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D46 Residents Voice Concerns Over Pending Strike

With the D46 school board and the teachers' union running out of time, the board hosts a 'Town Meeting' to discuss contract negotiations and sticking points with concerned residents over a pending strike.

With a strike date less than one week away, at least 50 residents turned out for a 'Town Meeting' Wednesday night hosted by the Grayslake School District 46 Board. The public was given a chance to voice concerns about the contract negotiations between the board and the teachers' union.

One concern brought up by several residents was the safety of students if a strike were to happen.

"The substitutes that would come in are not trained on the safety procedures in the school," said Colleen Wade of Grayslake, questioning how the board could ensure the students are safe in the case of an emergency with 99% of the staff unfamiliar with the buildings.

The district is accepting applications for temporary substitute certified teachers and non-certified staff in the event of a strike.

Superintendent Ellen Correll said they are interviewing all substitute teachers and would have them trained to ensure the safety of the students is the top priority.

Another concern raised was about working parents, and where they could send their children. Correll said the plan is to provide childcare at Meadowview and Prairieview Schools.

At the first town hall meeting Correll stated that she has reached out to the district's Champions childcare program, which agreed to offer programs from 6:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. at those schools for $33 per day, per student.

One bus driver urged the board to remember who is ultimately being affected. "I saw it when we consolidated bus routes; some of the kids are on the bus for 25 to 45 minutes. It has affected the students. These little things are big adaptations for the kids, please remember that."

Another parent suggested the board consider an if-then clause in the contract in regards to state funding changes. According to the board,

Beth Schwab said teachers may be more willing to negotiate a contract if they see a future plan for grant writing if state funding is decreased.

The Contract Terms

The board and union's 'best and final offers' were brought forth at the last bargaining session Nov. 28. The terms currently stand as:

  • Both sides agree to a 2-year contract term.
  • The district is sticking to a salary freeze with no step or lane changes for the first year. In the second year the board has offered to give all certified staff who have not submitted for a notice to retire a $1,000 stipend, which could cost the district about $300,000.
  • The union agrees to continue working at their current 2011-12 salary schedule for next school year, but they want lane change compensation paid in February 2013, which would cost $200,000. Teachers are also asking for two salary steps scheduled for Sept. 2013 and March 2014, which would cost $750,000, according to the district.

In the Event of a Strike

Supt. Correll said they will continue to post updates regarding negotiations on the D46 website.

In the event of a strike on Jan. 16 Correll said parents should check the website often and that the automated phone system would call all parents Tuesday night, Jan. 15.

The Next Step

The school board and union are scheduled to meet Friday, January 11 in hopes of coming to an agreement.

Ray Millington, D46 school board president and D46 union president Diane Elfering can agree on one thing. Both have told Patch they are willing to meet as long as it takes to reach an agreement in hopes of averting a strike.

