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District 46: 'We are Committed to Resolving Strike'

District 46 Superintendent Ellen Correll posted this statement to the district Website at 5 p.m. Friday, Jan. 18.

January 18, 2013
 
Dear District 46 Family:
 
This has been a tough week for everyone. The School District and the Board of Education recognize that the community would like to see negotiations conclude and the school strike end immediately. We share this sentiment, and will continue to work hard toward resolution.
 
School District 46 is committed to fair compensation for our quality teachers, but we must balance that against very challenging financial realities. Our School District faces serious multi-year budget deficits, diminishing funds from the state, and declining revenues. At the same time, unlike other neighboring school districts, we have avoided teacher lay-offs and kept class sizes small, preserving jobs, and maintaining educational quality while living within our means.

Here’s where things stand: We have been negotiating with the teachers union (Lake County Federation of Teachers) since February 2012, and during that time have made good progress on many items.  However, we still remain far apart on teacher salary and retirement. Currently, the Board is proposing a salary freeze for the 2012-2013 school year, and a one-time $1,000 stipend during the 2013-2014 school year, plus maintaining all benefits. The last proposal from the teachers union included an increase (lane change) that would cost $133,000 in year-one, and $1,080,000 of new costs in year two of the contract.
 
During Thursday’s negotiating session, a federal mediator from the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Services presented a proposal for consideration. That proposal would still have cost the District $650,000 over the next two years.  While the Board appreciates and respects the mediator’s work, the District does not have the money to support this proposal.

The State of Illinois, under its own financial pressures, underpaid the District by $1.5 million last year. We anticipate a $2.2 million deficit next year. Even without a salary increase for our teachers, the District still may face very challenging decisions, including eliminating teacher positions, increasing class sizes, ending extracurricular programs and possibly even closing one of our schools. The community decided against a levy that would raise taxes and help to close this gap.
 
Additionally, there is a misconception regarding the District’s finances and its "reserve" funds being reported in the media. The Board's budget projects an end-of-fiscal-year balance in most operating funds, which when totaled is approximately $16 million. The end-of-fiscal-year fund balance is a snapshot taken on June 30 of each year, after the receipt of the first installment of taxes. For example, over the course of the year, as revenue is received and expenses are paid, the Educational Fund experiences a low-point balance of only $1.9 million (equivalent to only 28 days of expenses). Every year of budget deficit will further erode the end-of-year fund balance and also further reduce the low-point of the fund. This fund balance is necessary for the District to manage its cash flow and to meet its continuing financial obligations, including payroll.
 
The Board has never contended that the teachers do not deserve a salary increase. Rather, the Board has stressed that any salary expectations of the teachers must be something the Board has the ability to finance. In the current economic situation, that ability is limited. The Board has tried to be mindful of the needs of its students, teachers, residents and taxpayers throughout this process.
 
Representatives from the District and the teachers union are scheduled to meet again Sunday, January 20, and are committed to meeting sooner and/or throughout the day Monday as needed to reach agreement.

We hosted two town hall meetings on these issues in December and early January, and remain very interested in hearing from parents and community members on this issue. Please direct your questions to askaquestion@d46.org and we will respond to them as quickly as possible.
 
Our goal has always been to preserve quality education in this District while ensuring we have the funds to support that education long into the future. We are committed to resolving the strike as quickly as possible.
 
Sincerely,
Ellen Correll
Community Consolidated School District 46
Superintendent

