McHenry High Strike Update

McHenry High School District 156 has posted the following strike update:

Strike Update 10-8-­15

The negotiating team is meeting again tonight.

Parents are reminded that an emergency call will be made to all families when school resumes.

This call may come at any time, day or night, as the goal is to get students back to school as quickly as possible when a contract agreement is reached.

Pensions over $100,000 per year.

Pensions over $100,000 per year.

Andrew Gasser has posted pension information for District 156.

d156 pay history

15-year history of teacher pay increases.


McHenry High Strike Update — 22 Comments

  1. Now that is ridiculous.

    The goal should be fair to taxpayers.

    There should be a cut-off.

    After 7PM, no school the next day, period.

    Make it a school policy if not state law.

    Asking customers who fund the system to jump through last minute hoops is unacceptable and the teachers use these late night sessions and let’s get the deal done now late at night so we can have school tomorrow to their advantage applying pressure on the board to settle.

  2. The pensions are the #1 financial reason why this strike is unjustified.

    Hiking pay, hikes the pension.

    Taxpayers are not bottomless pits.

    There is a limited amount of taxpayer dollars available for running the school, funding pensions, bond payments, retiree healthcare, etc.

    The teachers have given no indication they are considering the big picture.

    They just scour the budget, find what they deem as available funds, and stake their claim.

    Notice not only the pension, but how quickly the employee recoups their lifetime pension contribution, and the age at which the employee retires.

    Very generous.

    If you are on the fence about the generosity of teacher pensions, read today’s article on Wirepoints about the subject.

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


    This strike is not justified given the toll inflicted on students and the ripple effects.

    The paid teachers and paid union employees are flexing their muscle against the unpaid board members.

    The strike provisions in the Illinois Educational Labor Relations Act (IELRA) need to be changed.


    In the list above, only Michael Shanahan retired as a teacher.

    The others retired as administrators.

  3. On the front page of the Herald this morning is a picture of the students with support the teachers signs.
    Of interest is the student with the multi color hair from a previous picture on the MCB who had a teacher help him speak of whatever is in the picture.
    His picket sign reads “stop bullying our teachers” Comical.

    Stop screwing the taxpayers is more on point.

  4. The most savagely indifferent aspect of teacher’s behavior, in my opinion, is their refusal to examine the sticker price of their health insurance policy as related to benefits it guarantees.

    If teachers spent just one hour on the internet shopping around they would find similar health care policies for much lower premium prices.

    Their unwillingness to do so indicates the depths of their indifference to the wellbeing of their community at large; 4%-5% property tax rates caused by ever-escalating school debt and levies have wrought mass destruction.

    And this inflated health insurance policy premium price does nothing to the individual teacher’s benefit!

    Some plan manager somewhere is making a ton of money, some money managers somewhere are making a ton of money, maybe some plan rep that sold the policy is making a ton of money.

    But the end user, the teacher, is only getting what they would get with a health insurance policy that could be had for a much lower price.

    Health insurance policy prices are easily searchable online. And teachers are a group in general who are relatively young and healthy compared to population.

    $7350 and $15,850 stipends are given to these D156 teachers

    *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: you are willing to throw your community under the yellow bus for the financial enrichment of insurance plan financial managers?

    Defend your health insurance policy! Why is it worth 30%-50% more than comparable policy premiums?

  6. We saw the dot-com bubble burst, the stock market bubble burst, the housing bubble burst.

    When will the people of McHenry County and other surrounding counties see the coming property tax bubble explosion?

    Like the other bubbles, we see that it is unreasonable to expect that it can continue to sustain itself, and yet, like lemmings, we keep marching forward, ignorant of the looming precipice.

    We can’t allow the educational complex to hold our children, our property and our future hostage!

    This is a crisis!

    Commit to doing something today, even if it is only calling the McHenry school board to tell them that they can’t afford to increase ANYTHING.



  7. When many of us were in school and before the age of teachers unions, the classroom size was 30-1.

    Seems we all turned out quite well.

    Wouldn’t you agree?

    Further, the reduction in class size hasn’t resulted in dramatically better test scores as previously advertised by the union.

    With 2500 students and 150 teachers at a ratio of 16-1. I would propose going back to the 30 or so student to teacher ratio, eliminating the need for almost half of the current staff.

    Let the Union work out with its members with its insane tenure and work rules drivel, who stays and who goes.

    Should serve to keep the Union busy and keep them from continually getting into mischief like this strike.

