Education Desk: ISBE Officials Mum On Fringe Benefits

Oct 21, 2015

State School Superintendent Tony Smith
Credit Illinois State Board of Education

Members of Illinois' House Government Administration Committee hoped to grill Superintendent Tony Smith about expensive perks he gets on top of his $225,000 salary. But the invitation was declined by Board Chair James Meeks, who sent a letter to the committee saying he wanted to discuss the request with the school board. A day later at the state board’s meeting, Smith referred reporters to Meeks.

"So the conversation to have with the chairman, about the choices, like how we're responding? You can ask him," Smith said.

The board's new public information officer told reporters that Meeks was unavailable. 

Gov. Bruce Rauner appointed Meeks and Smith. Smith's contract includes a clause that allows him to perform annual self-evaluations before receiving raises and a stipend to bring his pension in line with a more generous plan that hasn't been available to new state hires since 2011.