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UPDATED: Some Give but No Takers in District 46 Bargaining

While the Woodland District 50 School Board and teachers' union reached a tentative agreement in their Wednesday negotiations, a teacher strike still looms in District 46.

Editor's Note: This story was updated to reflect the following corrections: The board proposes to give teachers who are not retiring a $1,000 stipend related to salary in year two, and the union is in agreement with the board to freeze extracurricular and supervisory stipends at their current amounts for the next two school years.

Some progress was made at the last bargaining session between the District 46 School Board and teachers' union on Wednesday, but a contract agreement has yet to be reached.

Therefore, 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.

"We are still willing to meet," Pergander told Patch.

The school board has made its final offer, which was presented to the union at the Nov. 28 negotiating session and has been posted on the District 46 Website.

Both sides have made some concessions, but not enough to clinch a deal.

In its final offer, the school board agrees to extend teachers a two-year contract instead of one year.

The school board attached the following statement to its final offer:

"The Board of Education worked hard to propose a contract that would be fair and beneficial to all constituents without negatively affecting the budget or taxpayers. The Board feels that this proposal shows gratitude and appreciation to the hard work of the teachers while being mindful of the financial constraints that the district is facing."

Flex benefits

The board also agrees to maintain the flex benefit payment of $6,292 for the 138 teachers receiving it. In its previous offer, the board wanted to cut that benefit in half, but give teachers who weren't retiring a $1,300 bonus. This proposal is now off the table.

Retirement

Regarding retirement, the school board initially proposed to reduce the retirement option of receiving up to four years of 6 percent increases to three years of 5 percent increases.

The board's final offer would maintain a 6 percent increase for teachers who've already submitted their retirement notice.

However, teachers submitting their retirement by March 1, 2013, would receive four years at 5.75 percent. Teachers who submit their retirements after that date would receive 3 percent for three years.

Salary freeze

The board holds firm on instituting a salary freeze with no step or lane changes (related to continued education).

The union initially proposed a 3 percent salary increase for both contract years, which would have cost the district more than $1 million.

In their latest offer, said Pergander, teachers agree to remain working at their current 2011-12 salary schedule for next school year.

The board would agree to give all certified staff who have not submitted a notice to retire a $1,000 stipend in year two.

Teachers would also agree to delay the step increase they were due last September to Sept. 2013, and delay the Sept. 2013 step increase to March 2014.

Pergander said the union "guestimates" this new proposal would cost the district "a little more than half" of what the 3 percent raises would have cost over two school years.

The union is aware of the district's "money crunch problem," said Pergander. "We're trying to meet their needs."

Lane changes and extra duty stipends

While the school board wants no lane changes (related to professional development), Pergander said the union wants lane change compensation made in Feb. 2013, though teachers are not seeking retroactive compensation.

The board still wants all extracurricular and supervisory stipends frozen at the current amount for the next two school years. Pergander said the union is agreeable to this.

Dan Golden December 09, 2012 at 11:20 PM
Continuing: many of the teachers are taking their own money to pay for class items that that are needed but not paid for by the school district. This is their own money. How many times have your kids come home with specific items from school like pencils, crayons, etc. that you have not supplied. Guess what, most likely the teacher provided that stuff, not he school. All I am saying is do not blame only the teachers for what you believe is their fault as to where things are at. As workers I am sure you want an occasional raise or other benefit upgrades. Teachers are no different. Let me ask you to post your income here so everyone can see what you make annually. Teachers salaries are common knowledge. Let everyone know that you are complaining about what a teacher makes in comparison to you but they are the ones responsible for our kids approximately 8 hours per day. Just think about the big picture.
Justin Fact December 15, 2012 at 12:25 AM
Conversation from another comment section reposted. Money Facts- It just doesn’t add up. According the the Dec. PMA presentation given at the Board meeting, the overall budget for this year shows that District 46 has no money and needs to go into deficit spending. The exact numbers were not really explained. I did find a footnote on the bottom of slide 16 a little interesting. It states, “Additional Note: Previous projections excluded certain fund balances that were considered restricted. Per the district no current operating fund balances included in the projections are restricted and are available for current expenditures.” This statement leads one to believe that the board has money that is not considered “current operating funds”. As such, then these funds would be restricted and not part of the PMA financial report. Doesn’t the board pay PMA to report on such matters as they see fit? I will have to dig a little more on the ISBE website to find out more about the budget filed there compared to what the board says they have. ...
Justin Fact December 15, 2012 at 12:27 AM
Continuation... ... the following info which can be found in the districts budget that was filed with the state in which you can FOIA. Apparently there is $26,151,135 in a "cash on hand" fund that is money that is carried over from year to year. I guess kind of a rainy day fund so to speak. I spoke to some individuals that follow educational finance and they mentioned that the state recommends a 20% fund balance for districts to have from year to year just in case the state doesn't pay their bills. The district budget states that there is $70,396,922 Total amount available. (Again you can FOIA to verify the numbers) That leads to approximately a 37% fund balance. So it appears the board is not spending money and holding on to it for economic hard times. Glad that is not happening anywhere. When was the last Ed Fund referendum anyway? I can't remember one and I have been here for 13 years. I know the district has built 2 or 3 buildings in that time, but I only remember referendums to build the buildings passing. (I am also hearing of an additional 2.7 million, but can not verify.) So where is the deficit?
Justin Fact December 15, 2012 at 01:15 AM
Information found from the Illinois Report Card section found on the ISBE website. 2012 Teacher Average Salary and Years Statistics: Grayslake 46 $57,358 and 10.4 years Woodland 50 $60,505 and 13 years Antioch $55,917 and 11.4 years Wauconda 118 $71,722 and 12.1 years Gurnee 56 $62,762 and 13.8 years I post this information to give an apple to apple comparison. All of these districts have more average years for their teachers. So the question of why doesn't D46 have more average years comes to mind. Could it be that over the last 7 or 8 years there has been a group of individuals that have been able to place 3 or 4 people on the board that only have a fiscal concern? I think so. While some of the decisions they have made have been fiscally responsible, I think they have been educationally crippling. They have time and time again cut in areas that the public does not notice in order to maintain fiscal goals that they do not make public. What is their long term financial plan? When asked that question at the town hall meeting they answered we don't know that. That is a little troubling. Better question would be how are you helping the educational process of this district? I am sure the answer would be the same. No idea. The one thing that you have not cut is the very resource that you are pushing to strike. High teacher turn over strains staff development and continuity. It does however, keep the bottom line low.
Justin Fact December 15, 2012 at 01:16 AM
The parents of D46 deserve a board that cares and focuses on education and is fiscally responsible, not a board that micromanages and plays shell games with finances and has no clue how the educational side of a school district works. The community, me included, have failed because we have allowed this to perpetuate for 8 years. Enough is enough. Really, where else can some who has 2 last names and 2 homes become a board member with only 8 write-in votes.

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