As contract negotiations continue between the Oswego School District 308 teacher's union and the administration, district data shows 299 district employees took home six-figures in total compensation during the district's 2019 fiscal year which ended June 30.
That 299 figure includes 217 teachers and department chairs, 62 administrators and 20 employees who serve a variety of roles, including guidance counselor and speech pathologist.
Of the total district employees who earned six figures, nine earned above $150,000, including two teachers, one department chair and six building or district administrators, according to the data.
The same data also showed that 116 employees earned base salaries of $100,000 or more; 16 administrators, and 100 certified employees who fall under the Oswego Education Association's collective bargaining agreement, including teachers, psychologists, guidance counselors, department chairs and speech pathologists.
Currently, the district employs 57 building administrators (principals, assistant principals or deans), 23 district administrators and 17 special education coordinators.
According to documentation provided by the district, the total compensation for an employee is determined by several factors: base salary, annuities, Teacher Retirement System (TRS) pension contribution, Teacher Health Insurance Security (THIS) pension contribution, and IMRF pension contribution.
Insurance, life and disability insurance, sick days granted, vacation days granted, vehicle allowance and other forms of compensation including stipends for coaching or leading a club or extracurricular activity also factor into determining an employee's total compensation.
Director of Communications and Public Relations Theresa Komitas said the in-district travel allowance model for building administrators shifted at the beginning of the current 2020 fiscal year, from a stipend format to reimbursement. The district has also eliminated the vacation buy-back program for administrators.
A teacher's base salary is set through a schedule system consisting of steps and lanes. A step is determined by the number of years a teacher has been teaching in the district, and a lane designates the amount of education a teacher has amassed - a bachelor's degree, a master's degree, doctorate, etc.
"Beyond pay, there are things that keep administrators, teachers and staff at the school district. Many employees cite the relationships they have with colleagues, students and the community as the primary reason for staying with SD 308," Komitas said.
Komitas also confirmed that the salary schedule for teachers is negotiated by the teachers union, the Oswego Education Association, as part of the contract negotiation process and approved by the OSD 308 Board of Education. The OEA's most recent contact with the district expired June 30.
When asked how district taxpayers contribute to the salaries of district employees, Komitas said that theoretically taxpayers pay a portion of every district expense, except those paid with donations, as public schools receive funding through local property taxes, state taxes, the Evidence Based Funding formula and other state and federal grants.
Local revenue also comes from sources including student registration fees, athletic fees and facility rental fees, Komitas said.
"All of these revenue sources contribute to salary and benefit expenses," she noted.
Though 299 employees earned six figure salaries in the last fiscal year, the average salaries of teachers and administrators are lower; even when compared to neighboring districts.
According to illinoisreportcard.com, run by the Illinois State Board of Education, in the 2017-2018 school year, 1,133 teachers in OSD 308 earned an average salary of $65,232. The average administrator salary was $83,602.
The average teacher salaries found on illinoisreportcard.com, are determined through dividing the sum of all teachers' salaries by the number of full time equivalent teachers. The average administrator salary is determined by dividing the sum of all administrative staff by the number of full time equivalent administrators.
The average salaries for teachers and administrators in neighboring districts, falls close to those found in OSD 308, according to illinoisreportcard. The average teacher salary in Yorkville School District 115 during the 2017-2018 year is $54,539, while the average administrator salary landed at $101,822.
Indian Prairie School District 204, serving Aurora and Naperville, has an average teacher salary of $68,162, while the average administrator salary is $130,471. Plainfield School District 202 saw an average teacher salary of $60,504, and an average administrator salary of $96,101.
Each district listed above had a similar number of teachers to OSD 308 during the 2017-2018 year.