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Lake Forest High School Strike Ends After 6 Days

LFEA and the Board reach an agreement after a marathon 12-hour negotiation.

The LFEA and the Board have reached a tentative agreement on a new four-year contract after 12 hours of negotiations Tuesday night and into Wednesday morning, according to an announcement form the Board.

Specifics of the agreement must be ratified by the LFEA and then approved by the Board. The details of the agreement will be made public once these steps have occurred.

Read Patch's ongoing coverage of the strike here

"We would like to announce that we were able to reach a tentative agreement with the Union," Board President Sharon Golan said in a statement early Wednesday morning. "We are pleased that our teachers and students will be back in the classroom in the morning."

At the time of publication, the LFEA could not be reached for comment.

All classes at Lake Forest High School will resume Wednesday morning.

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Gary September 20, 2012 at 11:24 PM
The teachers dragged the town through a strike for no good reason at all. That's why people are upset. Do you see that? I want to point out one thing that libdad typifies. The supporters of the teachers, the pay raises, and the strike, NEVER recognize that the greater community is suffering financially. The NEVER recognize that State taxes have gone up, that property values are falling, that people have lost their jobs and houses, that people have taken pay cuts, that property taxes have risen dramatically, that not everyone lives on the lake. They all demand that we chant the mantra "we all want the best education for the kids, and we'll have to pay for that". We must be forced to see their side under penalty of being accused of being immature, anti-teacher, anti-education, and bad examples for the kids, but they do not show any sign at all that they understand a single point we make on our behalf. The complete unwillingness to see our side shows me that we are dealing with hard core ideologues who are not moved by any real world considerations.
Love2read September 21, 2012 at 12:09 AM
I do want our teachers to be fairly compensated. As a spouse, I'm very familiar with teacher contracts. I read all the NEA and IEA literature that comes to the house. I've poured over my wife's contracts so that I can understand what she's been offered or asked to give up. My conclusion, after over 20 years of marriage and being actively involved in her life as a teacher, is that overall, teachers on the north shore are overcompensated. They work hard, take home work after school and as a whole are dedicated to their profession. Even taking those positive aspects into consideration, they are overcompensated. The reason? The power of the union to legally strike and close down the schools. If we opened up the teaching profession in the State of Illinois to competitive market forces, there would be a significant reduction in the cost of education. In a competitive environment, the best teachers might make $100K. The $100K would be based on performance, not years in the system. Let me get very personal and name names. Chuck Gress. I vehemently disagree with Mr. Gress and the damage he caused to the community. I also understand that Mr. Gress is a fantastic math teacher. One of the best. I had a conversation with one of my friends that was also a LFHS grad. He said that hands down, Mr. Gress was the best math teacher he ever had. Mr. Gress would do outstandingly well in a competitive, free market environment. He should try it.
libdad September 21, 2012 at 12:37 AM
The teachers did this? No, the board AND the teachers did this and both share the blame. I recognize the financial hardships that are going on and that people have lost jobs, houses, and self-esteem (I am amazed i figured that out not living on the lake and all), but guess what, this deal is not going to increase your taxes. Why don't you ask instead why the board has a 20 million plus education fund at all? Most of the teachers offer was fair even in this climate. I understand all of the points the other side has made...I just don't agree with them and BTW, there are ideologues on both sides, but I am not one of them. I am however, strongly in the camp that thinks unions exist for a good reason. Labor is an equal part of the equation and there is no free market if the employees (public or private) can't negotiate. As for overcompensation, well, welcome to the northshore. It is everywhere from business execs, traders, finance professionals, and docs/lawyers. Our teachers are paid on similar scale to the whole area, so if you have a problem with, why don't you become a teacher?
Pat Lyon September 21, 2012 at 12:57 AM
Well said, libdad. Very well said.
Love2read September 21, 2012 at 01:03 AM
@llibdad - You said yourself that "Most of the teachers offer was fair, even in this climate". You don't walkout on a fair offer. You said "this deal is not going to increase your taxes". Not true. Every dollar spent by government needs to subsequently be taxed by government. You mentioned many different professions that are able to be highly compensated, all while working within the free market. Why not just add teachers to that market?
Love2read September 21, 2012 at 01:49 AM
@Lake Forest resident - I agree. Although if you do decide to walk off your job, be prepared to keep on walking, don't look back.
Me September 21, 2012 at 01:56 AM
@libdax - I was soft of with you until your juvenile moment at the end. Really? If you think there is a problem you should just jump on the gravy train instead of trying to fix it.
JR September 21, 2012 at 04:57 AM
What happens in corporations in the free market? Perfectly good, hard working, experienced employees nearing retirement get 'let go' for outsourcing temps. or new/cheaper employees. A school is not a corporation. Would it be good for students to see a beloved, hard working teacher get 'let go' because she was getting too expensive and nearing retirement? Also, many private schools have failed miserably w/ little or no retirement...and the academys that have survived...are they not more expensive than what anyone pays for public schools in their taxes? I'm not sure about Illinois, but I know that in other states, private schools do not even have to hire certified teachers, or teachers with enough subject content, etc.
LFResident September 21, 2012 at 09:33 AM
@JR. You are ranting.
LFResident September 21, 2012 at 09:38 AM
@libdad. You are comparing apples to oranges.
Jeff September 21, 2012 at 10:21 AM
How do the kids lose?
Jeff September 21, 2012 at 10:24 AM
