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LFEA and the Board of Education Fail to Reach an Agreement

Lake Forest High School strike will continue into third day on Friday.

Despite nearly seven and a half hours of negotiation, the Lake Forest Education Association (LFEA) and the District 115 Board of Education failed to reach an agreement on Thursday to end its .

The Board and the union did agree to submit the two-tiered salary schedule to a board and faculty committee, and they also agreed to ease in the HMO insurance change, the board said in a statement. However, the sides could not agree on a salary increase. 

Tom Gigiano, LFEA lead negotiator, said in a statement Thursday evening: "We are disappointed in the Board, but hope that we can come to a fair and equitable contract soon and get back to teaching. We know that you have heard this before, but again, again, the LFEA made a new financial offer, and again, the evening ended with no change in the proposal from the Board."

The statement also said that before the collective bargaining session began, Board Vice President Jim Carey allegedly told a group of teachers demonstrating outside, "Keep your signs, guys." 

At the time of publication, the Board did not immediately respond to a question about Carey's alleged comments.

Board President Sharon Golan said in an issued statement Thursday evening: "We are deeply disappointed by the Union's unrealistic expectations regarding salaries. Our offer keeps us highly competitive and fiscally responsible to the community we serve."  

The LFEA and the Board will resume negotiations at 9 a.m. Friday. 

