Teachers and administrators in Evanston’s public schools are paid substantially more than the state average, but so is the competition at New Trier.
The information is compiled annually by the Illinois State Board of Education, utilizing data provided by each school district in what is called the Illinois School Report Card.
Acceptance of the 2017 report is on the agenda for Monday night’s meeting of the Evanston Township High School District 202 Board of Education.
Teacher salaries at ETHS average about $100,000 a year — $99,817 to be exact – which compares with the state average for secondary school teachers of $64,516. It is also substantially higher than the average Evanston/Skokie District 65 teacher, who receives $78,817.
One of the stumbling blocks for efforts to combine the two Evanston districts into a single district has been the salary difference between District 202 and District 65. Teachers were quite vocal in demanding that the salary schedule be the same if the two districts were combined into one.
But in neighboring New Trier, Evanston’s nearest competitor for teachers, the average is $111,516.
New Trier also pays its administrators more than ETHS. The average administrator at New Trier is paid $177,232, compared with $146,303 at ETHS. The statewide average for secondary school administrators is a “mere” $106,273. By comparison, District 65 pays its administrators an average of $137,209.
An interesting sidelight is the fact that the president of the ETHS board, Pat Savage-Williams, is an administrator at New Trier, where she is a department coordinator.
The operating expenditure per pupil at ETHS is $22,742, which is a tad lower than the $25,007 at New Trier, but substantially greater than the $12,973 average at secondary schools statewide. The comparable expenditure at District 65 is $14,521.
Our teachers are making this kind of money for working only 9 months a year, six hours a day, two weeks off at Christmas, a weeks vacation in March, an excellent (though poorly funded) pension plan, a nice health insurance plan(s), and a very good union that protects these “perks”. And I find myself paying a property tax bill that sends 68 cents of every tax dollar to District 65 & 202.
But to be fair, we did close the achievement gap and ALL our students can go head to head against those from New Trier, so I guess it’s worth the money.
Education is too important to not pay teachers well
There are six hours of classes in a day, but not six hours of work. Preparing classes and grading work also has to happen and takes many hours.
Secondly, why on earth would we not pay our teachers well? Surely we want to attract the brightest and the best to educate our young? Surely a teacher is worth every bit as much as, say, a marketing director or product manager in a corporation?
Just because New Trier pays more does not make the high Evanston salaries justified. A better comparison would be Oak Park.
This old comment about teachers working extra hours and at home, gets old. You find few professional who work less than 80 hours a week and getting some where on the job–and not having tenure. I’m not talking high paid lawyers or such. This is true of many middle income people. You have to count in reading to improve their knowledge and skill and taking work home. And they don’t get paid for nine months of work.
Agree, but teachers pay is not based on merit
I agree that we “want to attract the brightest and the best to educate our young,” but the odd thing about the teaching profession is that the pay scale is NOT based on merit/performance like basically every industry in the private sector. It’s based on number of years of experience and the degrees earned (more pay for more grad school credits earned). Pay increases subsequent years are again based on number of years taught rather than performance.
So, a teacher that is outstanding, but only 5 years in will get paid considerably less than a mediocre teacher with 20 year tenure. Obviously, there is nothing Evanston can do about because that’s simply the way the unions have negotiated the deals. So, while high pay may attract more applicants that interview well and look good on paper, go forward compensation is not based on high quality instruction necessarily. Certainly, there is some correlation between number of years of experience/interview ability and teaching quality, but it’s certainly far from perfect. In comp sci, there are certainly some better coders who are 25 rather than 40. And I assume the same is in teaching.
You can ask the superintendent of DC, Michelle Rhee, how things went when she tried to implement a merit based system where the “best” teachers could get $130k+ based on their effectiveness, but poor teachers would be eliminated. The teachers union had a field day with that. Obviously, I’d imagine some teachers would prefer a system based on effectiveness/merit, but the union has said otherwise and clearly prioritizes job security and pay consistency over assessing its members on other measures (I acknowledge that “effectiveness” in teaching can be hard to gauge and I assume teachers don’t want to be judged based solely on the test scores at the end).
My point is simply that it’s skewed market where normal economic theory doesn’t apply perfectly. I don’t blame the teachers for that though – they, by and large, do a fantastic job.
Considering that “teachers
Considering that “teachers and firefighters” are always spoken about as the quintessential middle-class workers in a community, this obviously demonstrates that E65 teachers are in the upper crusts of the community they serve (on top of great benefits, number of hours worked in a year). But apparently the market dictates that, so it makes sense if we want to have experienced teaches. I also truly do appreciate the work and efforts teachers put in as education is vital to the community, but clearly they are compensated well. For Evanston residents, “the income per capita is $41,340, which includes all adults and children. The median household income is $69,347.” So, teachers are making significantly more than the Evanston median. I bet not many people would have guessed the average high school teacher has an income 2.5x of an average Evanston resident.
