To the Editor:
Last week a letter to the editor titled “How to curb unions,” told us why our property taxes are so high. The information provided, selectively picked information about “Chicago public school teachers;” however the author is from Lisbon, IL.
Why didn’t the author discuss public school teachers in Lisbon or Kendall County? Perhaps it’s just so easy to pick on all teachers and blame his high real estate taxes by using the unique situation of Chicago Public School (CPS) teachers.
The author says that CPS teachers, “contribute 2 percent, the city contributes 19 percent, and pension funds are 50 percent underfunded.” The facts are that public school teachers in Kendall County pay 9 percent of their wages to the Illinois Teacher Retirement System (TRS). Accordingly, a teacher that has an annual salary of $50,000 would pay $4,500 directly to TRS; therefore, that teacher’s salary would actually be only $45,500. Let’s be absolutely clear on this point: Teachers in Kendall County pay their own retirement!
I started teaching at Yorkville High School in 1975. I retired from teaching in 2013 from Wheaton Warrenville South High School. In both public school systems (District 115 and District 200), I paid my own retirement to the TRS. I believe every public school teacher in Kendall County pays 9 percent of their wages to the TRS.
Without a doubt, high real estate taxes can be blamed on the methods we use to fund local education. I like to think our public educational systems in Kendall County are excellent because of the local support we provide.
Teachers need to be praised for the dedication and devotion they demonstrate on a daily basis; not blamed, and singled out, for our financial difficulties. You should apologize to the teachers at Lisbon Grade School, if you think otherwise. Their website indicates that “Test scores at this school are far above the state average. . ..” In fact, English test scores average 88 percent at Lisbon Grade School. The state average test score for English is 36 percent.
Don’t blame teachers--or unions--because your property tax bill is too high.