As Strike Continues, D124 Parents Want Answers

As the board and teachers union continued talks, parents gathered Wednesday evening to ask questions of the board.

Parents gathered in front of television cameras and news reporters outside of Central Junior High School as contract talks dragged on and classrooms remain empty. 

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Tim Scanlon organized the parent gathering because he has grown frustrated with the school board's continued silence. He had hopes that a representative would be on hand to talk with parents Wednesday night. 

"We don't want to blame the school board," Scanlon said. "But we think they've polarized the community by setting up the strike in this way and not continuing negotiations in a fair-minded way. We need some answers." 

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Liz Larmon has triplets in eighth grade. She spoke of the dedication she has seen during her children's time at the district. She also spoke of the disappointment she has for the board's approach. 

"I have contacted every single one of the board members and I have gotten a response back from two," Larmon said. "They do not agree to meet with the parents. I believe that we are the taxpayers. We are the ones they are working for and they need to address us face-to-face."

As the strike drags on, many parents are faced with a difficult question: What do I do with my kids? 

It is a question that Amy Hadad, a working mother of three, wants answered. 

"What do you expect us to do?" she wondered. It's a question she thinks the board should answer, especially after not holding a bargaining session Tuesday night and scheduling the next one for Wednesday evening.  

Robert Dolan's wife Mary is a teacher's aide in the district. Paraprofessionals are part of the teachers union and their pay has been a point of contention for the bargaining team. 

He says she works full-time for the district and takes home about $13,000 a year. 

"She cares about these kids," Dolan said. "That deserves more than a 10-cent an hour raise."

In previous negotiation sessions the board has made clear their desire to not allow teachers to make-up the days missed by the strike. The plan for substitutes and volunteers to take over teaching on those make-up days does not sit well with Ray Richter, the father of six Dist. 124 students.  

"It's a problem when all these kids are sitting home and they want to make up days with substitute teachers at the end of the year. I will not send my kids to substitute teachers. Nothing against them, but they are not certified teachers."

The board has opted to make use of the district website to provide updates on negotiation sessions, including links to proposals offered.

Follow all of Evergreen Park Patch's coverage of the teachers strike by browsing through our topic page. 

