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Teachers, Board Posture as Strike Looms

Union invites public comment at Tuesday’s Board meeting while District negotiating team says it will show up to talk Monday whether the union arrives or not.

A desire for public participation is part of the reason for the stalemate between the and the in the ongoing talks over a new contract.

, the LFEA wants citizens to voice their opinion during the public comment portion of the Board’s meeting at 7 p.m. Tuesday at the West Campus. The teachers will be present and ready to talk to District negotiators after the meeting.

“The Board of Education negotiators need to meet with the parents of the Lake Forest High School students before we can continue to negotiate over issues that are as important as those facing the high school,” union spokesperson Chuck Gress said in a statement.

The two sides met for two hours Thursday and did not reach an agreement. Before the union representatives left, they offered to meet Tuesday. The Board suggested a Monday meeting and had not heard from the teachers by Sunday afternoon.

Board President Sharon Golan explained the District negotiating team could not meet Tuesday because of the scheduled meeting and remains hopeful for a Monday session. “We wanted to complete it (the negotiations) on Thursday,” she said. Tuesday does not work because of the scheduled meeting.

“We have a legal obligation to vote on our budget,” Golan said. The budget has been published and a public hearing and final action is required Tuesday. “We will show up at 5 p.m. tomorrow (Monday) ready to negotiate,” she added expressing her wish the LFEA will come to the table then.

A key issue for the teachers is a proposed two-tier compensation system differentiating between educators currently at the school and new ones hired in the future. Gress believes the system will reduce the overall quality of teaching.

“Lake Forest High School should remain a school where knowledgeable, seasoned teachers spend their careers, not where rookies come to learn their craft and move on to neighboring districts due to the two-tier wage system,” Gress said.

Golan did not have a specific comment about the two-tier proposal but urged the LFEA representatives to continue to discuss it with the Board. “It sounds like they have some talking points and they should bring them to the negotiating table.”

Gress also stressed the Board can meet the LFEA’s final demands without increasing taxes or letting the District’s fund balance fall below required levels.

