The Hinsdale High School Teachers Association and Dist. 86 school board head back to the table on Thursday to resume contract negotiations
Teachers from Hinsdale Central and South authorized a strike last month providing the union bargaining team to call a strike in the fall if an agreement cannot be reached. The high school teachers’ four-year contract is set to expire June 30.
Negotiations have been acrimonious between both sides, with comparisons made to Chicago Teachers Union president Karen Lewis.
Morning and afternoon sessions are scheduled for Thursday, June 26.
On Monday, the Dist. 86 school board adopted a new performance-based pay scale for school support staff. The measure moves away from the former “step” system of salary increases based on years served.
The change is intended to tie compensation to the Consumer Price Index or CPI, according to a Dist. 86 news release.
The school board also approved a raise of 1.7 percent for support staff salaries. The monies will be allocated across support staff employees based on performance.
Both high schools’ support staff are non-union.
D86 board president, Dr. Richard Skoda, said the change is intended to align overall compensation for support staff employees with the rise of the cost of living, as measured by the CPI.
The adoption of the new plan will reward high-performing staff for their contributions to the school district. It also signals where the board’s heads are at for Thursday’s bargaining sessions.
“We’re telegraphing what the offer to teachers is,” Skoda said. “In our current officer, everyone will get a raise based on partial CPI. Those teachers who have proficient and excellent evaluations will get more.”
Asked if he felt the board was losing the “public relations war” with numerous residents' letters of support for the teachers popping up in the local press, Skoda said most of the letters were orchestrated by the same regulars opposed to the zero tax levy.
"Community feedback has been very positive," he said.
Skoda said the board’s overall goal for the teacher contract negotiations is “uninterrupted instruction.”
“[The strike vote] was a very poor portrayal of [the teacher’s union],” Skoda said. “If they had grievances in August, they could have gotten all the members together.”
Skoda also issued written “updated to the community” outlining the board’s offer to the teachers and other board “key negotiation points” to set the record straight.
The board wants teachers their increase their monthly contributions to their health plans to take “some of the burden off the taxpayers,” which have not been increased since 2006, Skoda said.
The board is also proposing salary increases ranging from 1.7 percent for the highest paid teachers ($111,000) to 3.6 percent for its lowest-paid teachers ($53,000).
“The lower-paid teachers should get a larger increase especially with merit play,” Skoda said. “With merit pay of 5 percent, the lower people are much further behind in salary. They need to be getting a little to catch up.”
Patch has included the school board’s entire offer.
If necessary, bargaining sessions have been set for July 3 and July 15.