District 115 teachers release latest contract proposal
Updated: September 24, 2012 6:21AM
LAKE FOREST — The Lake Forest Education Association released Friday evening its latest proposal in its contract negotiations with the District 115 board that shows teacher salaries, under their plan, will decrease to almost one quarter of the present school budget, down from one-third of the budget.
The LFEA has proposed a three-year contract with a 2.5 percent increase on the base salary schedule for the 2012-13 school year, 3.25 percent increase for 2013-14 and an increase in 2014-15 equal to the consumer price index.
The teachers union said their proposal will increase the District 115 fund balance to nearly $24 million in 2014-15, according to Chuck Gress, LFEA spokesman and math department teacher. The LFEA hired Larry Frank, an expert in the school budgeting process, to calculate the results their offer would have on the district, he said.
Gress said that more than 25 percent of the teachers at LFHS will retire during the next five years, which skews the salary as one of the highest in the region when, he said, a truer measure is starting pay.
According to the Illinois State Board of Education district salary rankings, LFHS ranks 18th ($50,116) for starting pay for teachers with a bachelor’s degree and 20th ($56,007) for a starting salary with a master’s degree.
The LFEA contends that the school board’s reference to the district’s average salary ranking at the top is “is reflective of the age of the staff,” Gress said. “We need to agree on yardsticks, the way we measure information.”
In reaction to the union’s proposal release, the school board said in a statement it released Friday night it believes the LFEA violated the Labor Act by publishing its last offer and cost analysis, prior to the parties meeting. The LFEA and district negotiators are scheduled to meet next with a federal mediator on Thursday.
The school board statement also said “there is a great deal of inaccurate information in the LFEA release.” The statement goes on to say that when salary step cost, base salary increase, stipends and interest payments are added together, the LFEA is proposing annual salary increases of 5.6 percent, 6.5 percent and a final-year increase of between 4.8 and 6.6 percent.
“We feel that the LFEA proposal is highly irresponsible in the current economic environment and that it is inconsistent with current market conditions,” the board said in its statement.
The LFEA declared an impasse in negotiations on Aug. 10. On Aug. 13, both sides agreed to meet with the mediator from the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service on Aug. 23. Should they not reach an agreement, both sides were scheduled to publish their final offers, including cost summaries, on the Illinois Education Labor Relations Board website, www2.illinois.gov.
The teachers contract ended June 30.