School Games

School District 428 is looking to balance its budget. Last night the board considered a 4th proposal for doing so, which included cutting $83,000 from “differential money” that is, in part, used for music and art program components.

Meanwhile, here’s some data that never gets talked about at public meetings:

Paul Beilfuss $222,223
Andrea Gorla $140,177
Lindsay Hall $138,808
Kristina Hesbol $134,809
Rebecca McCabe $135,762

Of a list of approximately 440 individuals, 27 administrators and teachers in District 428 made more than $100,000 in 2008, another 30+ made more than $90,000, and about 35 made over $80,000.

Reduce each of these salaries by 1% and you’d save the music, art, and more.

But that’s never on the table, is it?

So spare me the talk about how the children come first.

Do the people on this list deserve what they make? I would say yes, most of them probably do. I know several of them and have the greatest respect for their work; I am not trying to pick on individuals in any way. But, look at City of DeKalb numbers here:

Median per capita income: $16,261
Median household income: $35,153*
Median family income: $53,017*

From that list of ~440, I could pick out fewer than a dozen individuals who make less than DeKalb’s median household income. The question is not so much whether folks deserve what they are making, but whether this primarily blue collar/pink collar town can support the professionals at this level; and considering that administrative salaries are equally out of whack at the county and municipal levels, the answer is a resounding, “No, we can’t afford it.” To continue with the current rate of increases is unconscionable under the circumstances, but unless and until the school board makes the shift from “deservability” to affordability it will continue, and eventually break us.

My property tax bill went up about $350 this year, $330 of the increase going to the school district. I have a number in my head and when my property tax bill reaches that number, I’m outta here.

*The difference between household and family income is that family income statistics only include the households containing two or more related persons.