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May 20, 2024

DuPage County School District Superintendent’s letter to District 4 County Board member – Let this sink in

By Kirk Allen & John Kraft

On April 24, 2020

DuPage Co. (ECWd) –

The DuPage County School Superintendents have sent this letter to County Board Member Tim Elliot of District 4 seeking “thorough analysis of the systems effects of your decisions with regards to the financial health of our public school system.”

According to the letter, they are concerned about the potential financial impact to the Schools if the County Board adopts a resolution that would waive property tax penalties for late payments of those taxes.  They claim to be commitment to stewardship and responsible financial practices.

While there are many issues outlined in the letter that is sure to raise further discussion, we find it telling that the letter does not come from the actual School Board elected officials but rather the employee hired by those elected officials.

The three positions presented in the letter appear to be more like the typical media spin we all are seeing during the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • “Cash Flow and Concerns of Borrowing – The notion of removing late penalties for taxpayers is necessarily an encouragement for taxpayers to delay making the expected payments.”

Interesting perspective that shines negatively on every responsible taxpayer in the County.  Any action by the County Board to waive penalties for late payments due to financial hardships created from the current pandemic is not necessarily an encouragement for taxpayers to delay their payments.  Taking such a position appears disingenuous.

  • Mandate for Paying out Salaries/Benefits – “Additionally, each school district was charged with the duty of providing food to all students who request it during school days and to provide shelter to unaccompanied minors who seek shelter in schools. We have embraced these responsibilities in addition to providing a rigorous and relevant education during this crisis.”

While we understand the need for unaccompanied minors to have shelter, is such an order from the Governor as claimed an obligation for schools under our laws?  One would hope these educators would first embrace the law rather than orders from the Governor that appear to be unsupported by law.

  • Contending with Late Payments From State -“We have already experienced a delay in some payments from the Illinois State Board of Education and we are genuinely concerned that this delay, combined with the potential delay of property taxes will exacerbate an increasingly tight financial position that public schools occupy.”

Increasingly tight financial position?  Makes you wonder? It would be most interesting to know the amount of money that has been saved from not having to provide certain services during the current crises, like extra-curricular activities, utility bills, supplies, mileage reimbursement etc.

While we understand there may be a potential financial challenge to schools and other local governments from a potential delay in property tax payments, the fact remains, people can only pay with what they have.  Charging them a fine for paying their property taxes late during the Governor induced hardship is hardly fair to the taxpayers in our opinion.

While the Superintendents are crying poor mouth, let their 2019 approximate compensation of over $7,085,502.84 worth of annual salary sink in. We note that there were four Superintendents we were unable to confirm salaries for which had their salary been included the total annual expense to the DuPage County taxpayers is approximately $8 Million dollars a year.

Financial salaries from for the Superintendents listed as sourced from Open the Books.

