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District 109 Teachers Authorize Strike

Work stoppage may not happen and is at least 30 days away, according to union president.

In the face of a vote Friday to authorize a strike by , union representatives are trying to accelerate the mediation process to avoid a work stoppage, according to .

voted 261-2 Friday to allow its leaders to call a strike if negotiations, which have been ongoing since their contract expired in August, fail.

Both sides were disappointed at the with a federal mediator.

Neither Board President Ellen London nor District 109 communications director Cathy Kedjidjian responded to Patch’s request for comments before deadline.

The next mediation session is scheduled Feb. 21 but Jensen hopes it will be sooner. “We have asked our Illinois Education Association representative to see if they (the mediator and the District 109 negotiating team) have time next week.”

Before the union can actually strike, either the DEA or District 109 must declare an impasse, according to Jensen. Once the two sides reach that point, they have seven days to submit their final offer. The mediator then has seven days to make it public.

“Then there is a 14 day cooling off period. On the 29th day there can be strike but that doesn’t mean there will be one,” Jensen said. “I don’t know,” he added when asked if the union would declare an impasse before the next session.

Though no impasse has been declared, the DEA took the strike vote because Jensen believes the negotiations have stalled. “No substantive progress has been made on the core issues,” Jensen said. “We believe that this has gone on long enough.”

The core issues are certain workplace rules the teachers feel they must have, the method of evaluating teacher performance, compensation and special education.

According to Jensen, the union wants a r, freedom for teachers to offer their opinion on special education issues without reprisals or consequences, more time to meet with aids to determine the best way to service caseloads and minutes kept of meetings to be approved by everyone present.

have also been a point of contention between the parties. Jensen believes the District wants to revamp the process to give teachers less ability to know how they are being evaluated and how they can make adjustments to their performance.

Though teacher salaries have not been mentioned as a point of disagreement, union members are concerned about the amount of burden they must bear over increasing health care costs as well as possible decreases in pension benefits. Jensen has previously said salary will likely be the last thing negotiated.

