No Discussions Seen Thursday in Lake Forest Teacher Strike

Representatives of Board and union did not meet Wednesday and Board President Sharon Golan does not expect a session Thursday.

Representatives of the two sides in the Lake Forest High School teacher strike did not meet Wednesday, are not likely to talk today and both blame the other for the stalemate likely to keep students out of class another day.

“We did not meet Wednesday and I feel that we will not meet tomorrow,” said. Golan says the teachers will not meet and the educators claim the Board will not negotiate.

“We made them an offer and they didn’t offer us anything back,” said arguing the Board is trying to force the teachers to negotiate against themselves.

Gress explained the union received a written offer Tuesday afternoon, responded to the District with a proposal in writing and has yet to receive a response. His group is unwilling to resume negotiations without a reply.

Golan does not dispute Gress’s version of the facts when it comes to written offers, but is firm in her belief the Board is negotiating in good faith and did not ignore the teachers’ proposal. She believes the District acted.

“We did not receive a written proposal from the Union last night,” Golan said. “The supposal (an oral offer) we received we responded to. We rejected it.” The Board also said on the school’s website it was open to meeting but the LFEA will not.

Gress rejects the statement his group is unwilling to negotiate. He indicated union representatives waited for an hour Tuesday hoping the Board would respond to the union’s suggestions but the federal mediator reported the District would not respond.

“As of Wednesday, the last offer was made by the LFEA,” Gress said. “Since the mediator ended negotiations last night (Tuesday), the LFEA has not been contacted by the BOE. The LFEA has never said that it would not meet with the BOE and is still awaiting a response to our financial proposal.”

The two sides have also issued different reports and statement demonstrating the financial health of the District. At Tuesday’s Board meeting, the proposed budget for the coming school year indicated the District could barely afford to pay the teachers its proposed 2.7 percent increase.

“You cannot dispute those numbers,” Golan said. “It would be helpful if we could start with the same set of numbers.” When Deputy Superintendent for Finance and Operations Allen Albus introduced the proposed budget Tuesday, he did not indicate whether he used the Board’s proposal or the suggestion of the LFEA to craft the project.

“Our assumptions are built on current market conditions,” Albus said but did not define the market. “If we have to amend it we will do that.”

Meanwhile, the school will be open for students today but there will be no instruction. College visits and the college application process will continue uninterrupted. A complete strike plan is contained on the District website.

