Nine days after teachers in Grayslake District 46 voted to authorize a strike as a result of the school board declaring an impasse in contract negotiations, both sides have made their best and final offers available for public inspection.
Negotiations will continue, however.
Jim Pergander, a representative for the Lake County Federation of Teachers Local 504, said the first negotiation session with a federal mediator will take place Tuesday, Oct. 30.
By law, the union must give 10 days strike notice.
As required by the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE), the best and final offers from the school board and union have posted on the State of Illinois Educational Labor Relations Board Website. Patch has also attached the PDFs to this article.
According to the documents, the school board and union have reached a tentative agreement on all non-economic items brought forth during negotiations, but sticking points remain related to salary, retirement and flex benefits teachers can receive in lieu of health insurance.
The board is also offering the union a one-year contract for the 2012-13 school year. The union wants two years.
- The board proposes a salary freeze with no step or lane changes. The union proposes a 3 percent increase that would cost $494,586 for the 2012-13 school year and $509,424 for the 2013-14 school year.
- The board proposes reducing the retirement option of receiving up to four years of 6 percent increases to three years of 5 percent increases.
- The board proposes reducing flex benefits from $6,292 to $3,146 and using the money saved to fund a $1,300 per teacher bonus, excluding teachers who've submitted their notice of retirement.
- The board proposes a pay freeze on extra duty and other stipends, while the union proposes a 2.5 percent increase that would cost $7,341 for the 2012-13 school year and $7,524 2013-14 school year.
According to the union:
Teachers in Grayslake Consolidated Community School District 46 have offered a fair contract proposal that the district can afford. The board’s proposed pay freeze with a small stipend would actually cause teachers to see a cut in their take home pay when you consider the cuts to insurance benefits.
Teachers’ salaries are already below average when compared to area districts and the board’s proposal would make them even less competitive.
The school district still has a solid $8.2 million surplus as reported to the Illinois State Board of Education in the most recent financial report that is available. The district can afford to make teachers in the classroom a priority.
Teachers’ have made concessions in the past to help the district’s financial status and they are still willing to negotiate a fair agreement, but they don’t believe the board’s demand for severe cuts is necessary.
According to the school board:
Community Consolidated School District 46 has weathered the economic challenges of the last several years. During this period, the school district managed to avoid the significant staff cuts so many other school districts were forced to enact. Also, during this period, the board of education continued to provide salary increases to its teachers.
It is important to understand that for the last ten-plus years, the school district’s teachers have always received a salary increase. Even in the 2010-2011 school year, when the teachers agreed to forego a portion of their negotiated salary increase, the school district ended up paying each teacher a stipend from ARRA funds such that they actually made more money that year than they originally negotiated.
Unfortunately, due to the protracted down-turn in the national, state, and local economies, the school district’s available resources cannot keep pace with anticipated expenses.
According to the board, the district will see a $1.45 million reduction in general state aid compared with 2012, and federal grant revenue is anticipated to decrease by about 25 percent. The board says the district cannot make up these decreases in revenue through its tax levy
The board also says it has no other sources of revenue to pay teacher salary increases, nor does it have any available long-term borrowing capacity.
Last month, the board passed a 2012-13 budget that includes a $1.28 million deficit.
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