By Kyle Olson

CHICAGO – Chicago Public Schools have enjoyed a spending binge for years and it is finally catching up with the school district. Data made available by the Family Taxpayers Foundation shows 1,507 school employees were paid $100,000 or more in 2011.  The bulk of those are school principals.

The highest paid employee is high school art teacher Leslie Umbles, who was paid a handsome $234,386.  This was a result of a state hearing officer ordering the school district to rehire Umbles and compensate her with back pay, to the tune of $138,142.54 and a pension contribution of $9,670, according to school district documents.

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Janet Jones, the second-highest paid teacher, made $183,777 in 2011, which included $88,286.53 in back pay.  That massive amount stemmed from a similar reinstatement, though the school district was concerned enough by Jones’ conduct to give her a 30-day unpaid suspension, according to school district documents.

The document also states Jones refused to “sign a settlement agreement in this latter.”  In Chicago, like so many other government schools, the inmates are running the asylum.

According to Census data, the median household income in the city of Chicago in 2010 was $46,877.  That means 24,783 Chicago school employees – or 94.1 percent – were above the city’s median household income.

EAGnews has been unable to obtain the circumstances for which Umbles and Jones were originally terminated.  But given the union-friendly arbitration process, and the fact that some employees can protest and be reinstated, it’s obvious the system is set up protect the interests of adults and their jobs.