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Elmhurst District 205 Board Declares Impasse in Teacher Negotiations

Negotiations began in 2010. This is the second time the union has turned down an agreement; the first was tentatively agreed upon last September.

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Thursday, March 15: Elmhurst Unit District 205 Board declared an impasse in its labor negotiations with the Elmhurst Teachers Council Wednesday.

The main obstacles toward a settlement have been "issues related to compensation," according to a statement by the School District. Negotiating teams came to agreement last month on "nearly all of the language issues in question," but the Teachers' Council "overwhelmingly" voted down that new proposal Feb. 24.

According to a statement from the teachers' union, written by union President Katy Padberg, the district's proposal would freeze teacher salaries in the short term and cut them over time. Bonuses offered next year and the year after "would expire at the end of the contract, moving teacher salaries in 2014 back to where they were in 2010." 

"These cuts will make salaries in Elmhurst less competitive with surrounding districts, making it more difficult to attract and retain the best teachers," Padberg said. "We don’t think the district needs to become less competitive at a time when the district has a $27.9 million surplus. That surplus has grown over $13 million in just the last three years. The district is in great financial shape; this is not a situation where they are forced to make serious cuts."

At the Feb. 28 School Board meeting, however, board member Jim Collins presented an update on work being done in the district's Finance and Operations Committee.

"Right now, we're projecting revenues between $600,000 and $1 million short of what our projected expenses will be next year," he said.

The administrative cabinet is being asked to "propose action to balance the next fiscal year budget," which could include further budget cuts.

The finance committee also is looking at a possible increase in facility use fees by outside groups, bond refinancing and other methods to bolster finances in a climate of a sagging economy, and late payments and unfunded mandates from the state of Illinois.

District officials have said budget projections will come to the full board March 20, but there are some wildcards. The latest discussion in Springfield is regarding a move to shift the obligation for teacher pension payments from the state to the local school districts, a move for the districts.

District 205 also publication Friday to give the public an idea of where district revenues come from, what money is spent on and more.

"Considering the current economic climate, the uncertainty of school funding and pending discussions on pension reform, the board does not believe that it can offer any additional money for salary, benefits or other compensation beyond its last offer," the district statement reads. "In comparison to other unit districts in the collar counties, Elmhurst teachers are competitively compensated."

The teachers union representatives said they wish to tie their salary advancement to the Consumer Price Index.

"Our modest proposal would help teachers keep up with the cost of living and keep us from sliding backwards," according to their statement.

In accordance with the dictates of Senate Bill 7, which became law last August, the process will now require both parties to submit last and final offers to a federal mediator within the next seven days. The Illinois Educational Labor Relations Board will then exchange the offers with the parties involved and post those offers on its website within an additional seven days.

The School Board says it is willing to continue negotiations during this time. A session is scheduled with the Elmhurst Teachers Council for Friday, March 16.

The law states that if the dispute is not settled, the union must provide its employer with a formal notice of intent to strike at least 10 days in advance of engaging in a strike. The district would share this advance notice with the community, but no such action will be taken prior to spring break, officials said.

Currently eight public school districts, one special education cooperative and one community college have filed Impasse Final Offers, according to the Illinois Educational Labor Relations Board website.

The Elmhurst Teachers Council is part of the West Suburban Teachers Union, Local 571 and the Illinois Federation of Teachers (IFT).

