School districts in the state allow administrators and teachers to save unused sick days as an incentive to reduce absences. But most districts cap the number at 340, the maximum number of uncompensated sick days school employees can turn in to the pension system to boost their pensions or push up their retirement date.
Ryan's sick days accumulate without limit, and he gets about five times as many as is typical — 60 every year. Usually, contracts give administrators the same number of sick days as are given to teachers, adjusted for a 12-month year. Teachers in Sauk Village get 13 sick days.
Under most contracts, unused sick days either can't be compensated at all or can be cashed in at a nominal rate.
But Ryan, under his contract, can cash in his unused sick days for full pay — which this year is $747 per day. If he manages to get through the year without calling in sick, he'll make an extra $44,820 this year — essentially receiving pay as though he had worked for 305 days of the year, the equivalent of working Monday through Saturday all year.
One of the first guests I hope to have on the air when I return in late summer is Steven Malanga. He is the author of "The New New Left"and a fellow at the Manhattan Institute.
Here is an excerpt from an essay he wrote.
This increasingly powerful public-sector movement results from the merging of two originally distinct forces. First are the government-employee unions, born in the 1950s and nowadays the 800-pound gorillas of policy debates in many statehouses and city councils. Today, public unions don?t merely use their power to win contract concessions for their members. They help elect sympathetic legislators and defeat proponents of smaller government; they lobby for higher taxes, especially on the rich and on businesses; and they oppose legislative efforts, such as privatization initiatives, aimed at making government smaller and more efficient. [...]
In retrospect, most of the warnings voiced in those tumultuous years proved accurate. Political leaders and labor experts predicted that government-employee unions would use their monopoly power over public services to win contracts with work rules far more generous and undemanding than in the private sector, and that without the restraints on salaries and benefits that the free marketplace imposes on private firms, unions would win increasingly meaty compensation and pension packages that would be impossible to roll back once enacted.
The author, Steven Malanga, outlines how the new left is organizing. Though I've not yet read the book, the reviews and the concept are pretty clearly operating here in Illinois, where BIG ED, public employee unions (SEIU) and other groups are using tax dollars to grow their numbers.
Excerpt from the blurb...
Whereas the New Left of the 1960s believed—idealistically, if somewhat naively—that government could solve the biggest problems of our times, this New New Left is much more narrowly and cynically focused on expanding government programs to increase its own power, pay, and perks. And, as Malanga shows, the New New Left is emerging as the most powerful element of the national Democratic Party coalition.
Power, Pay & Perks - the sole reason for your local corrupt school bureaucracy.
This is a great Study put out by The Reason Foundation that outlines just how the government pension systems have bankrupted the States and localities.
The excerpts below cover the issues in Illinois. My critique of the piece is that it outlines the problem, but makes fails to point out that this fleecing of the taxpayers is a deliberate strategy to gain power while eating massive amounts of tax dollars.
With an unfunded pension liability of $35 billion at the end of FY 2004, Illinois holds the dubious title of largest pension shortfall in the nation.
The state funds five pension systems, including the State Teachers' Retirement System (by far the largest with over 300,000 participants), State Universities Retirement System (145,000 participants), State Employees Retirement System (113,000 participants), and the relatively small pension funds for judges and the General Assembly.
If you don't know by now, BIG ED is the incestuous & interlocking directorate of;
Teacher's Unions (NEA & State Affiliates)
State Boards of Edu-ma-cation
Teacher's Colleges (training an under-achieving cohort to get the nation's youth to emulate them)
Public School Administrators (Supers, Regional Supers)
School Boards (purchased with Teacher Union dollars)
and a cast of leeching businesses/consultants (text book companies, connected builders, accounting firms & so-called "service providers).
These entities form a much larger entity designed to rip off taxpayers while mis-educating their kids.
It used to be that when I said such things, it was too much for your average person to believe (having been brainwashed by a societal "herd mentality" that supports anything called "public education" - no matter how wasteful.)
It is my experience however, that this is changing. A true parasite lives in harmony with it's host, and the parasite that is BIG ED is starting to damage the host enough so the even the most brainwashed suburbanite is starting to notice.
James Hintz took home $302,746 from Adlai Stevenson Township High School District 125 after swinging an unusually sweet pension deal -- better than that of his own superintendent or others responsible for far more schools, state and district records indicate.
