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District 46 Schedules Town Meeting on Union Negotiations and Budget

Town meeting set in District 46 to present and discuss teacher contract proposals publicly.

Residents are encouraged to attend a "Town Meeting" hosted by the District 46 School Board at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 11 at Grayslake Middle School to hear and discuss the contract proposals of the teachers' union and board.

There will also be discussion of the effects each proposal would have on the district's deficit budget and along with an update on district finances.

Some progress was made at the last bargaining session between the school board and teachers' union on Nov. 28, but a contract agreement has yet to be reached.

The union's Jan. 16 strike date still stands.

No future negotiating sessions have been scheduled, said Jim Pergander, business agent for the Lake County Federation of Teachers Local 504, but it's likely the federal mediator will attempt to get both sides back to the table after the holidays.

UPDATED: Some Give but No Takers in District 46 Bargaining

Interested parent December 07, 2012 at 12:39 PM
"No future negotiating sessions have been scheduled, said Jim Pergander, business agent for the Lake County Federation of Teachers Local 504..." Really? Then why aren't they striking now? Oh yes, because they want their paid time off over the holidays. Nevermind the parents who will have to take off of work when they strike on Jan. 16th. Selfish!! Tell me again how it's all about the kids!!
Ralf Landmesser December 07, 2012 at 03:48 PM
I want to preface my remarks with this disclaimer - I'm not a teacher, I'm not married to a teacher, I don't have teachers in my family. However, I'm saddened and discouraged by the venomous lashing out against the teachers. Yes, I understand that property taxes are high, but I don't find the teachers' salaries to be out of line. I'm more disgusted with the administrators' salaries. However, this issue is invariably swept under the rug because administrators aren't part of that dirty word, that easy target, the dreaded "union." I looked up the salaries of my child's teachers thanks to the link provided by The Patch. The highest salary earned was in the upper $50,000s. In today's world, that seems to be fine. One of the teachers, who has helped my son immensely is making the princely sum of $35,000. Take about value, that's a steal. Are all of you folks out there who like to talk about teachers only working 8 months ready to take a job that requires at least a college degree, for that staggering $35K? Teachers are so important to our children's development yet they are easily targeted by overly politicized talking points. I want my child's teachers well compensated so they are happy to go to work every day. I want them focused on education, not focused on the fact that teachers in a suburb 20 minutes away make 15-20% more. If we want cheap teachers, we're going to get what we pay for; and I'm a parent who wants more, not less.
Brad Faxton December 07, 2012 at 04:22 PM
Amen!
Terri December 07, 2012 at 04:37 PM
Thanks, Ralf...but save it. This forum doesn't get it, never will and doesn't want to. Show your support at the polls; the more quietly the better.
HAL E BERGER December 07, 2012 at 05:33 PM
We get it !!! BUT THERE IS A BIGGER PICTURE --- We can't sell out our children's future spending what we don't have & neither can any state or local government agency. We all understand that teachers, as well as, the rest of us would like job security, a stable income, and to get paid more, if we can, but the reality isn't about people not appreciating teachers, you are so very far off target, it is about Illinois, the school district, and many families homes currently deficit spending money they do not have. No one should understand spending non critical money we don't have in these times when it is very possible this recession will continue & get much worse. With property values down tax dollars will also be forced down. If we were in better times I might also try to do the best I could to get teachers what they need beyond what they already have, reality is this is not better times and the timing is terrible. Teachers should be there for the children, we agree, and no one is blaming teachers for wanting a raise. I am blaming them & the union for wanting to strike to try to force the district to deficit spend putting our children at risk of teacher cut backs, larger class sizes, & other changes that will impact the children directly. As a financial pro I know if you force a strike & raise D46 costs that the very next road to cross is where the D46 Board must cut to balance the budget. Where do we cut to pay for it; Aides, music, art, gym, lunch staff, etc.?
Terri December 07, 2012 at 05:37 PM
There is money...ask the board to provide an illustrative view of the balances month-over-month for a year.
HM December 07, 2012 at 05:59 PM