EP 95 October 12, 2012 at 02:48 AM
Thank you cc. Many people work 12 hr days, 12 months out of the year. Then add a commute to that. I think there is a defensiveness over the length of the year vs. pay. No one is saying teachers don't work hard, of course they do! But I work hard at my job, too. I know teachers who bring their work home, because they can...rather than stay at school to correct assignments, etc. They also have free periods for planning. I just don't get all this whining.
EP 95 October 12, 2012 at 02:56 AM
There would have been no need to discuss subs if the teachers did not walk away from all those responsibilities you so aptly describe. But next time you want to schedule a day off on top off your 3+ weeks during your 9 month work year, thank a sub!
EP 95 October 12, 2012 at 03:05 AM
Kelly, if she did have children in catholic school, give her a big thank you....those parents pay into the system that supports public education while eliminating the burdening on the state, sd and teacher of educating those students. And also frees up more resources for the child in the public school.
EP 95 October 12, 2012 at 03:15 AM
SC is trying to just get answers to some very probing questions. I keep waiting for the answers, amazing they never come. You are ridiculous to suggest that only teachers have difficult jobs and dedication to them. This is the underlying subtext of the salary demands that are turning people off!! And by your definition, R Gibbons must have went to troll school. People don't reveal their names because children are involved and that says more about who you support than those using pen names.
EP 95 October 12, 2012 at 03:21 AM
SC...you are clearly a person with a lot of common sense, you have reviewed the offers and you are justified in the points you are making. Seems the picket line is getting old and the crankiness is coming out!
Bob October 12, 2012 at 03:23 AM
Actually, Gibbons, it's clear you don't have any inderstanding of the certification processes in Illinois. Substitutes ARE required to be certified in Illinois, and you can't subsitute teach in and Illinois public school wihtout the certificate. It isn't the same as the full time teacher certification, but since there are about 75,000 more fully certified teachers in Illinois than teacher jobs there would be no problem filing the striking teachers spots. One time when I was subsitituting for an ill HS chemistry teacher, I had to take over for two weeks. I learned to teach by teaching math and physical sciences at the college level instead of the "traditional" and largely ineffective, Illinois teacher certification programs. By the time my "tenure" was up, the students had a pretty good grasp of the subject and did very well on the district test on the subject matter. They told me, "This isn't so hard to understand. Why didn't our teacher expain it this way?" Although I would never demean a teacehre to their students, I suspect the difference was that I had professional experience APPLYING the principles to problem solving, while the teacher only applied the failed info they learned in "education school". The message here is that if you get REAL professionals in the classroom; writers, engineers, business people and others, you may be very pleasantly surprised by the results!
EP 95 October 12, 2012 at 04:22 AM
So you would like a board to make fiscally responsible decisions for the HS district then, such as the board for SD 124. You could always start a petition drive for consolidation of the districts and go from there, you may be surprised how far you could get. And EP mom, there are plenty of people who have not received raises in the last several years with years of experience and master's degrees, come on. The teachers are getting a raise. And Christmas break is 2 full weeks, Spring break another full week...we are not talking about being off on the day of the holiday.
jhawker October 12, 2012 at 04:50 AM
Substitute teachers are qualified professionals with bachelors degrees and are granted sub certificates through the same board that certifies regular teachers. They come from many walks of live and can often bring a fresh educational perspective to the classroom. Instructional skills and classroom management skills are gained by actually practicing them in the classroom. Please don't diminsh such educated professionals just because the union demands have not been made. The state deems such people qualified to stand in for a teacher - many are called to do so on a moments notice and jump into a class and plans with very little prep time- and are fully qualified to instruct.
jhawker October 12, 2012 at 05:03 AM
Although teachers generally will put in additional hours at times, I find the 12 plus comment to be quite a stretche. I've worked in many education settings and I can tell you that is not the norm. It really isnt a 24 /7 job. With proper time management abilities the papers should be graded at various points in the day, and there is such a thing called plan time in a teachers schedule. When students go off to specials, that time is intended to be utilzed by the teacher as well. If your experience with substitute teachers was a blow off day, my guess would be the teacher didn't bother to leave a sub plan for the time he or she would be off. A teacher who is skilled should able to provide one when gone or have a premade sub folder available for last minute absence. And as pointed out in other post, subs are certified through the state - not just some babysitter picked off the street.
jhawker October 12, 2012 at 05:05 AM
Very true. A large amount of subs actually have a teaching degree.
Mary from Kerry October 12, 2012 at 05:07 AM
Stan, you have hit the nail on the head.
jhawker October 12, 2012 at 05:12 AM
Yes, many subs do have that level of knowledge, experience and skill. Many have the ability to read documents, instructions, and IEP goals. Most college educated people do have that skill set. And just because you dont support this strike does not mean you dont understand the value of a union. The purpose of a union is to protect workers within fair and reasonable parameters. Not deplete a surplus so EP can wind up like many other surrounding suburbs with broke schools, 30 plus in a classroom and state control of the district.
