District 300 Issues Summary of School Strike from Its Point of View

And, here it is:

“The District 300 Board of Education and LEAD 300 negotiation teams met from 8 a.m. to approximately 4:45 p.m. today (Monday, Dec. 3), with the assistance of a federal mediator, to discuss outstanding contractual issues. The Board agreed to LEAD’s latest proposal this morning to further reduce class sizes at all grade levels and create class size caps for middle and high school classes.   The LEAD team then increased its salary proposal by returning to an earlier salary request.

“The Board’s proposal equates to $15 million over current spending levels for the life of the 3-year contract.  This includes salaries, benefits, class size reductions, and other collective bargaining matters.  The Board agreed with LEAD’s proposal from this morning regarding class sizes, staff recall rights, bullying policy, and the number of students in lab-based classrooms.

“The Board agreed to LEAD’s proposal from this morning on class sizes and committed to hiring approximately 60 teachers.  There is no agreement on salaries.   The Board’s latest offer will require the District to deficit spend for the next three years.  The Board has agreed to this proposal without knowing the financial impact of potential pension reform and future state funding levels.

“Despite today’s progress in negotiations, LEAD has advised the Board that they will be going on strike tomorrow, Tuesday, December 4.  District 300 schools will be closed tomorrow, and all school-sponsored events and activities are cancelled. The district will enact its Emergency Attendance Center plan tomorrow for students whose parents registered them in advance to participate.”

The Board’s latest offer included:

SALARY SCHEDULE

  • 2012-2013: 3% salary increase (including step)
  • 2013-2014: 2% salary increase (including step)
  • 2014-2015: 3% salary increase (including step)

CLASS SIZE / WORKING CONDITIONS

The Board agreed with LEAD’s proposal from this morning (Dec. 3) to reduce class sizes at all grade levels, and also to establish class caps for the first time at the middle and high school levels to improve teaching conditions.  This would require the District to hire approximately 60 teachers, as follows:

  • At the elementary level, add approximately 40 teachers over the next two years:
    • The maximum number of students per class (K-2) will be 27 students in 2013-2014 and 26 students beginning in 2014-2015.
    • The maximum number of students per class (3-5) will be 30 students in 2013-2014 and 29 students beginning in 2014-2015.
  • At the middle school level, add 10 teachers in 2013-2014:
    • Cap the number of students per class, excluding PE and music, at 32 students in 2013-2014 and 31 students beginning in 2014-2015. (Currently there are no caps for middle school class sizes.)
    • The additional 10 teachers would help to reduce class sizes.
  • At the high school level, add 10 teachers in 2013-2014:
    • Cap the number of students per class, excluding PE and music, at 32 students in 2013-2014 and 31 students beginning in 2014-2015. (Currently there are no caps for high school class sizes.)
    • The 10 additional teachers will be utilized to create a new nine-period schedule, which will not change student course loads but will improve teacher working conditions.  Teachers (except PE and music) will now teach five classes daily plus one period of supervision.

RETIREMENT

The Board modified its Nov. 29 retirement incentive proposal.  The retirement incentive would  expire at the end of this 3-year contract, as follows:

  • 2012-2013:  6% increase over Illinois Teachers Retirement System (TRS) creditable earnings for each of the four years prior to retirement
  • 2013-2014:  3% increase over TRS creditable earnings for each of the four years prior to retirement
  • 2014-2015:  3% increase over TRS creditable earnings for each of the four years prior to retirement

INSURANCE

There would be no change to overall insurance benefits, with the exception that if the annual increase to insurance costs is projected to exceed 14% then the D300 Insurance Committee (which includes LEAD members) will meet to determine changes in the insurance design plan.

If the committee does not agree on design changes, the Board and employees enrolled in the plan will split 50/50 any increase over 14%.

NATIONAL BOARD CERTIFICATION

The Board maintained its Nov. 29 proposal regarding additional compensation to teachers in possession of National Board Certification, as follows. For teachers currently holding National Board Certification, the Board proposed phasing out the extra pay of 7% of their annual salary.

