Dist. 204 Salaries below Average, Study Shows Analysis Confirms Teachers' Claims

By Hart, Christie | Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL), January 14, 2000 | Go to article overview

Dist. 204 Salaries below Average, Study Shows Analysis Confirms Teachers' Claims


Hart, Christie, Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL)


Indian Prairie teachers have argued for years that their district doesn't pay salaries that are competitive enough to keep experienced educators on staff.

So far, their argument has been anecdotal, but a new study unveiled this week seems to be supporting their point.

The analysis, commissioned by Indian Prairie Unit District 204, finds that teachers in the Naperville-Aurora district are paid about 8 percent below the average for their counterparts in other area unit school systems. The disparity grows to more than 9 percent next school year.

"We asked for this analysis to tell us where we were in the market," said Nancy Pedersen, assistant superintendent for personnel. "At most starting points, we're equal to the average, but we're not as competitive in the middle of the schedule."

Analysts from the Hay Group, an international human resources consulting firm, compared District 204's salary schedule with the pay scales in Naperville Unit District 203, Lisle Unit District 202, Wheaton Warrenville Unit District 200, Elmhurst Unit District 205, Barrington Unit District 220 and St. Charles Unit District 303. The comparison districts were chosen by Indian Prairie administrators and teachers union representatives.

Typically, the complicated schedules are difficult to compare because districts award raises for various levels of additional education, as well as for longevity, and those education levels rarely match up.

The Hay Group, though, used mathematical formulas to convert other district's salaries to the education levels District 204 uses, Pedersen said.

Based on the adjusted schedules, the consultants determined that the district pays first-year teachers at roughly the average of the other districts regardless of how much education the teacher has. Teachers with master's degrees and additional course credits are paid above the market average.

District 204 teachers with bachelor's degrees, however, tend to lag up to 15 percent behind the average market salary, the Hay Group found. Teachers with advanced degrees and more experience stay within a few percentage points of the average.

Hay consultants also pointed out that District 204's salary schedule, unlike other districts, is set up so that teachers at different points on the scale receive different sized raises. The inconsistency means that some teachers may earn a wage that's competitive one year, then be ahead or behind the next, the consultants said.

Teachers say the study only underscores their experience with the district.

"It really was pretty much what I expected," teachers union President Carolyn Gloeckle said. "When you look at all the aspects of this, it all seems to be supporting each other."

In the fall, teachers already had voiced concerns that the district was losing experienced teachers to higher-paying districts. Waubonsie Valley High School saw four department heads resign and the district as a whole saw 11 percent of its staff change, according to the district's analysis. …

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