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Me September 10, 2012 at 11:39 AM
Fair warnings: Board - Stand your ground or be prepared to be disgraced in your community. Teachers - Take the offer. It is already far more generous than most taxpayers want it to be. Pigs get fat, hogs get slaughtered (and no little LTH, this is has nothing to do with violence).
Gary September 10, 2012 at 11:50 AM
We are told that one fourth of our High School teachers are going to retire in the next couple of years. Those teachers will be getting at least a 25% salary boost over their last four years to inflate their starting pension base above what they actually deserve to get. Why do we give salary increases to teachers who have told us they are going to leave? That makes no sense at all. Teachers can retire after only 30 years of work, so we have teachers retiring in their early 50's. The system appears to be set up to encourage our most experienced teachers to retire young and grab the cash, rather than stick around and teach until 67, which is the Social Security retirement age. Add all this to the prospect that Democrats in Springfield are trying to dump the pension obligation back on local governments, and you've got a system that is designed for fiscal failure. It sounds like our school board has tried to begin the process of reform, and it sounds like the union is willing to shut down education to keep this ridiculous system in place.
LF Parent September 10, 2012 at 12:19 PM
Will Patch please address the reason why the union is refusing to meet on Monday? Also, as for the union seeking public comment at the Tuesday board meeting, I am betting that many parents would be reluctant to publicly speak out against the teachers that will be grading and writing college recs for their child.
Patricia Havrin September 10, 2012 at 12:35 PM
I agree that many parents will be reluctant to voice their opinion, no matter how well said, against staff that works with our children. Consider drafting letters and emails, sending family representatives such as grandparents, aunt, uncles...
RationalTht September 10, 2012 at 01:03 PM
Grandparents, aunts and uncles can still be traced back to the children. It is sad that parents voices have to be silent for fear of repercussions against our children.
Gary September 10, 2012 at 02:19 PM
But surely our teachers wouldn't harm kids just to punish parents who don't go along with their agenda? Oh wait... that's exactly what they are doing right now.
liz September 10, 2012 at 02:24 PM
As a parent who was once a "rookie" teacher on the east coast, I brought innovation and energy to school in my first years teaching. There are lots of wonderful young teachers who can relate to our kids and get the job done, sometimes with much more success than seasoned teachers riding the years out until retirement.
Me September 10, 2012 at 03:02 PM
@Gary - Why is it a bad thing that pension obligations should be transferred back to the local governments? From my perspective, this would drive local governments to be more prudent in salary negotiations because they will now bear the full cost. As far as the salary boost goes, that is the most absurd thing I have ever heard. I guess that only happens in Teacherland.
John Utah September 10, 2012 at 03:44 PM
@Me - I'd be okay with local governments taking on a reformed, non-union teacher workforce that also DOES NOT need to fund the current and future pensions and retirees of the old archaic system. But when the Dems push the cost to local taxpayers and make them responsible for the BILLIONS in unfunded liabilities, property taxes will increase to amounts that frankly scares the crap out of me. Bye bye home values, bye bye equity, bye bye discretionary income.
Gary September 10, 2012 at 03:48 PM
@Me There is an amendment to the Illinois State Constitution that makes it illegal to modify state employee pension plans after retirement. If they dump the responsibility for pensions on local governments then we will basically have an unfunded mandate where the State says we HAVE to pay the pensions, while at the same time we have no control over the cost. That will be true for at least 20 years until the present retirees leave the system. Also, how do you think they will distribute this pension burden to local communities? That's right. According to the ability to pay. Lake Forest will be forced to carry a HUGE portion of the pension burden. They will hammer the suburbs. They want to dump the pension burden on us. I say we dump the whole mess back on the unions, and tell them to sort it out among themselves. Why should we pay for promises they made to themselves. They are playing hardball. We need to respond in kind.
Really? September 10, 2012 at 04:46 PM
This new reason the Union is giving for not negotiating just adds more evidence that they have not been at the table in good faith. It is ludicrous to assume that one can gauge public support or non-support by representation at the Board meeting! Stand firm, Board. All the reasons why have already been said in so many posts.
Bob September 10, 2012 at 05:04 PM
Don't budge school board!!! The teachers are fools not to take your offer. Maybe we should consider different teachers for our children!
Me September 10, 2012 at 05:17 PM
Pay attention students. Today's lesson is on greed. Can anyone in the classroom give me a good example?
Mosob September 10, 2012 at 06:32 PM
I suggest the Board advise the Union to take it today as tomorrow the offer is reduced commensurate with days of strike. Its clear this is about the older teachers and pension. Stay firm and don't flinch. We already have too much overhead on the non-union side.
LTH September 10, 2012 at 07:16 PM
Actually, I would say the debate at this point is more based around the way that newly hired teachers will be treated in the proposed 2-tiered system, which would likely act as a deterrent to teachers seeking to get a job in the district as this type of system does not exist anywhere else in the North Shore to the best of my knowledge.
Me September 10, 2012 at 07:24 PM
@little lth - so the union old timers are so concerned about the yet to be hired teachers that they are prepared to go on strike to the detriment if the students. Wow. That is really a stretch. That must have been some kool-aid that they served up to the class of 2010.
