Will teacher union stance impede negotiations with LF District 115 Board?

September 18, 2012

C0mmentary by Nancy J. Thorner:
According to the latest article posted today by editor Paula Skaggs, “Board, LFEA Fail to Come to an Agreement After 14 Hours of Negotiations.” With the failure to reach an agreement, the Lake Forest High School teacher strike enters its sixth day.

One statement in today’s update teacher strike article by Paula Skaggs informed readers that “the Board agreed to bring in a neutral third party to review and verify the claim by the LFEA that the district’s fund balance will grow by over $20 million over the next three years.”

Why  is the District 115 Board giving so much credence to the red herring  argument raised by the union that because there might be more money in  the till to grab, the Board ought to give it to the teachers?

Salient points, and ones that have been repeatedly emphasized by the taxpayers in the wake of the strike, are: 1) that LFHS  teachers are already overly compensated, particularly given that so many highly paid teachers are either performing relatively low-skilled work (drivers’  ed) or performing higher level work bu doing a marginal or poor job; and 2) that the taxpayers are in desperate need for substantial tax  relief — something that might be possible if the Board holds firm on its current wage increase offer.

In another Patch article, chief union negotiator and Lake Forest High School teacher Charles Gress was quoted as saying that the union’s demands must be met to insure quality teachers for LFHS.

That contention is outrageous given that the current tenure and  seniority-based union contract has the inevitable result of fostering  mediocrity despite our paying top dollar.

One  parent who wished to remain anonymous said the other day that this  strike really cheapens the once exalted teaching profession.

An announcement made by the Board in a release late last night (9/17), reaffirmed that the Board had taken its two-tiered salary position  request off the bargaining table and expected substantive movement from  the Union on the remaining issue of salary.

Although it was not pleasing to hear that the Board had given in to one of the  union demands, may the Union at least see the Board’s decision as an act  of good will in further bargaining sessions.

What  the union is doing is akin to armed robbery, with our children’s  well-being as their weapon.  It is a shame that our labor laws have  enabled this to happen, not only in Lake Forest District 115, but also in other school districts throughout Illinois and in the City of Chicago.

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