@me Pretty sure a non secret ballot is part of union by laws Gress is a spokesman and not a negotiator or officer in the union
Jeff September 21, 2012 at 10:25 AM
I know when you campaign you won't you that misleading rhetoric.... Your tax dollars did not change because of ths deal
Jeff September 21, 2012 at 10:39 AM
@JR The better question is what kind of decent teacher right now is unemployed? Let alone to find twenty unemployed teacher for each department...there's a reason why they are unemployed. If you want bodies to fill a room this is a good idea. If you want quality teachers for one of the best schools in the state....
Jeff September 21, 2012 at 10:40 AM
Huh, you want me to defend Hitler?
Albert Boese September 21, 2012 at 02:16 PM
The strike has ended; however, the bitter taste will remain. LFEA (The teachers union) performance has been instructive and revealing. The first revelation is the affiliation with the State and National Trade Unions, the IEA and the NEA, is rather puzzling and unbecoming of professionals, a descriptor claimed by the teachers. Professionalism and trade union affiliation are inconsistent and incompatible beliefs. Affiliation with Trade Unions at the state and national level doesn’t square with LFHS parents, students and the community. Does the Governor Scott Walker and Wisconsin protest by the teachers union that hired goons from rent a thug look like the sort of affiliation we would want our teachers to have? Teachers, if you want to be treated like professionals and paid handsomely by D 115 for being so, please act accordingly and attend to the responsibilities for which you have been appointed and disassociate from “Big Union”. Al Boese
Deadcatbounce September 21, 2012 at 06:09 PM
Poor ignorant libdad. I am having a hard time understanding libdad’s point “but guess what, this deal is not going to increase your taxes. Why don't you ask instead why the board has a 20 million plus education fund at all?” Property tax revenue to schools goes up every year. I’ve never seen it go down. Can you show me Libdad when it has ever gone down? As for a surplus of 20 million, I’m not sure that is even enough. Schools are required to have at least a 35% surplus due to the timing of property tax revenue received and other factors. Also, wasn’t there a referendum back in 2007 to increase district taxes for school construction? I believe the referendum was $54 million to be paid back over 20 years. So Libdad if there is a so called “surplus” what’s wrong with paying off the debt and decreasing property taxes. The funds do not belong to the teachers, its taxpayer money.
Me September 21, 2012 at 06:13 PM
The only way to change anything is to elect a strong School Board and to be well prepared with a viable contingency plan when the contract expires. It is very true that the best defense is a good offense. In this case, the good offense is the ability to move forward with replacement teachers. Trying to run a school with some half-baked plan to enlist volunteers is absurd.
Deadcatbounce September 21, 2012 at 06:15 PM
When a teacher is near retirement, four years to be exact, they get a pay raise at all these schools. It's called the teacher end of career "salary spike". Go read the contract. Every teacher gets a 6% raise the last four years of their career. That 6% is a nice send off and taxpayers get stuck with the pension. I'm sure that spike will continue in the new contract.
Me September 21, 2012 at 06:54 PM
The sad thing is that no one hates the teachers. We recognize that they do a great job and we want to pay them well for doing it. It was the Union leadership who pushed them into a strike that will take many years out of what was formerly a great relationship with the community. There is really only one teacher to blame for most of this, Chuck Gress it is all on him. He might be a good math teacher but his moral fiber is weak at best.
Another Affected Tax Payer September 21, 2012 at 07:07 PM
From yesterday's WSJ: An Illinois Pension Bailout? http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10000872396390444032404578008291279754994.html
Mosober September 21, 2012 at 08:14 PM
WSJ outlines and identifies another organized group Democrats that are working hard to drive this state into the ground. I look forward to the outcome: Pensions will run dry and benefits will cease to exist. There is hope yet.
JR September 21, 2012 at 09:03 PM
....but you have to admit, it is a truthful rant :).
Deadcatbounce September 21, 2012 at 10:20 PM
Not really, just a nonsensical rant.
Deadcatbounce September 21, 2012 at 10:26 PM
The few teachers I have encountered near retirement were lazy and focused on using up their banked sick time. Absent at least once a week, grading papers late and a could care less attitude. They were getting their 6% increase and they knew no one was going to take them on.
JR September 21, 2012 at 10:59 PM
Deadcat: How so? As always, I told the truth, did I not...? Or are you oblivious to the real world? Also, I highly doubt that teachers nearing retirement at LF were all lazy, etc. It is such a shame how so many people here are bad talking the LF teachers... it truly is sad.
Deadcatbounce September 22, 2012 at 02:54 PM
Some people feel they have no choice to send their kids back to the school because they can't afford private tuition. I believe if you have a motivated enough kid that loves learning, there is enough online resources available for that student. It will be online learning that will eventually break the union. Outsider is correct, where were all you people the last 15 years as salaries and benefits were escalating? I remember sitting in a school board meeting 11 years ago listening to how the board spiked teacher salaries 20% the last 3 years of their career. I was incredulous, but no one seemed to think this was a big deal. I knew at that moment this was not going to end well. Something that can't go on forever Won't!
I.M. Weasel September 22, 2012 at 03:20 PM
@outsider - A full year without a contract.....unthinkable! FYI, true professionals usually work a lifetime without a contract. Could you imagine if doctors in a hospital walked out on their patients because they were offered 3% instead of 6%? Of course it would never happen. Maintaining pressure is one of the tools of change. Is it always pretty? No, but medicine is sometimes bitter.
Ted September 23, 2012 at 03:18 PM
Hey Todd, As long as you are basically calling people uneducated and in need of further schooling, perhaps you can go back yourself and learn the difference between "sight" and "site"!
The Bike Path September 26, 2012 at 10:43 PM
Holler if you had Van Nuys for US History! Or that guy who was an ex-Chippendales dancer! PIPS for life!

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