EP 95 October 12, 2012 at 05:14 AM
Awful to criticize this board member for her walk of life. To only nail that Stan hit on the head is that there is at least one other person as classless as him, that would be you Mary from Kerry.
EP 95 October 12, 2012 at 05:20 AM
Yes, jhawker, 100% TRUE,
Sergey Kemskiy October 12, 2012 at 11:13 AM
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Southside October 12, 2012 at 12:54 PM
Stop insulting teachers, Bobbo. That's no way to get votes on you way to being slaughtered by Kelly Burke in the general election.
Southside October 12, 2012 at 12:58 PM
Hey Tom, the board doesn't negotiate every day. Don't make them out to be martyrs. They missed a 6pm forum Monday.
Southside October 12, 2012 at 01:08 PM
No EP, 100% FALSE. I know teachers who routinely work 12 hour days. They coach or moderate clubs after school. They work at home. How can you be so obtuse?
Southside October 12, 2012 at 01:12 PM
Teachers pay their taxes too. They stand up for their own families. Sounds like cc is jealous. Stood in the wrong line.
EP Lover October 12, 2012 at 01:19 PM
Southside, I implore you to stop with the derisive comments. The negotiation is concluding and we all need to repair the rift this contentious situation has caused. Your comments have been some of the worst I've seen during this period and I hope you can find it within yourself to refrain from caustic remarks and insults in future posts.
t October 12, 2012 at 01:31 PM
well said...
_ October 12, 2012 at 02:03 PM
Thank you EP! Southside, you have obviously overlooked reading this website's policies regarding your particular behavior. Here you go: http://evergreenpark.patch.com/terms
Southside October 12, 2012 at 02:17 PM
You meant this for EP 95.
Southside October 12, 2012 at 02:17 PM
I give as good as I get. No more no less.
_ October 12, 2012 at 02:18 PM
Thanks Mama ~ WOW, someone with a PHD at the high end of the scale in the Catholic Education System makes less than the teachers in SD124. Now that's dedication!
_ October 12, 2012 at 02:39 PM
No Southside, this was directed at you. I was thanking EP for the above post directed at you. Southside - Please read this website's policies regarding your particular behavior. Here you go: http://evergreenpark.patch.com/terms
EP Mom October 12, 2012 at 07:30 PM
EP 95 -- It's part of the package of being a teacher.. they get the breaks.. They work 180 days a year - they took the job knowing that's how many days they'd work... Why is that even part of the equation.. when you get a teaching job you get a contract - 180 days - $XX,XXX salary.. There is a board who makes decisions for the HS --- a different board - with a superintendent that makes over $150,000 per year and a lot of teachers making over $70,000 per year -- same education as teachers teaching K - 8 -- why are they making 20 - 50% more than a teacher with same degree/same teaching experience/same time in district - oh wise one please tell me what the difference is??
jhawker October 12, 2012 at 07:57 PM
Southside- those teachers that are coaching or moderating receive a stipend or additional pay normally, I'd love that option at my job!
_ October 13, 2012 at 05:20 PM
EP Mom ~ Grade school teachers do not have the same educational requirements as High school teachers . They have different educational requirements. Teachers are not interchangeable, i.e., a grade school teacher cannot work at the high school level and visa versa. Thus the difference in salary. Each would have to go back to school for classes to meet the state's educational requirements for that particular teaching certificate. Why do want to consolidate the HS and K-8 districts? You can find out the differences on the Illinois State Board of Ed website: An individual wishing to teach in a public school in Illinois must be certified by the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE). Currently, there are different types of teaching certificates in Illinois: Early Childhood (birth-grade 3), Elementary (grades Kindergarten-9), Secondary (grades 6-12), and Special Education (grades Kindergarten-12, or pre-school to age 21). The website for Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) is http://www.isbe.net. A guide to requirements for teacher certification in Illinois can be found at: http://www.isbe.net/certification/requirements/toc.htm
mc October 14, 2012 at 02:21 PM
It's very upsetting to read all these comments. If you have never walked in the shoes of a teacher or observed in a school you might not understand how this works. Teachers cannot get their grading, planning, copying done in the 6-7 hours they get paid for each day. On average teachers get one prep a day on some days maybe 2. During this time they might need to collab with their grade level teams. As a teacher I eat lunch quickly and work through the rest of it. I have three preps a week where I do not have to collab. During this time I am prepping for what needs to be done that day or I am dealing with one of my children's issues. I work for 6 hours getting paid but then I work another 6 hours a day not getting paid most days. We work weekends too! We get time off for different holidays! On these days off we use this time to catch up with grading, planning and creating. A lot of teachers work through the summer without getting payed. We need to plan, go to professional development and create new activities and lessons. When I add up my hours a week I make about 17 dollars an hour. You do not want teachers in your school that are not willing to take home the work and do not put in the extra hours. You want the best teachers in your school. These teachers work around the clock and make your children grow academically a year or more. If you don't know a teacher go talk to them and ask them how they do it?


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