Published Sept. 18, 2014
Length of salary schedule key difference in contract talks
By Pamela Lannom
How far apart are the Hinsdale High School District 86 Board and Hinsdale High School Teachers Association in contract talks?
Both sides posted their current offers online this week. The board’s offer is posted under the negotiations link on the district website at hinsdale86.org. The association’s offer can be accessed through its Facebook page at facebook.com/hhsta.org.
According to documents released Wednesday morning, the board has proposed a salary schedule for 2014-15 that provides the highest salary of $129,953 to a teacher with 35 years of experience and a master’s degree plus 60 hours of education.
Under the association’s schedule, posted late Tuesday night, that same teacher reaches the maximum salary of $127,749 at 19 years. A teacher would need 34 years of experience to reach that salary under the board’s proposal.
“This is probably the No. 1 point of contention in our discussions with the union,” board Vice President Ed Corcoran said at press conference Tuesday that he held with board President Richard Skoda. Both are members of the district’s negotiating team.
The schedule would “diminish the district’s competitive edge,” the association’s proposal states.
“For the first time ever, it will create an incentive for teachers to learn their craft here but then leave the district after District 86 trains them, mentors them and gives them teaching experience in some of the best classrooms in the state.”
The district’s proposal calls for phasing out the practice of offering teachers retirement incentives. Teachers now receive a 6 percent annual raise in each of the four years before they retire. The district would like to lower the number to 5 percent for teachers who announce their retirement in the first year of the contract and 3 percent for those who announce in the second year. There would be no incentives after that.
The association proposes reducing retirement incentives to 3 percent for four years for all teachers.
“Even people who support the teachers don’t like pension spiking,” Skoda said.
Corcoran called the practice “tacitly immoral.” In addition, the board wants to slow down the rate of increases in stipends and additional pay for coaching, club sponsorship and other duties.
The association’s proposal calls for $10.9 million for this line item and the district offer is $10.6 million, according to district documents.
The board’s offer would save $1.08 million by having physical education teachers give up one preparation period and teach six classes a day instead of five.
The district show a $6.4 million cost difference between the two offers over four years, pricing the district’s proposal at $180.3 million, compared to $186.7 for the association’s. The association, however, lists the cost of its proposal at $181.6 million.
The association also contends that its proposal is more than $1.3 million under the board’s projected revenue growth for the four years of the contract.
The lead negotiators for both sides are working to schedule additional bargaining sessions, Skoda said at the press conference. The mediator is not available until next week.
Both sides were required to submit their offers, including cost summaries, to the Illinois Labor Relations Board by Tuesday night. The requirement is a result of the association’s decision last week to initiate what is called the public posting process.
The process also outlines the steps and timeline that must be followed before teachers are able to legally strike.
The association issued a press release Sunday indicated it would not strike before Hinsdale Central’s homecoming on Oct. 11. Hinsdale South’s homecoming is this Saturday, Sept. 20.
The Hinsdalean was unable to speak with teachers association spokesman Michael Palmquist before deadline Wednesday.