Friday, March 25, 2011

Wow....I think this is one of the problems that is holding us back.

Bill Lopotko, a local citizen involved with the Transparency in Government project and a concerned citizen in Peoria, has written a letter to the Journal Star that points out one of the major problems we might have with District 150. With Bill's permission, I post it below:

Should we call Superintendent Grenita F. Lathan, Governor? Recently, I discovered that the Peoria School District #150 Superintendent out-earns all 50 of the Governors. With a base salary of $198,000, Lathan makes more base salary than every Governor of the 50 States according to The Book of States 2010.

I was stunned. How have we let this happen? The people of Peoria are principled, hard working citizens. According to Sperling’s The Best Places to Live, the average home cost in our town is $91,380. Coldwell Banker’s website lists our average household income at little more than $46,318.

Our property taxes fund our school district. With property taxes increasing each year, our homes are harder to afford. We are literally renting from our school districts.

Someone needs to tell the Governor.

 Well, Bill, those are fine statistics, but you should hear them in context with a few other facts. Like the fact that those income numbers are primarily above War Memorial drive, when the schools that are taking the hit with this latest reshuffling of students are the ones below War Memorial. Like the fact that closing schools and increasing class sizes will probably lead to a mass exodus of qualified teachers out of the Peoria area, at least out of District 150 schools, particularly below War Memorial. Like the fact that the average teacher in a District 150 School earns about 1/4 of that outrageous salary.

And the worst of this is that Grenita Lathan cannot be blamed for a bit of this. I sincerely believe the woman is a very intelligent, very dedicated person who is simply trying to do a job. Unfortunately, she is not fulfilling the duties of her job, since we are still experiencing a rapid decline in our schools. Partially, of course, because of the outrageous salaries being paid to civil servants.

Gee, what's next? A City Manager with no experience running a city for an outrageous amount of money? Oh yeah, we already have one of those.

Election time is coming up, folks, and the basic services platform is the only one we can afford to support. C. J. Summers, Beth Akeson, and Chuck Weaver have all been endorsed by the Peoria Journal Star, as well as some very astute bloggers and some local organizations as well. We need Gary Sandberg re-elected, and for the fifth seat, lets hope that either Jim Stowell, who left the BOE to run for City Council, or George Azouri, admittedly wet behind the ears, but not a part of the machine, are elected. We need people on that council who will at least try to listen to the people and Take Back Peoria.

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