Currently, teachers who earn National Board Certification receive a 7% increase to their annual salary.  The new contract would phase out this benefit for current certificate holders, as follows:

  • 2012-2013: extra pay of 6% of annual salary
  • 2013-2014: extra pay of 5% of annual salary
  • 2014-2015: extra pay of 2.5% of annual salary
  • Teachers who achieve National Board Certification after March 1, 2013, will receive an annual stipend of $1,200.
  • Any teacher who decides by March 1, 2013, not to continue pursuing this certification would be reimbursed for personal certification-related expenses up to $3,000.

Comments

District 300 Issues Summary of School Strike from Its Point of View — 6 Comments

  1. This sentence makes a teacher strike seem ridiculous.

    “The Board’s latest offer will require the District to deficit spend for the next three years. The Board has agreed to this proposal without knowing the financial impact of potential pension reform and future state funding levels.”

    Pensions are the 300 pound gorilla.

    Pensions will have a huge impact on the CUSD 300 and all suburban school district budgets in the upcoming years.

    The State of Illinois cannot continue making the State’s portion of the teachers’ pension contribution.
    To be more precise, the State contribution is actually “on behalf of the school district.”

    All school districts except Chicago receive a State pension contribution.

    It’s part of state law.

    Chicago is not included because they receive other sweeteners from the State.

    The only reason the State could afford to make last years pension contribution was because of the income tax hike.

    An income tax hike is out of the question this year.

    So the next rabbit that Madigan, Cullerton, and Quinn are pulling out of their hat is proposing to shift the State “on behalf of the school district” pension contribution, to the school districts (all school districts outside Chicago) in a phased manner over a number of years.

    The problem is the state made the laws that sweetened the pensions, then when they can’t afford to fund the pensions, they are kicking the can to the local school districts.

    If the pension shift happens; and it is likely since the Democrats control the Governors office, House, and Senate; CUSD 300 and all property owners outside Chicago will see the nasty results of all the pension boosting legislation that has occurred over the last 40 years.

    Those nasty results will be in the form of tax increases and/or program cuts.

    Who is to blame for the State not making its pension contribution?

    Teacher Unions are public enemy #1.

    As Cal has pointed out, in years past the teacher unions lobbied to shift budget money from Pensions to Education.

    Why would the Unions do that and State agree to it, even as the State could not afford to make its annual pension contribution?

    Michael Madigan is public enemy #2.

    He was a delegate at the 1970 Constitutional Convention.

    He was first voted into office as a State Rep in 1970.

    He has been Speaker of the House since 1982, with the exception of ’95-’96. The Speaker is the #1 person in the Illinois State House of Representatives. He’s the leader. All bills must pass the House prior to becoming law.

    Here’s how the politicians and unions juiced pensions.

    First came the guarantee, then the sweeteners.

    In 1970 the unions advocated for and received a pension protection clause added to the Illinois State Constitution at the Constitutional Convention, guaranteeing State pensions (including teacher pensions) cannot be diminished or impaired.

    However, the pension protection clause did not address pension sweeteners.

    So from 1971 – 2011, for 38 of those 40 years, various pension sweeteners were added to state law.

    In a double bind, once received, those sweeteners can’t be diminished or impaired.

    They sky was the limit.

    The pension protection clause should be renamed the Buzz Lightyear pension clause.

    To infinity and beyond.

    Because that’s where pensions went.

    So instead of shifting all those sweeteners to the local school districts the State should rescind all sweeteners to 1970 levels.

    Remember it was state lawmakers not school districts who approved the sweeteners.

    The modest employee contribution increases don’t come close to fairly funding the sweeteners.

    The public was never adequately informed about the sweeteners.

    Have you ever read a press release stating, “Teacher Pensions Sweetened Again!”

    Back to CUSD 300′s proposal, the retirement incentive, meaning the end of career salary increases, are overly generous and should be halted immediately not phased out. The typical claim is the district saves money because a less expensive teacher is hired to replace the retiring teacher. But what’s good for the goose is not necessarily good for the gander.