  • Dr. James Stelter, Bensenville School District 2 –$275,000.00
  • Dr. John R. Langton, Addison School District 4 –$228,247.01
  • Dr. John W. Corbett, Wood Dale School District 7 – $226,077.53
  • Dr. John K. Butts, Medinah School District 11 – retired $130,502
  • Dr. Mary Henderson, Roselle School District 12 – Nothing listed –
  • Dr. Jerry O’Shea, Marquardt District 15 – $242,622.54
  • Dr. Joseph R. Williams, Queen Bee School District 16 –$197,802.18
  • Dr. Jim Woell, Benjamin School District 25 – Nothing listed
  • Ms. Kristina Davis, West Chicago Elementary District 33 – $154,538.49
  • .Dr. Matt Rich, Winfield District 34 – $164,800.00
  • Dr. Melissa Kaczkowski, Glen Ellyn School District 41 –  $205,033.00 (Rosell school district 12)
  • Dr. Theodore Stec, Lombard School District 44 – $275,000.00
  • Dr. Anthony Palmisano, District 45 – $237,859.33
  • Dr. Jake Chung, Salt Creek School District 48 – $189,099.00 (Arlington Heights)
  • Dr. Paul O’Malley, Butler School District 53 – Nothing listed
  • Dr. Kevin Russell, Downers Grove School District 58 – Nothing listed
  • Dr. Sean Nugent, Maercker School District 60 – $213,872.20
  • Dr. Robert Carlo, Darien School District 61 – $255,551.00
  • Dr. Victor Simon, Gower School District 62 –$219,306.96
  • Dr. Kerry Foderaro, Cass School District 63 – –$290,969.23
  • Dr. Ray Lechner, Center Cass School District 66- C0-Superintendent replaced 2019 – $217,725.00 (Wilmette School District  39)
  • Dr. Griff Powell, Center Cass School District 66 – $232,965.00 (Niles township 2019)
  • Dr. Patrick Broncato, Woodridge School District 68 –$226,536.19
  • Mrs. Tammy Prentiss, Hinsdale Township High School District 86 –$225,428.80
  • Dr. David Larson, Glenbard District 87 – $143,134.00
  • Dr. Scott J. Helton, DuPage High School District 88 – $261,301.07
  • Dr. Emily K. Tammaru, Community Consolidated School District 89 – $222,242 (Glenn Ellan community consolidated district)
  • Dr. David H. Hill, Community Consolidated School District 93 – $205,145.91
  • Dr. Moses Cheng, Community High School District 94 – $174,617
  • Dr. Hank Thiele, Community High School District 99 – $252,747.04
  • Mr. James Ongtengco, Fenton Community High School District 100 – $195,932.95
  • Dr. Thomas Schneider, Community Consolidated District 180 – $255,054.94
  • Dr. Hector , Community Consolidated District 181 – $235,000
  • Mr. Kevin M. Carey, Community Unit School District 201 – $230,726.98
  • Dr. David Moyer, Elmhurst Community Unit School District 205 – $265,360

A copy of their letter can be downloaded at this link or viewed below.

One notable figure missing in their letter is the estimated funding they are to receive from the Federal Government under the CARES Act.  Dupage County Schools are to receive approximately $12,581,105.00 in funding.  I would think that amount would more than make up any potential interest obligations they believe they may have from short term borrowing.  School funding info at the following link – Est-Prelim-CARES-Act-Emergency-Relief-LEA-Allocations-3-31-20

County Board Correspondence Final

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  • Jbw
    Posted at 16:30h, 24 April

    U46 in Elgin was very proud of giving several hundred packaged breakfast, lunch and dinner out. No child necessary to be with you. Are school lunch programs now including dinner?
    Several years ago the superintendent in u46 was paid over $400,000

  • Mags
    Posted at 17:35h, 24 April

    The letter also states that they are providing food to all students who request it. I have looked into this and it is part of the CARES ACT. It is effective until June 30th or until the economy is opened up. It is being funded through the Federal Government USAID. These superintendents are making it sound like it is coming out of their budget, which it is not. It is not mandatory and is most likely being implemented in Districts that have a number of free and reduce lunch recipients, however, I have been told that any student of the District under the age of 18 is eligible to receive meals from the District due to the financial crisis. No paperwork needed. (Per the ISBE)

    I also question the Executive Order issued by Governor Pritzker that prohibits public schools from releasing public school employees during this crisis, etc… I don’t see where it says that they cannot take a temporary paycut of 10% like so many in the private sector have recently been hit with.

    If they were concerned about getting their revenue a week ago, they have even more concerns now that the Governor has now harmed people of Illinois financially for another 30 days. I do think if these government employees were feeling the financial pain like the private citizens and business owners are, this economy would be opened up in a heartbeat.

  • PK
    Posted at 12:32h, 25 April

    Before scraping the barrel bottom…is the letter disclosed to ECWd by the addressee or some other entity?

    • Kirk Allen
      Posted at 14:49h, 25 April

      The letter is a public record.

      • PK
        Posted at 18:22h, 25 April

        No legal address, no signature(s), and no other protocol than date. Without the distribution method (hand delivered, mailed, or dropped on the district 4 step, the letter is a mere contrivance. Junk it.