HM January 14, 2013 at 12:34 PM
Terri - not birds of a feather at all. This was not a group of friends who went out to enjoy each other's company. Never said it was a representative sample - but it was a very diverse group of people, and everyone had the same point of view. I was struck by that. And a number of these were parents who are extremenly involved and visible at district 46, with extremely smart and engaged students. Per Capita does not work with regards to property tax- I pay that as a household, not as an idividual, so household income is the appropriate variable to look at in that instance. Not sure where else Per Capita applies in my statement. Average teacher salaries are higher than the per capita income in Grayslake. Unless you know what the average household income is where one or more contributors is a teacher, there is really no other comparison to be made.
Jose Cuervo January 14, 2013 at 01:12 PM
@ Terri: "then triple the levy"; can't be done by law, but you know that. (opposite of the posture for someone who thinks they should accept a freeze).You argue to argue. @ Swanson: I think my taxes @ over $10k/yr are enough to provide a quality education. It's why I don't move that and selling your home here is next to impossible. The district is in deficit. The community is hurting (as stated by volumes of posters here). If that offends you to the point that you tell someone to move and assume they don't value quality education, then I suggest the problem is yours. @ Joe: The avg. teachers salary in D46 is a little over $55k. Who cares if that is over or under the state avg.? Right now Grayslake can't afford to increase that. I appreciate and respect the teachers. I talk with many in and out of this district . I talk to neighbors, parents, businesses. I disagree that the community is in support of the union. Quite the opposite. They are the silent majority-no surprise given the venom those of us who speak up against the union's offer have to endure. How many teachers do you think are being held hostage by the choices and suggestions of Jim Pergander and the Union? I agree with HM, a lot are unfortunate pawns in this. Many, albeit quietly, don't want to strike. Many want the union to accept the offer. You can bet not one wants to lost their job so another can have more.
Terri January 14, 2013 at 01:20 PM
Teachers do not make, on average, what an individual Grayslake resident makes, on average. "Per capita" is not an individual earner. http://bit.ly/RRYyhe
Terri January 14, 2013 at 01:23 PM
Regardless, if ALL the BOE candidates will be there, it will be attendance worthy. If only the right-wingers will be there, a list of names would suffice.
Terri January 14, 2013 at 01:30 PM
Jose This community is far better off today than yesterday. Everyone has taken a paper hit in net worth from real estate. But incomes have risen at above average rates. If this doesn't describe you, the statistics suggest you're in the minority. Clearly, what we pay in taxes is not enough. Yes, it's high, but that's how it works in a bedroom community. Want lower taxes? Move to a community where you'll get less house for the dollar. It's a balance.
Benjamin Dover January 14, 2013 at 01:50 PM
Terri...I looked at the site you referenced. According to that site "Median Per Capita Income" is about $36K (stop looking at the "Median Family Income"...in case you weren't aware "Per Capita" means per individual...compare apples to apples). That data is for 2009. Using the starting salary you reference, a teacher starting in 99-00 at $30k, they would be at $54.4K in 2009...substantially higher than the $36K in the site YOU reference. But wait...there's more, the percent pay increases that Jose Cuervo mentions does not include step or lane changes for the teachers, only to the base salary at every level. So either you aren't very good at math (which I don't belive is the case) or you are just...once again...making a completely false argument on behalf of the teachers. This is why you zero credibility. I would be willing to be any amount of money that every teacher who started in D46 in 99-00 at $30K makes far more than $59K...care to take me up on that...I didn't think so. Now go paint your picket sign and get ready for Wednesday.
Scott January 14, 2013 at 02:17 PM
If ANYONE goes, ask the board how the fact that the teachers giving back money the last time the board screwed up the budget is conveniently left out of the meetings. Listening to another night of yada yada by the board and their cronies, that sounds like fun.
Jose Cuervo January 14, 2013 at 02:23 PM
@Terri, site sources that show incomes are rising in Grayslake at above avg. rates. I'll help you with the last 5 years: Average salary raise in D46 (avg. Base & Step) '07-'08: 5.20% '08-'09: 3.96% '09-'10:: 3.96% '10-'11: 2.75% + $1,100 bonus '11-'12: 3.96% Yes, these are above avg. compared to CPI. For once I agree with you!
Benjamin Dover January 14, 2013 at 02:24 PM
http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/per+capita?s=t Somebody had better notify the folks at dictionary.com that "Per Capita" does not mean individual...their first definition: 1. by or for each individual person: income per capita. Oh wait...somebody needs to explain to Terri, in small easy to understand words, that "Per Capita" means individual earner and "Median Household" means amount earned by all wager earners in the house. In case you are still confused Terri...at the top of this post is a link that defines "Per Capita"....maybe you are telling the truth about not being a teacher....I sure hope so.
Lennie Jarratt January 14, 2013 at 02:31 PM
Yes Brad, I will be sharing my right wing agenda of how to pay teachers fairly, how to not cut programs, how to maintain lower class sizes by not RIFing so many teachers each spring all while returning the district to fiscal sustainability. Come see for yourself and make up your own mind. Information is the key to learning.
WorriedParent January 14, 2013 at 02:32 PM