RB February 12, 2012 at 10:17 PM
This article is more like a PR piece from the teachers union. patch should present all sides if they want to call it 'news'.
anonymous February 12, 2012 at 10:21 PM
"Neither Board President Ellen London nor District 109 communications director Cathy Kedjidjian responded to Patch’s request for comments before deadline." Tough to present both sides when one side does not comment...
A February 12, 2012 at 10:45 PM
19% seriously? Where is this evidence? Do they understand the teachers have voted and a strike is looming? The board/admin looks like puppies with their tails between their legs doing a full out PR attack to gain our support? 19% over three years? That would roughly be 7% per year salary increase if you compound it and if this is true then it was an initial proposal over a year and a half ago when negotiations started? They haven't negotiated on this at all. Of course it will come down, it is a negotiation after all. They make it sound so horrible. They need to take care of this now especially since our community is starting to look into recalling board members already..... $17 million surplus is there for what reason? Not meeting special education minutes according to IEP's....isn't that against the law and a disservice to all of us? They would save money if they didnt need all these lawyers for their mistakes, and didn't overcompensate themselves. Interesting though from 2002, http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2002-10-15/news/0210150222_1_teachers-union-tentative-strike-date
John Russillo February 12, 2012 at 10:51 PM
Yes it's amazing how the possibility of a strike can "elevate" people's thinking. The Zion strike lasted 4 days. The DEA's vote was indeed meant to scare somebody....the Board.
RB February 12, 2012 at 10:56 PM
I agree. However, if they can't provide quotes from the board, they could still provide some background information. It's just one sided, that's all. I for one would appreciate an article that clearly detailed all sides of this issue.
barry February 12, 2012 at 11:22 PM
TO "JOHN DOE"......SPOKEN LIKE A TRUE MERYL LYNCH V.P.!
RC February 13, 2012 at 12:06 AM
I don't think a 19% raise is a fabrication by the administration or an unreasonable opening position from the DEA. Remember, this is for a 3 year contract, so the DEA probably asked for a 6% annual raise, knowing that they would have to settle for something less. The board, of course, wanting to make the 6% request sound as unreasonable as possible, compounded the number over the 3 year contract, coming up with the quoted 19% I don't think either side is out of line on this one.
RB February 13, 2012 at 12:19 AM
A 6% raise each year over the next 3 years is unreasonable and a sure fire way to assure future tax increases on homeowners.
Bob Mavet February 13, 2012 at 12:36 AM
A vote to authorize a strike frames the current state of negotiations. So let's employ simple math and check out the scorecard. The teachers voted 261 - 2 to authorize a strike if an impasse in negotations is reached. The Deerfield 109 School Board is comprised of 7 members. So, at best their vote could only be 7 - 0 to maintain the status quo. Next, we should canvass the eligible voters within the District and get their opinion. A simple method would be to have people chime in on their perspective. I suggest that the concerned parents who recently organized circulate a petition for recall of board members. Use the model from the recent recall petition drive in Wisconsin that presented a strong indication of the will of the people. For illustration, the 2010 census indicates a population of 18,923. http://www.deerfield.il.us/assets/1/community_development/ExecutiveSummary-4.pdf There are 2.84 average persons per household. There are 6,586 households in Deerfield. A simple majority of 3,294 households is a nice target to achieve within the next two weeks. If you are concerned about the state of education in Deerfield Dist. 109 and wish to make a change....sign the petition. One person one vote...democracy works when people exercise their freedom of speech and their right to vote! Simple math. A few thousand trump 7 misguided individuals!! Katie, get cracking on circulating those petitions!
RC February 13, 2012 at 01:22 AM
The point I was trying to make was that when they finally get around to negotiating raises, the final number will be somewhere between the admin's opening offer and the DEA's opening offer (meaning something less than 6%). Both sides appear to be using common negotiating tactics on this issue. In retrospect, however, I think this discussion is premature and is stealing focus from a lot of other important issues that need to be resolved, and I'm sorry to have contributed to the problem. Admin and the DEA haven't even started talking about raises yet.
Curious Resident February 13, 2012 at 01:25 AM
RB perhaps you should start reading some past articles and check out past comments in those articles. Ellen London commented in one and wasn't even there. They are really making a joke of this in my opinion. No, the educators were not offered a 19% raise that is to you and John Doe. Plus, yet again let's discuss the fact that this once again isn't about money! It is about being treated with respect and listening to the educators, parents and community! Go to the board meeting tomorrow and watch how the board will not answer direct questions just like the forum where they did a presentation and had questions already formated!
Curious Resident February 13, 2012 at 01:27 AM
RC it isn't 19% it is 1.9% per year....and add to it raising healthcare while administration is getting theirs for free and then some....
CHP February 13, 2012 at 01:42 AM
The difference between the 2002 contract and this one? Mrs. Goyer and HR director Pascal DeLuca. He was fired from his previous supt. position for similar actions as to what is happening here..."Adding more to the tension, teachers voted unanimously Tuesday night, with more than 500 teachers present, to ask the school board to call for Superintendent Pat Deluca's resignation. Teachers say Deluca's "negative management style" has caused teachers to strike for the second time since 2004. There were no teacher strikes in the fifteen years before he was hired. They also say Deluca has lowered morale among employees and damaged community relations. "The Harlem Federation of teachers expresses a vote of no confidence in Superintendent Deluca, and urges the board of education to call for his immediate resignation," Dave Comerford, the teachers' union representative from the Illinois Federation of Teachers, told a crowd of cheering parents and students outside Harlem High School Tuesday Night. " more here... http://www.wifr.com/mobi?storyid=9437261
robyn whiteman February 13, 2012 at 01:51 AM
To John Doe- How many times have I heard that teachers make enough money, too many. If you don’t feel like they deserve to be paid fairly then keep your kids at home and home-school yourselves. Try not to cast aspersions until you know what it is like. These teachers are the ones who are educating our children while helping to shape their future. Many times the teachers spend more hours per day with our kids than we do, while educating them, while dealing with their own child(ren), while maintaining a relationship and a home, and having time for themselves. It is life, absolutely. But again if you don’t like the system, show up and change it instead of griping to those in your path. Be the change….. Try to refrain from coming into this open forum and shouting just to shout, KNOW THE FACTS!!!! The teachers are not asking for a 19% salary increase over 3 years, which is clear if one would check their facts by reviewing Appendix B on page 86 or the below link. http://www.dps109.org/humanresources/Contracts%20and%20Agreements/2008-2011%20Collective%20Bargaining%20Agreement%20Between%20Board%20of%20Education%20and%20Deerfield%20Education%20Association%20(DEA).pdf
robyn whiteman February 13, 2012 at 01:51 AM