By the time Hintz retires next month, his total compensation for the year will reach nearly $375,000, Stevenson officials say. That includes a $101,566 "stipend'' for health insurance -- money he doesn't have to use on health insurance.
One state pension official calls Hintz's golden handshake "extraordinary.''
It is another twist on the kind of end-of-career school pay boosts blasted by Gov. Blagojevich for straining the state's pension system. That system has become a focus of pension reform in the closing days of the state Legislature as lawmakers try to balance the budget.
For Hintz, 55, this is the fourth year his pay will include a stipend. Each stipend carries a double punch. It not only boosts Hintz's take-home pay, it pads his pension, which is based on 75 percent of a four-year salary average.
Hintz's stipends total $217,500 and will tip his pension over the $200,000-a-year mark for the rest of his life, figures provided by Stevenson indicate.
Hintz is a PIG. The people who are paying him are PIGS. The taxpayers funding this PIGGISHNESS are IDIOTS. The people who buy into the LIES of BIG ED are IDIOTS.
PIGS & IDIOTS. That is what our education system has become. It's time to call the IDIOTS what they are and it is time the fat PIGS are sent to (political) slaughter.
Their "meat" can be returned to the taxpayer or sent to more effective & deserving spending.
In all my ranting & raving about the HB750 / HB755 "Tax Increase/Fake Tax Swap" bills, one of the main points I raised was that if Republican's held out from bailing Blago out on the 'revenue side', the legislature (totally controlled by Democrats) would be forced to either punt or undertake serious reforms.
The Democrats just punted. This is a huge victory.
In a nutshell, the Democrats, failing to get their tax increase, have decided to raid the already actuarialLy bankrupt pension funds of even more money rather than reform the budget busting Medicaid and Pension systems.
The Republicans are beautifully positioned to spend all 2006 running on a reform with out tax increase theme.
They even have the opportunity to use the pressure created for a " tax swap" to offer a REAL TAX SWAP that is an actual PROPERTY TAX CUT.
The real pressure in the next few months will come from Democrats and Republican "squishes*" to pass some sort of "Save the Democrats Political Future" tax plan that will strikingly (and stinkingly) similar to HB750 or HB755.
Your job (if you are an Illinois Voter) will be to make sure no such tax plan passes in the veto session. If the tax increase fails, 2006 will be owned by Republicans if they take up the mantle of bold reforms and campaign on education accountability before education bailouts.
*Squish - a so-called "moderate" who tries to act in a manner that s/he might be mistaken for a Democrat. Squishes are prone to hiding behind verbal pabulum like "it's for the children" and "we need more money for schools". "Squish" refers to the noise coming from their backs due to the structural failure (or lack) of their spine.
Research indicates that 50-100 calls from well-informed citizens, or the threat of a well-financed primary challenge, goes a long way toward curing these spinal problems.
Get out the fax machines and limber up your phone voice again. The sneaks in the IL Senate are ginning up for one (or two) more tries at the "Bankrupt Illinois" (some might call it "llinois Fist!") tax and slush fund plan.
The rumor is that Meeks and Winkelare doing back room deals to buy off whichever Republicans are stupid enough sign on to this monstrosity.
Based upon the weasel words coming out of some of their mouths, some might be dumb enough to buy in.
STEP 5 to KILL THIS BILL
1. Focus on EVERY SENATOR. This link will help you find them AGAIN!
"To increase 'education spending' we must decrease 'education waste.'"
Yes, it is simplistic, but it is true nonetheless. To bolster your point (after making the above statement) simply point out thatin Illinois education spending rose 158% in 16 years, while the number of students rose only 13%.
Each of you needs to be capable of effectively arguing against increasing the NET TAKE of education spending. As a Budget Item, it should not get one thin dime of increase. The money currently being spent simply needs to re-directed toward "the children", and taken away from the waste & abuse.
"What waste!?" That is the question you will be asked by the defenders of the status quo. (uninformed and dogmatic parents & edu-ratchiks who view growing dollars as an entitlement)
First, pink slip everyone in the state with the word "Assistant" in their title. The state is awash in these examples of Administrative Bloat. Their response will be that all these "assistants" are needed to manage the paperwork of all the state & federal "mandates." This leads us to....
