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LFHS Teachers Issue Strike Notice for Sept. 12

If no bargain is reached with Board before then, the teachers said they would walk off the job.

 teachers will stop working at 12.01 a.m. Sept. 12 , according to a statement today by Lake Forest Education Association teachers’ union (LFEA) spokesperson Chuck Gress.

The union issued a Notice of Intent to Strike to the Board at 4 p.m. today after Thursday’s mediation session failed to produce a deal and the LFEA found the District’s last and final offer under the collective bargaining process unsatisfactory.

“This is a difficult decision as we have always put the school community and its students first in our minds and our hearts,” Gress said in a statement. “Since there was no movement by the Board at last night’s negotiation session, the LFEA feels it has no choice but to take the next step in the collective bargaining process.”

The Board was not surprised by the action and is preparing for a possible work stoppage. It is also willing to meet again but says the union has not agreed to further talks.

“The Board remains steadfast in its efforts to provide fair compensation that’s reflective of today’s economic realities,” it said in a statement. “If needed, the Board has prepared a Strike Plan to address any potential work stoppage.”

After the teachers began last year without a contract, . The two sides met with a federal mediator over the summer and the union declared an impasse August 10.

The Board and the union were required to make their final offers to each other public today and those documents can be seen on the Illinois Labor Relations Board website. Patch will have a more detailed story Monday after it has the opportunity to review the documents closely and speak to representatives of the union and Board.

No further negotiation sessions are scheduled, according to Gress.

Patch learned of the teachers notice at 5:15 p.m. today and had not received a response from the Board by 6:15 p.m. We will update our readers when we do.

