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Commentary: Why Illinois Is in Trouble – High Paid Public Employees Cost Taxpayers $17 Billion

Commentary by Adam Andrzejewski originally published by and

There are 132,188 public employees and retirees in Illinois who earned $100,000 or more last year.

Auditors at found almost 500 educators in Illinois public schools had salaries between $200,000 and $439,000. Small-towns city managers made up to $341,300, and three doctors at the University of Illinois at Chicago earned between $1 million and $2.1 million.

This is as crime increases, test scores drop among public school students, and inflation decimates private-sector paychecks. This doesn’t stop the Illinois public employee class from living the good life.

Well-paid barbers working for State Corrections trimmed off $104,000, janitors at the Chicago Transit Authority cleaned up with $143,634 paychecks, bus drivers in Chicago picked up $242,812 in pay, and suburban community college presidents made $418,677, we found from payroll data.

In 2021, 26,904 educators earned six-figure salaries, while 16,592 retirees pocketed $100,000 pensions. That’s as test scores dropped, with only 31 percent of students reading at grade level. There were 18 school superintendents who made $300,000, and another 18 retired school superintendents received $300,000 in retirement pensions.

Crime is out of control in Chicago not because police and fire employees are underpaid but because of political will. The Chicago police and fire departments paid 600 employees between $200,000 and $480,000 last year. There were 41 street light repair workers who made between $100,000 and $196,123, and 61 city sign painters, who made up to $145,341.

The boss at the city auto pound collected $124,783 in pay, while the janitors there made six-figures too, up to $125,783. In Chicago Public Schools, then-CEO Janice K. Jackson served until June 30, 2021, and made $361,762 — $298,923 in salary with $62,839 in benefits.

Her salary alone exceeded the pay of the U.S. Secretary of Education — $203,500.

The high pay wasn’t tied to student achievement, because student scores dropped. Just 26 percent of 11th-grade students perform at grade level in math and 70 percent of students could not read at grade level.

There are plenty more examples of the reckless use of taxpayer dollars with no consideration given to job performance.

Adam Andrzejewski – The #WasteOfTheDay is brought to you by the forensic auditors at

This article was originally published by RealClearPolicy and made available via RealClearWire.

Deneen Borelli

Deneen Borelli is the author of Blacklash: How Obama and the Left are Driving Americans to the Government Plantation. Deneen is a contributor with Newsmax Broadcasting. She is a former Fox News contributor and has appeared regularly on “Hannity,” “Fox & Friends,” “Your World with Neil Cavuto,” and “America’s Newsroom.” She has also appeared on Fox Business Network programs “Making Money with Charles Payne,” “The Evening Edit with Liz MacDonald,” and “Cavuto: Coast to Coast.” Previously, Deneen appeared on MSNBC, CNN, the BBC and C-SPAN. In addition to television, Deneen co-hosted radio programs on the SiriusXM Patriot channel with her husband Tom. Recently, Deneen co-hosted the Reigniting Liberty podcast with Tom. Deneen is a frequent speaker at political events, including the FreedomWorks 9.12.2009 March on D.C. which drew a crowd estimated at over 800,000 people. Deneen is also an Ambassador with, a social media platform that promotes free speech, and with the America First Policy Institute (AFPI) which advances policies that put Americans first. Deneen testified before the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Natural Resources in May 2011 and before the Ohio House Public Utilities Committee in December 2011. Previously, Deneen was a host, Outreach Director with overseeing its outreach program, a Project 21 Senior Fellow, and Manager of Media Relations with the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE). Prior to joining CORE, Deneen worked at Philip Morris USA for 20 years. During her corporate career at Philip Morris she worked in various positions, her last as Project Management Coordinator in the Information Management department where she was responsible for the department’s mandated quality processes, communications, sales information and database management. Deneen began her Philip Morris career as a secretary and advanced to positions of increasing responsibilities. Deneen worked full-time and attended classes at night for 11 years to earn her B.A. in Managerial Marketing from Pace University, New York City. Deneen served on the Board of Trustees with The Opportunity Charter School in Harlem, New York. She appeared in educational videos for children, worked as a runway fashion model, and auditioned for television commercials. Her interests include ancient history, pistol target shooting, photography, and volunteering at her church. Deneen currently resides in Connecticut with her husband Tom.

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