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Union, 109 Add Year to Pact

Special education provisions placed in labor contract for first time.

The contract ending between and the was unanimously approved by the 109 Board at a special meeting Monday after it was ratified by the union May 4.

With both sides seeking extended labor peace, the parties added an additional 12 months to the normal three-year length of past contracts.

“We added a fourth year,” Board President Ellen London said after the meeting. “We did it so we could have two and a half solid years,” she added referring to the nearly nine month long negotiation over the new pact. The new contract will run through the 2015 school year.

The teachers have worked nearly the entire school year on an expired contract. The new agreement is retroactive to the date the previous bargain expired. Superintendent Renee Goier was pleased with the final result.

“I want to compliment all the people on both sides who accomplished one of the greatest things in my 40 years working with students,” Goier said after the vote.

, who did not attend the meeting, was happy with the results as well. He was especially pleased with the provisions surrounding teacher evaluations and special education.

“The special education committee will let the teachers and administration work together for the special education students of Deerfield,” Jensen said to Patch Monday night. “It is very good we’ll have input from the teachers.”

Steve Schwartz, an 11-year member of the Board, was part of its negotiating committee for the third time in his tenure. It was the longest bargaining process and the first involving special education.

“There were some issues that were very current,” Schwartz said of special education. “This became a good forum for it. The board heard people and we took action.” More than an hour of every board meeting from October through April was devoted to public comment, much of it from special education parents.

Though the talks continued longer than any during Schwartz’s tenure, he credits the creation of smaller groups to deal with specific issues with breaking the logjam.

“The small groups helped a lot,” Schwartz said. “At first we met with all members of both teams. When we broke into smaller groups we started talking (more specifically).”