Jim Court March 19, 2012 at 01:00 AM
I believe that almost everybody on this forum has valid points of view, even if different. If the teachers and the board are as good as I believe them to be and everyone acts in the best interest of all concerned parties, then these issues should be able to be resolved intelligently. We do not need polarization or mud-slinging.Ideally Elmhurst should strive to be the model for fair and constructive negotiations that leave the community united and feeling whole. Do we want greatness ? I hope so.
Jim Court March 19, 2012 at 01:04 AM
NancyC You are correct that it is wise to be a vigilant and responsible person, Who could argue with that ?
York Parent March 19, 2012 at 01:30 AM
There have been very many comments on this article. After reading all of them, I have several questions: What is it that the teachers want? How much of a raise per year? Do they also want changes to their existing benefits? Do they want new benefits?
nana March 19, 2012 at 01:33 AM
thank you Jim! I agree wholeheartedly. I hope that our community doesn't get dragged down into the mud by polarizing politics and sides that refuse to budge on principle. I hope our kids don't get caught in the middle. We really do have great schools and dedicated teachers and I, for one, would like to keep them.
Sean Johnders March 19, 2012 at 01:40 AM
I didn't mean to sound like that Jim. My point is that the right of free speech doesn't mean that you, Nancy or anyone can violate the terms that The Patch has in place. I didn't see the post but if it came down, it was a violation of some kind. There is no evil person behind the curtain, at least I hope not! I'm guessing that NancyC is under more scrutiny because she is afraid to use her first and last name, which I know is a violation of the rules.
TCB March 19, 2012 at 01:48 AM
@Voice of reason. I gave specific numbers. What's the number, how large of a tax increase do you want everyone to get so you can get a raise? Secondly, what effect do you believe a large tax increase will have on the housing market? I say it pushes many families, over the brink, into default and foreclosure, depressing the market for us all. Who's collectively bargaining for them? Answer: the elected School Board. I just think the Union is being short-sighted and disingenuous. Especially the $27 Mil surplus claim, which is flat out false. Read the budget.
NancyC March 19, 2012 at 01:48 AM
Sean, I just learned what happened to my comments. Those who don't like them can flag them and if they get enough flags they are automatically removed. There was nothing wrong with my comments. Some simply disagree and can't tolerate a different opinion. Very mature folks. Most likely teachers.
NancyC March 19, 2012 at 01:51 AM
Oh, Sean another thing, when I signed up on Patch there was no requirement to use your name, just to pick a username and that's what I did.
Voice of Reason March 19, 2012 at 01:55 AM
I have heard that this year the teachers are working without a contract since July, which means they have had no salary increase. I believe that any future increases are tied to CPI & are minimal. I think that there are no changes to their current benefits & teachers are actually giving more of their time for no compensation.
Jim Court March 19, 2012 at 01:57 AM
Sean, I want to agree about people using their real name yet I do not dismiss the desire for anonymity in order to protect oneself from potential problems or repercussions and by doing so you can express what you might avoid doing. Sometimes I wish I wrote anonymously. I would offend people who I disagree with, even if I like them, and would have to worry less about consequences, which I do believe are a possibility. Some people like what I write although that is never my motivation but I also get slammed fairly often. Oh well.............I will survive. (Isn't this a song my sister sings?)
NancyC March 19, 2012 at 01:59 AM
Just learned that it was not an editor but the "citizens" flagging my comments as inappropriate! Boy, so much for an open,honest, and mature, conversation!
Melanie Watkins Gold March 19, 2012 at 02:19 AM
In the last several articles regarding our district most of the comments have been very negative towards our teachers and it really bothers me. First off, I am not a teacher however I have 2 children currently at York and as a taxpayer I feel I have a right to voice how I feel on the subject. Everyone is quick to tell the teachers to stop being greedy, when do we as parents stop being greedy. We want WELL educated teachers but don't want to pay for them. Isn't it true, you get what you pay for? I think this holds true to the teachers that are going to start applying to teach in this district. If we want the cream of the crop we need to be treating them as if they were. I have a teacher friend in the district that has just completed her masters, under this new proposal from the district she would not receive compensation for that degree for 7 years. Where is the incentive for our teachers to want to be the best they can be. She did not ask the district to fund her degree but she would like to be compensated for it as it will benefit our children. This brings me to my next point. Maybe the people we should really be looking at in this is the people we vote on to our school board. Aren't they ones that approved the purchase of a building that was not necessary or in the best interest of the district. Did we really need a turf football field and new lights? What is important to this district?