    Taxpayers as a whole don’t save money, because now in addition to the new teacher, a pension which is not fully funded must also be paid.

    We can’t afford pensions, why would we pay end of career salary increases to increase pensions.

    Crazy.

    Whenever the subject of teacher pay comes up, teacher unions like to talk about “average salaries” and “average pensions.”

    What they don’t talk about are specifics such as how many years that “average employee” worked to achieve the “average salary” and “average pension” and exactly what geographic area is included (a single district, the entire state, etc.).

    Unions don’t provide the public a listing of each teachers annual pay from 1999 – 2011 but you can look it up on familytaxpayers.org.

    I’m not sure how familytaxpayers deals with nuances such as board paid trs (board pays a portion of the teachers pension contribution) or stipends.

    Teacher unions like to bad mouth familytaxpayers.org, stating the site contains errors.

    Whatever errors errors family taxpayers has comes from the school district, because the school district provides the data to the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) which is where Familytaxpayers.org receives the data.

    You can always confirm teacher salary data with the school district or TRS (pension plan) through FOIA.

  2. I recall the Illinois policy institute doing a study which found that more than 55 % of teachers have not paid a dime into the pension system..Perhaps the material is still on their web site.

    The tax payers don’t realize that school boards have given away the store and put communities in financial distress.

    Thank you for the wonderful article and fabulous comment.

  3. Mark, Too bad I cannot convey my facial expressions after reading your post, but you did get a bunch a “WOW!” responses.

    The anticipated pension “reform” (and I use that term loosely because, like you said, the downstaters are kicking the can to someone else who did not write the legislation) is not just the 300 pound gorilla in the room, it’s King Kong.

    That’s the sad part of all of this.

    School boards across Illinois are well aware of this and (I would expect) trying to plan accordingly as much as they can.

    The unions don’t care less – they want their money now, and they’ll also collect their pensions later, thereby screwing the taxpaying public today and tomorrow.

  4. The state of Illinois is heading towards the same fate as that of the city of San Bernardino, CA.

    Their pensions have driven them into bankruptcy.

    The situation is so bad that the city attorney advised residents to “lock their doors and load their guns” because they can’t afford enough cops to protect the city.

    Ever see the movie “Mad Max?”

    It is about the unraveling of civilization.

    THAT is where San Bernadino (and Illinois) is heading.

    Look at Greece. Reuters reports that the leader of the Greek Journalists union pension fund was assaulted twice after telling the membership that the fund was seriously insolvent and would requiring a doubling or more of membership contributions to support current retirees. Her beating required hospitalization over night.

    Think that won’t happen here? Think the unions will simply say, “easy come, easy go” and “give Think there will not be civil disorder or riots as in Greece?

    Think again.

    When America goes “over the cliff” on 1/1/13, and Illinois follows, and the cops are laid off, we will not be told to “load our guns,” because Illinois does not like citizens having guns.

    Go watch “Mad Max” again. That is our future.

    Blame Mark’s public enemies #1 and #2.

    And then blame their minions – the Illinois Democratic Party, who are even now, orchestrating the rip-off of EVERY home owner in Illinois!

  5. For Our Children’s Future Carpentersville D300 Strike Information Townhall Meeting

    Wednesday, 7:00pm
    8 E Main St., Carpentersville, IL 60110

    What can parents and residents do to help end the strike?

    How will the proposed contract affect your property taxes?

    What are some of the details of the contract?

  6. I’m posting this in a few articles on the blog since there seems to be a lot of interest in the subject.

    Looking at the CUSD 300/LEAD 300 July 1, 2011 to June 30, 2012 collective bargaining agreement.
    Pages 55 of 106.

    “Item G – TEACHER RETIREMENT SHELTER

    The District shall pay 5% (5/9.5) of the TRS payment. Teacher Retirement System contributions will be sheltered in accordance with and to the extent allowed by law.”

    So the CUSD 300 Board (thus district and taxpayers) paid 5% of the 9.4% teacher contribution to the TRS pension plan.

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