Staffers at the Illinois State Board of Education collected at least $500,000 in severance and payments for unused paid sick and vacation days as they departed from the agency after Gov. Bruce Rauner was elected, the Chicago Tribune reports.
Of that $500,000, former State Schools Superintendent Christopher Koch received $207,000 in severance and payments for several years worth of vacation days he never used. Koch's severance pay, approved by ISBE after new members appointed by Rauner took their seats, was $89,000.
The $500,000 in payouts revealed by the newspaper are raising some eyebrows.
"These are public dollars, and we're in a tight situation. As a matter of policy, these things ought to be looked at and have some rationality," state Rep. David Harris (R-Arlington Heights) told the newspaper.
On the issue of unused vacation days, Harris said, "I am of the use-it-or-lose-it group."
"The vacation days are there to take a vacation, and there is a benefit to taking vacation," he added. "If you choose not to, that is your decision ... but that doesn't mean you should bank the stuff."