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District 112 Contract Negotiations: The Story So Far

Highland Park's elementary and middle school teachers plan to go on strike on Oct. 16. Here's everything you need to know about their strained negotiations with the school board.

Last week, District 112 teachers said they would go on strike on Oct. 16.

Here's everything you need to know about why the negotiations between the Highland Park elementary and middle school teachers and the district are so strained and what will happen if things aren't resolved soon.

News

District 112 Prepares for Teachers' Strike
Highland Park's elementary and middle school district has assembled a contingency plan with the Park District and other organizations to provide programming for some of its 4,500 students, assuming the teachers go on strike.

District 112 Teachers Set Strike Date for Oct. 16
Unable to reach a contract agreement with the District 112 Board of Education, Highland Park's elementary and middle school teachers have set a date to strike.

District 112 Teachers Explain Intent to Strike
The union that represents Highland Park's elementary and middle school teachers says the school board is 'pinching on pennies.' A strike could begin in mid-October.

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District 112 Teachers File Intent to Strike
Highland Park elementary and middle school board president outlines contingency plans for alternative programming. The earliest the strike could happen is Oct. 12.

Readers React to Strained District 112 Negotiations
As the teachers' union for Highland Park elementary schools continues to disagree with the school board over its proposed contract, readers are chiming in with their opinions. 

District 112 Teachers Rally Before Board Meeting
Around 150 Highland Park teachers gathered with signs in hand to protest the elementary and middle school district's proposed contract. Negotiations have not gone far, and a full-on strike may be imminent.

District 112 Teachers Take First Step Towards Strike
Despite the help of a federal mediator, contract negotiations between teachers and the Highland Park elementary and middle school district are not going well.

Opinion

The Facts Behind District 112 Contract Negotiations
A skeptical reader tackles everything about the strained negotiations between Highland Park's elementary and middle school teachers and the school board, from property taxes to salary increases.

Getting Immersed in District 112 Teachers' Contract Negotiations
Ed Brill describes his attempt to learn all there is to know about the contentious contract negotiations between Highland Park's elementary and middle school district and its teachers.

Other resources

District 112 Negotiations Update Page
Read the district's updates about the contract negotiations, including letters by School Board President Bruce Hyman.

North Shore Education Association Blog
Get more details about the District 112 teacher union's grievances with the board's proposed contract, and find out more about the looming strike.

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Colene October 13, 2012 at 05:17 PM
This isn't fair to the parents. We'll find out by robo-call at 5am on Tuesday whether our children have school that day? You've got to be kidding me.
Susie Millie October 13, 2012 at 10:38 PM
Most parents in our district have had to pay increased health benefits. It is time the teachers understood we have to be fair, and they should be treated like the community the serve. I don't like to see my raise be used to cover increased health insurance costs, but that is the national reality. In addition, most parents in our district have had nominal salary increases in line with national, state and local averages. Again, we need to keep all government employees, including teachers at annual increases that mirror the community that is served.
Jack Straw October 14, 2012 at 07:24 PM
It has been dawning on me how little knowledge the average person has of these large public unions. One they don’t seem to understand that NEA and the American Federation of Teachers, are trade unions, yes just like carpenters plumbers and truckers. They sign the same style collective bargaining agreements that have bankrupted 1000’s of private sector companies. Collective bargaining is not what its name indicates. In fact, it means exactly the opposite of what you'd guess. Collective bargaining refers to the obligation of an employer to recognize the elected representatives of a group of workers and his further obligation to negotiate with those representatives. This last part is what makes 'collective bargaining' extortion. These Unions rob people of their right to choice. Unions then go on to threaten others to do the same. Eventually they extort, bribe and coerce their way to salaries and wages that the private sector does not get. The solution is to end collective bargaining of public unions, repeal Davis Bacon and all prevailing wages laws, and make every state in the union a right-to-work state.
Lou October 15, 2012 at 12:49 PM
The community needs to understand that teachers never get rich, they are not teachers because of greed, they teach because it's in their DNA. On the other hand, many teachers, often extremely intelligent individuals, could make much more money in the private sector but choose to take on the most important function of our culture. And the community has trustingly placed in teachers' hands the future, of individuals, communities and our nation. Selfishly, I want our teachers to be paid as much as possible and to provide the best benefits possible because I want the best teachers in Illinois to remain in this district for my children. I pay about $ 2200 per year per child to District 112 for excellent world class education, this is the best bargain in the world. My kids are lucky to be in this school district. North Shore Country Day charges an exorbitant $ 22,000 a year per student. The School Board must recognize that happy teachers make for happy students and happy community tax payers. Smart employers understand the NECESSITY for keeping their employees satisfied, Business 101, and unhappy employees are what destroys companies. I want the School Board to acquiesce to the teachers' needs, not their demands, they need to be paid a living wage and need good health care coverage. Is that greedy? Absolutely not. It's smart.
Anon. October 17, 2012 at 12:28 AM
The following letter was written by Mr. Carl Berg, a well-known, Golden Apple award-winning, retired District 112 teacher and member of our local community. It was shared with some community members prior to Monday with hopes of helping to avoid another strike... Dear Friends, With a strike looming just a few days away, I just wanted to reemphasize my concern for the situation. On Friday afternoon the administration sent a letter to all teachers telling them that health insurance benefits will be suspended during the strike. During the unfortunate work stoppages throughout the state this tactic was never done by the administrations of the affected districts. Some of you know that I led the strike of Highland Park teachers in 1978. It lasted four days and probably would have been longer if it wasn’t for the support of the community who were 95% behind the teachers. Taking away health benefits? This threat by the Board seems clearly endorsed in order to break the union. That will not happen. I spent 35 years in this district and I know the wonderful quality of my colleagues in District 112. They are asking for a fair contract and the ability to keep benefits that they already have. It is time to pick up your phone and call a Board Member in order to get this contract done on Monday. A strike may last a few days or weeks, but the ramifications can last for years. Please don’t have your teachers walk backwards into the future. Sincerely, Carl Berg

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