Scott, they didn't give back anything. It was a contract deal and they took "less" of a raise, but they got a raise anyway. And after they gave out the govt refund and passed it out to the teachers as a "thank you" most teachers made a salary above what the increase they "gave up" would have given them.
Terri January 14, 2013 at 02:36 PM
Gee, Ben...I didn't think I'd need to draw a picture... A family in Grayslake is composed of a mother, father, an infant, a pre-schooler, and a 3rd grader. Mom works for a law firm as an associate earning $85k per year. Dad works part-time from home as a graphic designer earning $35k per year. What is their household income? What is the "per capita" income in that household? My link gives you direction, but you really have to read it all.
HM January 14, 2013 at 02:58 PM
Terri - what teachers make relative to anyone else is not at all relevant to any argument here. They agree to work in that profession, knowing they won't get wealthy doing so. A number of my family members are teachers - they understand this well. I have a neighbor who makes a lot more than I do - should my income be bumped up to be more in line with his? We both live in Grayslake! I work really hard, put in hours well beyond 40 per week, and have an advanced degree. Maybe I should threaten to walk off my job because my income is not in line with that of my neighbor! Oh wait - I accepted my job knowing full well what the salary was, and when times are tough, and my employer does not have the money, I don't get a raise, even when I deserve it. That's life. When families are having to pay 10% of their income to property taxes, it is more than too much. You seem to think tripling the levy is fine - please do so for yourself and write a check to Community Consolidate District 46. I'm sure they will appreciate it. No one is stopping you.
Terri January 14, 2013 at 04:01 PM
Based on your statement, you are statistically in the minority. You keep asking teachers to take less because you're making less, but don't feel you should make more when others make more?
Terri January 14, 2013 at 04:01 PM
I will attend.. I want to see your plan...I really do.
Benjamin Dover January 14, 2013 at 04:07 PM
Terri...You just keep pulling numbers and definitions out of your...well you know where you pull them form. On YOUR link, it uses terms such as: Median Household Income - the income of the householder and all other individuals 15 years old and over in the household, whether they are related to the householder or not. Because many households consist of only one person, average household income is usually less than average family income. According to your source, in 2009 in Grayslake it was $85,888. Per capita income is the average income for each person in a particular group. Most commonly, per capita income is computed for various geographic entities, such as ZIP codes (as is the case here). According to your source, in 2009 in Grayslake it was $36,031. Median Family Income is an annual income figure representing the point at which there are as many families earning more than that amount as there are earning less than that amount. According to your source, in 2009 in Grayslake it was $101,061. Your silly example of mom the lawyer and dad the graphic designer means nothing as you just pulled the numbers from thin air. My numbers, from YOUR source are real. The average wage earner in Grayslake makes $36,031. I am but a mere simpleton, so please draw a picture, based on your source, that says something different than the average wage earner in Grayslake makes $36,031. You really do have to read it, and, more importantly, understand the terms used therein.
Charles Johnson January 14, 2013 at 04:33 PM
I suppose its natural to play the BOE shoulda/woulda/coulda game from the past 1-3 years, but that's water under the bridge now. The central question is what is the district going to do, if anything, to fix their fiscal problems going forward given the current and foreseeable financial environment? Its clear that state funding is collapsing and will not improve in the foreseeable future. Historically, the district has been heavily reliant upon state revenue. Here's the GSA payments to for the last several years: FY10 $8.8 Million, FY11 8.1M, FY12 7.7M, FY13 6.3M and my guess for FY14 with an 80% proration from the state will be $5.5M. Also the Trans claim reimbursement has also been cut about $0.7M over the last 4 years and that's not going to improve either. So the revenue losses are real and significant, and are going to continue to worsen. The district has several paths going forward: 1) Do nothing. Cave on the current labor contract, don't fix the structural cost problems and just run deficits until you run out of money. At which point the state takes over the district. This is the Round Lake 116 strategy. 2) Cave on the contract and put a limiting rate increase referendum on the ballot to raise property taxes sufficiently to cover the current and projected decreases in state revenue. Given the economic environment and the taxpayer perspective that the union still wants more, the probability of this passing is zero. Which leaves D46 still stuck in RL116 mode.
Charles Johnson January 14, 2013 at 04:33 PM
3) Begin restructuring the district to live within the realties of the current financial environment. That includes holding firm on union labor costs, evaluating school closures, class sizes, specials, extracurriculars, stipends, retirements, outsourcing services like janitorial and transportation, employee benefits, admin staffing levels, special ed services, etc. IF after all of that, the budget still can't be balanced, then it is an easier case to take a limiting rate increase to the taxpayers.
Lennie Jarratt January 14, 2013 at 04:46 PM
http://grayslake.patch.com/events/grayslake-d46-teacher-strike-townhall
Terri January 14, 2013 at 04:57 PM
Statistics for individual wage earners are available in the document. Per capita is total income divided by total people...working or not, infant or adult. $36k is NOT the average salary for a Grayslake resident. In my example, per capita income is around $24k. That is an actual household in Grayslake.