nana March 19, 2012 at 02:41 AM
@Nancy C: I'm sorry you feel that you are not being heard and you seem very angry. But really? Blaming teachers for having your comments removed? Who is being mature?
York Parent March 19, 2012 at 02:56 AM
Thanks for the comment, Voice, but what are they looking for in the future? Surely the teachers are not looking at raises tied to the CPI? Are they looking for 3% per year? 5% per year?
Dan March 19, 2012 at 03:19 AM
Four or five years ago when I started to try to understand why our property taxes were going up so much I had the same concerns about the administration building turf field etc. Over the years my opinion has changed. I think the bigger issue is the lack of funding from Illinois. The pie chart in the other article about the budget says it all. If district 205 just got what the average Illinois school district gets it would be enough to buy 3 administration buildings every year. Lincoln school could be rebuilt paid for by cash. Do you know that a lot of the cost of the turf field was money donated to the school? Who we vote for on the board is important but even more important is who we vote to represent us in Springfield. Do any of those running to represent us in Springfield have a plan or opinion on school funding? I haven't seen it. On the Patch all I read is bickering between people volunteering or employed by the canidates running to represent us for the next 6 years. In 6 years I wonder how much higher our property taxes will be and how many fewer teachers will be employed in district 205. There are real issues facing district 205 and I actually believe that the board is facing them head on unlike those in Springfield.
Gabby Johnson March 19, 2012 at 05:20 AM
Great Job Sean! So when your child "speaks that way" to a peer or to a faculty member; I'll be sure to remember your words of wisdom, "Go home and cry"(just like Scut Farcus from a Christmas story...but he was punched in the nose for talking that way) or "You have free speech, just keep it to yourself!" Oh the irony…do as I say, not as I do...tell kids to say please and thank you, but not you – at least not when anyone who “matters” is around!
Drew March 19, 2012 at 05:46 PM
I think that making ad hominem attacks isn't really useful at all and you diminish yourself when engaging in them.
Drew March 19, 2012 at 05:51 PM
*bye bye
Drew March 19, 2012 at 05:53 PM
'Simply that we are paying these "professionals" to educate our youth, entrusting our kids to them and they don't have the sense it takes to raise a turnip, yet they want even more pay.' -This is a fragment. Considering revising.
imo March 19, 2012 at 10:59 PM
I come at this from a different perspective than most. I was an at risk student in high school that was literally saved by a teacher. If this person hadn't intervened on my behalf, I would not be here today. I now have a good job and make a nice salary. I didn't get here by myself. I had two alcoholic parents that did not care what happened to me one way or the other. This one teacher taught me to believe in my talent and helped me achieve beyond what I thought was possible. How do I place a value on this incredible gift I was given? When I read these negative posts, I feel sad that some in our community have such a sour view on educators. I was blessed with some transformative educators. We need to keep all of this in perspective.
imo March 19, 2012 at 11:04 PM
I would also like to add, as we look at cuts, we need to keep them as far away from students as possible. We have a lot of "fluff" at our board office, not withstanding the building itself. We have a very top heavy administration. Most of our newly hired administrators were brought in at higher salties than their predecessors. This is where the community outrage should be.
Jim Court March 20, 2012 at 01:56 AM
imo, I have not been a high school student for a long. long, time. Thus, I cannot comment intelligently on the current generation of teachers accurately. I also had a few teachers. who positively influenced me. I remember most teachers as truly dedicated to their craft and completely committed to excellence. Teaching was a calling. Do you think that this holds true in our current culture?
Drew March 20, 2012 at 03:26 PM
http://www.unnecessaryquotes.com/
Jack W. March 20, 2012 at 04:13 PM
The purchase of the building was approved by the prior Board -- 4 of the 7 members of that Board were replaced last year by newly elected members -- and was driven by the prior superintendent, who was let go. The turf field and new lights were paid for by private funds, not public tax money.
JL March 25, 2012 at 07:45 AM
(1) NancyC, As a student of York's English department I felt as though my insight might be helpful, or at least interesting, to both yourself and others. Students in sophomore year in English participate in a unit focussed on censorship in which regular 10 reads Fahrenheit 451 (to be referred to as "F451") and the honors (10H) reads F541 and Night together. Now, as a compliment to that unit my 10H class read articles on the banning of books in certain school communities. The classes, across the board, came to this rough conclusion: "As a individual, books on certain subjects can be offensive. However, to diminish one, or any number of students rights to access that book would be more detrimental to the student body than simply leaving in the curriculum." The basis for the claim was as such: Books represent the times in which they were written/written for. It's an unarguable fact. For that reason, to become a more educated and understanding human being, one should have access to discussion and critiques in class so one understands the cultures and themes present and important. (continued)
