Wednesday, December 21, 2011

High Teacher Salaries in Illinois

A high school physical education teacher in the Chicago suburbs leads the news of shocking teacher salaries by pulling in a yearly salary of $203,154.

I know, I know. It baffles the mind.

The contentious issue of teacher salaries and benefits is always controversial, especially in the current economy with state budgets strained. As a teacher, I've never had any complaints with my salary and benefits, and people have long explained how they feel teachers are underpaid and under-appreciated. However, as the latest release from Bill Zettler at Champion News reveals, that is certainly not the case for teachers in many of the Chicago suburbs. Zettler's website,, has published Illinois teacher salaries for years with his agenda of being a taxpayer watchdog.

Certainly, this type of information is nearly indefensible. $200K for teaching PE? I don't care how long he's been working or how successful he is or how high the cost of living is. And, I am sure that he is doing more than teaching kids to play hockey with those pathetic plastic sticks. He's probably coaching and teaching summer school and chairing the phys ed dept. But there's simply no way to justify this to taxpayers ... or other teachers in Illinois. And, of course, Illinois's budget and pension system are absolutely busted at this point. So, the thought of this man retiring by the age of 57 and drawing a $150,000 yearly pension for twenty or thirty years is simply beyond the pale. The same goes for the thousands of other teachers in Chicagoland who are drawing upwards of $180K. Teaching simply shouldn't draw that kind of cash in a budget strapped state.

However, I take exception to Zettler's website which disingenuously fails to distinguish these salaries and districts from the majority of teachers in Illinois. I taught for years in southern Illinois and made nowhere near that money. In fact, the pay scale for Edwardsville School District, near St. Louis, starts teachers in the mid-thirties and tops out at $69K. That top only comes with a Master's degree, plus 32 graduate credit hours, and thirty years of service. Most teachers are not ever topping out in a places like that. And that pay scale is fairly average for the state of Illinois.

So, while ChampionsNews is right to spotlight the extremes of teacher pay in some Chicago suburbs, most teachers are not rolling in dough.

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