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District 86 may be close to new teachers contract, board members say

Published: Friday, Aug. 15, 2014 12:00 p.m. CST
Caption
(Zachary White - zwhite@shawmedia.com)
District 86 Board of Education member Jennifer Planson listens as a community member shares their concerns with the board.

HINSDALE – The Hinsdale High School District 86 Board offered a salary schedule to the teachers in its most recent offer, a requirement the teachers union has had throughout contract negotiations.

District 86 Board President Richard Skoda said during a special meeting of the Board of Education Aug. 12 that he hopes the newest offer to the teachers can settle the negotiations.

“It was comprehensive and significant, and they’re taking it very seriously,” Skoda said. “I think that’s a very, very good sign.”

A salary schedule increases how much an employee makes annually. Additionally, the board's latest offer is above CPI, unlike past proposals.

Previous District 86 contracts granted teachers annual raises or up to 19 years. Teachers gained additional income every year if they have earned advanced degrees.

Recent offers by the board aimed to eliminate those step and lane increases, seeking teachers contracts based on past performance – the same way professional athletes get bigger contracts when they show a history of better performance.

Skoda said the teachers wouldn’t make a deal without annual salary increases.

“They basically told us they needed to have automatic increases with step and lane,” he said.

However, the current offer does not include 6 percent raises to teachers each of the four years prior to their retirement, which was also part of prior contracts.

Those raises, informally known as "pension spiking," are used to increase teacher pensions prior to their retirement.

In Illinois, a retiring teacher's pension is based on an average of their four highest paid years. So if a teacher’s salary spikes in their last four years, then their pension would be significantly higher.

“It’s not that teachers aren’t great teachers," board member Ed Corcoran said. "We have great teachers, great staff. It’s just in fairness to the taxpayers and the longevity, things have changed and we can’t afford to have this."

But, Skoda said the teachers will still have their pensions compounded by three percent annually, following retirement.

Advisory referenda

During the meeting, the board discussed putting two questions on the November ballot. By the end of the meeting, one ballot question was tabled to be put on the ballot later, and another was dropped from discussion.

The question that could be brought up later would ask voters if teachers make 6 percent more every year of the last four years they work prior to retirement.

The second question asked if teachers should follow a salary schedule or if they should be paid based on performance. This was dropped because the board has already offered salary schedules to teachers.

Police report

The week of Aug. 3, a member of the school board filed a police report after the image of a hatchet stuck in the dashboard of a car was posted with a story on the Hinsdale Teachers Association Facebook page.

Prior to the police report, Skoda said the use of the image was alarming and taken as a threat by some board members.

The news website that wrote the story claimed that the hatchet photo belonged to another story that was unrelated, and apologized for the problem.

The Hinsdale police do not intend to investigate the matter further.

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