Hal is correct on this - if the union forces these issues, then D46 will have no choice but to layoff teachers, increase class sizes and get ride of the arts. There is a finite amount of money, and if the district is forced to spend more, then cuts are inevitable. (cuts are already looming with the deficit we have- this just makes it worse.) This is not about bashing anyone - it is about remaining solvent. What unions fail to look at is that they are playing with people's livliehoods...sure, they can force a strike and impose their will, and they will get the increases they demand, but the cost is great, and good teachers will lose their jobs. When the money runs out, the options become very clear - cut and cut and cut. So go ahead an strike, and let's see where that puts us in 2 years.
HAL E BERGER December 07, 2012 at 06:07 PM
As for finding a job with a college degree today - many of the college graduates that I know are struggling to find a job. Those who are certified and I personally know 3, can't find a job as a teacher. I'm told by one of my Superintendent friends.that there are +/-600 applicants or more for every open posted teaching position. Times are terrible and most have either found very low paying jobs or are still unemployed. A few have gotten lucky and found a reasonable job, very few. Most are underemployed if employed at all. That is reality today. Perhaps in better times a strike can occur? Teachers have built in raises for every year of experience they gain they get a raise, as well as, for education levels they achieve beyond a teaching certificate. Teachers remain among one of the very few places where if you work long enough you can qualify for a 50% to 75% final pay pension. Most of us don't see a pension today these are benefits that trade dollars today for dollars in retiremeent for certain but they are not free dollars either and they add to the cost of each D46 salary. My debate is not shallow it is complicated. You all make a good point, I think the teachers do a great job and if we were not in Grayslake and in a higher income local you probably could tax citizens more. But please, a little reality, how many neighbors and their chiildren have been forced to leave Grayslake a middle income community. All i ask is that D46 not deficit spend.
Terri December 07, 2012 at 06:17 PM
Teacher pensions cost the district a half percent in salary. The private sector cost is 6.5%. Teachers fund their pensions triple what the private sector does in SS (which teachers do not receive). Contrary to Mr Jarratt's statement that the state is contributing, it is not and has not for decades; the payments they do make are interest on their "pension holiday". Having not seen the union response to the board's final offer, how can you make some of these statements?
HAL E BERGER December 07, 2012 at 07:55 PM
How about a few real facts --- The pension asssessed taxing body rate for Grayslake according to Lake County is 3.13% of the total tax bill and not .5%. The schools district assessed tax rate is 4.187% and for pensions is 0.131% or the actual 3.13% of the taxes that will be collected once the increased levies are set into place. Yes teachers share in the cost of their pensions and it is the approximate equivalent of Social Security paid by the teacher. However, teachers pensions are structured much higher than Social Security payouts. As for the union we will see but the unions are there to support the teachers. Let's make no mistake about this children can benefit most of the time, but unions are not there for the children.
HAL E BERGER December 07, 2012 at 07:58 PM
Let me correct my math when you add both tax levy rates on your next tax bill together it is 3.03% not 3.13% still much higher than .5%
HAL E BERGER December 07, 2012 at 08:06 PM
I spent four years on the D46 Board and spent all of them with people telling me we had places to cut expenses and we can find more money. Sorry Charlie, it isn't reality. Not then and perhaps not now, the board and the business manager and superintendent can confirm. My experiencee has been that this disctrict pretty much spends as much or more than they take in. D46 has a lot of debt and I am told is in deficiit spending, so with that said, where exactly do you think these additional dollars are? Maybe the board can advise us of this at the public meeting? I don't think there are any additional dollars !!! If there were any, and I would be very skeptical if someone said there were additionall dollars, they should be used for current cash flow needs, to prevent deficit spending, and for reducing the current and future bond burden for Graysllake children and our residents. . .
Pete Gardner December 07, 2012 at 08:44 PM
