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Poll: Should LFHS Teachers’ Pay Rival Neighbors

Lake Forest High School teachers currently earn an annual average salary comparable to Deerfield and Highland Park and slightly more than New Trier, Glenbrook North, Glenbrook South and Stevenson.

Within hours of a declaration of impasse by the Lake Forest Education Association teachers union of Friday, Patch readers were quick to offer their opinion about the state of the .

Though a number of the comments claimed the teachers are well paid and asking for too great an increase, Caryllon Huggins, asked a question which this story will answer. Patch’s latest poll also asks whether Lake Forest teachers should remain at the top of the North Shore pay scale.

“Could someone write about what the rest of the comparable high schools on North Shore have as contracts so this is put in perspective,” Huggins asks.

According to a review of average teacher salaries based on the school report cards in 2011—the most recent data available—issued by the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) and published on the organization’s website, Lake Forest has the highest paid teachers on the North Shore edging out Deerfield and Highland Park High Schools by $421 a year.

The average annual teacher salary at Lake Forest High School is $106,457 while educators at Deerfield and Highland Park High Schools earn an average of $106,036 per year, according to the information on the website.

Behind Lake Forest, Highland Park and Deerfield are New Trier Township High School ($103,670), Glenbrook North and Glenbrook South High Schools ($100,401) and Stevenson High School ($97,531), according to the ISBE website.

Among those schools, Highland Park and Deerfield teachers are not represented by a union while the others are members of the Illinois Education Association, according to IEA official Mark Stein.

One reason Lake Forest has a high average teacher salary is because of teacher seniority and the number of educators nearing retirement, according to Head LFEA negotiator Thomas Gigiano. More than 25 percent of the teachers will retire in the next five years lowering the average.

“Lake Forest High School Ranks 20th (in the state) in pay for teachers with a bachelor’s degree and 18th for teachers with a master’s degree,” Gigiano said. “A comparison between area high schools does not accurately portray the districts competitiveness for future hiring.”

Gigiano bases his calculations on information from the ISBE reported in the Chicago Sun Times last week.

Another reader, writing under the name “against unions” used the comment section of Patch to list the salaries of many of the Lake Forest High School teachers, which is public information available to all.

“Hey teachers, spend less time worrying about how much money the other school districts are getting and more about keeping your town above water. You’re lucky to have jobs and you want to strike for more money in this close to a depression economic crash,” the person writes. “Shame on you.”

A different reader writing under the name “propaganda,” takes a different view. “The salaries posted are not accurate,” propaganda writes. “The teachers pay nine percent of the posted salaries for pension so they don't get the amounts you posted. And with pension reform that will be increasing to closer to 13 percent.”

Please take the time to respond to the poll beneath this story. Voting remains open until 5 p.m. Thursday. The results will be published Friday.

For more news and updates from Lake Forest-Lake Bluff Patch, subscribe to our daily e-newsletter, ”Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Ted August 27, 2012 at 10:36 PM
3prop..., You are so right! A large number of teachers are going to retire soon at age 55 or younger and receive an awesome defined benefit pension. It is amazing you can retire at such a young age and receive such a large pension for so many years--in many cases a large pension for more years than you worked. The taxpayers have to pay this benefit and our state is broke. Springfield is now trying to figure out how to shift this burden back to the community or declare bankruptcy and void it altogether. What a mess!
Ted August 27, 2012 at 10:44 PM
You forgot to mention that he retired, locked in a great pension, and is now collecting a second salary with many more working years ahead to build a second pension on the state taxpayer backs.
Ted August 27, 2012 at 10:57 PM
Hey Laughingoutloud, A study from the Dept of Education just came out that found class size is not the holy grail that it has been pushed as. It's main purpose has been to create more teacher positions. Further you write hundreds of letters of rec? On average, LFHS graduates about 425 seniors per year--you are implying that you write letters of rec for over half the student body--too funny! I suggest you create a template and reuse as is fitting. Also, I have found that LFHS students are highly motivated and would do well in an auditorium type setting as they will face in many classes during their first two years of college if they attend a large university such as U of I. Finally, try not to belittle other posters--it only shows your weakness!
strapped taxpayer September 16, 2012 at 09:59 PM
There also is no such thing in the real world as free health care, dental care, sick sick days and personal days plus free paid vacations. If you get any of these you have to earn them. it is usually at the rate of one every so many months. No on is handed 13 free sick days plus 10 free personaldays plus paid vacation as in the education field. Plus the teachers do not contribute a penny to social security as they are exempt! Not to mention they contribute very little to their giant retirement funds. In the real world no one but the employee contributes to it, with a very small exception. Also in the real world we pay for our own education whereas teachers get free college courses. It is shameful considering mnay of us cannot send our children, the students to college in this economy. Yet here are adults grabbing the college money from children and going for free. They ought to be thoroughly ashamed of themselves. They are asking for things the private sector has not seen in decades if ever. Their greed has no boundaries.
strapped taxpayer September 16, 2012 at 10:02 PM
Funny, many I know have 2nd jobs teaching at CLC and online so they get 2 retirement packages! Guess they are really busy, yeah right!

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