What is being asked for by teachers pretty much follows this schedule. There was also a jump in salary due to the extended school day, which stands to reason. The increase is also dependent on if a teacher is within a different bracket of what their educational degree is and how many years they have been teaching. The DEA has said that salary will be the last part of the negotiations due to the fact that this aspect is the one that they can give more on if need be. To me, teachers deserve all that we can give them and then some but that is just my opinion.
Susan M February 13, 2012 at 02:01 AM
And remember that the teachers are working on LAST year's salary because they have not signed a new contract yet. They have not taken a new "step" this year even though they have that added year of experience. If you look at the steps on their contract on the DPS109 website, they attempt to keep up with standard of living. Therefore, the 1.9% raise per year the Board is offering is not a respectable offer as it is much lower than the 3.5-4% one would expect to keep up with standard of living. And don't forget about looking at salaries in other surrounding, competitive districts. We need our teachers to be compensated for the phenomenal work they do with our children every day!
RB February 13, 2012 at 02:02 AM
"teachers deserve all that we can give them and then some" That may be true. 'all we can give them' says it all. Deerfield will become unaffordable for many people if we keep increasing taxes. If the teachers are underpaid for their peer group (comparable pay with other teachers) then by all means we should get them to an on par status. We don't want to pay less than the profession earns elsewhere. Should we pay more? Sure, provided we can afford it. Now, I'm sure we pay better than most districts and we have a great group of teachers because of it. We just can't make statements like giving them raises just because they deserve it. We may not be able to afford it.....now, or someday and it does compound.
Mike February 13, 2012 at 02:25 AM
The district has gathered a $17 million surplus and pats themselves on the back at the expense of the students. I am upset that my tax dollars are sitting gathering interest but my daughter's classes get bigger and bigger and other kids getting special education services in her room are being done at an expense to her learning. I want my money spent so classes are smaller and students like my daughter who are neither at the high or low end get the attention I pay good money for.
Mike February 13, 2012 at 02:29 AM
I would imagine there is an even greater surplus of administrators. I would guess others would be much less difficult and not condescending either. My child's teachers are wonderful. Dealing with her principal...not so much.
Mike February 13, 2012 at 02:33 AM
I wonder if the board members realize what this horrible situation will do to permanently damage their reputations in the community.
John Russillo February 13, 2012 at 02:38 AM
They will next April. Hopefully before.
Pam February 13, 2012 at 03:13 AM
This isn't about money, it is about control. Eliminating all protections relating to evaluations is simply so teachers who speak up for children and their parents or who demand the contract and educational law be followed can easily be eliminated without the consequences of litigation like what currently happens.. This is about massive ego.
MSB February 13, 2012 at 04:00 AM
Pam, you’re exactly right. When you read between the lines of what the teachers are asking for, it is clear that they are being “silenced” by this administration. I’ve heard of teachers being yelled at after the IEP meetings for offering their input and suggestions. The district wants no minutes and no teacher input so that they cannot be legally held accountable for what is discussed in an IEP. This leaves the parent with little recourse. It is a clear and deliberate plan to maintain complete control over every aspect within her district. As you know she has hired most of the school’s administration and as a result they are useless and silent puppets as this all goes down under their watch. Simply put, the teachers are asking for respect. I think they should take a vote of confidence in the administration and I’m sure it would come back along similar lines as the strike vote. Her policies are hurting morale and her “push in” philosophies are hurting the education of all our children. The experiments should stop and the resource rooms restored. The time is now for change. Supt. Goier must go.
M February 13, 2012 at 04:45 AM
He also only works on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday... Who does this guy think he is? Better yet, who decided he is entitled to a four-day weekend each week? Where are our priorities?
Lisa Polisner February 13, 2012 at 04:49 AM
This is a turning point in our community's history. I grew up here in Deerfield and in the 40 years I have lived here, there has never been this kind of conflict, distrust, and disrespect for the teachers, parents, and students. With that in mind, it is clear that this new administration has made some terrible decisions and the BOE has supported them. At this point, it is the responsibility of all the residents of Deerfield to attend the meetings, read the teacher's website, as well as the BOE updates before judging the teachers. If this were just an issue of money, the contract would've been settled months ago. This is an issue of ego on the part of the board. BTW, 1700 votes removes a board member from office.
Concerned Resident February 13, 2012 at 06:07 AM
How can the School Board talk about being fiscally responsible when they have allowed the current administrarion to create 20 to 30 completely new positions over the last 3 years? The Deerfield taxpayers need to demand all this information be accurately published in the paper! Their once well respected school system has been run into the ground by Renee Goier!
Harry Steindler February 13, 2012 at 06:09 AM
Echoing Lisa's comments, please attend the board meeting Monday night - currently scheduled for 7 PM at Wilmot School. Let's hear what the board has to say about Special Education Services for the children of our community. Someone said it above - "meeting standards" is so far below Deerfield standards. Deerfield District 109 has always stood for excellence in every respect, but especially in how students with special needs have been treated. I know; I have two such children (2007 and 2010 DHS grads). Our now long ago Dist 109 experiences were always driven by impassioned, creative teachers working to build our children into successful learners and well rounded children. These teachers led the way for our children and for Marcy and me. Administrators were there to help the teachers help our children excel. They weren't there to manage budgets and pretend to meet someone else's standards. When we had issues with structure or programs we were able to talk with administrators and work to make what was good better. (continued below)
Harry Steindler February 13, 2012 at 06:09 AM
Things weren't perfect; even then I'm not sure that the board completely understood the impact of the miracle workers masquerading as special ed teachers, speech and physical therapists, social workers and how the rest of the general ed teachers shared in the love and guidance our children received. But there was always collaboration; there was always the ability for the real experts (the teachers) to decide and lead the best course for our children. That’s what District 109 was about and should always be about. Giving the best to those who need it most makes each of us the best we can be. Doing less brings us all down.
John Russillo February 13, 2012 at 02:31 PM
Tonight's Board meeting moved to the Shepard gym.
Lisa Polisner February 13, 2012 at 05:40 PM
Dear Concerned Parent, You have every right to be concerned. Sadly, those statements are not isolated to just your child. In the past few years, many parents have been told things like that and even worse. We have started a parent support group for parents who have kids with IEP's and 504's, however, we welcome all parents to come and learn how to empower themselves in the advocacy of their children's rights by law. The group is just beginning but is long overdue. Please email me at lpolisner@hotmail.com and I will put you on our distribution list so you can stay informed about our next meeting.

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