. Can we get off the private sector talk? If you are so envious of teachers you should have been one. Teachers are evaluated and obviously tons have been let go these days. Where are the private sector evaluations? How do you know your dentists didn't finish last in medical school? How do I know the guy who flips my burgers graduated from Hamburger U? You don't because it's none of your business. Or at least that’s what people in private sector say. Then they go picking on the teachers because they feel the grass is greener. Teachers can't take vacations for 9 months out of the year. If teachers are absent they still have papers to grade and plans to write. We live in a society that wants feedback NOW. There are no extensions for teachers. Teachers carry the burden of being instructor, mentor, role model, mother, father, and friend to each one of their students. I don't know one person in private practice who feels the same for anyone they work with or for.
Bailey May 01, 2012 at 08:26 PM
I don't think the issue is simply property taxes. There is a growing concern that our kids and grandkids won't be able to own a home due to taxation to cover a system that seems to be alarming. If I had known the perks of being a teacher, I would have been one. I have encouraged relatives entering college to consider it. I have relataives that have exited the private sector to become a teacher. I have been an employee and an employer and evaluations are a big part in both. If my employee wants a raise, I want to hear why they think they deserve it. And just showing up doesn't cut it. Performance reviews are intensive and documented. Goals are set and next year's raise is based on how those goals are met. Teachers CAN take vacations- it's called spring break and holiday break. And, have summers off. My employees monitor email on their vacations, weekends, etc. Sick? They work from home. This is commonplace. Not to say teachers don't work- they do,but should be compensated in a fashion that is appropriate for a seasonal job with benefits factored in. Ideally, with some attention to performance. Anybody paying attention to the contract the Caterpillar employees are being asked to accept? This economic climate demands compromise. And a reality check.

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