Update, 8 p.m. Thurs. Dec. 20
Patch has received the following statement from Jim Pergander, business agent for Lake County Federal of Teachers Local 504, the District 46 teachers' union:
Previously, it was announced in the event of a strike Jan. 16 school would be called off. We believe that decision was a wise choice. It is best in the long run to cancel school if, unfortunately, a job action becomes necessary, resolve the issues then resume and complete a full school year with the student's actual teachers delivering instruction.
It appears the board now wants to keep the schools open, using 'temporary' certified teachers, then after a settlement is reached, to resume with a shortened school year with the children’s actual teachers. In effect, the board wants to use 'temporary' certified teachers to babysit the children of the community and to have those days of non-instruction count as actual instructional school days for the purpose of fulfilling a state mandated school year.
We believe such an action would shortchange the community’s children and ultimately, become nullified by the Regional Office of Education. Furthermore, the board's action on last night's levy shows the board believes the district is not in need of new funds. We were of the belief, being told many times by the board, the district's educational fund was in deficit and in need of new funds.
We had thought it was that deficit that was preventing the board from accepting our modest proposal: which is basically no increase in the first year of the contract and a salary schedule freeze with two delayed steps in the second year. Last night's board action underscores our belief the district can afford our proposal and should settle with us. They just don't want to.
District 46 officials say they are hopeful the Jan. 16 teacher strike can be avoided, but just in case, applications for temporary substitute certified and non-certified staff are being accepted through Jan. 15.
The following statement from the school board was posted Thursday on the district's website:
The Board of Education is hopeful that a new contract with its teachers will be successfully negotiated without disruption to the education of the students. However, it must also prepare in the event those efforts prove unsuccessful, there are no further discussions and the teachers strike.
The Board of Education may consider providing services to students during a strike, if feasible. The Board of Education will collect applications from appropriately certified teachers and PSRP to provide services on a temporary basis in the place of those teachers who choose to participate in the strike.
In addition, the Board of Education will also be collecting applications for the PSRP positions. While the District and the PSRP union are not yet at impasse and the PSRP have not filed a strike notice, the Board of Education needs to be prepared in the event that the PSRP/District talks prove to be unsuccessful.
Current District 46 staff may elect to apply for any vacancy.
Details of the vacancies for which applications will be accepted are included in the PDF attached to this Patch article. It may also be downloaded from the district website.
Superintendent Ellen Correll told Patch, "The board has not determined the length it is willing to employ substitutes. A lot has to be determined and discussed with respect to where the money will come from and the cost."
Current teachers willing to work should e-mail Correll at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Out-of-district teachers should refer to the Lake County Regional Office of Education website by clicking here.