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District 112 Teachers File Intent to Strike

Highland Park elementary and middle school board president outlines contingency plans for alternative programming. The earliest the strike could happen is Oct. 12.

The letter below comes from District 112 School Board President Bruce Hyman. Check back Monday for the full story on the looming teachers' strike.

This morning, board members were disappointed to learn that the teachers' union, the North Shore Education Association, filed a 10-day intent to strike notice with the Illinois Educational Labor Relations Board (IELRB). 

Under state law, the earliest date that teachers may legally strike is October 12.  

Earlier: Teachers Rally Outside of Board Meeting

As you know by now, the school board and the union have been meeting with a federal mediator since July in an effort to successfully negotiate a contract settlement. The next mediation session is scheduled for next Thursday, October 4. The board remains committed to remaining in negotiations as long as it takes to achieve a settlement that is fair to both parties and that will ensure the long-term financial stability of the district.

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While the board is hopeful that union members will continue to work until an agreement is reached, the district would be remiss if it does not plan in advance for the possibility of a strike. Contingency plans are being made and the district has reached out to other units of government and social service agencies that would be willing to provide alternative programming for the district's children in the event of a strike. The district is also making plans to keep the Green Bay Early Childhood Center, Oak Terrace, Northwood and possibly Sherwood open as activity centers to provide a safe and structured environment for children while school is not in session. These schools would be staffed by administrators, support staff and volunteers.  These would not count as regular school days, and regular educational programming would not be provided. 

The board's objective for the ultimate settlement is to ensure that the district has the necessary resources to provide all of its children, now and in the future, with an outstanding education.

The district's revenues come largely from local property taxes, which by state law are capped at the rate of the Consumer Price Index.  In the past three years, the district has reduced millions of dollars from its budget and has made cuts in staff, programs and services in order to avoid depleting its reserve fund and jeopardizing the district's financial future.  An agreement that is similar to the most recent contract will lead to further staff reductions and more painful cuts in programs and services, and an increase in class sizes. 

While the board respects and values its teachers, it also has ultimate responsibility for ensuring the district's long-term viability and making decisions that are in the best interests of the district's children.  This is not about whether or not we value our teachers.  They are the heart of our school district.  We want to ensure we preserve an educational environment that continues to offer them superb working conditions: reasonable class sizes, adequate support personnel in the classroom and programs that foster innovation and high student achievement. 

To meet those goals, the next contract settlement must keep expenses in line with revenues. We cannot repeat the past.

