District 65 school board members voted with minimal public notice Monday night to give School Superintendent Hardy Murphy what amounts to a 3.5 percent pay hike.

Acting on an item added to its agenda over the weekend, the board voted 4-3 to give Murphy an additional annuity amounting to 3.5 percent of his current salary of $214,115.

Murphy already receives a 15 percent annuity and a $25,000 housing allowance for a total compensation package of nearly $279,000 a year.

In June last year when the public had advance notice of the board’s plan to extend Murphy’s contract five years into the future, the board’s meeting room was packed and more than a dozen speakers opposed the extension, but the board approved it on a 5-2 vote, with only Tracy Quattrocki and Katie Bailey voting no.

Monday night, with the Murphy item not added to the agenda until Sunday according to board secretary Pat Markham, only a handful of spectators were in the room and none spoke out on the compensation question.

Board agendas typically are posted several days before the meeting, but the one posted last Thursday contained no mention of the superintendent’s compensation.

When the issue came to a vote, newly-elected board members Eileen Budde and Richard Ryhkus joined Quattrocki in voting against it.

Veteran board members Jerome Summers, Andrew Pigozzi and Kim Weaver voted yes, and they were joined by Bailey, who after voting against the contract extension last year won re-election to her second term in April.

Those who opposed the increase cited economic uncertainties for the district and the need to keep expenses under control. Those who voted in favor lauded Murphy for his stewardship of the district over the years and noted that he has not had a salary increase for three years.

The new agreement also permits the superintendent to bank up to 10 unused vacation days, compared to seven days previously.

In other action, the Board approved publication of a tentative budget for the 2011-2012 fiscal year and scheduled a public hearing on the budget for Sept. 26. The operating budget of $104 million is about 3 percent higher than last year’s.

It also approved four goals for the district for the next three years:

  1. To improve academic achievement for all student subgroups as demonstrated on a number of standardized tests.
  2. To maintain balanced operating fund budgets and to continue implementing sound fiscal monitoring and financial planning for balanced budgets beyond the 2013-14 fiscal year.
  3. To present a five-year facilities plan and to update the district’s technology plan.
  4. To fully implement the 2008-13 strategic plan and to develop a strategic plan to start with the 2014-15 school year.

Charles Bartling

A resident of Evanston since 1975, Chuck Bartling holds a master’s degree in journalism from Northwestern University and has extensive experience as a reporter and editor for daily newspapers, radio...

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38 Comments

  1. Dark of night again?

    Gotta love the public process and transparency. 

    Posted agenda on Board Book site has no indication which agenda items were added after initial publication of the agenda and doesn't retain a record of the original notice.  And you have to look at the PDF version to see it was updated, as the HTML version is missing the reposting note.

         https://v3.boardbook.org/Public/PublicItemDownload.aspx?mk=50029800&fn=notice.pdf
        Notice of Meeting posted August 18, 2011-Reposted 8/20/11

    Then the added item has no link to any supporting materials.  I expect the "what happened" summary will not have any details either.

         17. Authorization of Superintendent Benefits
         18. Board Agreements
                     board agreements <https://v3.boardbook.org/Public/PublicItemDownload.aspx?ik=31574628&gt;

    It is brought up (and action taken) just before the item on Board Agreements which talks about No Surprises, especially before a board meeting.

    And the board apparently doesn't even consider tabling it for further discussion/consideration or to give the public a chance to even know about it.

    Really, even if the intent is not to keep the public in the dark about all things related to Murphy's contract, they sure do a good job of making it look that way.

    Thanks to Evanston Now for keeping us informed.

     

  2. Appalled but not surprised

    One can debate the merits of raising Dr. Murphy's salary increase: bad economy, poor job outlook for many, limited (if any) salary increases for many, upcoming budget deficits at D65, contract negotiations with D65 Teachers Union. However, there is NO DEBATE about the process in which this was handled which is deplorable. To slip this into the agenda, over the weekend, during the summer when many are on vacation is PATHETIC.

