Jillian Rose Bernas points to school districts cushioning the pension of retiring educators while the state operated without a balanced budget as an example of Springfield’s deterioration.
“This salary spiking behavior is indicative of a culture among elected officials of catering to their friends, while disregarding the taxpayers in their communities that they were elected to represent,” Bernas told the North Cook News. “They do not practice the same discretion they would with their own money, disassociating with the fact that those are taxpayer dollars in an effort to appease their friends.”
Media outlets have reported that while the state’s public school system struggled to sustain itself, some public schools were paying out millions in penalties to some of the state’s largest pension funds after administering cash and benefits in excess of the legally mandated threshold.
“There is no penalty for school board members that approve salary spiking,” said Bernas, who is running against incumbent Rep. Michelle Mussman (D-Schaumburg) in the 56th House District. “Legislation was passed that penalizes school boards for spiking salaries beyond 6 percent and then 3 percent. However, it has not stopped this behavior. That is because the monetary penalties are paid with taxpayer money, so there is no real penalty to school board members. They just raise taxes.”