Number of students down, personnel cost ups: Unit 5

By: Diane Benjamin

Unit 5’s own data shows controlling costs isn’t happening. They have a spending problem, not a revenue problem.

Start with this chart complied from OpenTheBooks:

Compared that chart with the one below compiled by Unit 5 – PDF page 15

Why did PERSONNEL costs (blue line) skyrocket since 2015? The number of students decreased from 13,346 in 2018 to 12,325 in 2021. That is a decrease of 1,021 students!

Now listen to Kristen Weikle claims nobody got 7% salary increases. That wasn’t the question, total salaries increased more than 7%. The video below is from this story:

Vote No Again – elect a new school board!

3 thoughts on “Number of students down, personnel cost ups: Unit 5

  1. Government income increases with inflation. When they do an tax increase, it gives them a larger slice of you income, and you less. Government needs to live within a budget, as the rest of us have to.

  2. In regards to Unit 5 Personnel costs:

    Prior to that increase Unit 5 staff had taken years of either complete pay freezes or partial freezes. Teacher pay was beginning to lag far behind the districts with which Unit 5 is in competition with for teachers. If you want to attract and retain teachers, you have to have to offer competitive pay and benefits.

    Additionally, even if you don’t agree with the above argument, the State of Illinois mandated that starting pay for new teachers had to be $40,000. This was an unfunded mandate with the state offering no assistance to districts to meet that goal. And when you slide up the base pay, the increase trickles up a pay scale for all other teachers, too. It’s just the way teacher pay scales are structured. And for employees making hourly rates, the State also increased the minimum wage multiple times over those years, meaning greater personnel costs for the district.

    Finally, have you looked at the personnel costs for Police and Fire in Bloomington/Normal. Have you sought out data for comparison. I haven’t heard anyone on the right concerned with “ballooning” pay for police, even though average starting pay for police in Bloomington is $30,000 higher than starting teacher pay in Unit 5.

    Given that information, what is your basis for saying that those personnel costs in Unit 5 are the result of mismanagement? Additionally, I’m curious, what do you think average pay for teachers should be? I know people who have taught in the district for close to 20 years, have a Masters degree, and are only making around $60,000 a year after deductions to pay for health insurance of family members. How much less should a 20 year teacher make? And if you think it should be less, how do you expect Unit 5 to attract teachers with pay significantly lower than competing districts.

    1. Thank you for bringing up some valid points – those certainly help explain, and even justify, part of the recent increases. But that doesn’t change the fact that there Is mismanagement that needs to be rooted out, even if it isn’t a full 19-20% of payroll.

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