    And people wonder why there is a lack of confidence in the Superintendent and several D65 School Board members?

    The President, Katie Bailey, should NOT have allowed this item to be added at the last minute.

    Our democracy operates on principles of transparency and full disclosure, or so it should.

    The next school board election can't come soon enough. Vote out  Pigozzi, Summers, and Weaver.

     

    1. What your kid’s teacher is paid

      We are one year new to Evanston with a 3 year old and we are digesting every comment about the changes that are needed next election. The below web site is very helpful if curios about what your kids teacher makes. Don't forget this does not include their pension and working 9 months.

      http://www.familytaxpayers.org/salary.php

       

      1. No wonder

        No wonder Evanston is hundreds of millions of dollars in debt and my house (which is a tear-down) pays nearly $1,000 a month in property taxes.

        No wonder the unions in Evanston have fought vigorously to keep these numbers from being released to the public.

        No wonder why my house is now worth less then when I bought it in 2001

        No wonder businesses are leaving and people are moving out (I have never seen so many For Sale signs in my life)

        No wonder Wisconsin voted the way it did a few weeks ago

        It's not a question of whether these people deserve such salaries, the question is can we afford it.

        I know I can't.

      2. Teacher’s pay vs Superintendent

        I would prefer that my kid's teacher(s) have a higher wage than the district superintendent.

        What's wrong with teachers earning more than many other professions? I though we liberals want education to be at the top of our priority list.

        If the teachers are paid high wages and their performance corresponds, then I'm all for it.

        Not sure what your point is when the discussion board is about the Superintendent, not the teachers.

        1. Important points to consider

          The reason i brought up this issue is that there is a lot of consternation focused on Dr. Murphy's salary increase. That's only part of the issue. Think about the implications for his pension. In my opinion, the most troubling issue is that this agenda item was added on a Saturday after the original agenda was released. But since it's over, we need to understand all the implications. At this board meeting, it was announced that the tentative budget for Fiscal 2011-2012 was released. Again, look at the numbers. In Appendix I, the budget shows a surplus of $903,049. However, the annual pension cost for both Administrators and Teachers is NOT fully included. Teachers contribute 9.4% of their salary. The District only pays 0.58%. The "State" is supposed to pay the rest. But given the shell game the State plays, plus the smoke and mirrors accounting they use, it is very difficult for taxpayers to fully understand how much these pensions cost. Without fair and full disclosure, poor decisions get made – why do you think there have been so many examples of pension spiking in the public arena over the years? Because the sponsoring entity doesn't bear the full cost, it's in an amorphous pool paid by "someone else." That someone else is you and me, the taxpayer. We need to fully understand the cost of these pensions and how they are going to be paid. Also, when you look at the projections for Fiscal 2012-2013, all the way through Fiscal 2015-2016 (included in Appendix I) you see a growing deficit. You may be aware that the current District 65 contract expires June 30, 2012. When you raise salaries like  the board did for Dr. Murphy you also increase the pension liability. I know that many of our teachers go above and beyond the call of duty and do extraordinary work, which i and others appreciate. One main point is that we need to fully understand and recognize the cost of running District 65 – today, that's not the case.

      3. Cost and value of teachers’/administrators’ pension & benefits?

        Has anyone looked at the total cost of our teachers' and administrators' pension and benefits? The reported salaries are one component of compensation cost. In order to understand the full cost of an employee one must add salary, plus health care, insurance and other benefits(benefits), plus pension.

        Total Compensation = Salary + Benefits + Pension

        The numbers shown to the public are misleading and understate the full and true cost of an employee in District 65 and likely District 202. Look at the Tentative Budget for District 65 for 2011-2012. Salaries are projected to go up 5.35% from $68.1mm to $71.7mm. Benefits are projected to go up 8.2% from $13.6mm to $14.7mm, driven by a 13.4% increase in medical insurance. Benefits in future years, through 2015-2016 are expected to grow at an annualized rate of 8.0%; yes that's 8.0% each and every year. Now we get to pensions. If you go through the line items of expenses, there isn't an expenditure for the State of Illinois Teachers Retirement System. There is $3,375,745.29 budgeted for the IMRF(Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund). The defined benefit plan for all teachers in Illinois is funded; 9.4% out of the teacher's/administrator's salary, 0.58% of the salary by the school district, and the remaining portion, or the plug, by the State of Illinois. (Here's the link to the 2011-2012 Tentative Budget- http://www.district65.net/departments/businessoffice/Financial)

