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Study: Former area school superintendents get top pensions

Published: Wednesday, March 13, 2013 5:30 a.m. CDT

Several former area school superintendents topped the list of those collecting the biggest pensions among Kane County educators, according to a study released Tuesday by the Chicago-based organization, Taxpayers United Of America.

“Illinois is in horrible financial shape, and yet taxpayers are still expected to pour their hard-earned money into a failed government pension system,” Taxpayers United of America President Jim Tobin said in a news conference at Baymont Inn and Suites in North Aurora.

With an annual pension of $172,837, former Batavia school superintendent Ed Cave is ranked fourth on the list. According to the study, Cave has collected $984,531 to date.

Former West Aurora school superintendent Sherry Eagle, who has an annual pension of $171,791 and has collected about $1.1 million to date, ranked fifth, the study said.

Sixth is former St. Charles school superintendent Francis Kostel, who has an annual pension of $167,179 and has collected about $1.2 million to date, according to the study. Eighth is former St. Charles school superintendent John Vanko, who has an annual pension of $148,129 and has collected about $2 million to date, according to the study.

Currently, 104 retired Kane County educators are collecting pensions of more than $100,000 a year that accumulate to as much as $8 million in estimated lifetime pension payouts, Tobin said.

The full list is at the group’s website, www.taxpayersunited.org. The group also did a study of top pensions among Waubonsee Community College employees as of October 2012. With an annual pension of $230,596, former WCC president John Swalec topped the list. He has collected $2.2 million to date, the study stated.

The study also estimated Swalec’s lifetime pension payout at $4.3 million.

West Aurora School District officials said they had no comment on the study. Other school districts and Waubonsee did not respond for comment.

Rae Ann McNeilly, executive director of Taxpayers United of America, is a North Aurora resident.

“I know the reality of it because I live it every day,” she said. “I’m angered by the whole system.”

Tobin said Illinois’ pension system will collapse by 2015 unless there is immediate reform, such as raising the retirement age to 67, increasing employee contributions by 10 percent, and increasing healthcare contributions to 50 percent.

“It’s mathematically impossible to tax your way out of this problem,” he said.

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