D156 Strike Update

From the administration of the McHenry High School District:

Negotiations Update

10-­6-­15 A negotiations session has been scheduled for this evening at 7:30 p.m.

Because any tentative contracts must be approved by the teachers’ association before school resumes, school is cancelled tomorrow, October 7, 2015.

Updates regarding the progress of negotiations will be included as they become available.

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It is also published in Spanish.

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Below are some of the slides show at Monday’s meeting:

Financial trends.

Financial trends.

D156 health care trends

Ways teachers get raises.

Ways teachers get raises.

d156 healt benefits examplesd156 pay stepd256 pay laned156 pay step + laned156 bd proposald156 bd proposal rationaled156 union proposald156 other districts payd156 pay historyd156 final slideAnd then the Board and union negotiators went behind closed doors on Monday evening.

Schools are still closed.


D156 Strike Update — 36 Comments

  1. Time to hire new teachers!

    Forget trying to deal with people who are using the students as tools.

  2. Wow, just a terrible situation.

    SHAME on the teachers and their union.

  3. Are you ready for your property taxes to increase ?

    You have no choice in the matter.

    Unless, of course, you intend to join the Exodus From Illinois movement.

    Save yourself and flee ASAP, or stay and become a victim
    of institutionalized corruption.

  4. WHY ARE THEY PAYING $7350 and $15,850 stipend for health insurance when health insurance costs are so much cheaper???

    *Here are comparable premiums for health insurance:

    Individual age 25:
    range of premiums monthly, bronze plan to gold/platinum plans: $133-$364

    ANNUAL PREMIUM COST: $1596-$4368

    Individual age 30:
    range of premiums monthly: $161-$412

    ANNUAL PREMIUM COST: $1932-$4944

    Family age 25, 25, 6, and 2:
    range of premiums monthly: $434-$1190

    ANNUAL PREMIUM COST: $5208-$14280


  5. Teachers cry that costs go up, well join the rest of the world.

    ALL of OUR healthcare has gone up too.

    The only difference is the rest of the world isn’t seeing the pay increases Teachers, Administrators and govt. employees are getting.

    So you are asking those who are worse off to support you and give you all the goodies you want plus cost of living raises that none of us are seeing?

    Selfish and Entitled as always…

    Until we shut this down, we will never see relief from sky high real estate taxes.

    HonestAbe, where do we go from here?

    I always say stay and fight, but if it won’t help in my lifetime, I’d like a tip or two.


  6. The school board or administration should post that presentation on the school district website and since that may or may not happen in the meantime it should be obtained via FOIA and posted on a website.

    Many school districts have Cadillac health insurance and other benefits heavily subsidized by taxpayers for teachers and administrators and other employees.

    It varies by district.

    It sometimes varies by classification of employees (teachers vs administrators vs support staff vs transportation, etc.

    The benefits were hiked over the years.

    Some districts have reigned in some or all of their health insurance and other benefits costs.

    Benefits are a major reason every taxing district needs a taxpayer watchdog.

    There are a lot of benefits and they are all over the map when comparing district to district.

    And in state mandated benefit reporting by school districts, some benefits are lumped into “other benefits” so FOIA is required to get more detail and some school districts do their best to hide line item detail of other benefits even when a FOIA is submitted.

  7. Herb Willis @ 10:50am,

    Not knowing what your personal circumstances are, I really cannot give you a specific answer – there is no “one size fits all answer” to your plea.

    That being said, I would suggest that a subscription to “Where To Retire” magazine would be most helpful – lots of good info there.

    They have a publication entitled “America’s 100 Best Places to Retire”.

    Google their website for more info on these publications.

    Remember, you don’t necessarily have to be retired to find a good place to live.

    Also, “Strategic Relocation” by Joel M. Skousen, available at Amazon.

    You must educate yourself, the above mentioned resources are a good place to begin your quest.

    If you are interested in some websites, let me know and I will post them later.

    Good luck with in your quest.

  8. All of the legal mumbo jumbo, steps and lanes, means that every teacher has received a raise for either or both, years of service or additional education, every year.

    No one in private industry has received such increases and in most cases the general public has less income today than 5 or more years ago.

    Teachers should be paying 50% of their entire health care premiums, not just the annual increases.

  9. Teachers and unions don’t care about common sense and fiscal matters.

    They want what they want and they want it now.

    There is no such thing as negotiating for days, weeks or months when you can’t even discuss deep money matters until the end and then the strike card is played.

    Take away the right to strike or it will continue until we are like Detroit.

    Teach your kids to not be manipulated into participating in this sick game under the guise of civic involvement.

    Kids brains aren’t fully formed and they don’t live in the real adult world.

    Adults with financial sense know that you figure how much money you have before spending it.

    Teachers and their unions want the same spending as prior years with more added to it.

    Wake up taxpayers and voters.

  10. I’m not sure how anyone can support the teachers’ union after seeing this.

    Just like the rest of us, if you’re not happy with your pay please move on to another job

  11. Give credit to the 156 School Board for hanging in there.

    Remember these Board members are NOT paid anything for their service and this issue has caused each Board member to work many dozens of hours for love of their community.