Charles Johnson January 19, 2013 at 03:32 PM
Lennie's presentation has a couple of slides that talk about how freezing the levy results in increased GSA. Its primarily due to the district's EAV decline and the formula for calculating the GSA entitlement. And it looks like the PMA forecast from 12/11 shows a spike in FY15 in state funding. However, one problem with the PMA numbers is that they hold the state proration rate at 89% thru the next 5 years when the Admin's Levy presentation on that same date indicates they expect proration to move to 80% in FY14. I'm a little dubious of a strategy that results in increasing the reliance upon a State that's already not paying you. This strategy also requires that the legislature not change the GSA formula. However, it looks like, not only will next year's proration drop to 80%, but they'll drop the Foundation amount of $6,119/pupil.
Brad Faxton January 19, 2013 at 04:03 PM
Just reread this over and over.... ok, **NOW*** the BOE is saying the mediators proposal, "That proposal would still have cost the District $650,000 over the next two years." $325k/yr? Sack up already!
Brad Faxton January 19, 2013 at 04:05 PM
Right, they lied their arses off and are now revising the $. Their strategy of destroying the school is crumbling in front of their eyes and now they are in a huge pickle - backtracking.
Brad Faxton January 19, 2013 at 04:09 PM
The number of layoffs have skyrocketed and now much less. Odd - very odd.
Lennie Jarratt January 19, 2013 at 04:32 PM
I have contacted the district on this issue and will be discussing ti this afternoon at the townhall. 2 pm - State Bank of the Lakes, Grayslake.
Joe Fox January 19, 2013 at 04:32 PM
Good point, Brad. Prior to this offer, the BOE plan would cost $300k over the next two years; the teacher's plan would cost $1,150k over the next two years. The MIDDLE GROUND = ($300 + $1150) / 2 = $725k Teacher's recent offer would cost $650k. This is 10% below MIDDLE GROUND! Teachers are negotiating in good faith to resolve the strike. The BOE is NOT!!!!!!
Lennie Jarratt January 19, 2013 at 04:33 PM
The projections were done by PMA. It was presented in the levy hearings in Dec. I have the slide in my presentation today and did so on Wed as well.
Chris January 19, 2013 at 04:38 PM
D46 Board and Superintendent, You mention the district faces serious multi-year deficit spending. My question then is, why did the Board vote to not raise the Levy for the ED fund? Does the Superintendent or the Board have a 5-to10year plan? The community did not decide against the tax levy increase the D46 Board did 5-2! Why wasn’t there any discussion prior about passing tax levy increase then abating it back? It appeared one Board member knew what to do but was absent from a lot the meetings! People would understand if there was some kind of strategy in place! The first tax levy meeting 11/26 no minutes posted, 2nd levy meeting 12/5 2-Board members not present, and 12/19 Levy hearing no minutes posted. The COMMUNITY wants the Strike over, so why aren’t you listening Now! How many teachers were added this school year? Due to class sizes diminishing before this ongoing debate, how many teachers’ cuts were already planned for the end of this year? You mention diminishing funds from the state. This did not just start happening this year. The State has been in a financial crisis for at least 4-5 years and has been downgraded by the credit agencies in same time period. So, with this information what has D46 done about it? Let’s end this strike with a 1-year contract hard freeze keep benefits the same and pick up negotiations with new leadership for the following years! You cannot solve a problem with the same thinking that got you into the problem!
Joe Fox January 19, 2013 at 05:14 PM
Great post, Chris!!! Your question "Why did the Board vote to not raise the Levy for the ED fund?" speaks volumes about the BOE's ineptness towards resolving the districts financial woes. 4000 (?) taxpayers in D46 elected a board of education of 7 people. ---- ARE THE 327 TEACHERS RESPONSIBLE FOR SEATING THIS BOARD? The 7 BOE members worsened the district's financial status through poor decision-making and lack of planning. ---- ARE THE 327 TEACHERS RESPONSIBLE FOR THIS DECISION-MAKING AND LACK OF PLANNING? At the same time, economic conditions have worsened for the 4000 district taxpayers due to the real estate market, recession, national, and state governments. ---- WERE THE 327 TEACHERS RESPONSIBLE FOR THIS? Now the BOE's stance is to resolve all district financial issues ON THE BACKS OF 327 TEACHERS! Since teachers alone were not responsible for any of the events leading up to the district's financial state, why is the BOE so intent on making them the scapegoat? Why aren't the 4000 taxpayers and the 7 BOE members willing to accept responsibility and create a BALANCED approach that should include both teacher salary consessions and tax increases???? The teachers are already on board with their part!!!!
Lennie Jarratt January 19, 2013 at 06:18 PM
Reminder - Townhall Meeting to discuss the district finances, a 5 yr contract proposal and must more data. 2 pm State Bank of the Lakes 50 Commerce Dr Grayslake
Chris January 19, 2013 at 06:46 PM
