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District 109 Teachers Authorize Strike

Work stoppage may not happen and is at least 30 days away, according to union president.

In the face of a vote Friday to authorize a strike by , union representatives are trying to accelerate the mediation process to avoid a work stoppage, according to .

voted 261-2 Friday to allow its leaders to call a strike if negotiations, which have been ongoing since their contract expired in August, fail.

Both sides were disappointed at the with a federal mediator.

Neither Board President Ellen London nor District 109 communications director Cathy Kedjidjian responded to Patch’s request for comments before deadline.

The next mediation session is scheduled Feb. 21 but Jensen hopes it will be sooner. “We have asked our Illinois Education Association representative to see if they (the mediator and the District 109 negotiating team) have time next week.”

Before the union can actually strike, either the DEA or District 109 must declare an impasse, according to Jensen. Once the two sides reach that point, they have seven days to submit their final offer. The mediator then has seven days to make it public.

“Then there is a 14 day cooling off period. On the 29th day there can be strike but that doesn’t mean there will be one,” Jensen said. “I don’t know,” he added when asked if the union would declare an impasse before the next session.

Though no impasse has been declared, the DEA took the strike vote because Jensen believes the negotiations have stalled. “No substantive progress has been made on the core issues,” Jensen said. “We believe that this has gone on long enough.”

The core issues are certain workplace rules the teachers feel they must have, the method of evaluating teacher performance, compensation and special education.

According to Jensen, the union wants a r, freedom for teachers to offer their opinion on special education issues without reprisals or consequences, more time to meet with aids to determine the best way to service caseloads and minutes kept of meetings to be approved by everyone present.

have also been a point of contention between the parties. Jensen believes the District wants to revamp the process to give teachers less ability to know how they are being evaluated and how they can make adjustments to their performance.

Though teacher salaries have not been mentioned as a point of disagreement, union members are concerned about the amount of burden they must bear over increasing health care costs as well as possible decreases in pension benefits. Jensen has previously said salary will likely be the last thing negotiated.

Concerned Resident February 13, 2012 at 06:07 AM
How can the School Board talk about being fiscally responsible when they have allowed the current administrarion to create 20 to 30 completely new positions over the last 3 years? The Deerfield taxpayers need to demand all this information be accurately published in the paper! Their once well respected school system has been run into the ground by Renee Goier!
Harry Steindler February 13, 2012 at 06:09 AM
Echoing Lisa's comments, please attend the board meeting Monday night - currently scheduled for 7 PM at Wilmot School. Let's hear what the board has to say about Special Education Services for the children of our community. Someone said it above - "meeting standards" is so far below Deerfield standards. Deerfield District 109 has always stood for excellence in every respect, but especially in how students with special needs have been treated. I know; I have two such children (2007 and 2010 DHS grads). Our now long ago Dist 109 experiences were always driven by impassioned, creative teachers working to build our children into successful learners and well rounded children. These teachers led the way for our children and for Marcy and me. Administrators were there to help the teachers help our children excel. They weren't there to manage budgets and pretend to meet someone else's standards. When we had issues with structure or programs we were able to talk with administrators and work to make what was good better. (continued below)
Harry Steindler February 13, 2012 at 06:09 AM
Things weren't perfect; even then I'm not sure that the board completely understood the impact of the miracle workers masquerading as special ed teachers, speech and physical therapists, social workers and how the rest of the general ed teachers shared in the love and guidance our children received. But there was always collaboration; there was always the ability for the real experts (the teachers) to decide and lead the best course for our children. That’s what District 109 was about and should always be about. Giving the best to those who need it most makes each of us the best we can be. Doing less brings us all down.
John Russillo February 13, 2012 at 02:31 PM
Tonight's Board meeting moved to the Shepard gym.
Lisa Polisner February 13, 2012 at 05:40 PM
Dear Concerned Parent, You have every right to be concerned. Sadly, those statements are not isolated to just your child. In the past few years, many parents have been told things like that and even worse. We have started a parent support group for parents who have kids with IEP's and 504's, however, we welcome all parents to come and learn how to empower themselves in the advocacy of their children's rights by law. The group is just beginning but is long overdue. Please email me at lpolisner@hotmail.com and I will put you on our distribution list so you can stay informed about our next meeting.

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