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Interested September 13, 2012 at 05:49 PM
The Teachers Retirement System (TRS) historically gets a. 8.5% return annually, not 3%
mom0f4 September 13, 2012 at 05:57 PM
Most of us only know what we hear from the two sides in articles such as this. What I see is the city of Chicago teachers striking for the right to have schools with working heat in the middle of winter, calculators for its students and for the right to a teachers aid for classrooms that have 36 kids in them. They are striking for the benefit of their students. Its sad that this is not what the Lake Forest strike is about.
Interested September 13, 2012 at 06:04 PM
Teacher pension income is taxable at current income tax bracket rates.
Me September 13, 2012 at 06:11 PM
@Interested - I don't agree that they have been getting 8.5% and there is no way that they will get that amount in the foreseeable future but I re-ran the numbers just to amuse everyone. The year one contribution dropped to $10,750 and the year 35 contribution dropped to $29,350. Those are huge numbers using wildly unrealistic return expectations.
Interested September 13, 2012 at 06:14 PM
And the current payout for a full pension after completing necessary service is 75%, not 80%. Many teachers you see on this scale will retire with significantly decreased benefits after starting teaching later in their careers. If you retire between the ages of 55 and 60 with at least 20 but fewer than 35 years of service, your retirement annuity is reduced by 6 percent for each year (half percent per month) that you are under age 60.
Gretchen Ricker September 13, 2012 at 06:16 PM
Check this website.. public records of teacher salaries http://www.familytaxpayers.org/ftf/ftf_district.php?did=13318&year=2011
Interested September 13, 2012 at 06:17 PM
@ me. you don't have to agree. the following report released in august of this year shows that from 1981 - 2011 TRS was getting a 9.3% return. Their projected return was 8.5% and they managed to do better. They have requested a decrease in projected return based on economic conditions. http://trs.illinois.gov/subsections/press/2012/Aug23_12.pdf
Me September 13, 2012 at 06:22 PM
@Interested - that is historic. You have to make assumptions going forward. Take a look at their investment parameters and then look at what those investments are currently yielding. Only Mr. Madoff could offer 8.5% on their portfolio in the current market.
RationalTht September 13, 2012 at 06:47 PM
@Interested - Thank you for the clarification on years of service. How do the "buy out" of years and accrual of sick time over the decades fit into the calculation as well. Not many places allow you to accrue unused sick time over decades and get paid out in the end. Also, I specifically stated IL taxes, sorry if that was not clear. IL does not tax pensions or SSI.
RationalTht September 13, 2012 at 06:49 PM
@Interested - so the board is forced to pay additional monies for benefits, even though the teachers are not living up to their end? They are not in a contract, so how can that FAIRLY be enforced? Or is it because IL is a Democratic-Union run state?
RationalTht September 13, 2012 at 06:50 PM
@Interested - Really - 8.5% - over these past 6-7 years? That does not seem to pass the smell test.
Jen September 13, 2012 at 08:40 PM
Solution for everyone. . .the teachers should vote to get rid of their union, and then rise and fall, like the rest of us, based on job performance. Each teacher, like the rest of us, should negotiate his or her own pay and benefits package. Please don't tell me that high school teachers need tenure to somehow protect themselves from an unjust firing. No matter how well I do in the private sector, there is always the chance I will be fired for no reason at all. It's called employment "at will." They can't see they are an unjustly overcompensated, protected subset of the American worker and that their union doesn't work for them, but for politicians with agendas having nothing whatsoever to do with education. So decertify the LFEA and let each teacher have the dignity and freedom to enter into a contract with the Board and negotiate his or her own deal, and then rise and fall by his or her own job performance or lack thereof. It's the American Way! I guarantee, thousands of highly qualified folks who love kids and love to teach and actually have mastered their own subject matter. . .unlike a FEW TOO MANY at LFHS. . .will line the sidewalks and wait in the wind, rain and snow to snag one of those 10 month a year jobs with many paid vacation days and very little pressure compared with the real world, where a screw up could cost a person life, limb or property.
Jeff September 13, 2012 at 11:28 PM
Yeah! I agree! Those highly educated individuals who chose to forgo higher paying careers so they could help our children grow and become successful adults should never have a say in their economic security! Right on!
Jeff September 13, 2012 at 11:29 PM
How many hours a year do they work? More than the average private sector employee. A third of the teachers are retiring in three years - the average salary stat is inflate. In three years it will be the lowest average in the north shore. LFHS has a low starting salary for new teachers compared to other districts nearby.
Jeff September 13, 2012 at 11:31 PM
@RationalTht I am guessing you did not learn math at LF. Thats a load of hypothetical math that makes no sense. Give me a break. If they have it so good, you should be a teacher
Jeff September 14, 2012 at 12:03 AM
Jen, I appreciate the logic, but it just doesn't work that way in education. It is impossible to quantify with CERTAINTY the worth of an individual teacher. There are so many variable. And teachers do so many different things. As a result, a pay scale is needed. Individual salaries would change the culture of trust and collaboration amongst peers. The "American Way" is about collective success and sacrifice. The teachers at LFHS are on a level different than most schools. Most residents don't understand how many scholars, brilliant people are in there. There are great teachers at other schools, but this is a highly intellectual group of teachers. And tell me there is no pressure when performing in front of hundreds of teenagers everyday, being entrusted with an incredibly important responsibility.
Jen September 14, 2012 at 12:45 AM
Regarding your argument about teacher "pay"-- just substitute lawyer, doctor, nurse, accountant, sales rep, private school teacher, etc. for "teacher" and you'll see you still just don't get it, which leads me to believe you have never worked in a job without a union set pay scale. The fact is, every day the free market is making decisions about who should be paid what, and it works better than any system ever devised for the rest of us, so why not for public school teachers? Is there injustice in some cases? Of course! But that is no reason to shield an entire subset of the American workforce from individual scrutiny and evaluation, with a wage based thereon, just like the rest of us! And the bit about pressure? Admittedly, it can be highly subjective. But pleasing a boss who is generally more experienced than you and could firre you for any reason or no reason is real pressure. Pleasing a bunch of children with your presentation that day is not...try the private sector in a $100,000 plus job whose term is 12 months, without your generous vacation day package and you'll know what I mean.