Lennie, I do agree with you that a 5-year deal would be best to create some stability in the district! But, at this late stage in the game I think best to end strike and present new ideas to new leadership going forward. To get the thinking changed now and get an agreement would take even longer. As stated previously "You cannot solve a problem with the same thinking that got you into the problem!"
Lennie Jarratt January 20, 2013 at 02:51 AM
The presentation from today's townhall meeting is now available at http://ForOurChildrensFuture.com. Feel free to contact me with any questions.
LMJ January 20, 2013 at 05:21 AM
Will you please stop this? What is going to happen when this is all over with? Parents might be looking at there child's teacher in a different light and teacher will look at the parents in a different way. The nastier that this gets, the more the community is devided and no one really wins. Negotiate your contracts, fine, but this hatred and especially the lying and "rumors" need to stop. This is only self serving and shows you care nothing about the district, the kids, the parents, and the community.
Terri January 20, 2013 at 03:48 PM
So, let me get this strait. I should: "ask questions to make sure you (I) have the correct information instead of spinning and insinuating false information." But you post information where you "believe there is an error. Not sure if was a district error or an ISBE error at this point." and the only way to know that is to come to your meeting? You should be ashamed of posting data, with names, that you admittedly believe is erroneous...and the only disclaimer is a link that doesn't work that comes after you're called out? Some of the teachers in your slide don't even work in the district anymore. Why would the teachers want a link to misleading information on their Facebook page?
Lennie Jarratt January 20, 2013 at 04:00 PM
The data is from the ISBE as stated. The names DID work in the district in 2012 as shown by the data unless you are claiming the district and ISBE are now using false data on their websites. The salaries presented are correct, the year is what is in question for 2011. Again, unless you believe the district or the ISBE is reporting false data. I also pointed out other false data coming from both the district and union. Why don't they want the people to know the truth? Why is the union, knowing there will be RIFs, negotiating for higher classes (40 -50) is projected with their offer?
Terri January 20, 2013 at 04:12 PM
Using the link on your website to the ISBE database, the teacher on the last line went from $91 in '09/'10 to $95 in '11/'12...3 years...and no longer works in the district. Where do you get the 40/50 class size data? It would be appropriate to answer the following directly, IMHO: So, let me get this strait. I should: "ask questions to make sure you (I) have the correct information instead of spinning and insinuating false information." But you post information where you "believe there is an error. Not sure if was a district error or an ISBE error at this point." and the only way to know that is to come to your meeting? You should be ashamed of posting data, with names, that you admittedly believe is erroneous...and the only disclaimer is a link that doesn't work that comes after you're called out? Some of the teachers in your slide don't even work in the district anymore. Why would the teachers want a link to misleading information on their Facebook page?
Holytrip January 20, 2013 at 04:46 PM
Ok I am a glutton for punishment and I did look at your little slide presentation. I look at the slide titled "Salaries and Benefits" and from what I can read the Salaries for the teachers has increased 7.35% over 5 years 2008-2012 that equates to a 1.47 percent per year increase in salaries. Not sure what I am missing but 1.47% raises do not seem in excess.
Terri January 20, 2013 at 04:51 PM
I'm having trouble even making the numbers add across. Am I missing something?
Lennie Jarratt January 20, 2013 at 07:14 PM
Using the year over year increase is an inacurrate number to use for average raises. That is total expenditures, not raises. You have to go back to salary schedule raises to get estimates (slide 10, 11). We need actuals from the district. Yes, it has been asked for. Not surprisingly, both the district and union have not published the actuals. They know they are much higher.
Terri January 20, 2013 at 07:48 PM
I figured out my problem...your slide truncates the "2" off years 2010-2012. I personally would have corrected that before posting it for the world, but I figured it out.
Holytrip January 20, 2013 at 08:59 PM
Well you can show things whichever way you want, I see the numbers for "SALARIES" If other expenditures have gone up significantly like health care and what have you that is another story. As you have listed "SALARIES" my calculations seem correct. So now to the point if other expenditures have increased and not been taken in account then shame on the BOE, I know Districts like Lake Villa 41 have a much cheaper and better benefit package than Grayslake. What you seem to want is for teachers to continue on in a career that offers no salary increase and decrease benefit packages, well if that does not drive good teachers away I do not know what will.
Terri January 20, 2013 at 09:03 PM
I see you fixed it...
LMJ January 20, 2013 at 09:06 PM