        So, our school district only shows the "cost" for their pensions at 0.58% of salary. It's not clear where that $415,900 (0.58% X $71.7mm) is accounted for in the budget. And of course it does not show the state's portion of the pension. However, as an Illinois taxpayer, we are paying for the State's portion of their pension cost from our Income Tax and Sales Tax that the State of Illinois collects. The shell game and smoke and mirrors accounting from the State of Illinois becomes trickier because over time the General Assembly (our legislators) have decided not to fully fund the contribution into the Teachers Retirement System (TRS), and more recently (2010 & 2011) they have issued Pension Obligation Bonds to the tune of over $ 4 B to fund their contribution. Effectively, the state used their MasterCard to pay off the Visa bill, but Illinois taxpayers must still pay off the MasterCard bill at some point. To make matters worse, the State of Illinois is assuming that the TRS Pension fund earns 8.5% per year on their investments. This return expectation is highly unlikely given the current financial markets, and most prudent state retirement systems assume a return of 7.25-8.0%. Why is this important? A higher return enables the State of Illinois to put in less money into the Teachers Retirement System each year. The end result is that the Teachers Retirement System, according to their aggressive numbers, is only funded at 48.4% as of Fiscal Year 2010 – (page 10 of "Essential Facts About TRS" – check out the details on the website: http://trs.illinois.gov/subsections/general/pub13.pdf) And what will happen to the numbers when the expected rate of return gets lowered from its current 8.5%? The unfunded ratio goes higher and the State of Illinois (you and me) will have to contribute more money into the retirement system. Now do you see why the State of Illinois raised our income taxes recently?

        So where does that leave us? Two important issues to consider. #1 – the full cost of our District 65 employees is not reported to taxpayers (our budgets don't fully account for the cost of a defined benefit pension) #2 – The probability that future pension costs borne directly by District 65 taxpayers goes up is quite high, and the probability that Illinois taxpayers at the State level incur higher costs is also very high. There is no free lunch. Someone has to pay for the defined benefit pension plan.

        That leads us back to the original question. What is the cost and value of a defined benefit pension? Can anyone in the financial or annuity business tell us how much would it cost to buy a $79,500 annual annuity which grows by 3% per year. Many teachers at retirement make $106,000 per year in salary. 75% of $106,000 is $79,500. Teachers' pension payments grow 3% per year.

        Why is this really important to understand? Our school budgets have been proudly portrayed as being in balance for the last decade. However, there is a growing off-balance sheet liability that exists and is currently unreported. The earlier we understand this issue and start planning for it, the less painful it will be in the future.

        Just ask Mayor Tisdahl, the City Manager, and the Evanston Aldermen how difficult it is to deal with a growing pension expense.

        We need to fully understand this issue and take action NOW.

         

         

        1. Salary includes pension contributions

          Nope, my salary includes the cost by the school district paid into the pension system.

          And for my 20 years working and paying Social Security? Under current law…I'lll receive nothing that I paid into Social Security during those 20 years, just my pension.

          And finally what is the cost of an uneducated child?

          Personally I loved every minute of the 11 hour day I had educating the children of Evanston today. Thanks!

  3. Recall School Board

    It's time recall these corrupt "veteran" school board members.  Why does Dr Murphy deserve a $7500 annuity increase plus an additional 3 days vacation days to bank?

    Show me. Please.

  4. J.C. Brizard makes $250,000

    J.C. Brizard makes $250,000 for heading CPS. Why does Supt. Murphy make more than than that (counting benefits) for heading a district that does not even have a high school?

