Board, Union Fail to Reach Agreement But School Resumes Monday
The Board filed an unfair labor practice claim against the LFEA. Mandatory attendance at Lake Forest High School will resume Monday.
After six and a half hours of discussion Friday, the Board and the LFEA failed to come to an agreement to end the now three-day old strike.
Lake Forest High School will re-open on Monday morning as a mandatory student attendance day, with a full day of programming being offered. The school will initially be using a temporary replacement staff, but the board noted in a statement that they "strongly believe that our children and community need our own excellent teaching professionals. That said, we deeply regret that we have had to authorize legal council to advise the Board on the issue of permanent replacement workers."
A spokesperson for the Board noted that at 10 a.m. Friday morning, the Board submitted a last, best offer. By 4:20 p.m., the Board claimed that the LFEA did not submit its "last, best offer," at which point the mediator suspended the discussions for the day.
The LFEA, however, claimed in a statement that it gave the Board a written counterproposal that included financial concessions, which did not receive a response from the Board.
The Board said in a statement that they had offered to defer the two-tier salary schedule to a board and faculty committee, and also offered to phase in the HMO insurance change. The LFEA did not, however, agree to the offer. The issue of salary also remains a contentious issue, with the LFEA demanding an increase of 5-6.5 percent increase per year. (The Board said that it was not able to disclose its "last best offer").
In a statement released after Friday's negotiations, the LFEA stated: "The LFEA remained on site even after the Federal Mediator had officially closed the meeting. The LFEA waited until the Board left the building with the hope that negotiations might continue."
Board President Sharon Golan stated in a press release Friday evening: "Each day the strike progresses the adverse impact on our students increases. The Board's primary goal remains the same - to serve our students."
In their released statement, the Board noted that teachers have the right to participate in the strike, or the right to come to work on Monday. They will not be disciplined for any action.
Today the Board filed an unfair labor practice claim with the Illinois Educational Labor Relations Board. The LFEA filed an unfair labor practice claim against the Board on Sept. 11. In the Board's claim, they noted that the LFEA failed to bargain in good faith as exhibited by:
-"Conducting a strike authorization vote prior to the onset of mediation and three months before final offers were exchanged";
-"Delaying bargaining until the start of the school year by continually refusing to meet over the summer";
-"Releasing its last offer to media outlets on Aug. 17, 2012, before the District had a chance to review the proposal and one week before it was set for publication by the IELRB."
-"Refusing to attend a mediation session where representatives from the District and a mediator were present on Sept. 10, 2012- two days before a scheduled strike";
-"Adhering to an illegal bargaining proposal that the District pay its members an uncapped amount from interest funds that the District accuses, despite the fact that such a proposal would violate both the Illinois School and the Illinois Grant Funds Recovery Act."
The LFEA released a statement Friday night that they would be willing to meet with the Board on Saturday to continue negotiations to resolve the strike. It read: "The Lake Forest Educational Association urges the BOE to call the mediator and continue to negotiate with us tomorrow at 10 o'clock [a.m.]. We will be waiting for you at West Campus."The Board did not arrive to continue negotiations this morning. Editor's correction: A previous version of this story stated that the LFEA and the Board agreed on the HMO and two-tier issues. This is not correct, and these issues remain in negotiations.