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The Great Divide of Evergreen Park

The strike that divided my town.

So I used to blog about being a "Student Mom", and that was fun.  Now I am going to write this piece from the "mom" point of view.  As you all know there is a strike going on in our beloved Evergreen Park.  I have read all different sides of this.  I know for writing this I will now be personally attacked.  But I really think this needs to be said.  Those of you that know me have already seen this on my personal Facebook page.  The following paragraphs are copied from my Facebook page, so they may seem a little off. 

I am extremely disappointed in some people in this community. I have been reading and following articles on evergreenpark.patch.com and the people commenting should be ashamed of themselves. This I will say again: treat each other with respect, treat these teachers as you would want to be treated. When you are unhappy at your job or want to ask for a raise, are people driving past you yelling obscenities or commenting all over the internet on how selfish you are for wanting what is rightfully yours? Someone said the other day that this strike is dividing our community. They are so right, there are some people I will never look at the same again, such disrespect only gets you less respect.
 I mean what is this teaching our kids? Someone disagrees with you so you have to belittle them. Isn't October anti bullying month? It seems all sides in this village of mine are bullying every other side. Very sad for our kids to witness all this.

I really do see where people are coming from but YOU choose to put your kids in public schools. If you really think people are "nuts" then don't send your kids there. Challenge it with the board, the village, the principals, don't attack the teachers themselves. Parents have NO PROBLEM running to principals and superintendents when they feel their kid is being treated without respect in the classroom but when the teachers try to stick up for themselves all heck breaks loose and the teachers are being personally attacked. Tell me, what is the point of calling them names? They are your children's teachers, they spend more time with your kid then you do.

I hope the above was not too confusing to follow.  So please residents of Evergreen Park, be civil to each other.  No more unpublished phone numbers should be put out there, no more drive by's shouting at teachers.  Our kids education is suffering right now.  Our community is suffering right now.  I know I have said not so nice things before, I don't hide my feelings or who I am supporting.  But this strike needs to stop. 