  5. There will be plenty of comments at the next meeting

    I can't believe this behavior is even legal.  But one thing for sure…the board will be blasted at the next meeting.  I simply can't believe it.  And, while I appreciate the no votes from those who were recently elected (with the help of my vote and additional support) this action should not have been allowed to proceed without a prolonged public show of outrage.   

    1. I hope there are plenty of public comments…

      and I hope that most are directed at Katie Bailey, who has done a complete 180 from what she used to (appear to) stand for.  I cannot believe that she has caved in this way, and I hope that those of us who have supported her in the past will let her know that she has let us down in a huge way.  I feel like a fool for having been so gullible…

  6. Katie Bailey for U.S. president!!

    Ya gotta love the political chutzpah D65 Board President Katie Bailey just pulled.

    If you remember, Katie Bailey recently ran a campaign for another D65 term, promoting her opposition to another Hardy Murphy raise last year despite the fact she voted for a Murphy raise a few years back. Bailey made her no vote for a Hardy Murphy raise sound like a badge of honor in an effort to appeal upset D65 parents. The tactic got her another term.

    So now as D65 Board President Bailey leads the charge of building a $25 million new Fifth Ward school that the district clearly doesn't need she SNEAKS in ANOTHER Hardy Murphy pay raise and votes affirmative. 

    Bailey is a pure politician willing to mislead the public to win an election. I would say Mrs. Bailey has earned her stripes and should be in line for higher office..

    But in order for Bailey to seek higher office she would need to step down from the D65 Board. Let's help her – RECALL BAILEY!!!!!!

    Notice how only the incumbents voted for another Murphy raise. The next election can't come soon enough.

     

    1. Why don’t you run for school board?

      I don't remember Katie Bailey running a campaign based on her opposition to Hardy Murphy, in fact,  I remember Katie Bailey running a campaign based on her desire to help ALL children in District 65.  A quote from her website indicates her platform as:

      "I have decided to run for re-election to the D65 school board because I believe that, along with the experience I have gained over the last four years of service, I have a proven ability to work hard, to understand the many issues facing our district, and to communicate with families, teachers, staff and fellow board members. My institutional knowledge, along with my track record of getting things done, will benefit the board, the district, the community and, most importantly, the students in D65."

      As far as Katie Bailey acting as a "pure politician" willing to mislead the public to win an election, I ask you why she would want to do so?  Serving on the District 65 school board is a thankless, volunteer position that involves hundreds, if not thousands of volunteer hours, many of which are spent addressing the whining of people regarding math placement, etc. 

      If you have all the answers, why don't you run for public office?

      1. I see I touched a nerve

        Katie Bailey in a candidate forum last February said she voted against Hardy Murphy's contract extension because "the educational financial system is broken and that the Board should use long-term contracts judiciously. She added that the extension gave the wrong message when other employees were being laid off."

        So I ask judiciously: Does Bailey think D65's fiscal health has improved just six months later? I presume that since Bailey voted for a 3.5 percent Murphy pay hike she figures no D65 teacher will be laid off in the upcoming D65 fiscal year. Right?

        The only candidate in last spring's D65 election that voted for Murphy's five- year- contract extension was Keith Terry. He was voted out, judiciously. Murphy's five year contract extension last year was THE hot button issue that ignited voters to seek change.

        Bailey did vote for a Hardy Murphy extension right after she won a seat on the D65 Board a few years back. But she voted against another unpopular Murphy extension last year because she was up for re-election. She acted like a true politician.

        I find it alarming that EVERY Murphy contract extension and pay hike came when school was not in session. This time the Murphy pay hike issue was put on the agenda on a Sunday, one day before the board meeting. Do you think one day is enough notice for folks? The same agenda was posted the previous Thursday with no mention of Murphy's compensation. It was a sneaky, slimy, scandalous scheme. 

        Bailey said in one of those candidate forums last spring that she thought a "new policy when and how votes will happen" would have come after last year's controversial Murphy contract extension. Well, Bailey is the board president and what has she done about it? Nada, zero, zilch.

