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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 .

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. 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.

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Stevie Janowski September 16, 2012 at 05:49 AM
No taxpayer is in support of them. I am fairly certain the teachers create fake accounts and vote on that poll.
Really? September 16, 2012 at 12:26 PM
Agreed !
Really? September 16, 2012 at 12:32 PM
Yes, I could most definitely live on these salaries with my total health care paid! Get real!! And, except for a handful of phenomenal teachers at the high school, the rest are at best mediocre. I had 3 children there.
Really? September 16, 2012 at 12:41 PM
You just proved all points!! Deerfield rates higher & is non-union!! LOL And, by the way, this BOE will replace these teachers with quality applicants whose resumes are stacked in HR!! LFHS does not currently hold a monopoly on "great"teachers.
Joe September 16, 2012 at 01:33 PM
Teachers bullying other teachers-what a sight! What hypocrites! They tell the students not to bully each other and reprimand those that do. Then they bully those who disagree with their union's stance and want to go back to work. They should be ashamed of themselves.
Fred September 16, 2012 at 01:43 PM
A way forward for teachers, students -- delivered first thing tomorrow morning, in every classroom: Teachers: "Kids, I'm very sorry. I made a serious mistake. If you learn only one thing from me this year, let it be this: It is never right for an adult human being to intentionally harm a child." Students: "Mr/Ms ____________, I forgive you." Move forward, together, again.
Me September 16, 2012 at 01:56 PM
Union complaints: Tiered pay structure They want to keep Cadillac insurance plans They want annual raises of 6% Taxpayer solutions: Two tiered pay scale - No. Change the pay scale and put all teachers on the new one. Then it is fair for all. Cadillac insurance plans - Go to a menu based approach. If the teachers want to pay for the plans from their own pockets, let them. 6% raises - No. What is being offered by BoE is fair for them. We aren't talking about teachers who are living in poverty.
Me September 16, 2012 at 02:26 PM
Notice to greedy Union - Now that the CPS teachers have agreed to go back to work, the media will have more time to focus on your unrealistic demands.
Jeff September 16, 2012 at 03:23 PM
BOE walked out on the students as well Takes two to tango
Jeff September 16, 2012 at 03:26 PM
"if you Learn a couple things from all of this, students, it's that your community does not value education as highly as you thought and are willing to put ideology over pragmatism. secondly, I hope you see how tough it is for people to stand up for what they believe in and how difficult that it. Sorry you had to see the true colors of the LF community"
Concerned Citizen September 16, 2012 at 03:51 PM
@Jeff: While you are entitled to your opinion, let's be clear about the underlying assumptions to that opinion, so that everyone can judge whether that opinion is fact-based. First, your opinion assumes that "the community" does not "value education" because it questions whether LFHS teachers' salary demands are appropriate. We value education highly, that is why we want to make sure that we have a compensation system that ensures we have the best teachers, not the highest salaries. Second, we are not putting ideology over pragmatism. Quite to the contrary. "Ideology" would be paying whatever is demanded without carefully analyzing whether it is designed to produce better quality education. "Ideology" would also be saying we should "fire all the teachers" or "break the union." The majority of the community do not adopt any of these "ideologies." Rather, we are focusing on the pragmatic: does the compensation system reward teaching quality, not just tenure and the accumulation of degrees, and do we have the right resources in place to deliver the best education to our students. Third, regardless of what your opinion is, I do not think it is fact-based to state or imply that people are not standing up for what they believe in. Clearly, the debate shows that people are willing to do that. Finally, you should be clear about what you mean about "true colors" so that your intended audience can assess whether that emotionally-charged label is supported by facts and logic.
Jen September 16, 2012 at 04:25 PM
Jeff, you just got schooled.
Steve Woz September 16, 2012 at 06:09 PM
I have a couple of questions for the forum that have concerned me. 1--Why were the striking teachers able to use an LF school bus to transport them from the high school to Donati's pizza? It is walkable but would take some gas in their cars so I can see where they would want tax payers to provide the expense of the transportation but I don't see how it was justified. The buses are owned by the DIstrict I thought.. Any perspective? 2--when Harry G and the underwear photographer were in the news, the PR department of the District was right on top of it but I don't see that level of communication now. It would seem like we should be seeing Anne Whipple in the news more telling the taxpayers about the quality offer that is on the table.
mshoe September 16, 2012 at 06:41 PM
The buses are being rented and paid for. Why focus on the little things. If you'r pro-BOE, get the back to the table to work it out, the teachers have been there.
mshoe September 16, 2012 at 06:47 PM
"these parents" cannot help out even if they want to. They have to be certified teaches for the school days to count. Get your BOE back at the table to negotiate on the points of the contract. Everyone is in support of getting the students back to LEARNING, not being babysat.
Steve Woz September 16, 2012 at 07:02 PM
