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“It is difficult not to be moved by the blight and sorrow of this town; impoverished, bypassed by the world, it is a part of America that is dying in plain sight. The people who live here are no different than their Appalachian cousins who are watching their own ways of life decay.”

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The plot thickens…HB 3052 attempts to consolidate Ford Heights and Chicago Heights school districts. Their fact sheet is a comical glance into public sector reasoning:

It’s extremely unusual for a State Rep or Senator to introduce legislation to consolidate school districts. There is an established process for consolidating school district that includes a study, and taxpayers in both districts agreeing to do so via a referendum. For school districts that are failing, there is an established process for the state to take over the school district. On of the first analysis is to look at what is almost always the single biggest cost of a school district, which is teachers, which means looking at the teacher collective bargaining agreement (cba). The current Ford Height teacher cba is not posted on the district… Read more »

A noteworthy aspect of suburban Cook County school districts is that only one of them is a unit school district.

Elmwood Park Elementary District 85 & Elmwood Park High School District 232 consolidated in 1967 to form Elmwood Park CUSD 401, which to this day remains the only unit school district in suburban Cook County.

The other school district in Cook County are either high school districts, or elementary school districts.


Ford Heights SD 169 has only 450 students spread over 2 schools, yet each school has a principal and assistant principal. Considering the district is running 60% over budget, they might want to layoff the assistant principals and re-negotiate the superintendent’s $260,000 salary (that’s including a $29,000 annuity).

The Superintendent of Ford Heights earned $299K in pensionable income in 2015, and $290K in 2014, per the Open the Books widget. He may have earned more than that if there is any non pensionable income. Why the difference from the previously reported $260K? In a nutshell, it’s impossible to derive actual total pensionable and non pensionable income from looking at the state mandated compensation report on the school district website. The URL in the comment points to the state mandated compensation report on the school district website for school year 2016 which lists: – $230K base. – 45 vacation days (those are cashed out at retirement… Read more »

By the way, if the Superintendent stays at $300K pensionable income salary through retirement, his beginning pension will be $225K, and with a 3% COLA, the annual pension will double 24 years into retirement, at which time the Superintendent would have received $8.2M in pension payments.
The Superintendent will likely recoup his lifetime employee contributions to the pension system within his first two years of retirement.
Meaning, less than a $456K investment would have returned $8.2M.