Sincerely

Rose Duffy

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Southside October 10, 2012 at 09:35 PM
Loved your movie. Your comments though, silly. Taxpayers (you) are not deities. They are no better than teachers. You blame teachers but you elected the board who caused this. You want to give them six months severance just to leave, but you are mad when they fight for a fair deal. Where's the severance money? Use it to settle the contract. The teachers are getting something better. Unfortunately they have to fight for it. And the teachers did not take your neighbors' jobs from them. That has nothing to do with the teachers. teachers are not the villians.
siumom October 10, 2012 at 09:42 PM
Rose, thank you for your letter and for being brave to post your name. Sometimes I can't read the posts any more due to the anger and criticism. I understand both sides of where everyone is coming from. However, people, teachers truly are not the bad guys here. Some people may think so. People don't go into the teaching profession for the money. People are posting that teachers are greedy and should go somewhere else to teach. What people don't realize is that is not an easy solution. If you are a new teacher if may be easy to find another job in another district. However, if you have been teaching for a while, it is hard to find a job elsewhere, because you won't get paid for your experience. School districts would rather hire a teacher with less years of experience, because it costs the district less on the pay scale. Is this true in the business world? Teaching has changed a lot through the years, because society has changed. Teachers not only teach academics, but they are counselors, nurses, mediators, etc. A teacher wears many "hats." Teachers worry if a student is sent to school without a coat or a lunch. They help students when there is an illness or death in a family. They donate money to help families in need. You don't always hear about these things. Evergreen Park is a fine community. Please don't destroy it by dividing this wonderful town with hurtful comments. Once said, they cannot be taken back.
Standing Up October 10, 2012 at 10:54 PM
SC- you say that the price of health care continues to rise, I agree. However, from what I have read of the offers, the teachers and paraprofessionals are not asking to have the district and taxpayers pay for all of this increase. They are simply asking that their percentage not change drastically all at once. As I see it, they have probably seen their portion increase monetarily over the past few years, just as we all have. They have been paying a percentage of their health care premiums, so as the premiums go up, so does the amount they pay. I would even guess that some of them are bringing home less money than they did a few years ago, due to these increases. I don't think that what they are asking is being greedy. They are willing to shoulder more of the premiums- in fact if you look at their offers, they are even willing to shoulder a higher percentage of their premiums. My real problem in all of this is that it is my understanding that some of the district employees may actually owe the district money in order to maintain their benefits. What message does this send? As a society are we saying that we would rather our tax money be spent on paying someone welfare to stay home than on someone who is working with our children to help them learn? Really, is that how low we have gone?
Joni LD October 11, 2012 at 12:31 AM
Cathleen, with all due respect, I think you only have half your facts. Do your homework.
Stan October 11, 2012 at 12:35 AM
The simple fact is that most of the people on here opposing the strike think the teachers are leeches on society who use their slithery tentacles to reach into the back pockets of "hard working" "salt of the earth" "good catholic" EP citizens and steal their money so they can live lavish lifestyles. I bet most of the people opposing the strike do not believe in public education. It's a handout. If people should have education, they should work hard, pull their families up by the boot straps and send them to a private catholic school. I bet they think we just foster a culture of dependency by giving children FREE education without asking for anything at all in return. The teachers are just middlemen in a scheme to redistribute wealth away from the hard working EP taxpayer and towards greedy mobs of welfare recipients. At least that's what you'd believe from reading this site. I'm sick and tired of reading about these "hard working" catholic tax payers who act like they alone have steered their destiny and received no help along the way. They are oblivious to their privilege in life and get joy from kicking people when they are down. It's exactly this closed minded mentality that explains why your churches are turning grey and empty. You've destroyed the Catholic church with your closed mindedness. Don't destroy Evergreen Park as you descend further into the irrelevant waste bin of history.
SC October 11, 2012 at 01:31 AM
I also think it is terrible that some employees could possibly owe the district money to keep their benefits. Sadly, I don't think this is not the only place you will see that...
EP95 October 11, 2012 at 01:46 AM
From what I see of the offer, the percentage does increase incrementally, reaching 70/30 in the 4th year. My family is paying that now...we are bringing home less on account of it. In four years, who knows, we could be paying 50%. Many people I know are paying 50%. Also, there are three plans offered, HMO, PPO and HSA with contribution of 2k+. So there is a fit for everyone. I think the details are being glossed over. Shouldering more of the premium is not a matter of what you are "willing" to do, for most people. It's a fact of the rising cost of healthcare in this country. It not some random issue being played up by the school board.
EP95 October 11, 2012 at 01:56 AM
One of the founding principals of our country is that everyone is entitled to an education. I don't think anyone here thinks public education is a handout to be compared to some out of control entitlement program. What makes the education public is that it is funded by the public. This public school system requires teachers staff, administrators, and a community board, so that the public's interest is best served, not any one particular group.
EP95 October 11, 2012 at 01:58 AM
And I have never lived a privileged life.
mamadontplaythat October 11, 2012 at 02:00 AM
Stan, Can you point me in the right direction so I can read these posts by the hard working catholic taxpayers, I would love to see them. Thanks!
Maureen October 11, 2012 at 02:39 AM
Stan, I AM a hardworking Catholic taxpayer who sends my children to parochial school because that is my choice. I am paying a benefit increase at my job as well, but what is not being publicly stated is the ridiculous increase in deductibles these teachers are being asked to pay. I side with the teachers for many reasons, one being that our home values are directly linked to the quality of education in our school district. Students succeed in an environment where their teachers are valued.
EP95 October 11, 2012 at 03:36 AM
Aren't the 2k HSA contributions, paid by the district, meant to cover the higher deductibles? So that the employee is not having to pay that? This gives the district the ability to administer the health care plan at a lower cost and the employee gets the money to use for the deductibles.
R Gibbons October 11, 2012 at 03:41 AM
Support Staff are part of the negotiations.
Stan October 11, 2012 at 03:46 AM
I have an EP govt. job. I'm going to make a donation with YOUR HARD EARNED TAX DOLLARS to help pay for undocumented immigrants to have legal representation. Your money is now being used to help keep undocumented immigrants in this country.
