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District 86 contract dispute stirs more discussion

HINSDALE – Tensions continue to mount over the possibility of a District 86 teacher strike while salary negotiations continue between teachers and the district.

Earlier this week, the Board of Education asked that teachers promise not to go on strike during the upcoming school year.

The Hinsdale High School Teachers Association didn’t make that promise, having already announced that they plan to be working in the weeks leading up to the first day of school, as well as on the first day, Aug. 22. The teachers, however, are still holding onto the ability to strike after the school year starts.

Information from both sides of the aisle has been circulating the past week via news releases and emails.

Outspoken community member Linda Burke said she feels the goal of the board isn’t to figure out contracts, but rather to force teachers out using a regressive bargaining tactic.

“The evidence fits together like a jigsaw puzzle. The board majority want a teacher strike. They are already poised to replace all of our teachers,” she said in an email.

However, in a news release sent out by the Board of Education, the board claims the district has made real concessions to an offer they already consider fair. They also deny any use of a regressive bargaining tactic.

The claim of regressive bargaining stems from the board's offer, which increases the cost teachers would have to pay for health care – a cost teachers claim is unfavorable.

During the District 86 Finance Committee meeting Friday morning, the committee explained that the district has to pay about $9.2 million in health care costs this coming school year. Of that amount, about $1.1 million comes from employee contributions.

“Taxpayers have absorbed 100 percent of the increases [to health care costs],” school board member Ed Corcoran said.

Other topics

Finance Committee members on Friday also discussed the tentative budget for the 2014-2015 school year and will present it to the school board at Monday’s meeting.

The committee also is considering expanding to an additional trading firm for the district’s financial securities.

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