Bruce Hyman, M.D.
President, North Shore School District 112 Board of Education 

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Walter (Tripp) Hainsfurther October 02, 2012 at 09:41 PM
And what is the performance criteria that teachers (and students) should be evaluated on? Certainly just not standardized testing, becasue that is extremely flawed. I believe that teachers are willing to accept merit incentives IF everyone can agree on an equitable system of metrics.
Richard H Heineman Jr October 02, 2012 at 09:50 PM
Dan Jenks, I find your analysis on school capacity interesting. The problem is the the official capacity is not a real number. This is a contrived number based on the way that the state wants things measured. As it is with most mandates from the state it is useless. Each school needs to be separately reviewed to identify the real capacity. It would be useful if you joined the committee that will be reviewing this issue.
Molly October 02, 2012 at 10:33 PM
Alexa, I sense an incredible amount of frustration on your part ( and probably a lot of other parents). As a parent and a taxpayer I would be very upset if what you say is true at Oak Terrace. My children attended IT and EP so I can't speak about the OT situation. Obviously my observations of the Hispanic (or any other) students at these schools is non-professional but for the most part these kids now seem to be fairly independent in their learning. One of the best things about volunteering at school is seeing how ALL these kids have matured and grown up. I hope you are involved with the school and or the district as you seem to have a good handle on things.
llwvrt October 02, 2012 at 10:44 PM
Wow Alexa, Were you at the informational meeting at the beginning of the year at Oak Terrace? The one attended by the Superintendent, administrators from the district, and principals from other buildings in the district? I guess not because if you had gone, you would have gotten all the information you needed to understand that you are on the wrong track. If this was really important to you, you would have been there. That would be the meeting that discussed how Oak Terrace is doing as a school and how well the students are actually performing. You do a terrible injustice to all of the parents, students, staff, and administrators of that building in your quest to call attention to yourself. Please feel free to continue voicing your opinion. This is an open forum. You are allowed to be wrong.
XXXX October 02, 2012 at 10:59 PM
Nice to try and turn our children's education into petty party politics....kudos to you Anne.
XXXX October 02, 2012 at 11:02 PM
Shame on these teachers....$40+K to start....$70+K average salary....tops off at 105K..and while our school budgets fall because our tax base falls, these teachers hold our student's education hostage because they want more guarantees? I have no guarantees in my life...why should my children's education suffer because the union is selling its membership that they can get more...when there is belt tightening happening all over the place? I wish we just dropped the whole damn union and went out and got a new group of very qualified people to teach our children....Tell me there aren't tons of young people with degrees who wouldn't want jobs like this?????? Go strike teachers...you will lose my respect the moment you walk out on my children.
Alexa Martinez October 02, 2012 at 11:15 PM
Walter, so then why with all the resources we have available and highly paid instructors we still have poor results. What are we waiting for to fix the school? When we claim to have "world class education" and the best teachers in the country, then why are we failing a segment in our community? We need to take control of this school, before the District is sued for discriminating a group. These kids are not given the opportunity to attend another school in the district, which is one requirement if the school is failing and placed on AWS, now this school has been failing for three consecutive years, next would be to overturn the school, is that what we want on our record? Remember we are responsible not only for our own children but need to look out for those that do not have a voice, and Hispanics do not have it at this table.
Alexa Martinez October 02, 2012 at 11:37 PM
llwvrt, the Informational meeting! Ja it was a joke, are you kidding me? Of course the principal and teachers and superintendent had to misguide parents about the untrue results and performance of the school. They can say what ever they want. Reality is that 4 students out of 10 do not know how to read nor write and are also failing in math, which is a big sign that the bilingual program is not working because at least they can teach them math in Spanish, 2+2=4 is the same in both, remember? But hey what do you know or care, it is not one of your kids the one left out. It is the one of a working parent that does not understand the system and relies on the information provided by the "self interest" of the principal, teachers and school administrators, of course they lied at the meeting, I was there and was outraged by the information they provided, based on unrealistic facts. The school is not doing well, as you all want as all to believe, the school is failing and the worst is that it is failing the students, their future is compromised by bad management and bad teachers and bad programs. We need to take over the school.
Alexa Martinez October 02, 2012 at 11:50 PM
