Cahokia School District 187 spends $50 million per year to teach approximately 1,846 students, and while some of its administrators are among the highest paid public sector workers in the county, a recent report card on student achievement shows dismal results.
According to the 2017 Illinois District Report Card prepared by the State Board of Education, only 16.7 percent of students graduating in Cahokia are ready for college course work, compared to 50.5 percent statewide.
The four-year graduation rate at Cahokia is 66.7 percent compared to 87 percent statewide. Its dropout rate is 5.6 percent compared to 2.1 percent statewide.
In the 2016-17 school year, 5.1 percent of Cahokia students met or exceeded academic standards compared to 34.5 percent statewide. Students performed better in the 2015-16 school year with 5.4 percent meeting or exceeding standards, compared to 33.2 percent statewide.
Cahokia CUSD 187 consists of 10 schools - six elementary, three middle and one high school.
According to 2016 salary figures for state-paid workers in St. Clair County, three Cahokia CUSD 187 employees were among the top 20 highest paid.
Superintendent Ryan Arthur was paid $188,468; chief operating officer Harvey Arnett was paid $180,792 and now retired assistant superintendent Debra Tippett was paid $162,189.
Due in part to economic and social conditions, achievement in O'Fallon District 203 - which spends $30 million to operate one high school with 585 students - and O'Fallon District 90 - which spends $35 million to operate five elementary and two middle schools with 2,440 students, was better than in Cahokia.
The state report card shows that the percentage of low income students at Cahokia is 88.9 percent; at O'Fallon 203 is 24.4 percent and at O'Fallon 90 is 21.8. Parental contact at Cahokia is 78 percent, at O'Fallon 203 is 97.2 percent and at O'Fallon 90 is 100 percent.
Compared to Cahokia, O'Fallon 203 students are better prepared for college course work at 74.2 percent; the four-year graduation rate is 94.4 percent; the dropout rate is 0.9 percent and overall performance shows that in the last two school years, approximately 50 percent of students met or exceeded standards, well above state averages of approximately 34 percent.
Three O'Fallon school administrators made the top 20 highest paid state workers' list: second among the 20 was Darcy Benway, superintendent at OTHS 203, $216,684; Richard Bickel, principal at OTHS 203, $172,419; and Carrie Hruby, superintendent at O'Fallon 90, $157,837.
Only one non-school administrator/instructor made it on the top 20 highest paid state workers in St. Clair County (excluding judges), State's Attorney Brendan Kelly at a salary of $166,505.
Top 20 highest paid state workers (excluding judges) in St. Clair County in 2016:
Georgia Costello, president at Southwestern Illinois College (SWIC), $219,157
Darcy Benway, superintendent at OTHS 203, $216,684
Craig Fiegel, superintendet at Mascoutah CUSD 19, $214,845
Jeffrey Dosier, superintendent at Belleville 201, $196,099,
Ryan Arthur, superintendent at Cahokia CUSD 187, $188,468
Matthew Klosterman, superintendent at Belleville 118, $183,009
Harvey Arnett, chief operating officer at Cahokia CUSD 187, $180,792
Dennis Shannon, economics professor at SWIC, $179,996
Clay Louis Baitman, vice president of instruction at SWIC, $175,913
Richard Bickel, principal at OTHS 203, $172,419
Matthew Stines, superintendent at Grant 110, $169,441
Suzette Lambert, superintendent at Signal Hill 181, $168,031
Brendan Kelly, state's attorney, $166,505
Debra Tippett, assistant superintendent at Cahokia CUSD 187, $162,189
Louis Obernuefemann, superintendent at Belle Valley 119, $161,833
Barbara Daley, president of SWIC faculty union, $161,555
Thomas Birkner, music teacher at Belleville 201, $156,641
Carrie Hruby, superintendent at O'Fallon 90, $157,837
Bryan Mitchell, teacher/coach at Belleville 201, $153,647
Mark Peter Eichenlaub, vice president of student, campus and community services at SWIC, $151,358