  8. The striking McHenry high school teachers have burned any good will they may have had with the tax paying public.

  9. I want it all and I want it right now on someone else’s dime.

    I want a baby grand piano, 3 expensive cars built in this decade, trips to glorious weather “playgrounds”, a never ending huge pension, free excellent healthcare, mandatory respect just for breathing a year longer, and so on.

    And I want it even if it wipes out someone else’s piggy bank, college funds, personal savings, and the ability to live in the neighborhood of their choice.

    Yep, I want all of that and more.

    I want brainwashed, unworldly, children to sell my wants to the people who can’t afford to pay for it.

    Yep, I want it all, every year for the rest of my existence.

    I want others to believe I am the only important person in the world.

    To hear some talk, “We” aren’t the finest teachers though every district claim the same excellence.

    The taxpayers can be manipulated easily just pull on their children’s heartstrings and the guilt concept.

    Taxpayers wonder if there is an Island of Not-so-great teachers who are unemployed or dumped on other districts.

    Wow, taxpayers are so practical.

    They are also suckers. Wake up people.

  10. Or how about this Board and Union?

    Going forward no more than 20% of the budget will be allocated to administration.

    The other 80% to teachers and maintenance personnel.

    Administration will have to accept substantial pay cuts, or look for employment elsewhere.

    This will take effect next August and anyone wishing to leave will be given a letter of recommendation from the Boatd.

    Those who don’t report next August will have a refusal of work letter placed in their file.

    As described above in my class size comments, I see no reason after a workforce reduction and increased workload for teachers, administrators can justify their pay for half the responsibility.

    Taxpayers share the cost of schools, likewise all educators should fairly share in the workload. Everyone now has the right amount of chips in to even the pot.

  11. Only twice have I seen teacher contracts upon which the Board has settled, but the teachers union not approved, made available to the public.

    The first time was when Larry Snow was on the Huntley School Board.

    The second was the last Crystal Lake Grade School District contract.

  12. The average class size numbers are skewed because there are more specialists in public education now for special education teachers, speech therapists, and occupational therapists.

    In Illinois special education law the student will have an IEP and a lot of that is driven by federal special education law.

    None the less the union always wants more members so will always push for lower class sizes.


    It’s unbelievable what is transpiring with this teachers strike.

    It is completely uncalled for.

    The overall costs of prek – 12 public education in Illinois is clearly not affordable to taxpayers.

    So if one is looking for ideas how to lower the cost of public education:

    1. Repeal the pension sentence added to the Illinois state constitution on December 15, 1970 and claw back legislative pension and retiree healthcare benefit hikes most of which the average voter has no clue ever occurred because it was never explained to the voters which was deceptive albeit legal; and perversely indebts the very kids being educated and just as perversely no one explains this to the kids supporting the striking teachers; all in the guise of helping kids.

    2. Voter approval of school district collective bargaining agreements (cba).

    3. Voter approval of school district budgets.

    4. Voter approval of cba & budgets is of little use if taxpayers don’t understand the cba & budget so more transparency of school district expenditures, especially healthcare and other benefit.

    5. Provide taxpayers with the overall education costs broken down by all the entities involved in education a child.

    – School District costs including itemization of other benefits and healthcare
    – Regional Office of Education overhead
    – McHenry County Cooperative for Employment Education overhead.
    – Illinois State Board of Education overhead
    – Federal Department of Education overhead
    – TRS pension overhead.
    – TRIP retiree healthcare overhead.

    Also in the same spreadsheet the unfunded liabilities should be allocated to the school district.
    – Teachers Retirement System (TRS) unfunded liability for the school district.
    – Teachers Retirement Insurance System (TRIP) unfunded liability for the school district.

    6. Teacher Choice for Union fees. Teachers should have a choice whether or not they want to pay a dime to the union. So therefore change state law. Currently paying so called fair share fees to the union is a mandatory condition of employment for the teacher, even if the teacher does not want to join the union, the teacher still has to pay fees to the union. This provides the union with too much money and power.

    7. Taxpayer watchdog for every school district.

    8. Watchdogs become organized to counter the union.

    9. More transparency of all the testing and more targeted instruction based on that testing. Currently a lot of educational testing is wasted because the statistics are tabulated, sliced, and diced but the education of the actual child often does not change much. Now certainly some changes in instruction do take place sometimes. But overall, most public schools are more concerned about their image and heaven forbid if the parent were told there child needs improvement in a certain area. For instance tutoring centers such as Kumon have very effective overall programs and the local schools overall offer no such equivalent services for students in need of this or that help. Instead of spending all this money on hiking teacher pay and instead of teachers spending all this time taking college classes, more specialists are needed such as Kumon type tutors. The teacher money is not being spent effectively today.

