June 17, 2010
Scores of retired teachers from some suburban high schools are pulling pensions of more than $100,000 a year because their school boards granted them raises of 40 percent as they headed toward the exits.
School districts that gave retiring teachers at least two pay bumps of 20 percent dominate the top ranks of districts with the most pensioners drawing six-figure income from the Teachers' Retirement System.
The runaway leader -- with 146 people in that category -- is Palatine Community High School District 211, a large northwest suburban district that serves 12,000 students in five high schools. The district includes Palatine, Conant, Hoffman Estates, Schaumburg and Fremd high schools.
In second place is neighboring Township High School District 214, where 95 retired teachers and administrators are entitled to pensions of more than $100,000. Three dozen more retirees from District 214 will break into six figures following the next 3 percent pay raise.
District 214 educates nearly 12,000 students in six high schools: Buffalo Grove, Elk Grove, John Hersey, Prospect, Rolling Meadows and Wheeling.
Three north suburban high schools with smaller headcounts occupy the third, fourth and fifth spots on the list. Niles Township High School District 219, a district of two high schools, has 82 retirees drawing six-figure pensions and many more headed their way.
Highland Park Township District 113, made up of Deerfield and Highland Park high schools, has 73 pensioners drawing more than $100,000, and Northfield District 225, which encompasses Glenbrook North and Glenbrook South, has 51 in that category.
The legislature effectively banned pay spiking in 2005 when it put a 6 percent lid on educators' pay raises during the four years that count toward the benefit calculation. (Educators receive up to 75 percent of their final years' pay depending on their years of service.)
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