Yesterday and the day before, McHenry County Blog outlined how Huntley School District 158′s budget will be driven from a healthy surplus into a deficit position if teacher union demands were accepted by the school board and the details of the two biggest cost centers—the requested pay hike and higher health benefits.
Today’s article concentrates on the implications of granting teachers over a 20% increase in take home pay.
The math is pretty simple.
Spending up more than another $10 million deficit in the second year, plus the extra $10 million in the first year, would more than wipe out the $16-17 million beginning fund balance.
District 158 would be broke.
When you look at all of the other demands for more teacher compensation, such as those on proposal pages 50-53, District 158 might have trouble making payroll in the spring of the second year.
Of course they do. Their professional hired gun negotiators worked up their proposal. They have access to plenty of accounting resources and lawyers.
A lot more than the Huntley School District. Huntley doesn’t even have a chief financial officer.
Let’s look at the teachers’ union strategy.
Come August the teachers want to be able to say they made so, so many concessions.
That will take the attention off what they get.
Remember the brouhaha after the school board majority gave raises of 5.75% in the first year and 6.75% in the second year.
The Northwest Herald fell for lower numbers, which still came in for this editorial complaint:
“Raises of 4 percent and 5 percent, a shorter work year and bonuses for teaching an extra class are excessive. The contract does not square with the world outside school hallway.“
5.75% is almost 44% higher than the advertised 4%
6.75% is 11% higher than 6%.
One might guess that the newspaper folks didn’t get 4% and 5% raises over the last two years…especially as ad revenues fell and coverage contracted.
The teachers’ strategy is something like your demanding a $100,000 raise from your boss and planning to loudly complain months later on how you made all of the concessions during negotiations and “now” have proposed to take 80% less than what you asked in the first place.
Of course, you wouldn’t admit to anyone the “80% less” is a $20,000 raise.
What is hard to understand is why the teachers would be so audacious in their demands.
They knew their proposal would be public.
They agreed to that upfront.
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The pictures are from the 2006 Huntley School District 158 board meeting when the still-undisclosed contents of the teachers contract, which union members had already ratified, was supposed to be ratified. On top are the teachers. Below are most of the few members of the taxpayer public who showed up. Both photos can be enlarged by clicking on them.