YOU were the only one who said that the teacher's were the scapegoat, I said nothing about that. Don't try to put words on my message that was never there! It is about the anonymous posters on here posting hateful, libel comments on here. No one really knows who these people on here are. Could they be their teacher? Could it be their neighbor? Could it be their students parents? This strike is nasty and self serving. If the teacher's don't like this kind of nastiness... then tell their unions to stop. At the end of the day... you go back to work and you have burned bridges. Believe me... I am hearing it all over the place. You tell me that the BOE is the fault, well, I am not seeing them talking openly public about the negotiations like the union is. If either side wants public support, then let's put these negotiations in public. Have no "public" in the meetings, but video tape them. There will be no public interference then. This is collective bargaining, not privacy issues with an individual. The public being kept in the dark about what is actually being said there, and the union claiming that the board did this and that without proof, is nothing but hearsay and possible lies. Prove it! I have seen many lies posted on here by certain individuals that have proof that they are untrue. WHY should I believe anything that is posted here? PROVE IT!
Lennie Jarratt January 20, 2013 at 09:08 PM
LOL, I see you have not read my presentations. I proposed a 5 year contract that included salary increase. As D41 shows, better coverage can be found that saves the district money and is exactly what I have been telling them for at least 5 years. BTW, did you D41 is holding meetings on the possibility of having a referendum?
Holytrip January 20, 2013 at 09:20 PM
LOL, so try to stay focused on our District. I really do not care about District 41 "maybe having a referendum" Your Salary increase numbers of 1.47% per year for the last 5 years must be correct then, Thank you.
Terri January 20, 2013 at 09:30 PM
...it was a subliminal reference to his next project..
wb January 21, 2013 at 05:58 AM
Lennie, Just a quick thought...if you held your meetings within the District 46 boundaries, maybe the attendees of your meeting might grab a meal, cup of coffee, etc after the meeting atva business whose taxes actually support our schools. While I understand that the SBOTL has a rather large meeting room that, to my understanding provides free of charge to noon-profit organizations, I feel it sets a poor example to hold a meeting regarding District 46 in the District 50 boundaries. Before the question is thrown back in my face, no, I did not attend the meeting. I will probably be slammed for this as well, but I am also unable to attend board meetings due to chronic health conditions, but do try to read the minutes from meetings when available and I'm physically able to. Also, before the whole "posting anonymous" question comes up, I think we have seen from what Shannon experienced with the threat against her children its not always in someone's best interest to provide identifying information. In addition, in previous comments I have included information regarding 1 or more of my children struggling with reading, and prefer not to have my children embarrassed that I just floated that information out on the internet for all to see. I am, however, interested in your response on holding meetings within our school district boundaries.
wb January 21, 2013 at 07:03 AM
Lennie, Another thought, fir those of us who can't attend these meetings, while it is a little helpful to see the presentation, based on the number of questions I see on here, and my own confusion, it might be helpful to have the audio of the presentation as well. Maybe something like ustream, out a different virtual presentation/meeting software which could stream live or just record for later. I see many questions, maybe more last meeting presentation, that while youbdid prove an answer to the question, youvalso mentioned it was covered at the meeting or talked about at the meeting. Just a thought.
Forethe Community January 23, 2013 at 06:54 PM
350 people showed up Sunday in the freezing cold to support the teachers of their district. That’s: • 10 times the number that showed up for either of the For Our Children’s Future town halls. • 10 times the number, on average, that shows up to BOE meetings. • 5 times the number that have ever shown up for a BOE meeting (in recent history). 30 local business showed their support for the teachers by supplying food, providing parking, providing warming shelters, allowing access to their bathrooms, and donating cash to help teachers that might need it in a prolonged strike. Residual benefits went to local food banks through excess donations. That’s: • 10 times the number of local business’s that spoke at any levy hearing. • Equal to the number of attendants at any For Our Children’s Future town Hall. • Equal to or greater than the average attendance at a BOE meeting. Actions speak louder than words. I applaud the board for listening to the public. I only wish the silent majority had been more vocal at the levy hearings. It’s too late to do what the public really wanted.
Bob Roundlake January 24, 2013 at 07:04 PM
The BOE is elected by the people so the people voted against the levy! Good for the BOE! I prefer absolutely no increase in any budgets or salary for 5 years!

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