R Gibbons October 11, 2012 at 03:49 AM
Josiewales…School Districts and their strengths are the backbone of the community. People purchase homes where there are strong school districts with solid teachers that have longevity on the job. Would you buy a home in an area where the School District was failing? I think not in all truthfulness and honesty. As for your comment that Taxpayers are the backbone of Evergreen Park, let's not forget that most of the teachers and support staff ARE taxpayers living in Evergreen Park. So they do have a say also!
Concerned October 11, 2012 at 03:51 AM
Cathleen, the board has restrictions in their charter and by-laws that severely restrict what they can say as a group, especially with the negotiating team in public. I don't understand the nuances, but I do know that most of your questions can be answered on their website, or in an email to them. Don't believe all of the spin you hear from the union, such as the negotiations have gotten so bad that they no longer meet face to face and now have to use a mediator. The two teams always use a mediator that relays information between the two parties. You wouldn't know that from reading articles such as these.
R Gibbons October 11, 2012 at 03:55 AM
Taking for instance a Support Staff making $10.00 per hour and deducting the usual State and Federal Taxes, the pension contribution which is a percentage of their income (and don't forget they do not pay Social Security which in effect they cannot collect Social Security at retirement also), then a purported 30% contribution for health insurance…please do the math and realize that there are support staff that will be owing the district and they are also an EP taxpayer. Not even reaping the benefits from their own tax contribution.
R Gibbons October 11, 2012 at 04:11 AM
Rose Duffy…Congratulations on being able to convey such a heartfelt editorial. I am grateful for your support of the teachers and support staff of SD124 in their Constitutional right and reminding all of us that the idea of "Community" still resides in Evergreen Park.
EP95 October 11, 2012 at 12:25 PM
When you take a $10 job at sd 124, it is so you can work close to home and work while your children are at school. You know this going in...it is the trade off. Please tell me R Gibbons, EXACTLY, how many people apply when one of these jobs gets posted. Please do that math, because when you find out, you will have no point to make. You do have to know someone to get the job! And many $10 employee is in this country have the same set of circumstance as SC points out.
R Gibbons October 11, 2012 at 12:34 PM
EP 95 - I DID have this job in 1995 thru 2000 so please try and be civil in your responses. I DO know what happens with the district and I DID sit on the negotiating team for the first Support Staff Union contract which took 9 months of hard work to come up with a proposal since it was the first. It also took a Federal Mediator to come to an agreement during the negotiations. Please realize that there are persons posting that have experience with the issues in these posts.
Standing Up October 11, 2012 at 12:46 PM
Going back to the idea that people may owe the district money, I am disguisted that people think this is okay. I am sickened by the comments that this happens elsewhere, and that people have a choice. Get with it America! This is 2012, WE have a choice! It is not OKAY to not offer a living wage. This is one place where WE as taxpayers can stand up and make a change. Changes start small. We may not have a direct say in what Walmart pays to their employees, but we do have a say here. We can start the change. Let everyone else take notice. People, we have a RESPONSIBILITY here.
_ October 11, 2012 at 01:45 PM
Southside - Wow. You must be one of our teachers here in EP, so passionate about your postion in support of our teachers. It is one thing to disagree, it is another to resort to name calling and insulting posts you disagree with. What kind of example are you setting? Please be more respectful and treat everyone the way you would like to be treated. I think you may have missed this website's policies regarding your particular behavior. Here you go: http://evergreenpark.patch.com/terms ...
EP95 October 11, 2012 at 01:47 PM
This is 2012
EP95 October 11, 2012 at 01:53 PM
Please detail how an employee would owe money based on each of the health care offers, stating the version of the plan...Cadillac, etc. vs the most affordable plan. It would be helpful to see actual numbers. Thanks.
EP95 October 11, 2012 at 02:05 PM
I'm asking fact finding questions, R Gibbons. I really do apologize if you take me as less than civil. I am just trying to cut to the chase and separate out some of the bs we are all prone to spew. I really am curious, how many applicants are there for one paraprofessional position in SD 124? Supply vs demand is in play. Many, many, support staff jobs pay low. You are also making me think about the union again. I've never heard of a union for support staff. I think you have to take a step back and realize some of the things people are saying. Your involvement in SD 124, may be insulating you.
R Gibbons October 11, 2012 at 02:15 PM
EP95. And what is your point regarding the year? In my household we try to advance and improve ourselves yearly not regress. Does anyone else think we as citizens should give up what we worked so hard for because it's 2012 and not 1999, lets say?
EP95 October 11, 2012 at 02:23 PM
You are not on the negotiating team of 2012, and while you may have an insiders view, you are not on this team. That is what i meant by that. Also, do you know the number of applicants for one paraprofessional position in sd 124?
mamadontplaythat October 11, 2012 at 04:33 PM
These people take these jobs already knowing what they are going to make per hour/per year, they take the job anyways. They then turn around and complain about it. I have a very big problem with that. Just because you work in a school doesn't mean you are immune to what everyone else deals with in their professions. If you don't like your pay/benefits/schedule/working environment go someplace else, better yourself and your life by moving to a higher paying job that is not in the PUBLIC SECTOR. Come on people get real! D124 keep holding strong and looking out for the long term viability of D124.
R Gibbons October 11, 2012 at 05:18 PM
EP 95-it's always nice to suggest on one hand that there are many applicants. It's also nice to suggest as you have that they must need pull to get the Job. It's also nice to suggest that the contribution will go to 70/30. That's not the contribution and you wouldn't be paying that now because it doesn't reference premiums it references the percentage the insurance company pays (70%) and the insured is responsible for (30%). And since you want to know how many applicants are there for support staff positions then you also must ask if those applicants are qualified to obtain a position with a school district. You have to have go through a thorough background check with the state also including being fingerprinted. And I don't think anyone here would agree with a statement that says my involvement past or present with SD 124 would be "insulting" to me. I was proud to work with the children during my years of employment as well as the teachers.
EP 95 October 12, 2012 at 04:47 AM
The amount of applicants would indicate the desirability of the job, of course some would be a better fit than others! (Btw, you also have to go through a background check and fingerprinting to be a sub) Your not clear on your %, reply, so not sure what to say to that. You should most definitely be proud of your work with children. Most definitely. Finally, I did not say insulting, I said insulating, ie an isolated position.

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