Wrapping up the CFT contract negotiations: the facts

As mentioned earlier, I have been on a quest to find the facts behind salaries. After waiting and waiting and not getting anywhere by waiting, I decided to FOIA the raw data and analyze it myself. Getting the data into an electronic spreadsheet was extremely time-consuming, and thus I am proud to present my work here and let anyone view the spreadsheet for themselves. The first “worksheet” is an index pointing to and explaining the other worksheets.

It is not my intention to cast either the CFT or the Administration/BOE in a particular light. Rather, this is my academic work on finding facts and figures. I also wish to make it quite clear that I am a strong supporter of the teachers; I would be remiss if this post were used to disparage teachers in any way.


There is a bit of consternation on both sides of the fence related to terms like “raises” and “incentives”. I am studiously attempting to avoid those terms and refer simply to “increases”, the observation of how a salary changes.

As I read through the teacher contracts of the past 10 years, it was clear to me that a salary has many components and that the salary schedule is a rather complex matrix of longevity increases and increases due to continuing education. I cannot hope to explain or understand why there are some years with very strange patterns as demonstrated via the “heatmap” worksheet; for instance, in 2009 a massive increase was given to 6th year teachers in the BA track. In 2012, sizable increases were doled out to two steps in the MA+30 track and the MA+60 track, each. It is also interesting to visualize how the salary schedule “freezes” at a certain point for those in the BA track; some teachers in 2011 received no salary change whatsoever, if they were in the BA track.

I do confess, Craig Walker challenged me to take a closer look at salaries which spurred me further to dig up the numbers. He suggested I take down a previous chart that showed teacher salary increases lagging behind the Consumer Price Index (CPI); even though I now know that the previous chart is biased and one-sided, I have decided to leave that chart “as is” because it demonstrates how hard it is to get real truth in certain circumstances.


So these are my facts. I have shown you all my work, my sources and my results. Please check them as you see fit.

Next time we have teacher contract negotiations, this is the kind of data I want to see. The fact that the data is archived in a printed format makes this entire exercise significantly more challenging, but not impossible.

8 Responses to “Wrapping up the CFT contract negotiations: the facts”

  1. pattsi Says:

    Bravo. I do hope that the next round of salary increase discussions that there will be reference to this information now in the public domain. This information ought to have been available to the public while the recent negotiations proceeded so the taxpayers would better understand the situation.

  2. charlesdschultz Says:

    Exactly my point! 🙂 Contracts are up in 3 years, so start planning ahead for 2016.

  3. Laurie Says:

    I do believe the spreadsheet to the right was provided in Unit 4’s sharing once required. Please remember, this is the first year information was ‘mandated’ to be shared. I would completely agree, that for transparency and a better presentation of the ‘facts’, this is good for all concerned. I’d rather deal in a facts based discussion versus he said she said scenario.

    • charlesdschultz Says:

      Here is what I found on the Unit 4 website:
      2012-2013 Salary schedule
      Proposed schedules from 2013 through 2016: note, the individuals cells of each step/lane combination almost NEVER receive a blanket rate

      I received two salary schedules (2003 – 2005) via email that were not in the printed bargaining agreements. I am not aware that any other salary schedule is otherwise provided electronically by Unit 4.

      Laurie, thank you for pointing out that this is the first year the ISBE laws mandated public reporting of this information. I have since learned that the ISBE also mandated the reporting of teacher salaries in 2012, but that same law was postponed this year because the mandated format was changed. Hence, the information will still be made public for 2013, just at a later date.

  4. Craig Walker Says:

    Great Work Charles ! I am happy teachers are being paid above CPI on a double digit percentage basis (assuming avg salary of $50k) . It is also my hope that the teacher membership will hold their union reps accountable for essentially lying to their membership on the pay versus CPI issue. The union reps generated personal attacks on Board members and Administration staff using their CPI data to further an argument of teachers being disrespected. It was wrong and should never be repeated again.

    Again great work Charles, I don’t know how you do it but you put in the work and got the real data which is very useful and fun to analyze. The whole community should appreciate your efforts.

  5. Lori Says:

    Will we be holding the board of education accountable for using their position of power to email our their side of the situation to all of the families of Unit 4, Craig? Are we going yo be dredging up what happened in the last month or moving on? I want to move on from the anger, and your comment just brought things back. I had a great conversation with a board member after all was said and done, and there was no attacking or condescension. I hope you can find a way to move on, too.

    • Lori Says:

      Sorry for the spelling mistakes. I seem to have more errors when I don’t type on an actual keyboard. My point of my last post was not to keep the finger pointing going. We could go back and forth with the “You did this, you did that.” But the issue has been resolved for the time being. Hopefully we will do a better job, in 3 years when contracts are due, to maintain respect and remember what we have learned.

  6. Craig Walker Says:

    I agree Lori time to move on. But it is important to learn from the mistakes of the past . It’s the only way we grow and I believe both sides have grown through this process . All good stuff. What is also great is people like Charles and yourself who care passionately about the District. The standard of excellence is in large part measured by those who care.

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