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D86 Board President: ‘We Didn’t Call Off the Afternoon Session’ on June 10

Words get heated on both sides in ongoing Hinsdale high school teacher contract negotiations as expiration date looms.

District 86 board members in the heat of contract negotiations with the Hinsdale High School Teachers Association, school board president Richard Skoda released a “point-by-point” rebuttal to "union propaganda" distributed by the teachers’ union prior to the board’s June 2 meeting.

Read school board's "NEA Union Propaganda Chart"

Hinsdale Central and South teachers voted unanimously to authorize a teachers’ strike in the fall if both sides cannot reach an agreement on a new teachers’ contract before the current one expires at the end of the month.

But before the teachers’ association’s “premature” unanimous strike vote on May 29, Skoda maintained in a written statement that classroom teachers had not been given the board’s contract offer:

“Members of the community are now requesting a response to a 14-point flier the Union recently published. The inaccurate information in this flier, as with other recent disinformation, is designed to advance Union efforts to seize back control of the Board in the April 2015 elections. Not one element of their flier supports their proposal for increased salaries and contract bargaining positions. Anyone reading the Union flier will quickly note that each point is an argument to deter implementing the new level of accountability brought to District 86.”

Further, Skoda and the school board alleged that the teachers’ association is in violation of its own collective bargaining agreement in the unexpired contract that “neither the Association nor any of the Employees covered by this Agreement will instigate or participate in any strike, sympathy strike, or any other intentional interruption of the operations of the District.”

The school board blamed Naomi Shepherd, the teachers’ NEA union representative, for instigating a strike vote before the school year ended and organizing teacher picketing at the board’s meeting on June 2.

“The Union brought union propaganda into our children’s classrooms on every occasion the school board met, a practice reminiscent of old style union scare tactics, and one to which our children ought not be subjected,” Skoda said.

After Monday’s board meeting, Skoda fired back that the school board did not cancel the afternoon bargaining session on June 10, as the teachers’ association has claimed.

In statements made to Suburban Life, Skoda said that the board adjusted its offer a flat freeze to a consumer price index cost-of-living increase, that would have added 1.7 percent pay increase to salary and performance pay.

Skoda said that after a morning of waiting to hear a response to the board’s latest offer on June 10, the teachers’ association countered, decreasing their March offer of 5.41 to 5.29 percent, Suburban Life reported.

At that point "there was no reason" for either the teachers or the board to continue negotiations June 10,” Skoda told the paper. "Quite honestly, with the board moving 1.7 percent, we were hopeful that we would get the teachers to move, that did not happen."

Continuing to express their respect for the teachers “individually and collectively,”  school board members hope to reach a fair and sustainable contract in upcoming meetings “within the framework of individual CPI increases and places education of the students first and foremost.”

The next bargaining session is scheduled for June 26.

Read Patch's past coverage of the Hinsdale high school teachers' contract negotiations:

Cindy Novak June 19, 2014 at 11:32 AM
Linda, I do attend Board meetings but as you said while PERA is a state law, it has not yet been implemented. There is no excuse for delaying is. Quite simply, it really isn't that complicated. You seem to think, as I stated before, that if someone doesn't think the teachers deserve a 5%+ raise, they are anti-teacher. Again, those of us who disagree with you are not blaming teachers for the downturn in the economy. Quite frankly, I still don't know where you got that. I notice that Dan, Barry and Rob are using their real names. I happen to agree with their comments. None of us, unless you happen to know someone who is sitting at that table, knows what is going on or the numbers being discussed. There is no war and this should not be a war. A strike is going to hurt the most important asset here - the students. I would like to think the teachers are taking that into consideration and not just thinking of themselves but unfortunately, I don't believe that. I think the whole Diane Barrett situation was ridiculous and I put the blame squarely on Ms. Barrett. I would vote against this board if she is given one penny. She should be forced to pay back the board, not be given any money. BTW, I love the fact the you are so passionate as are Barry, Rob and Dan. We all care about this and live in a country that allows us to speak freely and share out ideas.
Linda Burke June 19, 2014 at 12:06 PM
Hi Cindy. Thank you for being the first pro-board majority poster to touch on the financial and ethical outrage of the Barrett settlement. It's not a subject that most of you like to acknowledge. She (Barrett) isn't receiving any money, nor has she requested it. Ms. Manley especially likes to bring up that fact in attempting to minimize the cronyism and ethical outrage of the settlement, which directly hurts our students--see postings above. However, her lawsuit has cost the taxpayer dearly, in a climate of zero levy where we are making cutbacks to our academic program and expecting our teachers to accept a de facto cut in pay. Barrett is the close political crony and sometime running mate of one or more board majority members. She also campaigned in 2013 for the board majority. The ties among them resemble a spider web. To "put the blame squarely on Barrett" and her alone belies reality. (I know the facts of the case, having attending almost every board meeting since the mid 1990s.) The settlement was a blatant quid pro quo in reward for her political association and support of the board majority. See previous postings for the odious details of the settlement. According to the board majority, the settlement was entered into--even though Barrett's case was dismissed by the court!! to save taxpayer dollars by placating her, lest she revive the lawsuit and cost even more taxpayer dollars. (Of course I agree that she should be required to reimburse every penny that all of her frivolous lawsuits have cost the district, but good luck with that.) if you had attended board meetings, you would have heard Richard Skoda and Bruce Davidson threaten repeatedly over the past few months that if Barrett wasn't satisfied with the settlement, she would revive the lawsuit. However, the settlement wasn't free, nor was it cheap. A lawyer had to be paid by the hour to help craft a revised District Policy 2.225 that would (per Barrett's wishes) allow board members to inspect confidential student documents for any reason, without parental notification or permission. The board majority approved this new policy over the repeated objections of our brave minority on the board, who called for a requirement for parental permission in the policy. A lawyer was needed to vet the new policy because it so obviously conflicts with FERPA, the federal student privacy law. I made a FOIA request for the amount of money spent on crafting the new policy alone, which does not include all the tens of thousands spent earlier on the lawsuit. Between August 2013 and January 2014, the taxpayer was hit up for $16,771.50 in order to create a policy that hurts our students and leaves the district vulnerable to lawsuits under FERPA by outraged parents whose children's privacy is compromised. THIS is fiscal conservatism?? I stand by my opinion that the present board majority is purely anti-teacher, and not at all fiscally responsible or conservative.
Cindy Novak June 19, 2014 at 12:45 PM
I knew we could agree on something!!
Dick Flesher June 20, 2014 at 05:09 PM
It has been documented that years of service and advanced degrees are important indicators of effective teaching and have served our education community well for many decades.
Linda Burke June 22, 2014 at 10:10 AM
In case anyone is interested in the facts on what teachers are requesting in the current negotiation process, here is a place to look: search the Doings Hinsdale website for the article by Kimberly Fornek titled "District 86 Board approves salary for support staff, continues teacher negotiations." It should appear in print this coming Thursday. With all things factored in including benefits, the teachers' request is for a 1% salary increase. The board's offer would reduce every teacher's compensation, a move not attempted by ANY other Chicago-area school high school or unit district. Mr. Corcoran would have us believe we can continue to attract the best teachers with insulting treatment and cuts in compensation so that we pay less than neighboring school districts. Here, I call on common sense principles: if it sounds too good to be true, it is. You get what you pay for. Less is not more. This is true of education as it is in life. Thanks to reporter Kimberly Fornek for a complete and accurate presentation of the facts.

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