kathryn September 14, 2012 at 01:07 AM
I think we need to bring in the, "Frat Boys," I can have my people call their people ;-)
Law September 14, 2012 at 01:41 AM
Hey me, why don't you do something intelligent and read up on the laws in Illinois regarding strikes. Then you will understand why the board can't run out and hire replacements. Bascially, its against the law. I know you think you have all the answers. But honestly, the board can't use any of the tactics you describe because they would be violating the law. Stop blaming them. You obviously are not smart enought to understand that no matter what community you live in or how powerful you are you are not allowed to break the law. Well in your case I wouldn't be surprised to find that you probably have at some point!
Go Scouts! September 14, 2012 at 01:53 AM
For all of you who are so upset about the pay for only ten months and the schedule teachers have. You should have become a teacher then. The schedule has always been what it is and will not change. Stop complaining about stuff you wish you have, you had the opportunity to become a teacher yourself
Another Affected Tax Payer September 14, 2012 at 02:05 AM
Law, I'd like to believe what you say is true. Perhaps you're a lawyer but the immaturity with the insult hurling lowers the intelligence & credibilty of your post as well. Best to just stay with the facts.
Another Affected Tax Payer September 14, 2012 at 02:13 AM
@Go Scouts, Oh God no do I wish I had gone into teaching. Unions would drive me nuts. I'm way too independent for that and I prefer efficient systems.
Louis September 14, 2012 at 02:22 AM
Teachers do not stop working, even when the school day ends. They stay up late preparing assignments, they keep the troubles of their fledgling and emotionally troubled students at the forefront of their minds. Some of them have large families, some of them are the only breadwinner in their house. Some of them have children with a chronic illness, (or two children), but find it in their emotional reserve to give their full attention and care to the children of our nation's most privileged citizens. Whenever I hear people labeling teachers as greedy, or bemoaning their merit increases, I hear the sound of people threatened by the courage and emotional fortitude teachers have. I hear the sound of someone who doesn't have the guts to stand up for his own salary the way teachers stand together. Are there problems with unions? Yes. There should be a sensible way to replace bad teachers. But, in Lake Forest there are very few, if any, "bad" teachers. The privileged citizens of this town demand the absolute best quality education from the teachers at LFHS, but then savage those same teachers when they demand pay at a level equal to the value of what they provide. That's hypocrisy. It's also shameful. My teachers in high school were tremendous. I count several of them as life-changing, supportive figures in my life. I would pay them more than the CEO of Chase if I could. Because, see, they don't gamble away livelihoods, they build them up. That's invaluable. Peace.
Me September 14, 2012 at 03:17 AM
in many ways the taxpayers should thank Chuck Gress for bringing the issue to the forefront. Had the teachers simply accepted the uber-generous offer made by the BOE, this all would have flown under the radar screen and the union would have scored a coup in the form of above average raises in a stagnant economy. Instead, he rallied the troops to hold out for more and to wring the taxpayers for the last drop of goodwill. They squeezed a little too tight, broke the comfortable bond with the generous taxpayers and they got more than they bargained for. Now, the genie is out of the bottle and it will take many years to stuff it back in. The silver lining for the taxpayer is that we will be more vigilant. We will continue to be generous when it comes to education but we will always remember that the the union sold out our kids for a few extra Shekels in their pension. Well done union boss, well done.
Deadcatbounce September 14, 2012 at 03:40 AM
Very few "bad" teachers! How about the teacher, a few years from retiring, receiving their automatic 6% annual increase, that shows up half the time. How about the teacher that's out on maternity leave and the HS hires the most worthless replacement. How about the teacher that knows the subject matter, but just can't convey the material to the students. What planet are you from?
Love2read September 14, 2012 at 05:38 AM
@Jen, you're correct. Teachers need to work within the free market for employment that the rest of us work in. @Louis, you're misguided. My wife is a teacher. My best friend is a teacher. When we go to parties, they are filled with teachers. Believe me, I know lots of teachers and they do not work any more hours than the rest of us that are conscientious and work hard at our jobs. @ Go Scouts! Your logic is flawed. You would normally want to fix the problem, not suggest that someone take a job with a flawed compensation scale. My wife is a teacher and she knows that she is overcompensated. As I've said in other posts here on this subject, my family is grateful for all the the teaching profession has provided to us. We are also embarrassed at the outrageous pension that will be provided to our family. The big problem with the Lake Forest teachers as a whole is that while we are grateful for what teaching has provided to our family, they (the LFEA) are ungrateful. That's UNGRATEFUL, all in caps, on purpose :)
Jeff September 14, 2012 at 10:41 AM
@Deadcat Did you just complain that a teacher took a maternity leave? Or are you blaming that teacher for the temporary replacement that the administration hired? Yikes, we are really traveling upstream now.
Jeff September 14, 2012 at 10:45 AM
@Love2read Public Education is not part of the free market. You need to stop telling yourself that this is anything remotely like private industry. And just because your wife is a lazy teacher, that doesn't mean all teachers are. With that attitude and work ethic, it sounds like she would not fit in at at LFHS.
Jeff September 14, 2012 at 10:47 AM
It's a shame, @Love2Read that you are so close minded that you won't even look at the logic in the post I made, and instead respond with childish, emotion-laden retorts.
LF Resident/Parent September 14, 2012 at 02:23 PM
According to the BOE's statement they have agreed to remove the 2 Tier system and phase in the HMO contributions. Accoring to the LFEA websie they were opposed to those items. So with those items addressed isn't it time we all speak the truth that it was about the money all along?


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