District 155 Email to Parents Says Teachers Offers 5% over Three Years, But Asks Teachers to Pay More of Pension Cost

An email to parents of District 155 students:

Ted Wagner

Ted Wagner

Dear Parents:

Today, the District 155 board of education submitted its final offer to the Illinois Education Labor Relations Board (IELRB) for public display on its website.

As I am sure you are aware, we have been actively negotiating a new teachers’ contract since March and the teachers’ union has declared an impasse in these efforts and authorized a strike.

Despite these steps, both sides continue to negotiate, and we hope that the public display of both sides’ offers will help bring the negotiations to a satisfactory conclusion for all involved while averting a strike.

We are grateful to the many parents, community members, and alumni who have reached out to the board and administration regarding the negotiations.

From these correspondences and conversations, one thing is clear—whether you stand behind the teachers or with the board—virtually everyone we hear from thinks we have an incredible teaching staff and great schools.

We couldn’t agree more.

Our faculty is dedicated to our students, our community, and our mission.

Each member of the board of education is either a District 155 alumnus or the parent of District 155 alumni—some are both.

We have experienced our teachers’ excellent work firsthand and we know the difference that a dedicated teacher can have in a young person’s life.

This is precisely why we have volunteered to serve this district and community as board members for a combined 93 years.

Still, the board of education must balance the financial means of the community with our desire to attract and retain quality educators.

We have an obligation to both these distinct—and seemingly competing—stakeholder groups.

We continue to negotiate for a contract that will be fair to our teachers, our current and future students, and the taxpayers who support our efforts.

To help you understand the district’s position, we have added our IELRB proposal to the district website.

In addition to the proposal itself—a 5.01% increase to salaries and benefits over the course of the [three-year] contract—the IELRB submission includes comparison charts, important explanations and definitions, and other pertinent information.

We have also created a frequently asked questions section to help you understand the proposal, contract structure, financial background, and history.

We have heard a number of rumors about the negotiations and the board’s proposals.

It has always been the board’s philosophy to negotiate in partnership with the association to find a solution that provides financial stability. The frequently asked questions on our website address other rumors and facts.

We believe our offer to the union is fair to all stakeholders.

It calls for a 5.01% increase to salaries and benefits, but it also asks employees to pay a greater percentage of the employee Teachers’ Retirement System (TRS) payment.

We urge you to review the information available on our website at www.d155.org/negotiations.

Sincerely,

Ted Wagner
Dr. Gary Oberg
Jim Nelson
Dave Secrest
Barbara Slusin
Ann Somers
Karen Whitman


Comments

District 155 Email to Parents Says Teachers Offers 5% over Three Years, But Asks Teachers to Pay More of Pension Cost — 8 Comments

  1. Community High School District 155 (CHSD 155) consists of Cary Grove High School, Crystal Lake Central High School, Crystal Lake South High School, and Prairie Ridge High School.

    The CHSD 155 Board made a huge blunder with their their lack of transparency prior to installing very tall outdoor bleachers at Crystal Lake South.

    However the Board is doing a great job educating the public about the teacher contract negotiations.

    It’s now up to the public to educate themselves and in particular for CHSDS 155 parents to advocate for their property taxes and their child’s education.

    Don’t assume anyone else is paying close attention to teacher contract negotiations because even with the added transparency that is now in place, in most districts few parents, taxpayers, and the press understand the issues and their impact on taxes and education.

    Don’t let teacher unions dictate your property taxes and your kids education.

    Do something about it.

    Educate yourself.

    Advocate for how you would like your property tax dollars spent.

    Advocate for your kids education.

    Teacher contract negotiations feature David vs Goliath.

    David is the local unpaid school board and the paid administration.

    Goliath is the local teacher union, state teacher union, and national teacher union.

    In the case of CHSD 155 the unions are:

    Local: High School District 155 Education Association, IEA-NEA

    State: Illinois Education Association (IEA)

    National: National Education Association (NEA)

    If the union doesn’t get what it wants, teacher contract negotiations often become nasty behind closed doors.

    If the negotiations become protracted, the union has huge advantages over the Board.

    The threat of a strike.