For more news and updates from Lake Forest-Lake Bluff Patch, subscribe to our daily e-newsletter, ”Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Robert Jr. August 25, 2012 at 05:00 PM
Get a grip Maximus... or no-thinkee-much-maximus... teachers are making $100k+ when you annualize their sdalary and the benefits are out of line with the private sector... fire the teachers and hire fill-ins who would like to teach. There is a supply demand equation that says the teacher's monopoly is extoring tax payers.
Robert Jr. August 25, 2012 at 05:04 PM
Nice to see Lake Forrest doesn't have its act together... are you really going to let teachers extort you for more money? I thought Lake Forrest had business sense and smart people, not panzies. We need you to fight the extortion on behalf of all Chicago school districts ... the teachers are selecting your district because of the wealth... they believe you will succumb to inconvenience over substance... Are YOU really so weak, as to seek convenience rather than logical payment for service? OMG- LF, wake up!
Joe August 25, 2012 at 05:08 PM
It's really quite simple. The union wants an increase of 6% more per year for the next three years and they want to keep free health insurance. The Board we elected to represent us doesn't agree. As taxpayers we should encourage the Board to hold firm. The Union's contention that a 3% raise is inadequate is out of touch.
compassionate conservative August 25, 2012 at 05:46 PM
Parochial schools are subsidized. I attended one through eighth grade. My children have attended public and private schools and yes the private schools are close to $40,000. I am not complaining about my tax dollars going to public education because we don't succeed as a community or country if we do not invest in the education of all of the children and adults for that matter in this country. In order to become competitive in the global economy, perhaps the Board should focus on having the children attend more days in the school year. Instead of having the teahers take a salary cut, have the teachers maintain their salaries and teach more days. Take a look at hiring effective administrators who document poor performance in the pursuit of weeding out ineffective teachers. High turnover in principals is not conducive.
Robert Jr. August 25, 2012 at 06:34 PM
@ hmmmmm6 ( or is it hmmmmm6, or hmmmmmmmmmmmm6) Yes... we must draw aline in the sand and fight this one out to the bitter end. Enough is enough, and the battle lines are drawn. No room for caving in - not anymore, during this depression.
Ted August 25, 2012 at 06:51 PM
Hi Compassionate conservative, I read your article in the NYT that was written by the Center for American Progress, an extreme left wing think tank. I urge you to reread the article and understand it for what it is--a union hit job on the taxpayer. China can make huge investments when they pay their workers minimum wage or less and no benefits or social safety nets. I've spent much time in China and I can assure you we don't want to strive to be like China. Don't let one leftist article create your "worldview"!
J Smith August 25, 2012 at 06:57 PM
After looking at both proposals, the union seems to be saying that if they get a 6% raise for three years the district fund balance will go from $3M to over $20M. In this economy? Yeah right. According to what the district put on its web site, the union could not even get this year's budget figures right.
LF resident August 25, 2012 at 07:43 PM
In 1999 when my oldest child was a senior, the union was threatening a strike. I talked with Mr Gress about the effect the work stoppage would have on the seniors who were competing for college scholarships. His answer: "that's not my problem." I know that most teachers don't feel that way and it would be good to hear from them. Many of the teachers would agree with the Board's proposal right now, but they are afraid to speak up. Those who have disagreed with the union leaders have been shunned in the past. If the union is opposed to the new teacher pay scale, why don't they take a cut so that the new hires can have more. That same child of mine did get a college scholarship and went on to teach in the Chicago Public schools. She knows that she would still be teaching if she was in Lake Forest. I am a liberal, a Democrat, pro-teacher, and most of the time, pro-union. I am also a realist and believe that the union team demands are unreasonable in this economic climate.
Bill O. Wright August 25, 2012 at 07:59 PM
Critics of Maximus, I don't understand you. You call Maximus "a self-interested teacher," but since you're not interested in Maximus' financial situation, why shouldn't Maximus be? As you've pointed out, Maximus is trying to score the best deal possible for services rendered. Isn't that Capitalism? Why are you interested in punishing the teachers for success? Is there anyone else you feel this way about, and why? "Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness." Why are you being selective about this most cherished American ideal? What kind of America ARE you representing, anyways?
Bill O. Wright August 25, 2012 at 08:05 PM
@LFresident, First off anyone who knows Mr. Gress knows that he would never make a comment like that. The man won a golden apple award and is one of the most dedicated teachers you could ever meet. His students love him and he loves teaching. Go ahead and ask any student! He is a kind and decent man. Its sad when people have to resort to personal attacks in order to create more conflict. Lets move towards resolution and stop the intimidating and inappropriate comments.
LF resident August 25, 2012 at 08:30 PM
Mr. Gress did make that comment. He was standing on the steps behind the gym with other teachers talking to parents in an attempt to get their support. If he would like to talk to me, I would be happy to call him. I know Mr. Gress and know he is a great teacher, but I question whether he and the union team do have the students best interests in mind when they make their demands.(see the teacher statement made by Mr. Gress) It would be fiscally irresponsible to the present and future students and their families to give in to these demands
Stop August 25, 2012 at 08:53 PM
@LFresident, funny how you have no problem inappropriately personally attacking somebody when you are not willing to publish your name. How would you like it if somebody wrote about you in a public forum. Stay focused on the issues not people. Thats just inappropriate. No matter what the situation is bringing up individuals is not right on either side.
No sharing August 25, 2012 at 09:03 PM
@LFresident, you ask for other teachers to share how they feel. I think what you wrote makes it clear that sharing how one feels is not a good idea especially when it can be used as a personal attack on a forum.
comeon August 25, 2012 at 09:14 PM
@LFresident, identify yourself, lets get your name out there. Since you have no problem publishing private conversations lets hear who you are?
J Smith August 25, 2012 at 09:26 PM
@LFresident. The conversation probably did take place given his rhetoric. Much of what the union has put out (including many orchestrated comments here) are designed to take focus off how absurd their demands are.
Robert Jr. August 25, 2012 at 09:31 PM
@Bill O. Wright: Capitalism does not allow extortion, and anti-competitive pricing is not geneuine marketplace competition. Capitalism relies upon free markets and competition to se price and value. Allow all unemployed teachers to apply for the jobs if the teachers strike, and see what capitalism brings- the market price for teaching is below the current wages and benefits. THAT is capitalism.