    Parents of children, there is no one that wants your children to receive anything less than the best education, than a Board member.

    Board members are receiving incredible harassment for their stand on these issues and it will only get worse.

    Their choice is to give in to the demands of the union or allow the children to be out of school for an indefinite period of time.

    Next step may be mediation which only delays the situation longer.

  12. This is sadly and paradoxically quite humorous.

    All the teachers supported OBAMA and OBAMACARE…the forces responsible for their health care costs going much higher.

    Liberal academia is self destructive and this is yet another example of why you don’t vote for democrats.

    One day, academia has to wake up from their liberal delusion and realize that such political beliefs are repeated FAILURES….without exception.

    Stop teaching them to our kids, teachers, and you won’t find yourselves in this position.

  13. Have medicare for all that means the president of the US and the congress and teachers and janitors.

    The administrative costs and money to ceo’s of major insurance companies is 30-4-%, but medicare has an administrative cost of 3%.

    You would still pay for supplemental insurance.

    Jobs go to Canada and other countries with universal healthcare because companies can save at least 15% by outsourcing to a country that has universal coverage.

    Then you could negotiate on salary only.

  14. Also according to the data above education spending is less than in 2008 but maintenance and operations cost has nearly doubled.

  15. What are the figures on the slide “Financial Trends” supposed to represent?

    They do NOT correspond to expenditures.

  16. Most people don’t realize the maximum salary on the salary grid is not the maximum pay teachers can achieve due to stipends and longevity pay.

    Look at the current 2013 – 2015 collective bargaining agreement for McHenry High School District 156 and search for “longevity.”


    http://www.dist156.org > Board of Education > Financial Information > Salary and Teacher Contract Information > mchenry_educators_cba_2014-2015.pdf


    “Educators who are in longevity or have submitted a notice of intent to retire under this contract
    shall be granted an additional 5 days of sick leave for both the 2013-2014 and 2014-2015 contract years.”


    Note: In most districts sick days can be accumulated and cashed out at retirement or exchanged for years of service credit to retire earlier.

    The details are in the collective bargaining agreement.



    1. Educators who have reached the maximum step on his/her lane of the salary schedule shall be removed
    from the salary schedule the following year and enter into longevity.

    For the 2013-14 school year, an educator in longevity will receive the dollar amount that is equal to one-half of the percentage increase that was provided to him/her for the 2012-13 school year (1.5 to 2.5%) plus the consumer price index (CPI) for 2012(1.7%) plus 1.0%.

    For the 2014-15 school year, educators in longevity will receive an increase of CPI for 2013 (1.5%) plus 1.0%.”


    “Sick Leave

    1. Each full-time educator shall be entitled to a total of 13 days of sick leave per school year without
    loss of pay.

    Such leave and unused personal business leave days shall accumulate to 370 days.

    Part-time educators shall also accumulate sick leave to a maximum of 370 days if employed for consecutive years.

    Full-time educators who have been changed to part-time status shall maintain their accumulated sick leave.

    Educators who are in longevity or have submitted a notice of intent to retire under this contract shall be granted an additional 5 days of sick leave for both the 2013-2014 and 2014-2015 contract years.”

  17. Pick a board member and email them asking the question about financial trends.

  18. Where are the numbers that don’t correspond to financial trends?

    In the annual financial report (AFR).

  19. People need to read the collective bargaining agreement and learn about all the perks teachers receive.

    And then somehow find out about all their other benefit perks which are not listed in the collective bargaining agreement such as the generosity of healthcare and other perks from human resources that are present in many school districts.

    The teachers are giving no indication they appreciate everything they have been given which is far more generous than the average taxpayer.

    What the McHenry High School District 156 school board and all school boards is lay out for the taxpayers all the pay and benefits for all the employees in the district including all the healthcare perks and deductibles and copays and generosity of coverage, etc.

    Teachers in general are very well compensated in this state.

    About the only claim they can make is to cherry pick some school districts and say we are not paid as well as x y and z and you should pay us more so the teachers don’t leave to x y and z.

    But if McHenry school district was so bad it would have a shortage of job applicants and no one would come to McHenry high school district from another district and that is probably not the case.

    If we have enough time someday we can track down all the employees in the district in terms of any that come and go and see which district they come from and go to.

    This strike is completely unnecessary and the teachers are well compensated in this district.

    Most people supporting the teachers can’t tell all the various pay and benefits and perks the teachers receive.

    One exception is Qualls who spoke up at the meeting who is in the industry as a principal in Alden-Hebron school district, assuming she has read the collective bargaining agreement and knows the value of the healthcare package and other perks in the McHenry High School District.

  20. All the people supporting this teacher strike, whom have kids or grandkids in the district, can you explain to those kids all the debt they will have to pay for unfunded pensions and retiree healthcare and bonds at the local, state, and federal level someday.

    Of course they can’t because they don’t know all the bond debt and unfunded liabilities because it is not listed in any one spot, one has to hunt and peck and cobble together spreadsheets or database tables.