        Bailey as board president most likely put the Murphy pay hike on the board agenda herself. And she voted to give Murphy a pay hike all the while she spearheads a stacked New School Referendum Committee to ram through a new Fifth Ward school that will cost D65 taxpayers tens of millions of dollars just to build. And that committee seems hellbent on not giving voters a say. There will be tons of other operating costs associated with the new proposed school in which, according to a recent study, Fifth Ward parents are not so thrilled.

        Meanwhile, the state is not paying its bills and school districts have NO MONEY!!!!!!!!!!!

        The message Bailey sent in the 2011 D65 campaign was the school district is in "financial uncertainty." Yet, she votes in the same year after winning the election a 3.5 percent pay raise with three additional vacation days for the superintendent, and wants to build a new school that will cost at least $25 million.

        Why would Bailey want to be a politician in a voluntary position, you ask? I don't know. I'm sure she thinks she has good intentions and maybe she does. But let's see.

        1) She wants the new Fifth Ward School to be named – Katie Bailey Elementary – it does have a ring.

        2) It's easy to spend other people's money – her actions this year has cost taxpayers more, perhaps $25 million more.

        3) She has higher political aspirations – I think this is the primary reason.

        I don't have all the answers. But this is not about me. It's about us, our children and their future.

        I do know one thing – the incumbents in the next D65 election will be voted out unless they have the common sense not to run again.

          1. True, not the same, but similar

            Yes, you are right, a contract extension is not the same as a salary increase. A contract extension provides a job guarantee for a given period of time. In Dr. Murphy's and to be fair, Dr. Witherspoon's contract extension, that would be 5 years. The boards of both districts created a legal liability for Evanston taxpayers. You can't "fire" either one before their contract expires, but you could buy them out of their contract. In both situations, the boards acted irresponsibly in extending the duration of their contracts beyond the terms of not only the board members serving at that time, but also for the newly elected board members. Very poor board governance.

            A salary increase raises the current cash payment to the superintendent. In addition, the salary increase will also increase the future pension payment. I'm not sure, but i would expect that next year, the board could vote to decrease the salary of the superintendent.

            However, as Anonymous Al highlighted, Dr. Murphy's recent salary increase was granted on August 22nd. The first day of school is today, August 29th. How many people were out of town or out of touch given the summer holiday?  And most galling, the pay increase wasn't on the original agenda. This agenda item was added over the weekend. This is the issue that has infuriated many people in the community. Their was a sense of relief that Ms. Bailey would provide strong, transparent leadership to District 65 School Board. Sadly, she didn't deliver.

      2. Amen

        And the biggest complainers never seem to be the ones volunteering at the schools, on committees, etc.

  7. wow. just wow

    I cannot believe it.  202 is telling us over and over that the kids are not prepared for ETHS.  

    This is just so sad for our kids.

  8. So disappointed

    I've had some great email correspondence with Katie Bailey and liked what I'd seen from her on the board.  Until now.  I'm very disappointed that she would allow a last minute agenda change like this AND would vote in favor of increasing Murphy's compensation.  Very disappointed.

  9. Salary increase

    I think the children of Evanston receive a wonderful public education.  I don't think a 3.5% salary increase, the first in three years, is out of line.  Let's not confuse this with a contract extension. 

    1. You don’t have to confuse it

      You don't have to confuse it with a contract extension! He received that last year in another hush-hush meeting. The only difference was that last year he had more lackeys on board. If you're outraged by this, make plans to vote the next time Katie Bailey is up for re-election and vote her out. It's as simple as that.

  10. August Again

    Okay – props to Richard, Tracy and Eileen for having the common sense to reject a pay raise for Dr. Murphy.

    The pattern is this:

    New Board elected

    Orientation

    Request for enrichment of employment deal (either extension or compensation or both) from Dr. Murphy.

    Does anyone know how many times this deal has gone down this way – I can recall at least 4 years past.

    Fair Play to Dr. Murphy!   How in the world can a new president say no – given she's eager to work as a "team".   But not so good for the district and the community.  

