Published Oct 16, 2014
D86 teachers could have new contract by Monday
By Pamela Lannom
Monday night last week the school board changed its negotiating team members.
Less than 72 hours later, they had a tentative agreement for a new teachers contract.
After meeting for seven hours Oct. 9, Hinsdale High School District 86 and the Hinsdale High School Teachers Association announced that a tentative deal was in place.
“We are so pleased to make this joint announcement tonight, ending speculation about a potential strike,” District 86 Superintendent Bruce Law stated in the release issued at 10:48 p.m. “This resolution will allow everyone to refocus their energies on the excellent education we provide to all of our students and will restore the natural rhythm of the school year. This move reinvigorates all of us and is a positive step forward.”
The board is scheduled to vote on the tentative agreement Monday night, Law said. The teachers association plans to vote on it today, Oct. 16, lead negotiator Jeff Waterman told The Hinsdalean.
Details will be released once the agreement is approved by both parties.
Kay Gallo, who with Victor Casini replaced Richard Skoda and Ed Corcoran on the board’s negotiating team, said she was nervous before the last week’s session started. She and Casini had requested a face-to-face meeting with the association’s negotiators.
“They wanted that also, so that was a really good start I felt,” she said. “As things went on I felt that the lines of communication were opened.”
Waterman said the meeting was not the first face-to-face negotiating session that has taken place, but it was a productive one.
“It was just refreshing to be able to have open dialogue,” he said. “We were able to discuss shared interests and very quickly found our way to the tentative agreement that we’re going to present to the public soon.”
The stakes were high before the compromise was reached. The teachers association on Oct. 6 had filed a 10-day written notice of its intent to strike, setting Oct. 14 as the first day they could stop work. Gallo said that possibility — not reaching a tentative agreement — was on her mind last week.
“I was just hoping that we would be granted a little more time, although I knew the clock was ticking because of the 10-day notice,” she said.
She said she is “hesitantly hopeful” that the agreement will be approved by the association’s membership and the school board.
“I’m hopeful that the association will ratify it, and I don’t have any reason why the negotiators would have gone this far without knowing their membership,” she said.
She expects the agreement to pass the board with at least a 4-3 vote, she said.
Waterman thanked the community for its tremendous support during the process in the Oct. 9 release.
“We believe this deal will give our teachers the opportunity to continue to provide the high quality education for which the district is renown while granting teaches access to the professional growth and development that enables them to be so successful in the classroom,” he stated.
Meeting face-to-face was a very important step in reaching a tentative agreement, Gallo said.
“You negotiate all the time every day with people,” she said. “The biggest thing is listening. If you don’t listen I don’t see how you can be effective.”