Lombard school district pays more than $400,000 to dismiss 2 administrators

Lombard school district pays more than $400,000 to dismiss 2 administrators

A DuPage County school district is severing ties with two administrators before their contracts expire, and it’s going to cost taxpayers.

A school district in suburban Chicago is making some personnel changes, but it’s going to cost taxpayers quite a bit.

Lombard Elementary District 44 owes a combined $424,900 to two top administrators with whom it is cutting ties. The Daily Herald reported that the school board unanimously approved separation agreements May 9 with Superintendent Michael Robey and Aldo Calderin, the assistant superintendent for human resources and public relations. With Robey’s contract ending two years before it was supposed to expire, he will be owed $244,517 in 24 semimonthly severance checks next year and $8,416 for 10 unused vacation days. Calderin is owed $164,244 in severance and $7,723 for 15 unused off days, according to the Daily Herald.

Robey was making $206,150 in base pay this year, and Calderin was making $134,934. The school board president told the Daily Herald the separation was “amicable” and was not because of any ‘fault or misconduct.”

But this is a big cost for taxpayers. This costly severance deal underscores the need for residents to be vigilant and keep a close eye when school districts consider bloated contracts and accumulate administrative waste – especially for a village like Lombard, located in DuPage County. DuPage County taxpayers pay the second highest property taxes in the state, and the 27th highest nationally.

Property taxes largely fund schools, but much of that money never sees the classroom. Administrative salaries in school districts end up consuming a significant portion of public funding. More than three-quarters of Illinois’ superintendents have six-figure salaries, and many also get additional benefits in car and housing allowances, as well as bonuses. These high salaries then lead to pension benefits of $2 million-$6 million each over the course of their retirements.

With 859 school districts in Illinois – the fifth-highest total in the country, consuming nearly $27 billion in local property taxes collected by local governments – that administrative bloat adds up. Just by cutting that number of school districts in half, the state could save $3 billion to $4 billion in pension costs over the next 30 years.

Taxpayers should be aware when school boards are negotiating new contracts for high-priced administrators. In downstate Belleville – where the median income is $43,318 – the Belleville Township School District 201 School Board in April renewed five contracts for administrators all worth more than $130,000 per year. Those six-figure salaries help drive up the local property taxes, roughly a third of which in Belleville go to District 201.

Administrative compensation like in Lombard, Belleville or in many of the other hundreds of Illinois school districts is out of line with what taxpayers can afford. Greater scrutiny on administrative waste, and a push for consolidation and other cost-saving measures would help taxpayers overburdened with property taxes, and students, who are seeing money diverted away from the classroom.

Want more? Get stories like this delivered straight to your inbox.

Thank you, we'll keep you informed!