    Just keep making it more expensive for the community to keep a man who has evaded speciifc performance data and who's CIO just left in a cloud of bad numbers.

    Yet the board – specifically Kim Weaver  – expressing her "concerns" with specific performance measurements – since "if you set a goal, you set up for a failure –  If someone doesn't reach the goal. what message have you sent?  If that's the logic of this board, we are doomed.

    YOU GOTTA BE KIDDING ME?   Give me one CEO who isn't measure because it might not work out?  

    And then you're gonna give the guy a raise?   He has the best job security of anyone I know.

    Well – the good news for DEC, is that now in their negotiations, they can point to the increase in compensation  for the Super.   Maybe the board will give them a raise too.

  11. What’s the justification

    What's the justification here?

    We all know a huge budget shortfall is headed D65's way. What's the pressing need to give Dr. Murphy another pay boost after last year's extension? And where's the debate? Where's the notice?

    It's really disheartening to have these contract issues always arise outside the school year, when parents have their attention turned elsewhere. It's doubly disheartening to see Katie Bailey take part. 

    I understand the school board needs flexibility to respond to events as they arise, but these stealth changes to Dr. Murphy's deal have to stop.

  12. Disconnected

    Here's a quote from a Trib article last year"

    The earnings report comes as school districts from Amboy to Zion have threatened to trim teaching positions, close swimming pools or cancel lacrosse and band programs — all in an effort to balance budgets.

    The new salary information, provided by the Illinois State Board of Education, shows that the average compensation of full-time superintendents grew from $145,000 during the 2007-08 school year to $151,000 in 2008-09.

    As a comparison, all wage earners in the Chicago region saw compensation increase by about 0.4 percent during the same period, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

    The state data reflect self-reported salary information from 855 of the 869 school districts.

    The figures may include retirement contributions, bonuses, retirement incentives and unused vacation days. As in years past, the highest paid administrators were at — or near — retirement and saw their compensation packages swollen by bonuses, annuities and end-of-career salary bumps.

    Big raises boost pensions because a superintendent's highest salary years are a key ingredient in calculating payments."

    Where is the City in all of this?   The City is  talking about closing rec centers, trimming services, and the school board is increasing our pension liabilities without allowing for public discourse?   

    The full article can be found at:  http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/education/ct-met-superintendent-salaries-20100302,0,6122626.story

  13. Hardy

    when I watched my son graduate from 8th grade 2 years ago Hardy Ray made an appearance and made a canned speech which quite frankly was embarrassing. For 279,000 a year this guy should be a great public speaker and leader in the community, as well as a superb superintendent. ….Which he is none of based on what I have seen…..Making more than the Chicago Public Schools Superintendent………Come on wake up Evanston, this is a disgrace!!!!

  14. It was Saturday, not Sunday

    After the story was posted, Board Secretary Pat Markham advised Evanston Now that the revision to the agenda was actually made on Saturday, not Sunday.

  15. Response to D65 Superintendent Pay Raise

    I've read all the comments posted here and agree with most of them.

    Please, please, please remember that school board elections will take place in less than 2 years. It is really important to lay the ground now to seek, identify and support potential candidates to replace those that are not serving in the best interests of Evanston.

    1. Example for Superintendent

      CBS News had a story about a Superintendent [Fresno County School Superintendent Larry Powell,]who gave up $800,000 over the next three years and will be paid $31,000 per year.  He did this so the schools could have the programs they need.

      Given past pay and condition of Evanston schools test and budget problems, $31,000 sounds about right for our Superintendent.

      A good example for our over paid [and over contracted] administration.

      http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2011/08/29/earlyshow/living/parenting/main20098615.shtml?tag=cbsnewsSectionsArea.0

  16. Katie Bailey’s Deep Understanding of Budget Issues

    Hey Katie Bailey,

    District 65 has a 7% budget shortfall.  District 65 takes one third of my property taxes.  Dr. Murphy's total compensation is now 85% higher than the IL average.

