Illinois School Uses ‘Stimulus’ $$ For Raises and Bonuses While Raising Property Taxes

-By Warner Todd Huston

Arrogance is an ugly thing. But it seems that Grayslake School Board Superintendent Ellen Correll has it in spades. Not only did she and four other board members vote to increase its tax levy on the community, but she also announced that she used federal “stimulus” money to dole out raises and bonuses to teachers and administrators.

The school board claims that it needs to raise the tax levy by 8.3 percent because of shortfalls in operating costs. Tax rates are limited on existing properties and is capped by law so due to this the tax hit on older properties would not be as great as 8.3 percent. New properties, however, are not capped.

But in this economy, who can afford property taxes to go up yet again? As school board member Michael Carbone said in his comments, statistics show that in 2009 one in three houses sold in the district were in distress and in 2010 it was 50%.

Shockingly, as Correll and her board are crying poor and demanding more money, the school board turned around and used so-called stimulus money for luxuries and payoffs instead of applying it to the supposedly much needed operation costs.

The Daily Herald reports that thousands of the district’s stimulus cash went to the bonuses.

Records show 10 school building administrators at District 46 were in line for bonuses from a pot of $55,000 from the Education Jobs Fund. In all, the district earmarked $435,000 of the $733,028 for the bonuses that Correll said are allowed under the federal program.

If the school is in such financial straits, why exactly is the board doling out raises and bonuses to teachers and administrators? Does the fact that it is “allowed” make it morally right to use emergency spending cash from the federal government to give luxurious bonuses to workers while still crying poor and wanting to raise everyone’s property taxes?

Residents are not happy, in any case. During the school board meeting roughly 70 citizens attended and were overwhelmingly against the property tax raise.

So it’s a Merry Christmas in bloated bonuses and raises for the teachers and administrators of the Grayslake, Illinois schools all at the expense of the taxpayers of the United States of America.

I’ll bet, dear reader, that you didn’t even know you were this school district’s secret Santa!

(A video of the meeting can be seen HERE.)
“The only end of writing is to enable the reader better to enjoy life, or better to endure it.”
–Samuel Johnson

Warner Todd Huston is a Chicago based freelance writer. He has been writing opinion editorials and social criticism since early 2001 and before that he wrote articles on U.S. history for several small American magazines. His political columns are featured on many websites such as Andrew Breitbart’s,, and, as well as,,,, among many, many others. Mr. Huston is also endlessly amused that one of his articles formed the basis of an article in Germany’s Der Spiegel Magazine in 2008.

For a full bio, please CLICK HERE.

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