llwvrt, let me be clear with you, this is not about me, nor you, it is about the children that attend Oak Terrace, it is about those students left behind because it will have an impact on their life forever, if they do not know how to read and write in English by 8th grade it is 100% probable that they will drop out of High School. Not even dream about college. And let me be clear with you, I am trying to attract attention in this community about a fact, that this school is failing, because not everyone know what is going on in other schools
Molly October 03, 2012 at 02:02 AM
XXXX, Hiring 300 teachers and assistants to replace striking teachers wouldn't be feasible. Yes, there are thousands of teachers looking for a job but to integrate just a few new teachers at the start of a school year is a daunting process. To start over with all new teachers would be a nightmare. I don't want the teachers to strike. I want our school board to negotiate a fair contract. I guess I want the moon.
Alexa Raye October 03, 2012 at 02:51 AM
Might be time to do some busing..If it's true the one of the elementary schools in this district only has 12 kids in it's current kindergarten class ( not sure that can be substantiated) those kids need to be split and bused to other schools.. We can save money. Grade based schools might be our only cost saving solution that is relatively easy to implement.
Alexa Raye October 03, 2012 at 02:59 AM
$41,000 for a starting teacher just out of college is absurd. When my son graduated from college ( U of Wisconsin) in 2010 he started his job at $25,000. He had to live at home until he could afford to live closer to his job. He gets no health insurance either, happily he can stay on our policy for two more years. He too loves what he does and isn't in it for the money either.When the economy stabilizes he will hopefully make more money. Unlike teachers, he is not guranteed a job for the rest of his working career and he gets one week off per year, not 10 weeks. His story is typical of college graduates these days. Starting salary for first year teachers should be a lot less than what it is.. That might be one way to keep the current staff happy.
Walter (Tripp) Hainsfurther October 03, 2012 at 03:15 AM
AM: First of all, I do understand the issues faced by the Hispanic community, though I am not Hispanic. I chose to live where I do so that my children would go to school in a diverse environment. It was the right decision for my family. Why the system fails these children is a complex question. Certainly, administrators and teachers bear some responsibility. So do the legislators that mandate thinngs like testing in english only. So do people who only are concerned about their children or who have prejudices that cloud their objectivity. Complex problems require dedication and creativity to solve. There is no magic bullet, no easy answer. Dual Language was an attempt to resolve some of these issues. Maybe it's time for everyone to work together, put their selfish issues aside and do what's best for our children.
XXXX October 03, 2012 at 04:03 AM
Molly - I know it's not possible....I understand the logistics to it. But the teachers' contract is already fair....they are asking for things that just don't exist in the real world - and they are doing so because they know they can use our children as bargaining chips. Happened in LFHS....happened in CPS....happens all the time. It's SHAMEFUL that this group of thugs is doing that with our children.
David Greenberg October 03, 2012 at 05:17 AM
@Walter - I don't know what beliefs the Tea Party holds dear because I've never reviewed any of their information. Also, I absolutely do not 'hate' minorities. If you knew me at all, you'd realize that organizations which I belong to cherish inclusiveness of all races.
David Greenberg October 03, 2012 at 05:28 AM
Forest - I was up about 2AM - Recall that I'm in IT, and I've been a 24x7 kinda worker since I was probably 11 years old (when I first got into computers). At any rate, I agree about the difficulties that immigrants face. My own relatives came over from Poland and Russia - life was tough, but they learned English and over time grew to be more successful. I totally get the 'gotta survive and put food on the table' thing - it's completely understandable. But from the 'family history' I've been privy to in my family - my relatives did the same thing and still gave their kids a good kick in the behind to do better than they did. Are times different? Yep. But ultimately the goal is the same: for the kids to do better than the parents. I do think we could give the parents some tools to use - techniques, tips, quick things that they can do w/o having to attend a program that will take them away from work, and which can have a positive impact on their kids. But we can't do it if they don't ask for it - if they're hiding out and keeping their heads down, we'll never know they're there and need help... And that's a true shame.
David Greenberg October 03, 2012 at 05:31 AM
Dan - I agree about the AYP issues. In theory NCLB is great, but in practice, the whole NCLB Act has unattainable goals - there's no way that 100% of the students will make AYP because some will never be able to due to issues beyond their control. However, it's my understanding that if we don't take Federal/State money, then we don't have to comply with their crazy rules such as NCLB. Given that the Feds/State only contribute about $2M out of the $92 M budget in D113 - I suspect we'd do quite well w/o that money because we could get back to work on teaching, instead of teaching to the test and worrying about compliance with the fluff. I'm not sure of the figures for D112, but suspect they're similar... Alexa: I agree with you. Not to denigrate the Spanish language at all, but bilingual education doesn't work. The sooner the kids start learning English, the better.