    Here's what your website says," With an MBA from Wharton School of Business, and through previous work experience, I bring to the board a deep understanding of budget issues and financial leadership that is crucial as we continue the ongoing struggle to keep our budget balanced and our programs funded."

    Why did you vote to increase Superintendent Murphy's compensation?  Why did you allow no public discussion or input?

    Your "financial leadership" is taking District 65 in the wrong direction.

     

  17. Honest Discussion about 5th ward school?

    I happen to ask a district 65 board member about the 5th ward school at yesterdays community unity picnic, the question I asked is what about 60/40 that is the district so called racial balance policy?  The school board member  would not answer.

    I pressed the issue, still no answer, asked if they want all white or all black schools, answer children in the 5th ward need their own school.

    Asked if they plan to close one of the schools in north Evanston such as Orrington, or Willard? Still no answer.  Other than claiming they did not want to go there

    How about a Honest answer – if the board approves a 5ht ward school the school will be all black and the schools in North Evanston will be all white – that is the honest answer.  Beyond the fact the district does not have the funding.  Or do the plan to close schools in North Evanston and try to bus the minority  white population to other schools?

    A little honest and intelligent leadership is need, not a bunch of board members who want to have meaningless discussion and given unnecessary raises.

      1. So you favor neighorhood schools!

        So you favor neighborhood schools?   That will have racial balance like the neighborhoods.

        I am Ok with that – then we need to close down all the magnet schools and move back to this model?

        Why isn't  the board discussing this model?

      2. I have wondered about Parents United and D65

        I have not brought up this supreme court case because I think it is fascinating that no one does.  The board continues to talk about racial balance (a goal that I heartily agree with) even though legally they cannot.  I wonder what the advice of the District's lawyers has been about this?  Does anyone know?  

        1. Clarification re: 2007 Supreme Court decision

          The 2007 Supreme Court decision doesn't permit a school district to use race as a determining factor in assigning individual students to schools (at least not without risking a legal challenge). Race-conscious strategies, however, are permissible, depending on how they are tailored.

          For example, Chicago Public Schools now uses a race-conscious strategy in its admissions process for the selective-enrollment high schools (e.g., Whitney Young). Each each census tract in the city a "tier" based on certain factors that have been found to be correlated with educational outcomes (among them, median family income, adult educational attainment, percentage of owner-occupied homes, percentage of pop. speaking a language other than English). An applicant's tier is considered (along with his/her test scores, grades, etc.) in making school assignments. The tier is a proxy for socio-economic status and for race.

          For the most part, the SC decision would make it risky to use racial quotas to maintain diversity, which is why  D65 and most other districts in the country abandoned them.

          Besides the way the attendance-area boundaries are drawn, the magnet schools and programs (ACC, TWI) in D65 help promote (though not ensure) racial balance.

          A 5th ward school would almost certainly not be racially balanced, unless students living outside the 5th ward could choose to attend (which would require that that the school have unique characteristics or programs with broad appeal).

           

  18. ISBE Rules on Public Expenditure

    Expenditures of public funds, including compensation, must be made pursuant to a public vote by the board of education. Recognize however, that the raise may be part of the already approved contract. As an example, the superintendent was hired in 2010 and the board voted on the contract at the time of hiring.   If the contract contained a clause that provided for an annual salary increase, no further public action (or annual public vote if you will) would be necessary to legally effectuate the salary increase.

    I hope this response answers your question.

    Sincerely,
    Legal Department
    Illinois State Board of Education

     

    Actually – it only begs the question … if an informed citizen was given access to an agenda which DID NOT mention a salary increase and the agenda was amended to add that in (outside of the work week and within 24/36 hours) does that count as the public being informed or not?   Obviously you could say citizens were technically informed, but I imagine there is some sort of "reasonable expectations" clause.

    Any lawyers out there know the follow up questions to this comment from ISBE?

  19. Mr. Murphy’s pay raise

    Any school district that is forced to lay off two dozen teachers should not be able to afford a 3.4% salary increase for the school superintendent.  More than a third of my neighborhood is out of work.  The board's action is outrageous.

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