Comparing Evanston and New Trier is tricky because they serve very different communities and populations, but certainly there is overlap from a “talent acquisition” perspective. Evanston has a much more diverse population from a socioeconomic perspective and thus there are certain taxation neighborhoods that pay very little in property tax (based on the assessed values which certainly are directionally accurate based on recent market sales). New Trier doesn’t have any areas where you can get a single family house for $150k… So, in Evanston, the rest of the city needs to make up for that shortfall in higher property taxes and the total pool is not as large despite Evanston having a higher tax rate than a place like Wilmette since property values are not uniformly high here and there isn’t quite as much money to spend per pupil although it’s close due to Evanston’s higher tax rate. I’d have thought the abundance of apartments and residents without children would make up the difference and then some, but apparently not.
But given these numbers, I’m sure many people are thinking “why didn’t I become a teacher/administrator?!”
Considering the number of years when “the gap” has been the same and the solutions have been the same hugely expensive non-addressing-the-problem programs, teachers and administrators should be paid according to the success of their practices. Just like in the real world.
As long as the districts don’t address the issue of parental participation they will continue failing and we will continue paying more and more taxes for nothing.
Two Way Immersion
And among the programs that won’t address the closing of the gap is TWI, which was addressed in one of the board meetings as not as efficient preparing Hispanics for college as the regular strands attended by other Hispanic students. I don’t understand why Hispanics must be segregated from the rest of the student population –I think that if anything is “racist” this is an example, the balkanization of the student body –even if they supposedly attend TWI alongside with native born, who, by the way, end up with excellent English which they already had and keep having at home, while being enriched with some Spanish, while Hispanics end up with Spanish but not excellent English language, an English that will not help them secure advance courses necessary for college. What they need is to excel in English so they can not only compete with the rest of Americans but today, with the rest of the world.
Furthermore, as it is stressed in innumerable studies, children must be prepared for college from day one of their school experience. Not only when they reach high school, as a previous superintendent of D65 believed. And TWI is not the answer for that. Now they want to expand the program to middle school?
Furthermore again, Hispanic parents do not know how the American system works. The Latin American schools do not require choices of a million courses for each subject, nor choices among diverse enriching programs that they cannot afford, nor are the mothers required to participate directly with their children education as they are here. As long as the districts don’t address this disparity parents from Latin American countries will not be able to participate fully in their children education.
ETHS and D65 Salaries not whole story
Before I begin my comments I want to state my utmost appreciation for the service of all public employees in Evanston. I and most other people recognize the challenging jobs you have and respect the professionalism you exhibit each and every day. I am the product of 2 public school teachers and have had and currently have relatives who have served and who serve in the military.
If you want an apples to apples comparison, you need to look at total compensation, and adjust it for total hours worked and other factors. Getting all this data is difficult, but it is accurate to report that the average ETHS teacher is paid about $100,000 per year and that the average D65 teacher is paid almost $79,000 per year. For comparison sake, the average Tier I Fireman in Evanston is paid just over $100,000 and the average Tier I Policeperson is paid $75,000. (Tier II Firemen are paid $75,000 and Tier II Policepeople are just over $70,000) The median household income in Evanston is about $70,000. These numbers are facts, and not fake news.
In addition to the reported salaries noted above, people should understand that over the last about 10 years, salaries for employees in the public sector have grown at a compound annual rate of about 3-4% relative to the annual growth of median household income in Evanston of 1%. Again, these are facts.
Lastly, the cost of providing public employee benefits and a guaranteed pension (guaranteed pensions rarely exist in the private sector) can add another 30-50% to the annual cost of reported salaries. So, for people earning a $100,000 salary, their actual total compensation is at least $130,000 and could approach $150,000.
Several questions will need to be considered in the Evanston community in the near future. Should we continue to have additional tax referendums similar to the one passed recently by D65 to stay the current course? If the community doesn’t want to incur tax growth above the rate of inflation, then what services will we allow to get cut? Or can City Council and School Boards negotiate new labor contracts that slow the growth rate in salaries and total compensation? (Employee costa are 70-80% of most public agency budgets.) Or what other options should we consider?
There are limited resources at our disposal.
There are no easy or “right” answers to the challenges we face.
Please get informed and be respectful as Evanston navigates these challenging issues.
New Trier has a merit pay system for its teachers. ETHS pay is based just on education level.
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