Molly October 03, 2012 at 11:35 AM
In my 15 yrs of interacting with the D112 teachers I've noticed a growing disconnect between the administration and the school teachers. XXXX, instead of replacing the teachers could we lock the doors at the GreenBay offices and start over?
forest barbieri October 03, 2012 at 12:39 PM
Molly: Certainly that could be said in any situation. It may be that the administration feels disconnected from the teacher's representatives? We are not here to bury either teachers or the administration. We are merely offering our opinions as shareholders in the community and the people who end up paying for whatever decisions are made both financially and with our children's education. Whatever the outcome, we all have the option of deciding if we agree or disagree with our votes in the next election. The same applies if we want to take the administration to task for their actions or compensation by addressing those issues through the same board. Usually these topics are hot items during a flash point and then everyone forgets and goes back to Starbucks:) The lingering issue that I really want to see followed up after the teachers current issue is class size and distribution of student to teacher resources. I would like to see a task force with bright minds such as Dan Jenks involved and as the Park District did with Rosewood commission, vote all in or nothing. That will show us where our leadership is and how much will and desire they have to move us to a better and more equitable education in HP. There is no doubt that as many teachers and teachers reps are reading our comments and have indeed commented themselves, the administration and board is also reading but know better than to comment in a public forum while negotiations are in place.
Walter White October 03, 2012 at 03:23 PM
Well maybe you should. You would fit in very nicely.
David Greenberg October 03, 2012 at 05:10 PM
Sorry, but I'm happy with the political party I belong to right now.
Samuel P Critiake October 04, 2012 at 03:32 AM
David, I read a while back that you do not have children in the schools. Now you do? Can you make up your mind? You claim to know something about education, your posts over the last couple of years clearly confirm that you are lonely, and know very little about educational issues. I agree with your statement, enough of your complaining! You are not helping our community and your ideas are poison.
David Greenberg October 04, 2012 at 05:56 AM
I never said I had children in the schools - yet. My kids will attend D112 and D113, so there's no confusion on my part whatsoever regarding their school attendance. It's unfortunate that you don't agree with my positions, but I assure you that I only have the community's best interests at heart. Perhaps you could elaborate on why you don't agree instead of trying to engage in personal attacks?
forest barbieri October 04, 2012 at 07:38 AM
Dan: I agree with Richard that it would be of great benefit to the process and the community if you were a part of any task force/commission looking into establishing a better equity/distribution of student/teacher ratio within D112. We already have a minor redistricting (distribution) in place in the form of our dual language program which takes natural students of other schools and places them into Red Oak and Northwood. The merits of that unnatural distribution and financial viability of that program are certainly topics of another discussion. However, it is important that we continue community discussion on student distribution and consider options such as the same grade schools for financial, educational and socialization benefit.
Dan Jenks October 04, 2012 at 04:00 PM
Richard and Forest, thank you for the kind words. I am considering volunteering for the D112 Finance and Facilities Committee. This is an intellectually challenging and interesting subject that everyone in HP cares about.
m October 04, 2012 at 11:36 PM
Whoa.....Did you know that the contract that the Board is offering our teachers would be the WORST CONTRACT ON THE NORTH SHORE???????????? Worse than Deerfield, Glencoe, Northbrook, and Lake Forest?? Teachers are not being greedy!!!!
forest barbieri October 05, 2012 at 12:20 AM
Just read an interesting recap of recent PTO meeting which contained the following: Maternity and Paternity leaves for the following teachers: Mrs.Jacobson, Mrs. Sanders, Mr. Bergman, and Mr. Wagner. Questions were raised about how long the leave will be for each teacher. Principal Schroeder stated it is about 4 weeks and that the subs taking over for the teachers will be be certified and qualified to work with our students. While I am in favor of Paternity leave, I was not aware that it was also offered to the father except in France and Scandinavia. Again, I am not against the policy but wondered if this is a non paid benefit or if it is part of the union contract? I had just never seen this before, although I could suspect it may be part of some cutting edge technology companies package such as Apples early on 1 year sabbatical.
llwvrt October 05, 2012 at 12:25 AM
Illinois School code and FMLA allow for paternity leave.
llwvrt October 05, 2012 at 12:32 AM
FMLA is for everyone.
forest barbieri October 05, 2012 at 12:35 AM
Super, I see that. Guess I have been doing business overseas for a while and was not really aware of the current FMLA. Again, I am in favor of it, just was not aware. You see, education is indeed a life long process:)

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