District 207, 219 educators top paid among neighbors
Top administrator pay
Updated: September 6, 2012 11:50AM
CHICAGO — As dissension among teachers in Chicago Public Schools mounted amid talk of a possible strike, an analysis of local teacher pay shows the minimum salary earned by Chicago educators exceeds that of many suburban districts.
A look at teacher salaries within the 15 school districts that make up Pioneer Press’ central area shows elementary-school teachers with bachelor’s degrees in Maine Township, Park Ridge, Niles, Morton Grove, Lincolnwood, Skokie and Evanston all earn a minimum salary that is lower than Chicago teachers, according to data found in the 2011-12 Illinois Teacher Salary Study.
According to the study the minimum scheduled salary for Chicago District 299 teachers is $48,632 annually and the maximum scheduled salary is $90,209. These salaries include contributions to the Teachers’ Retirement System pension fund.
Data shows that, locally, only Maine Township High School District 207, Niles Township High School District 219 and Golf School District 67 pay their teachers a higher minimum salary than Chicago Public Schools.
At the same time the maximum salary paid by most districts is greater than Chicago. The salary study shows maximum salaries of between $86,775 and $119,936 for elementary- and high-school districts in Park Ridge, Niles, Morton Grove, Lincolnwood, Skokie and Evanston.
District 207, with schools in Park Ridge and Des Plaines, ranks first among the 15 school districts analyzed when it comes to minimum and maximum teacher pay. David Beery, District 207 spokesman, said that though salaries are higher than several other high school districts, they are “comparable to other suburban districts with whom we compete for top-quality teachers. We are proud of the caliber of instruction our teachers provide students and think that they are compensated commensurately.”
A recently approved contract is expected, over time, to align District 207 salaries more closely with other districts, Beery added.
Niles Township High School District 219 ranks just below District 207 when it comes to minimum and maximum teachers salaries.
“We are pleased about the fact that we are able to compensate our teachers well,” said District 219 spokesman Jim Szczepaniak. “We believe it attracts top candidates to the district.”
With a beginning salary of $55,091 for a teacher with a bachelor’s degree, Reavis High School in Burbank ranks first in the state for teacher salaries.
For Northeast Illinois the median minimum salary for a teacher with a bachelor’s degree is $40,009, while the median minimum salary for a teacher with a master’s degree is $44,279, according to the salary study.
Teachers can actually earn more the maximum scheduled salary, though, if they coach teams, sponsor clubs or teach summer school. Longevity can also bump up salaries.
A Sun-Times salary database using information from the Illinois State Board of Education shows that a Niles North High School science teacher earned compensation of $167,768 during the 2011-12 school year — the highest among the 15 school districts — while a now retired driver’s-education teacher at Maine South High School in Park Ridge earned $158,368 last year.
When it comes to administrator salaries, District 219 Superintendent Nanciann Gatta earned $299,587 in compensation last year, making her the eighth-highest-paid Illinois school administrator. Her salary was nearly $50,000 higher than it was the previous school year, according to the state data.
District 219 Board of Education President Bob Silverman said Gatta’s salary “represents less than .0019 of the district’s ($150 million) budget.”
“Although school superintendents work in the public sector, their compensation levels are driven by market forces,” Silverman said in a statement. “Successful school districts struggle to employ the most qualified and experienced administrators to head their institutions. As is the case with the private sector, the laws of supply and demand drive compensation levels.”
Two other superintendents of the 15 school districts analyzed by Pioneer Press received bumps in compensation of more than $10,000 between the 2010-11 and 2011-12 school years, data shows. They include District 207 Superintendent Ken Wallace, a $27,000 increase, and East Maine District 63 Superintendent Scott Clay, a $21,000 increase.~.