No details yet on Lake Forest contract
Updated: September 24, 2012 9:33AM
LAKE FOREST — The terms of the Lake Forest High School teachers contract likely won’t be made public until the next Board of Education meeting, scheduled for Oct. 9.
“We anticipate the board will be reviewing it then,” District 115 spokeswoman Anne Whipple said. “At that meeting, the terms of the agreement would be made public.”
The Lake Forest Education Association members heard the highlights of the four-year contract after school Thursday from their negotiating team, LFEA spokesman Chuck Gress said.
“It is a very fair agreement and compromise on both sides,” Gress said.
He would not give details of the contract that negotiators hammered out in a 12-hour session that ended about 3:30 a.m. Wednesday to put an end to the five-day-old teachers strike, the first in district history.
The school board’s attorney will finalize the draft of the language, which the union’s negotiating team will review before presenting it to the teachers, he said.
“Then it’s given to the membership for a five-day period of review,” prior to a vote, Gress said.
From start to finish, Gress said the process will take roughly two weeks.
“That’s not unusual,” he said.
The 150 teachers represented by the union need to ratify the contract before the school board reviews it.
Gress said he has “every reason to believe it will be ratified.”
Teachers went on strike Sept. 12. The district held two days of school, manned by substitutes and administrators, and was forced to forfeit a football game on Sept. 14.
Whether the Illinois State Board of Education will allow the two days of school held without the teachers to be counted as actual school days has not yet been determined. About 1,400 of the school’s 1,718 students attended school on both days.
Illinois State Board of Education spokeswoman Mary Fergus said Friday a ruling by State Superintendent of Schools Chris Koch had not yet been made.
Fergus said Koch “will be talking with the district and giving them the official determination within the next week.”
Should the two days not be counted, it will be up to the district to decide how those days would be made up, she said.
“That’s something that’s determined at a local level,” she said.
By law, school must be in session 180 calendar days.
The teachers’ return to the classroom Wednesday morning ended a long stalemate between the school board and LFEA that began months ago.
The last contract expired June 30. It was a one-year contract in which teacher pay was frozen.
The nearly 12-hour negotiation session that began at 3 p.m. Sept. 18 followed a 14-hour negotiation session Sept. 17.
The LFEA was requesting raises between 5.6 percent and 6.5 percent over a three-year contract. The school board was offering 2.6 percent and 3.4 percent salary increases. A two-tier salary schedule — one for current employees and another for future employees — the school board proposed and teachers opposed was withdrawn earlier in the negotiations.
The starting salary for teachers with a bachelor’s degree is $50,116 and $56,007 for teachers with a master’s degree. At the top of the scale, a teacher with a doctorate and 25 years of experience receives an annual salary of $127,649.
The current average salary for a teacher at LFHS is more than $100,000. Gress has said the average is inflated because 25 percent of the teachers will retire in the next four years and are at top of scale.