David September 15, 2012 at 03:17 AM
@Jeff - taxpayers pay for the pensions. One way or another we pay. Do you think that pension money grows on trees? So, of course, pensions have something to do with the current issue. Teachers receive a pension. The pension is based in part on their wages. When deciding between a job in the private sector vs a job as a teacher, a $3 mil pension surely impacts the decision. You'd be foolish to think otherwise.
One Opinion September 15, 2012 at 03:18 AM
Totally agree with you on this one. There are so many really STRONG and DEDICATED teachers at LFHS, but unfortunately there are too many that abuse the system and do nothing but the minimum to get by. Parents and students are tired of it, and this fact has caused us to get angry now with all that has happened. I can honestly say while our (my family) income has significantly diminished over the years, we have fought hard to stay here because of those REALLY GOOD teachers. They have earned our respect and our desire to find a way to pay them top salaries, but PLEASE good teachers, put pressure on those you know who have brought your barganing power and professionalism down. They have hurt your ability to retain community support.
RationalTht September 15, 2012 at 03:18 AM
@Jeff - if strike is NOT about pay, why is it that the teachers won't budge from their 6% per year demand? I am curious as you seem to know more.
David September 15, 2012 at 03:33 AM
@Jeff - please stop posting until you get a clue. "Taxes will not change if teachers get zero dollars or a million dollars". Really @Jeff?!! My God. So if teacher all work for free our tax bills won't change one iota? If every tracher makes $1 million a year our taxes won't change? @Jeff. Please go away until you've learned some common sense.
David September 15, 2012 at 03:38 AM
@ college brah - you wrote "have you taken a specific look at the financials to know whether the proposed salary increases will directly affect your taxes". Most every penny paid to the teachers comes from our taxes. Most every penny increase in pay to a teacher means it comes from our taxes. Did the premier school you attended teach you that money grew on trees?
Kathie September 15, 2012 at 03:46 AM
Concerned Citizen: This hits the mark exactly regarding the frustrations many of us parents and taxpayers have been expressing. I suspect many of our best of class teachers, who have to feel trapped by the limits of the current system and bullied by their union, might agree. Thank you.
Lennie Jarratt September 15, 2012 at 03:55 AM
Have the parents and citizens of the district thought about a counter protest to the strike? It worked in Zion.
Hmmmm6 September 15, 2012 at 04:00 AM
@Concerned Citizen(s)Read LF Parent.The BOE is implementing the new mandated performance evaluation system.Watch the board meetings for the last year or call Julie Cooley.Performance evaluation is beginning, and its impact will be real in the world of declining enrollment. .As for benefits, the parties agreed yesterday that teachers would begin to pay more as private employees have for decades. Your argument on not paying for unnecessary credentials is good, but remember that CP classes are entitled to the best prepared teachers as AP classes and in many cases, our credentialed teachers come to us with their education already complete. While the impact of the benefits concession and the performance evaluation system is not yet complete, it is underway. The process that is incomplete is the signed contract. "Instructional Programming" is not class. Assuming for ease of computation, 200 school days. Each day lost is .5% By Monday, we have lost 2% of our taxes for D 115. Instructional Programming is not class. This is not Brave New World. How much will the BOE spend for unnecessary lawyers, background checks and "instructional programming." How much are we paying for this strike? Cut the deal. To the BOE, you are wasting our money. Do the deal.
Lennie Jarratt September 15, 2012 at 04:14 AM
The BOE needs community support to stand strong against the bullies of the union bosses. Email the board and tell them you support them. In this economy, it is not time to pass out extravagant raises and benefits. It is time for fiscal sustainability.
Brad Faxton September 15, 2012 at 11:23 AM
Here comes lennie! Listen everyone, this guy is here to simply stir up trouble. His every intention is to bankrupt the schools. He hates public education. Ignore him,
Brad Faxton September 15, 2012 at 11:25 AM
Close yer yapper you 1%er and sack up for a few dollars more. Us poor folks making $50k/yr struggle each and every day. All you can do it go to the picket line, scream at the teachers who are TEACHING YOUR KIDS while waving your rolex watches. They aren't smart kids just cause. They are smart because of the teachers.
Brad Faxton September 15, 2012 at 11:27 AM
Really? Nearly all of them have Masters degrees.
Brad Faxton September 15, 2012 at 11:28 AM
Uhh, no. BOE is the bully, they walked out.
Brad Faxton September 15, 2012 at 11:31 AM
ALl of the teachers could also quit. Where would you be then? Rehiring that level of talent costs huge $.
Brad Faxton September 15, 2012 at 11:34 AM
Are you freakin' kidding me? Sperm and an egg plus God make a better person? Really? Most of what you are talking about is old money - you appear successful on the outside (Mc Mansion and bling), but you are no different than I.
AGF September 15, 2012 at 11:53 AM
Administrators , regardless of the union or tenure, can get rid of an ineffective teacher in 18 months. It's takes documentation and some work but it can happen. DPMS has gotten rid of 2 ineffective tenure teachers in 2005. A poor administrator will blame it on the union but it's actually in their hands. Maybe for the money they make they should start doing their job? I think before all of these people are commenting (and some are the same over and over again) you should do a little research.
Concerned Citizen September 15, 2012 at 01:02 PM