JL March 25, 2012 at 07:47 AM
(2) We need to have books like The Color Purple because it can help your child become a better student. Rape happens- read The Color Purple to learn how detrimental it is to a young girl. Who knows, it might help your child understand and relate to a future acquaintance with a similar past as the character. Or maybe it'll help them to never commit such a crime (not to imply anything about your child- purely hypothetical). We cannot move forward as a society if we don't accept our true past and learn from it. And for this reason The Color Purple is important to study- students must be the driving force for the future because we are the future. And because you didn't allow your child to read The Color Purple, your child is now uninformed and cannot relate to something that they may have been able to relate to if you had given the opportunity to do so. (continued)
JL March 25, 2012 at 07:49 AM
On a more personal note about the English department, as a student I have not experienced a more dedicated department at York. My Freshmen 9H teacher volunteered her lunch period to guide my various essays. My 10H teacher does the same whenever I ask. I would consider both teachers close to friends- they are relatable, considerate, educated, and most importantly; dedicated. The same goes for all the departments at York. My math teacher will sacrifice his plan period to go over some notes I didn't quite understand. My AP Government teacher will provide study sessions for 3 hours after school (his private time) to prepare students if need be. Many teachers form and do extra work for clubs, even though the extra pay isn't much more then a few dollars that really doesn't add up. It is for all of these reasons that my teachers deserve their pay increases. They work hard (not that private sectors don't) and quite frankly don't make all that much. Sure, you might have a few bad apples in the tree, but that applies to any workplace and you all know it. If a teacher gets a masters they deserve that extra pay, just as you would if you spent 2 years going to school to better your job. As the son of a single-mother 205 teacher we have tight living expenses to even stay in Elmhurst. I'm a living, breathing example of teachers salary- they don't make as much as you think they do because they can't afford to live in the prestigious community that you do.
JL March 25, 2012 at 07:50 AM
(4- I'm afraid these posted backwards, please take the time to read them right) In closure, NancyC, while I understand your concerns I implore you to become more open-minded about your child's exposure because it can truly make a difference in their future, and yours. Your child is 16/17 years old... maybe it's time to loosen the collar. And to all other commenters: simply ask your children about their favorite teacher. I bet that the man/woman has impacted your child, and I'm sure they believe that the teacher in question should deserve all that they ask and then some. My grammar may be off but criticizing such isn't reflective of the English department but rather the fact that my argument was written at 2:30 in the AM. And sorry if I have offended any of you, it was not my intention.
NancyC March 25, 2012 at 09:51 PM
JL, I am never offended by another persons opinion, whether I agree with it or not. I just want to make sure you realize that the book you're defending is fiction. As I am certain you know, parents are given authority over their children from God. We are held accountable to Him to raise them according to His will which is clearly defined by the doctrines of our Faith. The book you are defending would never be allowed in my home, for any reason, but especially because of its moral depravity. When my children are adults they will then decide whether and how they will live, until then thy are stuck with the two parents God gave them. No one needs to read this book to know evil and sin harm people. But you feel free to own it and cherish it. On another note, are you aware that today 40% of children born are born to single mothers? Did you know that that is the number one cause of poverty in this country? Let us work to instill virtues in our young people through good works and goodness.
NancyC March 25, 2012 at 09:59 PM
JL, I'm Nancy C's son. Also a student at York. To graciously give my input, I would like to acknowledge your comment of how good the English teachers are at York. Although I'm not familiar with each and every teacher, I have indeed seen some cynical things from some of the teachers. I witnessed my current English make a gesture in which he was firing a gun to the back of my friends head after getting in an argument. This is wholly inappropriate behavior. Further more I don't need to read a book about rape to be familiar with how horrible it is. I am in no sense of the word a sheltered child. I have seen things that many will never have the displeasure of seeing

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