    That’s a good start.

    There’s much more that can be done.

    The public schools are broke and broken and in major need of reform.

  13. One of the reasons the teachers went on strike is the board wanted to eliminate the salary grid and replace it with flat increases.

    Eliminating the salary grid would be a big victory for taxpayers.

    Eliminating the salary grid would eliminate the taxpayers getting tricked as in the following example that has happened thousands of times across the state over the years.

    Now this example does not occur all the time but it has occurred many times.


    Upon approval of the collective bargaining agreement, a press release is issued.

    The board and teachers have agreed to 1% additional pay for teachers.

    Seems acceptable.

    But what they don’t tell you is additional pay is just that, additional.

    Teachers will get their normal increases plus the additional increase.

    Here’s how that plays out.

    The 1% referred to increasing each cell in the salary grid 1%.

    Teachers still are paid according to how they advance annually on the salary grid.

    On the salary grid, teachers can advance 1 of 3 ways.

    Vertically in what’s called a Step Hike (work another year).

    Horizontally in what’s called a Lane Hike (earn a certain grade in a certain number of college credit hours).

    Diagonally in what’s called a Step and Lane Hike (both).

    The diagonal movement and what’s called the Masters bump are where the big pay increases occur.

    In some school districts more than one lane hike is possible in a year.


    Teacher pay in Illinois is better than just about every state.

    Teachers in the suburbs earn a very good wage especially when their entire compensation package including salary, healthcare benefits, mandated working hours, other benefits, pensions, retiree healthcare, and working conditions are considered (have you noticed all the fancy new school buildings and additions the last 20 years).

  14. So in the above example, you read 1% in the press release, but actual teacher pay may be hiked 0%, 1%, 2%, 3%, 4%, 5%, 6%, etc. but certainly overall more than 1% average.

    One of the many ways taxpayers have been outsmarted and duped by school districts.

    Hide and seek, kick the can, catch me if you can.

  15. Voter approval of contracts?

    Mark, most school board won’t even make the contract public before the vote.

  16. College Application letters of recommendation.

    That is another reason teachers receive public support for teacher strikes.

    If a student or parent comes out against the teacher strike, maybe the letter of recommendation the college requires for the application will not be so glowing.

    Along those lines, if a parent or student comes out against the teacher strike or collective bargaining agreement or benefits package or anything the teacher wants, maybe the the teacher will not be so willing to provide struggling students with extra assistance.

    And the list goes on and one.

    Due to the fact once parents make the decision where to live, for many the largest financial decision of their lives, their taxpayer dollars devoted to public schools are trapped in that public school district until they sell the property.

    Just pile these reasons onto the mandatory union fees the union receives from all teachers.

    Pile on all the money the union contributes to local school board elections and state political races.

    Pile on all the resources from the the teachers campaigning for local school board elections and state political races.

    Not to mention the same for Federal.

    The unions have a tremendous negotiating and political advantage.

    But it’s never enough.

    Teachers don’t get what they want from the school board, they go on strike to get more.

  17. Well if you don’t ask for it, you can’t get it.

    The school board should add voter approval of collective bargaining agreements to their list of negotiating demands.

    But since many school board members are elected largely based on teacher union support, it is a long shot such school boards would even want voter approval of collective bargaining agreements.

    Oh well, in the meantime we can educate voters, here’s what we need and why, here’s why we don’t have it and why.

    At least that’s a start.

  18. This can be a question the newspaper editorial boards and voters ask state Representative and Senate candidates.

    Will you pledge to support state mandated voter approval of public school district collective bargaining agreements.

    If the answer is no, the follow up is why do you think it’s ok that voters are shut out of the process but rank and file union members are not.

    That is the rank and file union members vote on the collective bargaining agreement.

    Why are the rank and file union members more important than voters.

    Do you care more about the unions than the taxpayers?

    This will weed out the phony taxpayer friendly state reps and senators from the real taxpayer friendly state reps and senators.

    Let’s put some sunshine in the dark secrete collective bargaining agreements.

    The question could be broadened from school districts to all taxing districts but probably easier to pass if it’s limited to school districts.

    And yes we know rank and file union members are voters, that’s obvious.

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