Here was the rest (may take 1 more comment) of the Open Letter (sorry, too long to have it all post). If you agree, e-mail the Board and the LFEA: We recognize that there will be a strong temptation to jump to the effect that admitting these points will have on the various parties’ self-interests and the personal economic effects of abandoning the current, legacy salary structure. But, we should focus first on what would create the best education for our students at the most efficient (not lowest, but most economically efficient) cost. While addressing this issue may take time, it does not mean that the parties cannot come to a short term resolution that would end the strike, e.g. by agreeing to maintain the status quo for a defined time period in which the parties could address these issues. We expect both sides and all stakeholders to focus on our mutual goal: providing the best education for our students and the best value for our taxpayers. So, let us be clear about what this issue is not about: -- Whether or not teachers should have a union. -- Getting rid of all the teachers. But, neither is it about retaining teachers who do not deliver the quality of education that we expect for our students. -- Standing on precedent or the status quo. Let’s start with a clean slate. -- “Feelings” about what the right salary levels are. Let the data drive the decision.
Concerned Citizen September 15, 2012 at 01:06 PM
--Having the highest salaries of any other district. We should be focused on providing the best education, not paying the highest salaries. --Failing to consider the taxpayers’ interests. Please do not sell us short: the vast majority of we taxpayers are economically rational-we will fund what we perceive delivers the best, most economically efficient education to our communities’ children. --Letting issues we can’t solve get in the way of a real solution. For example, we can’t do anything about pensions: That issue is a broader issue in Illinois that has to be resolved at the state level. -- And, please, let’s keep name-calling and stereotyping, and personal, non-fact based attacks out of the debate. If we stay focused on the facts, the hard data, and we keep the goal of delivering the best, most economically efficient education as our goal, we can and will solve this issue.
Deadcatbounce September 15, 2012 at 02:07 PM
Talking to teachers or administration you get the impression all teachers are top performers, but we know it's not true.  Like any organization there are the good,  bad and adequate employees and schools are no different, lake forest included.   Jack Welch's vitality model, described as a "20-70-10" system, is a good way of evaluating performance at an organization.  The "top 20" percent of the workforce is most productive, and 70% (the "vital 70") work adequately. The other 10% ("bottom 10") are nonproducers and should be fired.  The problem is that the 10% in schools never get fired.
RationalTht September 15, 2012 at 02:14 PM
@Brad - well, LF Teachers are the 1% of the teaching industry (i was about to use the word 'profession', but realized that many are not acting like professionals).
RationalTht September 15, 2012 at 02:16 PM
They only make "much more" if those degrees are in an area that is actually marketable and "productive". Additionally, not EVERYONE with multiple degrees automatically does better - they have to prove their worth.
Lennie Jarratt September 15, 2012 at 03:07 PM
LOL @Brad!!! Following me around now trying to intimidate others. Pathetic.
Concerned Citizen September 15, 2012 at 03:52 PM
@Hmmmm6. Thank you for your comment. While, of course, all classes need the best prepared teachers, it doesn't mean all classes need to have the most highly compensated ones: they need to have the best teachers. More degrees and more time-in-grade doesn't equal better teaching. I also think we want more meaningful performance evaluations now, not years from now. We also do not understand how "tenure" is pro-student or pro-education, as opposed to pro-teacher. While the issue is primarily (and should be) about what's best for the students, there's also an equity component: we have trouble understanding why educators should have the job security tenure provides, when we don't, and our ability to stay in our jobs is based on our (and our employers')performance. Finally, perhaps I misread your comment, but has the union agreed to pay toward their health care and address the other structural issues the community is concerned about? If so, that's great.
Hmmmm6 September 15, 2012 at 05:09 PM
@ Concerned Citizen Yes, I do think there was movement regarding the insurance and there is going to be a phase in. I think there was some compromise on that issue.
Life is Good September 15, 2012 at 09:40 PM
EVERY SINGLE TEACHER AT LFHS IS OVER PAID!!!!!!!!!!!!
Jeff September 16, 2012 at 01:52 AM
This is not the real issue
Jeff September 16, 2012 at 01:54 AM
If youre so good with number ps good google the average salary of professionals with a masters and two decades experience at a job Seriously, find me one example that consistnantku pays under 50,000
Stevie Janowski September 16, 2012 at 10:34 PM
Will way to be a buzz kill about the terms of use. Grow up, who cares if I call out a teacher now and then. Call it as I see it. Your out
Me September 17, 2012 at 03:29 AM
Hopefully the striking teachers are reading this blog and are understanding how ill-advised a decision them made when they were coerced by their union bosses to strike. I do believe that most teachers in 115 have their hearts in the right place. Given the opportunity to turn back the clock, many of them would recast their votes but this time against the strike and they would be at school doing what they do best. There is still time for them to recapture some of the goodwill of the community. It is as simple as getting up on Monday morning and going to work. Once you have released your hostages the community will be ready to move forward with you and pay you a very generous salary with generous annual increases. Remember that most of us don't have a benefits package that is anywhere near what you have. Thus, when you ask for even more, you are going to touch a nerve. Lets start over and stop this now while there is a chance at a good relationship.
Lennie Jarratt September 17, 2012 at 03:37 AM
I agree that most teachers were not given all the facts before the strike vote or the union bosses held the vote in open instead of a secret ballot. This makes it hard for the rank & file teachers to against the vote. I've seen this over and over again where the union bosses bully the rank and file teachers into a strike even though most don't want it. The teachers are really victims themselves of their own union. They too though, must learn to stand up to the bullies until this madness stops.

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