Benjamin Dover January 14, 2013 at 05:54 PM
Terri....at 8:38 am on Friday, January 11, 2013 you posted "so...a teacher starting in 99-00 at $30,000 works 13 years and invests in a masters degree. This experienced, highly qualified, dedicated teacher now makes $59,000; less than the average salary of a Grayslake resident." Then today: 10:57 am on Monday, January 14, 2013 - "Statistics for individual wage earners are available in the document. Per capita is total income divided by total people...working or not, infant or adult. $36k is NOT the average salary for a Grayslake resident. In my example, per capita income is around $24k. That is an actual household in Grayslake." For both of these examples cite the same reference: http://bit.ly/RRYyhe Your reference state that the "Aggregate household income in Grayslake in 2009: $745,930,991"...again you have to understand the term. Aggregate household income means all the money earned by every person in Grayslake. Your reference states the 2009 population of Grayslake at 21,698. When you divide $745,930,991 by 21,698, you get $34,378. So when you state "In my example, per capita income is around $24k"...what orifice did you pull this number from? After all, you claim "Per capita is total income divided by total people...working or not, infant or adult." As you can see above...you are way off - as usual. But don't worry I completely understand now...you qualify by saying "In my example"...which we all know comes from Fantasyland.
Joe Fox January 14, 2013 at 06:44 PM
Charles, your path #3 is dead-on in my opinion. Thus far, I have seen very little to nothing from the BOE with respect to the other spending categories you mention except for "union labor costs". They have yet to present materials showing how they have exhaustively analyzed different scenarios showing plans to reduce other expenditures over the coming years. The widely-held perception is that union labor costs are the ONLY cure-all. Their extreme focus on this alone has generated much distrust with the union and community. Should teachers alone be responsible for resolving the financial issues? The union definitely has a large part to play, and I'm sure they would be willing to contribute more if they were assured the BOE were doing their proper due diligence. That said, I think it would be extremely disappointing if a strike occurs, given how close negotiations are. The BOE needs to give some on lane changes, and the union needs to give some on pension spiking ... meet in the middle!
Terri January 14, 2013 at 08:26 PM
I tried to make it easy for you with a simple sample. You still don't seem to understand that"per capita" is not "per wage earner". The average individual wage earner in Grayslake makes more than the average Individual D46 teacher. Further, the average individual wage earner in Grayslake will receive a raise in income in the neighborhood of 3%. Why not the average teacher?
Terri January 14, 2013 at 08:30 PM
Good stuff! It would be even better if Charles didn't refer to negotiations as "caving" and joe didn't refer to end-of-career raises as "pension spiking". Those are very loaded, offensive terms and not wholly accurate.
Charles Johnson January 14, 2013 at 08:51 PM
Well, I was going to use capitulate or surrender, but I had reached my character limit on the post and so I went with cave.
Terri January 14, 2013 at 09:07 PM
Charles... In a successful negotiation, both parties win. That could happen in this situation as well. Referring to the course of action as cave, capitulate, or surrender is offensive and inaccurate. In all cases where you used or wanted to use those particular verbs, you were baiting. Number 3 works for me with one change; instead of "holding firm on union labor costs", insert, " negotiate contracts and salaries that in the long term provide financial benefit to the district".
Benjamin Dover January 14, 2013 at 09:10 PM
Per YOUR source: "Aggregate household income in Grayslake in 2009: $745,930,991" "2009 population of Grayslake at 21,698" (this includes every man, woman and child, regardless of age) When you divide $745,930,991 by 21,698, you get $34,378. Where do you get your $24K figure from. I provide clear info where I get my figure from...why can't you? Now you ask: "the average individual wage earner in Grayslake will receive a raise in income in the neighborhood of 3%. Why not the average teacher?" Average Pay Raises for the Past 13 years: D46 Teachers Everybody Else 99-00 9.98% - Average US Worker raise in 1999 - 5.3% 00-01 6.54% - Average US Worker raise in 2000 - 5.2% 01-02 5.78% - Average US Worker raise in 2001 - 2.3% 02-03 5.84% - Average US Worker raise in 2002 - 1.0% 03-04 5.39% - Average US Worker raise in 2003 - 2.4% 04-05 6.37% - Average US Worker raise in 2004 - 4.4% 05-06 5.20% - Average US Worker raise in 2005 - 3.5% 06-07 5.21% - Average US Worker raise in 2006 - 4.4% 07-08 5.20% - Average US Worker raise in 2007 - 4.3% 08-09 3.96% - Average US Worker raise in 2008 - 2.2% 09-10 3.96% - Average US Worker raise in 2010 - (-1.5%) 10-11 2.75% - Average US Worker raise in 2010 - 2.3% 11-12 3.96% - Average US Worker raise in 2011 - 3.0% (source National Average Wage Index) They already got more than their fair share the past 13 years. Why did they deserve more all those years?
Terri January 14, 2013 at 09:34 PM
Ben, Ben, Ben... In my example, phrased as a question you never answered, the per capita answer was $24k.
Lennie Jarratt January 16, 2013 at 10:09 PM
Reminder - 7pm at State Bank of the Lakes, 50 Commerce Dr, Grayslake. Townhall meeting to discuss the strike. Hosted by For Our Children's Future.
James Mench January 17, 2013 at 12:35 AM
Amazing how many want to cheap their childrens education out. You should want the best for them. The best isn't cheap. What the teachers want is hardly out of line. I look at this this way. A babysitter at $2/he /child costs $3000 per child per school year. How much is the school portion of your property taxes? In short, a well paid teacher is cheaper than a poorly paid babysitter.

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