Carol Bergquist May 15, 2012 at 11:37 AM
Would you please tell us what the Special education provisions are?
John Russillo May 15, 2012 at 12:05 PM
Amazing how they made it sound like a beautiful process. Some serious politicians, these ones.
Tony Horwitz May 15, 2012 at 12:18 PM
Just like the "marvelous" Ryan budget.
Tony Horwitz May 15, 2012 at 12:21 PM
Seriously, shoulda been done by September. Now its time for some healing in d109. Also time to sell our community and some real estate to young families.
barry May 15, 2012 at 01:39 PM
WOW!...I read these quotes of Dr. Goier and crony Schwartz and and I crack up like I'm seated in the front row table on a Saturday night at ZAYNY'S. "....accomplishing one of the greatest things in my 40 years of working with students." SHEESH. REALLY? I won't say seldom, instead I'll use the phrase "almost never" setting foot inside of an actual school when students are present, and hanging in an office at district headquarters "collecting data", or whatever spin and bull _ _ _ _ you want to describe it as is NOT exactly what one would accurately describe as "working with students." Policies and personnel [at Caruso] Goier herself had put in place as Superintendent where children with special needs are directly concerned, are synonymous with pulling the wings off of a butterfly, in that in order to shave a few bucks off school expenditures she chose to cut and modify the education of those that need it most....and the hell with the families of special needs kids too. AND I QUOTE: "IF YOU ARE NOT SATISFIED, YOU CAN ALWAYS HIRE A LAWYER." AS PRINCIPLE, when confronted to take responsibility and correct oversight within the school concerning special needs students, dodges by saying special needs is not his expertise and he is but an "EDUCATIONAL LEADER", leaving special ed. to the "experts". Harry Truman had a famous quote for exactly guys like this.
barry May 15, 2012 at 02:00 PM
As for SCHWARTZ? When I heard his glowing endorsement of Principle Fischer for the "part time 3 day a week, full time promoted position of District Director of Human Resources"....I wasn't surprised. When I stopped coughing I pointed out to those seated around me who had made THAT desicion. So as reality set in, there wasn't a surprise. I credit the awe inspiring parents of our special needs kids for shedding light on the shortcomings of our current district personnel and policies, and the attempts by the district at supplying casual observers with adequate, just not accurate responses to everyone's questions concerning our children's education. Our teaches deserve so much credit and acknowledgement for having the courage to "step out side the box" and make special ed. a contractual provision in a hard fought contract negotiation. Parents? A message for the very near future: BE DILIGENT! You now know what and who you are dealing with. Eyes open, ear to the ground. Do Not allow yourselves to be fooled, as these individuals are now "smarter"...and could be even more devious in their tactics concerning our children. HOLD THESE INDIVIDUALS, BOTH BOARD MEMBERS AND DISTRICT EMPL0YEES ACCOUNTABLE!
John Russillo May 15, 2012 at 11:11 PM
"One of the greatest things in my 40 years working with students..." How about "We'll get to work rebuilding the relationships with the teachers and parents". Or "We appreciate all the good feedback and will take the appropriate steps to improve our processes." Or even, "We as a board will strive to communicate with parents, teachers, and students on a consistent basis in order to provide the appropriate amount of oversight to the district." "One of the greatest things in my 40 years working with students..." Absolutely unbelievable.
John Russillo May 16, 2012 at 11:32 AM
From the Deerfield Review: “We get most of our information from the administrators, unless parents say they have issues. That is why we have meetings. We want to hear their issues,” Schwartz said." So there it is right there. The only time the board hears the parents is at board meetings. Unfortunately, the only time parents really go to meetings is when there is a problem. Board members need to engage the community on a regular basis, not only when there's a problem. It's called being proactive, and we need new board members who understand that.
Scott May 16, 2012 at 02:43 PM
from the Suntimes: "Several parents said they wanted to see the contract before making a comment on its ratification, but the contract won’t be available until it is put into electronic form." As usual the public never sees the contract until it's a done deal.
John Russillo May 16, 2012 at 03:56 PM
Contract is up: http://www.dps109.org/humanresources/Contracts%20and%20Agreements/2011%20-%202015%20Collective%20Bargaining%20Agreement%20Between%20Board%20of%20Education%20and%20Deerfield%20Education%20Association%20(DEA).pdf
Scott May 16, 2012 at 09:11 PM
It would be interesting to see the contract with the 'revision bars' on the left so we could see what changed.
Harry Steindler May 17, 2012 at 05:18 AM
After reading the provisions related to Special Ed in the new contract - My recommendations to parents of children with special needs and other community members interested in the education of the education and treatment of these students - keep communicating; stay on top of what's happening in the district; insist upon the development of a group sponsored by the district to engage and inform and share information with parents of children with special needs; if you are not satisfied with the education or treatment of your child; if you do not think your teachers have proper resources or are being treated with respect; if your IEP team is not proactive and working with you in consort – don’t sit idly by – call board members, attend board meetings and speak with the board and community about what isn’t right. Don’t ever again let the board feel that everything is OK just because they haven’t heard otherwise. My opinion is that the provisions in the contract are not as strong as they should or could have been. That means parents need to continue to be vigilant; that means that the community needs to keep talking with special education teachers and other educators to hear from them that our district is really committed to being an outstanding district for all students and especially students with special needs.
John Russillo May 17, 2012 at 11:50 AM
Yes, Harry. I haven't gone thru the contract in detail yet, but I did notice that the administration is not bound to include any parents in the special ed committee, something that you thought was very important. Let's hope the administration does the right thing and includes 2 parents on the committee with the teachers. We will need to monitor this development.
John Russillo May 17, 2012 at 11:14 PM
Sorry, I mis-spoke. The contract calls for AT LEAST 2 parents on the committee as non-voting participants. So that's good news that the DEA got that provision in there.
Harry Steindler May 18, 2012 at 05:10 AM
Re: the joint committee: The contract says that the committee can meet and make recommendations during the 2012 / 2013 year. As I read the contract there is no charge to this committee after next school year. Am I misreading the contract? Is the joint committee just a one year deal?
Mara Meyer May 18, 2012 at 01:57 PM
The "Committee" will exist as long as the Superintendent wants it too. With such an absent and naive Board of Education, repeat offense will continue. In addition, curricular decisions and spending as has occurred in the past will continue. This Board needs to go. There needs to be informed and involved community members stepping up for the good of the children and the community! Parents need to be vigilant with their child(ren)'s education. The members of the community, with or without children in the schools, must continue to be vigilant with this Board of Education! The contract is completed, however the work is clearly not finished.
Curious Resident May 21, 2012 at 04:04 PM
If you read the contract, I would be interested to know why the faculty (teachers and etc.)of 109 did not get retroactive pay for the year (as if it did not count) and only $2000. As I read it, they will be starting next year at the salary they should have received this year. Does that mean that their year did not count? If so, it is technically a three year contract and not four year as they are saying. Also, I don't see any real changes with the special education. It just seems like everything that the parents stated was some how placed in the contract. Curious how does 240 minutes of contact time work? Is that per student, or per case load?
student March 27, 2013 at 11:52 PM
Maybe the parents should be proactive...

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