@shoe-- your comments did not provide any new info--everything is paid for in this world. Who is paying is the real question. A meeting is not a meeting unless both sides agree to show so this is a game for the media
Realist September 16, 2012 at 07:23 PM
You are way off. I am a nurse with a Master's degree. For me to make $100,000 per year I would have to work 7 days a week for 12 months. As it is I work weekends, holidays, and in the middle of the night. I really don't have a pension to speak of and have been a nurse for over 20 years. Everyone I know has had their pensions deleted and their salaries cut. The teachers are not the real reason for the excellent scores, but the families that are supportive enough to get tutors. I don't know of anyone who has not hired a tutor especially for the ACT's. We all have made many concessions in this horrible economy. They need to get real and be happy they have a job that is safe and cushy.
Concerned Citizen September 16, 2012 at 08:33 PM
@mshoe As a parent, and having been informed at today's meeting, I am very satisfied with the plan that the administration has for the students this week. The meeting was totally focused on what was best for the students. The administration has done an exceptional job of putting together an outstanding, educational program for our students, which puts the students first. They were also very respectful and supportive of teachers, which speaks highly of their character, Principal Hoffman in particular. Trust me, the program is not about being "babysat." If all parties put as much focus on the students as the administration has demonstrated, this situation would have been resolved long ago.
Samantha Macartney September 16, 2012 at 08:36 PM
Wow. This is a fun little fish bowl to observe. (LFHS Class of 1991)
Scout September 16, 2012 at 08:54 PM
@shoe--who is paying for the two white vans that are also being used to shuttle teachers back and forth? Using all that gas doesn't seem very economoical or ecological. Also, I noticed the vans have been parked in the former Burger King lot all weekend. Is that legal? Can residents park their cars their overnight without getting ticketed and/or towed?
One Opinion September 16, 2012 at 09:49 PM
Many parents went to the meeting today at the high school, and administration has clearly been working hard to put the needs of the students first. Lets hope "most" of the teachers return on Monday to do the same. Parents will be there to do all that they can. Dedicated teachers will hopefully cross the picket line. Most of us respect you and want you back, and for all of the teachers who do not return... happy job hunting! It is NOT an easy time right now in the "real" business world. Your Union Reps are NOT helping you and Community Members do NOT want the BOE to negotiate any more.
Another Affected Tax Payer September 16, 2012 at 10:08 PM
@steve woz @scout It's my understanding the LFEA has office space there. I have no information about transport or office space costs and who's picking up the tab. @one opinion Good to hear the outcome of today's school meeting. Hopefully, long term positive change will ultimately come about on the otherside of this ordeal.
RationalTht September 17, 2012 at 04:18 AM
@Jeff - the BOE is representing the Parents AND the Students. What will the parents have to give up to give the teachers a SIX PERCENT RAISE IN A DOWN ECONOMY? Maybe the kid will not get the additional tutoring, maybe the kid will have to go without a medicine (as long as one side is using extreme examples, might as well go the other way as well).
Smooth_Operator September 17, 2012 at 02:43 PM
This reminds me of the baseball strike from years back. Billionaires fighting with Millionaires and the people to gain the most are getting hurt.
Smooth_Operator September 17, 2012 at 02:51 PM
I got one for you, when the contract is finally settled have the students strike the teachers...
Hmmmm6 September 17, 2012 at 03:54 PM
Gary--Again, time value of money. You are smart and I know you know what that means. The teachers are contributing a rate of their pay each year to their pension. Those moneys accumulate for no less than 25 years, in many instances longer, before payout, along with board contributions. That is the time value of money. Yes, they probably pull out more than they contribute based on both contributions plus earnings, but let's take a look at Social Security. Everyone knows that the average social security recipient takes out more than their contributions yield. So, you already backed off 15% of your original claim, and your $1.7 million also has to be discounted by the contributions and board match. By the way, I would say both systems need to be reformed, but at least let's have integrity in our local discussions. That is something we can achieve if we are all honest.
Me September 17, 2012 at 04:28 PM
@Hmmm - I ran the numbers and posted them in another thread. Using the rather extreme earnings rate of 8.5%, the value of a teacher's pension when they retire is about $2.3 million. In order to reach that number, there must be very significant annual contributions amounting to nearly 30% of the salary.
Mary Ann Beardman September 18, 2012 at 11:29 AM
Parent, get your children back to school. If you support the board. then your children need to be at school. We need 100% attendance to show support and stop this insanity and unreasonable demands by the teachers!
Helen Walters September 18, 2012 at 10:33 PM
While sitting in my car, waiting for the end of the school day, a woman driving around the parking lot and pick-up line stopped next to me and asked "do you support the teachers?" My response was "I support the students." Clearly annoyed by my answer she asks "so what about your husband-does he make more than the teachers?" hmmm...and all this time I thought the strike was not about money!?
RationalTht September 19, 2012 at 02:41 AM
@Helen - another thing I can guess about your husband.... he WORKS.

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