Cary Teachers Among Highest Paid in State

Cary School District 26 teachers are paid an average of $69,000 per year.

Cary School District 26 teachers’ are among the highest paid in McHenry County, according to the Illinois School Board of Education statistics.

At the April 11 finance committee meeting, board members said they will be asking the teachers union for $2.5 million in wage and benefits concessions.

The cuts would contribute to an effort by the school board to balance its budget, which requires at least 2.1 million from its 2012 budget and another $5.5 million by 2015.

 However, if concessions aren’t made by May 1, the school board may close another school, which would cut about $1.2 million from the budget.

Board President Chris Spoerl presented an employee compensation overview at the meeting showing district administrators' and teachers' average salaries.

The presentation included graphs and tables showing Cary teachers as among the highest paid in the state at about $69,000 per year. The presentation also showed district administrators are paid just below the state average at $98,000 per year. 

"It is the hardest kind of conversation because when you are dealing with professionals—and we are hard-working professionals, people who internalize their job—and after you do that for a number of years especially, it becomes who you are," Spoerl said. "And to a certain degree, the amount of compensation you get kind of validates that, who you are, what you're doing, the success with what you're doing."

According to the employee compensation overview, teachers' salaries are 33 percent above state average, within the state's 93 percentile and 25 percent higher than McHenry County comparables.

But, some critics argue that the numbers aren't black and white. The majority of district 26 teachers have a masters' degree and teachers have about 15 years of experience on average.

During public comment, one audience member asked, if district 26 is being compared on the compensation level to other school districts, where is the education level of those school districts? 

Spoerl said, "There's no perfect measure of comparison."

Has the board considered the fact the numbers presented are compared to school districts across the state?

Spoerl said, "Oh yea." 

With the district still facing tough decisions, Spoerl said, "We as board members don't want to see anybody go anywhere and that's apart of the problem, I mean, the numbers aren't just adding up."

The next regular board meeting will be held 7 p.m. April 25, at Prairie Hill School, 233 Oriole Trail.


Employee Compensation By the numbers


        Cary's Teacher's Salaries' over 33 percent higher than State Average

Comparable McHenry Districts

Average Teacher Salary Salary Percent above (below) State Average (52,465) Teacher's Salaries as Percentage of Revenue Cary 26 $69,815 33% 42% Fox River Grove 3 $60,807 16% 34% Crystal Lake 47 $57,788 10% 39% Prairie Grove 46 $59,840 14% 34% Harrison 36 $46,653 (11%) 25% McHenry 15 $53,496 2% 29% Riley 18 $60,445 15% 30% Marengo 165 $51,089 (3%) 34%


                  Cary's Teacher Salaries Highest in McHenry County

Barrington 220 $74,000 Palatine 15 $74,000 Arlington Heights 25 $72,000 Cary 26 $69,000 Kildeer 96 $69,000 Schaumburg 54 $68,000 Fox River Grove 3 $61,000 Riley 18 $61,000 Prairie Grove 46 $59,000 Crystal Lake 47 $57,000 Nippersink 2 $54,000 McHenry 15 $53,000 Huntley 158 $52,000 Marengo-Union 165 $51,000 Harrison 36 $46,000


                   Cary's Administrative Salaries (2% below State Average) 

Comparable McHenry Districts Administration Average Salary Salary % above (below) State Average (99,986)

Administration as % Revenue

Cary 26 $98,023 (2%) 2.8 % Fox River Grove 3 $108,986 9% 5.4% Crystal Lake 47 $103,505 3.5% 4.1% Prairie Grove 46 $108,796 8.8% 5.7% Harrison 36 $101,663 1.7% 5.5% McHenry 15 $84,488 (15.5%) 2.1% Riley 18 $106,460 6.5% 9.6% Marengo 165 $80,310 (20%) 4.2%
Tom April 12, 2011 at 02:29 PM
Teachers salaries look even worse when you consider the fact that they only work 176 days a year and they only put in about 6 hours a day teaching. That alone comes out to about $65.00 per hour not including benefits. Speaking of which, most educators get 18 paid sick days a year, and if they don't use them they can accumulate them and get paid for up to two years when they retire. Try and point to anybody in the private sector that gets that kind of benefit - of course they are fighting to keep those benefits. Unions had thier place at one time, but today they are mainly in the public sector and those of us who pay those salaries and benefits are being taken advantage of.
Cecily Rosenwald April 12, 2011 at 06:37 PM
I would be curious to know what a factory or corporate production manager with the responsibility for the output and development of 20 to 30 people is compensated.
Stan April 13, 2011 at 01:11 PM
This article shows a very limited data spread, and implies that because our professionals are making more than others they should be cut back to the lowest common denominator pay. Any person currently employed in any profession would respond vigorously and negatively to the suggestion that their pay be scaled back to the lowest entry level pay statewide for their profession. It is an insult to the teachers as a profession and individuals. People talk about how much better teachers have it, but I do not see them creating a mass exodus from their employment fields to the promised land of teaching. Perhaps rather than trying to work on ethically and morally justifiable reasons for taking money from others to solve budget problems, the District should work on living within it's means on all levels (and this does mean compromise and sacrifice on ALL levels). I find it amazing that we as a society are so quick to spend other people's money and tell them how good they've got it.
Joseph Alfe April 13, 2011 at 01:45 PM
The issue with the teachers salaries is that they are unsustainable. We do not owe anybody except the students anything. If the teachers union demands an unsustainable compensation package, one that forces educational program cutbacks for students, then you are damn right they need to be rolled back! We currently pay our teachers more than Barrington, Crystal Lake, or Wheaton. Does a second grade teacher really need to make $87,000? If the teachers roll back to a level that is above median average, we can still pay them very well and solve the budget issue.
Stan April 13, 2011 at 02:28 PM
It is a mistake and self-destructive for teachers to be paid at the expense of the students, it is also a mistake to assume this is where the error rests and where cutbacks NEED to be made. To tell other people how much money they 'really' need to make is in my opinion an invasion. Teachers need to be reasonable, I suspect you would find them very much inclined to be so. Sustainability needs to last longer than a contract or a certain period of time. It needs to be indefinite...a way of life for the District Board and it's members. There are numerous examples of the Board (over a decade, no one board or member is guilty or singled out here) pouring time and effort into sticking fingers in a leaking dam hoping it will magically repair itself. I liken it to spending freely with a credit card hoping that you'll win the lotto so you can pay it back. Let's face facts, the economy, housing market and employment is not going to magically improve, and we need to structure our lifestyles to accept this, and live accordingly. That includes the District as an entity and not just the teachers. I do think the District has done more saving than I'm aware of, but it isn't looking that way when they demand who gets left without a chair when the music stops. I DON'T have the answer. If I did, I would be on the School Board and not the Message Board. I do know that this sort of article reads as trying to find a simplistic bad guy that can be blamed for all our woes.


More »
Got a question? Something on your mind? Talk to your community, directly.
Note Article
Just a short thought to get the word out quickly about anything in your neighborhood.
Share something with your neighbors.What's on your mind?What's on your mind?Make an announcement, speak your mind, or sell somethingPost something
See more »