kool-aid September 10, 2012 at 07:36 PM
@Me, if anyone is talking kool-aid its you. It works both ways fool. So you are so clueless that you believe everything the board says. Both sides serve Kool-aid. It just depends what side you are on in terms of the flavor. To believe that one side is speaking the truth is nuts. Just because the patch publishing what somebody said doesn't mean that it is accurate or the truth. And to believe that everything the board says is true makes it clear that many people on here are also drinking the Kool-aid.
Looking For Work September 10, 2012 at 07:47 PM
what's in your cool aid? Meth?
Deadcatbounce September 10, 2012 at 08:19 PM
“Any child in Illinois can enroll in Chicago Virtual Charter School. It’s a full-time, tuition free public school option that uses the award-winning (for-profit) K-12 curriculum. We use the K-12 curriculum through our children’s enrollment in the Colorado Virtual Academy, and we love it. It has a far more advanced curriculum in math, science, and history than our public brick-and-mortar school.”
Mary Kate September 10, 2012 at 10:24 PM
This is ridiculous. Why will the Union NOT find a way to meet with the Board today to attempt some movement toward an agreement? The Union claims to care SO much about "the kids" and "the ability to attract and retain new teachers." As a resident taxpayer and parent with kids at several levels and a LFHS graduate, "Blah, blah, blah" is all I hear now because your failure to meet today speaks volumes about your true intentions. So, go ahead and tell us that the Board is spreading lies all you want because now I don't care because by failing to meet today you blew it and lost all credibility. And by the way, I agree with other posters here. Most parents won't dare show up at the Board meeting to speak against the union demands because the union climate at the HS is toxic and there isn't just a fear of retaliation ... it is a genuine risk.
Another Affected Tax Payer September 10, 2012 at 10:38 PM
My guess is that they won't strike or will strike for a very short time. All a part of a hard ball negotiation process on the teachers part. I enjoyed watching the teacher video, touting their undergraduate pedigrees with an extended hand. Not a single mention of emotional wellness for the students a concern the school should still be making a priority. I could be dead wrong about the hardball tactic, either way, let em' walk.
nomoney September 11, 2012 at 12:43 AM
Interesting how everyone is talking about how hard times are but there doesn't seem to be a problem in Lake Forest with giving Mitt Romney 4 million dollars.
LFHS Student September 11, 2012 at 01:34 AM
These teachers are the teachers that have helped your children succeed in LFHS. Why do you want to see them fired? How do you know there are better teachers out there? LFHS has the greatest teachers whether they are new or returning teachers for decades now. I love my teachers and I want them to have my full support.
LFHS Student September 11, 2012 at 01:35 AM
This is not about the older teachers and pension. It is about the fact that they are lowering their salary and asking to pay more into insurance. It is a lose lose situation for these teachers.
Roger Billings September 11, 2012 at 01:54 AM
LFHS Student, after reading this third of your recent posts on this topic (the first two referencing an imaginary wake-up time for teachers of 5:00 am, after reading this one I am certain you are actually "LFHS Striker." "They come to school to teach us every single day." When my chidren were at LFHS within the past few years, the number of days one or more of their classes had substitutes for crazy reasons was through the roof. One even had the gall to mark students' grades lower if they missed class even for an excused absence. This teacher was absent probably 20% of the time for unexplained reasons.
RationalTht September 11, 2012 at 02:54 AM
and Obama got a boatload here in IL as well. I hate to break it to you but the majority of taxpayers are not in that boat. Also, even IF there are rich people here, why should teachers get the kind of money that they do? EVEN comparing to what they MIGHT be able to get in industry, they are paid more, especially when taking benefits and number of hours worked into account. The ONLY reason they are able to extort what they have was the thug tactics of holding our children hostage. We need in IL what Walker was able to accomplish in WI, though that will never happen with the bought and paid for Democrats controlling the state.
Richard Hertz September 11, 2012 at 03:14 AM
How many teachers were students when their teachers went on strike? If any of you had this happen how did feel? Teachers: sit down and think about those 29,000 people who will be fired fro HP and now have to get their insurance - some got insurance or some had to get their own. Why can't you all fork up your own money for insurance?
truth September 11, 2012 at 03:22 AM
@LFHS Student, I can guarantee you there are better teachers out there. 12 teachers apply for every opening in Chicago. Why? Because they are paid well above the natural equilibrium leading to excess supply. There are a ton of teachers out there looking for work but can't find it because teachers are impossible to fire.
Hmmmm6 September 11, 2012 at 03:32 AM
Check out Gazebo News. According to the explanation listed, there was no date scheduled in advance and the teachers' team had left the building before the Monday date was raised.
Love2read September 12, 2012 at 05:05 AM
The problem here is that public sector unions have been able to command salaries, pensions and benefits that far exceed those in the private sector. Taxpayers are understandably upset that it's becoming more and more difficult to support public sector employees whose total compensation is increasing faster than their own. This is unsustainable in the long run. Eventually, taxpayers will no longer be able to support the public sector employees and our collective society will become mired in debt. Therein lies much of the anger of the taxpayer. The teachers aren't bad, evil people. They are just misinformed and under educated with it comes to finance. If we remain civil and refrain from name calling, we may be able to educate some of our educators.

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