Second, this is a perfect opportunity to get rid of the mandates as well. It is time to end BIG ED's "mandate" scam. Here is how the scam works.
Teachers Unions, School Board Associations, Superinendent Associations, and an army of other NGO (non-governmental organizations) all run to Springfield (or your respective state capitol) to lobby for "madates" of all forms, shapes and sizes. (Building codes, class size, politically correct curricular tripe, and restrictions on any competition (charters, alternative certification).
This is all for the purpose of running back to their local residents and demanding more money to pay for meeting the "onerous mandates" that they just lobbied aggressively for.
Call their bluff. When you call your state legislator this summer to lobby against tax increases, you should be very clear in your denunciation of "mandates."
[As and aside, and just for fun, ask your teachers, administrators, and board members to lobby for reducing mandates. Watch most of them slink away with scowls on their faces.]
Be very clear in your message. Cut Spending - Cut Payroll - Cut Mandates - Rinse & Repeat.
Then tell them you will accept "Tax Swaps" ONLY in the context of a NET TAX CUT, which the Illinois economy needs to remain competitive.
Beware of the following slough off!
When talking to your legislator, and pointing out the 13% : 158% student increase to spending ratio mentioned above, they may (after attempting to hide behind "mandates") use this little "illogic bomb" on you...
"Well, all that money went to pensions" (or building new schools...or new schools & pensions..etc. etc. etc.) - [One of them actually told me this a few weeks ago.]
Your proper response to that is, "That's not my Problem!"
The REALLY cool thing here is that BIG ED has overreached, and this is best opportunity in a generation to make them pay dearly for that mistake.
School districts and the State Legislators have spent themselves into looming bankruptcy by bloating the payroll (to meet "mandates") and giving away unsustainably rich "end of career bonuses" combined with unsustainably rich "early retirement options."
HB755, 750 and 1484 are all scams to make the taxpayer bail them out with out cutting back on the absurd rate of growth. If we continue our successes at stopping these tax grabs, we will eventally be in position to negotiate REAL EDUCATION REFORMS and/or REAL SPENDING CUTS.
By witholding tax dollars from them, we become politically powerful enough to demand concessions (in exchange for a tax swap that is a tax cut) like;
Repeals of mandates
Funding following students, not districts (cut special education featherbedding)
Finanicial Transparency at the District level
Replacing PTELL with more rational property tax laws
Statewide Core Knowledge for 4-60% of all new first graders
etc. etc. etc.
Hold their feet to the fire. Get (and STAY) informed on the true nature of the Education Bureaucracy.
Sound bites to make your own.
Take our public education system back from the corrupt bureaucracy that has "privatized" it for their own personal gain.
A "Tax Swap" that is a TAX CUT!
"To increase 'education spending' we must decrease 'education waste.'"
First, remember to call this a TAX SCHEME, not "funding reform". It is nothing of the sort! Also, use "Stop the SWAP" on your e-mail headers and the like. It is easy to remember and encapsulates a simple message.
Second, follow up with all the people on your list to make sure they made at least one call. Follow up with this...
E-mail THIS LINK to your friends & acquaintances. It's a "tax calculator" that tells you how badly you get reamed under this tax scheme.
E-mail THIS GRAPHIC to show them how few people benefit from this tax scheme.
Things are going as well as can be expected. It seems that most Republicans understand what is going on here, and seem to be against this bill. DON'T LET THAT FOOL YOU!! Keep the calls and faxes coming. Make sure every Republican in the state knows that you are watching what they do.
Many may try to weasel in a "yes" vote and hide behind some "pro-tax & spend" misstatement of fact.
Yesterday it was 5 against 500 as BIG ED sent down it's tired, it's pampered, and protected to lobby for this destrcutive tax increase.
We were in the rotunda listening to the rotund, as they blathered on about how this was "for the children" and "for the schools". It is nothing of the sort. It is an underserved bailout of unbelievable proportions for a system that doesn't deserve another dime.
The five of us that were down there were representing CRAFT, NTW, and FreedomWorks. We were joined by one of the few School Board members in the state who knows the funding games that are being played at the state and local level.
Fortunately, we were helped by the front page ....
[NOTE: The powers that be must have complained to the squishs at the Trib. The print version had a more accurate headline"EVERYBODY PAYS UNDER TAX PLAN"]