Superintendent Harry Griffith: 2nd Highest Paid in the State

March 3, 2011


Lake Forest tops the charts for more than just ACT test scores; Superintendent Harry Griffith 2nd Highest Paid in the State!

Lake Forest tops the charts for more than just ACT test scores; Superintendent Harry Griffith 2nd Highest Paid in the State!Many in our community have questioned the relationship between Superintendent Harry Griffith and the Lake Forest Board of Education for School District 67 and High School District 115. It often appears to outsiders that the Boards of Education report to Mr. Harry Griffith rather than the other way around. This is a very unusual and concerning situation since this is not the way it is supposed to work.

I have attended several board meetings and there never seems to be any discussion of the issues our schools face. Instead, all taxpayers hear are wonderful accolades and glowing reports about everything Lake Forest Schools face and about the world class education our public schools provide. Well, this must be the only school in the country that has no problems and does not need to improve any area and doesn’t have data to back up its claims. Even when I asked for basic information, I was met with a great deal of run around and resistance and an invitation to a private meeting with Mr. Harry Griffith. After talking with some community members I realize I am not alone. This seems to be the modus operandi of the school administration.

What is our administration hiding and what is the role of our board in getting some answers? I have been asking a lot of questions lately as I believe the public and the taxpayers in our community and the parents of the children in our schools need some answers. I am writing a series of articles outlining what I have discovered.

If you start at the school district websites, they are very hard to navigate; there is little transparency and information is often out of date. With the wonderful resources in our community, I wonder why we can’t easily develop a website that represents our school well. If you dig deeper on the website you will find buried way deep down information about our administrators’ compensation. Let’s talk about that.

Mr. Harry Griffith is very clever about the Shared Services Arrangement as he gets to hide his real compensation behind the veil of two separate school districts. Since each Lake Forest school district reports only half of Mr. Harry Griffith’s compensation on the State reports, the reports must be combined to get the full picture of his compensation. I did that and guess what I learned? Dr. Griffith was the #2 highest paid Superintendent in the State of Illinois in 2010! This is an upgrade from the year before when Mr. Griffith was the 5th highest paid Superintendent in the State. What exactly are we getting for that price?

Sometimes I think our School Boards forget that our school administrators are public employees and civil servants. Why is Mr. Harry Griffith paid with such a lucrative compensation package like he is a Fortune 500 giant? Is Mr. Harry Griffith really here to serve the best interests of our community and taxpayers? I can’t understand why the District 67 and District 115 Boards of Education decided to spend our taxpayer dollars like this and I think this agreement deserves heightened public awareness.

As you can observe, my Lake Forest Superintendent is quite lavishly paid. This is only the beginning of my reports. As a citizen reporter, other articles will follow as I continue my transparency project into Lake Forest School Districts 67 & 115.

As a Liberty Leader at the Illinois Policy Institute, I am following through with its state-wide transparency project of opening up government to allow the sunshine in. As such I have opted to look at the issue of transparency in my own local Lake Forest School Districts, 67 & 115.


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