LF resident August 26, 2012 at 02:42 AM
Hello "Stop", "No sharing", and "comeon"-- You want me to identify myself? what about you? I have been involved with the high school since !996, actually before that if you consider the community involvement in the additions made before then. i have no problem identifying myself when I can be guaranteed that there will be no repercussions to my children and their families.
Nancy H August 26, 2012 at 03:34 AM
@LF resident, I'm a parent too and I support you 100 percent. There are many of us out here who have had concerns that we decided to suppress after we weighed the risk of retaliation against our kids. It is really sad to have a serious issue and then be afraid to raise it because of fear of retaliation. I also agree with your comments about the fear of speaking up among what must be many teachersl. Just look at the vitriol launched against you for simply saying Gress didn't care. Geesh! I can't imagine how hard it must be to deal with these folks on the job if you disagree.
RationalTht August 26, 2012 at 04:32 AM
How do you get to decide who is "suffering" - I hate to tell you, but tax increases affect all of us, even those of us whose houses are but a fraction of what was quoted. As has been stated before, it is time for the teachers to understand the new reality that is out there. There are many of us taxypayers whose home values have plummeted, who have been given little to now pay increase, let alone something above cost of living, and most of the US (even teachers across the state) pay something for their health insurance. The free ride is over. Teachers like to keep putting up the ONE year they had a pay freeze, not reflecting the reality of the prior two years where they received raises while the rest of the US was having their salary frozen, taking a pay cut to save jobs, or even getting laid off. The teachers in LFHS have a GOOD, even GREAT thing going. They ARE appreciated, but the taxpayers are bleeding and the teachers have to stop.
RationalTht August 26, 2012 at 04:37 AM
Well, maybe there should be a NEW payscale, the lower one, that is in place for ALL teachers. We don't need to cut salaries, but the teachers just need to stay in place until they "catch up". That will REALLY help the district.
RationalTht August 26, 2012 at 04:41 AM
@Hmmmm6 - the taxpayers HAVE compromised in the past - the teachers received generous raises at a time when the taxpayers were getting freezes, cuts, or even laid off. The taxpayers can only support their demanding overlords so much. There is only so much blood and the turnip is dry...
Gary August 26, 2012 at 08:29 PM
Your teachers have taken you hostage in order to force the community to pay them more. You should ask them to call off the strike and accept the offer on the table. They are the ones ripping this community apart... not the school board, not the parents, not the taxpayers, not the students, and not the people commenting on this board. The teachers voted 104-3 for the strike and are responsible for this. ALL of this is their fault. By the way, hasn't anyone told you that your race will count as much as your test scores when you apply for college? No? Well that discussion can wait for another day. It's too bad you haven't been taught the benefits of competition and free markets. If you had you would know that the best way to improve a product (education in this case) is to introduce competition. If your teachers had to fight for their jobs every year like the rest of us, then test scores would get better as competition and innovation replaced intrenched bureaucratic methodologies and politically correct fads. You ask for reasonable solutions. Sure. Hand out vouchers for every student and let the parent and student choose which school they want to attend. That would get enough of the competitive juices flowing to stop the teachers from abusing communities like they are doing now.
Ted August 26, 2012 at 08:55 PM
It is sad the teachers expect so much more than they are worth and want to throw our children under the bus to get it. At this point I would ask the Board to pull all wage increases off the table and ask the teachers to accept no pay raise and pay some portion for their health care. We'll see how far that goes. I would also like to see the teachers stripped of tenure. I have seen enough high paid teachers at the HS that are worth nothing but are protected by tenure rules that allow them to stay in place forever even though they should be let go because a first year teacher would be much better for our kids. Teachers, please strike and allow the community to replace you. Good luck on your strike! What other profession gets a guaranteed six figure salary, a pension to match, benefits matched by nowhere else on earth, three and a half months of vacation each year, and are upset by their situation? Just asking.
Gary August 26, 2012 at 09:12 PM
Where is the Lake Forest Caucus on this issue? They are the only functioning political party in Lake Forest. In the past they have claimed to be the guardians of our idyllic community, and have not been shy about playing hardball with anyone who they consider to be a threat. Well, our idyllic community is being threatened by an unreasonable strike. Class warfare is raging. The ugly politics of personal destruction is being waged against the school board members the Caucus put in office. The Caucus should be taking a leading role in organizing the community's response. Where are you now when the community needs you?
Ted August 26, 2012 at 09:20 PM
Amen, We do the same and find we often have to un-teach what our children are taught and re-teach what they need to know to survive in today's society.
Ted August 26, 2012 at 10:24 PM
Hi Frost, You sound so much like a teacher. BTW, you forget to break your thoughts into consistent paragraphs. Your last several sentences also lack proper diction. Perhaps if we paid your teachers more they could teach you how to write a proper summation. Just a thought.
Ted August 27, 2012 at 01:33 PM
Hi Bill, Au contraire; I along with a great many other taxpayers, are very interested in Maximus' financial situation. We want Maximus fairly compensated for the important work he/she does. My personal goal is not to punish teachers for doing their job but to see they are fairly compensated for their efforts--not too little, not too much. I get it that the union is pushing for a great deal for Maximus while the taxpayer is trying not to go broke in the process. The system is flawed when the payer of the bills, the taxpayer, is not given a seat at the table, and is attacked for even questioning the salaries of the people we have to pay for. Just saying....
Scott August 27, 2012 at 10:51 PM
Wow, they won't accept a small raise when TAXPAYERS are unemployed and taking pay cuts? Give us a break. REPLACE THE TEACHERS with teachers that will do it for a reasonable salary. How many hours do they work for $100K? 1,200 or 1,300 per year? Most of us work 2,500 hours a year to even come close to $100K. They are ingrates. Send them packing. It continues to be obvious that the caucus system has FAILED. Free and open elections should be held.
Scott August 27, 2012 at 10:53 PM
Why doesn't the school board take competitive bids for the teaching positions? This process is used for everything else in government. It works. I bet you would fill all the positions and save AT LEAST 50%!
Scott August 27, 2012 at 10:56 PM
Furthermore, just because we have been overtaxed and the district has some reserve funds, the teachers should not be able to get at that "extra" money. Save it and REDUCE TAXES next year!

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