    And since most taxing districts don’t have a taxpayer watchdog we are going nowhere fast in getting more answers.

    Truth in Accounting has tracked this down at the state level.

    They probably have a pretty good idea at the Federal level.

    Local there is much more work to be done.

    The latest Illinois Department of Insurance report is a help for pensions.

    Retiree healthcare has less transparency.

    EMMA MSRB and the AFR on the taxing district websites and the Illinois Comptroller can be used to add up all the local, one could get an idea.

    Now if the teachers can lay out all that for McHenry High School District taxpayers then maybe they are justified going on strike.

    But they have not.

    They just say we want more money and no one has a clue how much money they already owe in the first place for all the above.

    That’s crazy.

    That’s like not knowing your credit card bill and buying something else.

    It makes no sense.

  21. The “financial trends” numbers correspond nearly exactly to the fund balances (cash and investment s) on the assets paspges 5-6 of the 2014 budget posted on isbe.

  22. I can’t think of any relevance these fund balances have relevant to financial trends.

  23. The “financial trend” is simply the movement of the fund balance from year to year.

  24. How is fund balance in various categories indicative of a financial trend?

  25. “Financial Trend” is simply the name that was assigned to fund balance numbers going up or down over a period of years.

    Financial meaning the fund balances are financial figures.

    Trend meaning the numbers move up or down from year to year.

    Fund balances are just one of many statistical measures used to measure the financial health of a school district.


    A more detailed view of school district finances is found in the the school district financial profile on the ISBE website.

    An brief overview of the school district financial profile recently appeared on the IASB website.



    The IASB has a list of resources for understanding school district finances.

    “Understanding School Finance – 12 Questions and Answers” is a high level 12 page overview document.

    “Essentials of Illinois School Finance” by James Pitt is a 168 page book that may be carried by the local public library, available through the public library inter-library loan, or the cost is about $35.


  26. My point is, was this misleading poster deliberately chosen to falsely indicate that educational spending is not rising?
    (That is the impression at least one commenter had about the figures represented under the headline”Financial Trends”.

  27. Ah.

    Who knows.

    But adding “Fund Balances” could be added that that slide to make it more clear what is being measured.

    Just send the board a note.

    School boards talk about fund balances all the time but fund balances is foreign to most private sector workers even those versed in finance, it’s more a concept used in public sector and non profit accounting.

    GASB had a write-up explaining funds several years ago.


  28. Maybe what the board was trying to say or imply is that fund balances are decreasing and if they continue to do so there will be adjustments that have to be made, be it service cuts, cut sports programs, tax hikes, issuing non-referendum working cash bonds (which of course hikes taxes), etc.

    So since fund balances are going down it’s not as if the school district is flush with money for teacher salary hikes.

    Something along those lines.

  29. I’m not sure how that information was presented to the audience but the presenter should have first given a brief few minute overview that governmental accounting is different than private sector accounting (outside non-profit) and explained what funds are, then gone into the detail of the slide.

    That’s a common omission in school board meetings.

  30. But the fund balances above indicate an upward trend (and irrelevant noise).

    Relevant data to present in my opinion would be 8 years of categorical:

    1. Expenditures

    2. enrollments (ISBE as source).

    3. Local revenue derived from property taxes (levy)

    4. Tax rate due to levy.

    5. OEPP (state average is $10,177).

  31. And

    6. District EAV trend past 8 years (indicative whether community can afford increased spending)

  32. If you compare FY 2008 to FY 2015.

    The biggest fund Education went from $12M to $8.5M.

    A raise in a salary grid is a raise forever historically.

    The teacher salaries come from the Education fund.

    There’s less money in the Education fund not more.

    Something along those lines.

    Yes the fund did go down and back up between those years.

    I am just guessing I really don’t know the point the board was trying to make because I was not there.

    You would have to send them an email and ask them to explain the purpose of the slide and the point they are trying to make.

    I don’t know why the board didn’t present the metrics you listed above.

    You could give them your two cents, might not do much if anything now, but who knows how the negotiations will continue, and there’s always the future.


    The teachers in the early 2000’s up until the crash in general throughout the state had a party going on with salary and benefit hikes at the local and state level.

    And because many refused to renegotiate the agreements after the crash the party continued for many.

    Unions in general never want to concede anything they have gained.

    So here we are.

    The Teamsters to their credit did settle with Rauner at the state level.

    AFSCME is fighting Rauner tooth and nail at the state level.

    And here in McHenry we have the High School Teachers fighting the taxpayers (the board represents the taxpayers.

  33. Here is an article about the Rolls Royce teacher and administrator pension plan.

    Meet Mr. and Ms. Average Firefighter & Teacher.
    Retired at 58.
    Cash Value of Pensions?
    About $3.5 Million
    – WP Original
    October 7, 2015


    Taxpayers can’t afford the pension plan so also can’t afford teacher pay hikes.

    So the high school teachers go on strike in McHenry in hopes of obtaining bigger pay hikes then the taxpayer elected board is offering.

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