    The Board consists of unpaid elected members who, if they hold a full time job, find themselves stretched very thin during intense negotiations.

    While the Administration is paid, within reason they want high paid teachers, because administrators must make more than teachers, so high paid teachers mean high paid administrators.

    Unions have a highly paid well organized skilled network of employees.

    The IEA union has professional negotiators as part of their full time staff in their UniServ network.

    The IEA union has a vast sophisticated searchable database of negotiated teacher contracts statewide.

    Unions have far more political power at the local, state, and national level than school boards.

    The list goes on and on.

    The teacher contract has the single largest impact on your property tax bill.

    That’s because salaries and benefits are typically 75% or higher of the school budget.

    Although they make less than high paid administrators, there are far more teachers than administrators.

    State law was changed a few years ago regarding teacher contract negotiations.

    If either side declares an impasse (a stalemate) in teacher contract negotiations, state law now requires each side to submit their final offer on the IELRB website.

    The IELRB in turn is required to post both offers on the IELRB website.

    There is a lag time between when either side declares an impasse, until the offers actually get posted on the IELRB website.

    So by immediately posting the final offer on their website, the District 155 Board/Administration is doing the taxpayers a HUGE favor.

    Anyone has the right to read the District 155 offer and ask clarification questions or make a comment to the School Board.

    One could do so via email to the school board or by making a public comment at upcoming School Board meetings.
    District 155 has dedicated a section of their website for the purpose of educating the public about the teacher contract negotiations.

    http://www.d155.org/negotiations

    District 155 has posted the following 4 documents for the public to view and download on that website.
    Board of Education Proposal

    http://www.d155.org/negotiations/Documents/20131115FinalOffer.pdf

    Side-by-Side Comparisons of Board and Association Proposals

    http://www.d155.org/negotiations/Documents/SidebySideComparison.pdf

    Frequently Asked Questions

    http://www.d155.org/negotiations/Articles/2013NegotiationsFAQ.aspx

    Parent Letter

    http://www.d155.org/negotiations/Documents/2013NegotiationsParentLetterIELRB.pdf

    There is at least 30 days worth of news stories in the above documents.

    The press never adequately covers teacher contract negotiations.

    Never.

    They don’t bother to adequately educate themselves and don’t devote adequate coverage in their papers or on their websites.

    With that said there are positive aspects of teacher unions, but the taxpayers, parents, and press have been asleep at the wheel for the last 40 years.

  2. It is quite common for a union to jerk a District around for as long as it can no matter who is inconvenienced.

    It doesn’t matter if the children or parents are worried or that parents just can’t quit working to take care of the kids when a strike is called.

    As long as there is a right to strike, the union holds the cards.

    Get your legislators to stop that strike right. J

    ust because unions make huge contributions to campaigns doesn’t mean the legislators should roll over and play dead on this issue.

    Aren’t you tired of being had?

    So, when a strike is finally called, it does not matter to those teachers that the kids tests will get screwed up no matter what the teachers say.

    Parents will also cave easily because of this.

    From day one to the last day of schooling parents want to believe that teachers are their friends and only interested in the children’s education.

    Telling the parents “Wake up People.” doesn’t get across. T

    his is a business with exorbitant pensions, excessive salaries in many cases, and making sure someone else pays their pension…and parents and children get used as hostages to increase someone else’s salaries and benefits.

    So, here we go again.

    As “we” fondly remember one or two great teachers, the taxpayers get sucked dry by the wonderful world of education.

    (Remember those decades of promises that the kids would learn more, score better, etc. – if only taxpayers coughed up more bucks? How’s that working for you now that you know that other top countries are doing so much better?)

  3. Remember “it’s for the kids”!

    They are the pawns for unions to make big dollars.

    That’s about all they are good for!

  4. In my opinion all the board members need to go and so does Thomas.

  5. Wow… quite a raise for these economic times.

    The school district and MCC salaries are way out of control and our tax bills prove it.

    Let the teachers walk the picket lines until the union is willing to negotiate in good faith.

  6. One sided education is very apparent here.

    Teachers educate not to just a test or score.

    Teachers in this district and throughout the country instruct to create well rounded and knowledgeable students.

    If on strike, all lose.

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