After a while, you get the idea that you want to encourage your kids to become a state school superintendent or a former one.
The Illinois State Board of Education's new superintendent, Tony Smith, has a compensation package that includes a salary north of $200,000, plus a car allowance, plus 35 vacation days, plus ten sick days, plus a $2,000 bonus if he uses fewer than five sick days.
Two things stick in the craw of State Rep. Jack Franks (D-Marengo), chairman of the House State Government Administration Committee. One is that Smith also has an $11,000 stipend intended to make up for the fact he is ineligible for the state's expired, more lucrative Tier I pension system.
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The other is that former superintendent Chris Koch, whose contract was not renewed, received a $90,000 severence package.
Franks has been calling Smith and ISBE members onto the carpet. He says it creates a terrible morale issue when Smith essentially gets a perk newly hired teachers do not.
“Most of those teachers have tenure,” said board member Steven Gilford. “Most of them will vest in their pensions. Most of them chose to live here on a long-term basis. The likelihood that (Smith) will vest in our pension system is relatively low.”
Accompanying Gilford was board member John Sanders, who said, “There's no doubt – hindsight's 20/20. We thought we were trying to be transparent.”
As for Koch, Gilford said, “we honored the severence provisions of that contract.”
Franks says that's out of line, Smith should refund some of his pay, and it's also outrageous the Rauner administration hired a “secretary of education,” Beth Purvis, at a $250,000 salary, who – Franks contends – does not interact with ISBE.