Overall I have found the comments on this have been far from venemous or lashing out. Rather I find you can shout from the rooftops that you support teachers, appreciate what they do, but that must equate to increases or it isn't true. Hogwash! I've seen quite a bit of support and appreciation for teachers but I have also seen a great deal of understanding about the economy and financial status of this particular district.Most have been able to differentiate between the two. I am a very old man. Much of my income is SS. Should I feel unsupported or underappreciated because I have not received an increase over the past few years even though I paid in for the 50+years while I worked? My son, God bless him, is in the military. He hasn't seen an increase in two years. Would you dare say you don't support him or appreciate him? Do you think for one second it changes his love for his country and belief in what he does? Perspective! What you want to feel appreciated and supported can't always come in the form of "more". Sometimes it must come from being happy with what you have and knowing you are doing a good job.
Terri December 07, 2012 at 08:45 PM
Teacher pension contribution is 9.8% of salary with no limit. SS is 6.2% of salary to a limit (4.2% for the past 2 years). Employer contribution is a half percent vs SS at 6.2%. It is no where near "approximately" the same. Lake County pension tax has nothing to do with district 46 budgets.
Lennie Jarratt December 07, 2012 at 09:39 PM
lol, making up stuff again I see...
HAL E BERGER December 08, 2012 at 04:16 AM
Social Security comparisons to the Teachers Retirement system are nonsense as well -- about maximum for Social Security is +/-$30,000 or so a year for most workers if they ar ein a high income bracket. The teachers retirement system pays out up to 75% of final salary - if after 30 years a teacher is earning let's say at their pay grade +./-$80,000 that equates to +/-$65,000 per year in pension income -- Sorry Charlie again - I think for a couple of percent more in investment by career teachers today in the TRS pension that incredibly larger payout than Social Security was a really good deal and if I had that choice I'd pay it as well.
HAL E BERGER December 08, 2012 at 04:29 AM
Let me get all the facts out here on Social Security the temporary tax was reduced for the short term but the impact over 30 years of a workiing career is, well, not so exciting and the end pension payout of SS at full retirement starts closer to age 66 or 67 and for teachers, retirement can be as early as age 55 or so. That is an incredible difference and I wish I had that pension rather than Social Security. . The Social Security Tax Rate for 2012-2013 Employee 7.65%* employer is 7.65% The Self-Employed Rate is 15.30% the self employed pay both sides employer and employee. NOTE: The 7.65% tax rate is the combined rate for Social Security and Medicare. The Social Security portion (OASDI) is 6.20% on earnings up to the applicable taxable maximum amount (see below). The Medicare portion (HI) is 1.45% on all earnings. The Temporary Payroll Tax Cut Continuation Act of 2011 reduced the Social Security payroll tax rate by 2% on the portion of the tax paid by the worker through the end of February 2012. The Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012 extended the reduction through the end of 2012. Under current law, this temporary reduction expires at the end of December 2012. Yes -- It is true that teachers do pay the OASDI for their future Medicare benfits which is another win for teachers. I wish I had both when I retired.
HAL E BERGER December 08, 2012 at 04:33 AM
My bottom line after all of this talk is simple - "Negotiate what you can without increasing taxes and without additonal deficit spending. I'm not asking you to cut, although others may be, I'm asking you to face today's economic reality and hold the line on spending and only negotiate what this community can pay for".
Isabel Tovar December 12, 2012 at 03:23 AM
Okay, now I went to the board meeting today & I swear, i should have given them some advice. Yes, they are in 1.2 million in the hole, but what I want to know is just when will they start doing something about it! These people on the board don't even look for Grants. They said they are looking to hire someone. Seriously! I know schools that have a group of people seeking grants, not one but several people. I am disgusted at how little the board is doing. Not The teach, but the people in suits. Now, my ideal is cut the administrative dept & make a 2 people show & have the teachers work the reception desk on there time off. Rotatation for the teachers to lend a helping hand. Then, cut down on the boards salaries. belive me you, that will work. I have many idea's & i don't even get paid! The teachers would have never strike if there was no money in the bank. They see & they ask. Hats off to all the teachers working for District 46. You've all done a magnificent job! Teachers are the world to us & our children.
HAL E BERGER December 12, 2012 at 12:25 PM
I spent 4 years on this D46 board and let me remind oyu I never received one cent -- it is an unpaid thankless job for dedicated citizens only. As for the school debt my view is simple - don't deficit spend even if it means a strike and closed schools. Get D46 in order for the children, the community, and the teachers futures. Deficit spending means future staff and teacher layoffs and everyone needs to think this through carefully.

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