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.”
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.