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D124 Starts Planning for Possible Teachers' Strike

No teacher contract bargaining sessions scheduled until Sept. 24. Dist. 124 starts planning for the worst.

The Evergreen Park teachers union and school board are not likely to sit down at the bargaining table for another round of contract talks until Sept. 24.

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Talks for a new three-year teachers contract broke down Monday evening, prompting the union to

The teachers union has not set a specific strike date. The earliest a walkout could take place is Sept. 28.

D124 Superintendent Dr. Robert Machak said his administrative team is beginning to formulate a contingency plan for the district’s 1,818 students in the event of a teachers strike.

Read continuing local coverage of the CTU strike on Beverly-Mt.Greenwood Patch.

“It would be irresponsible of me not to plan for such a contingency,” Machak said. “Do we staff classrooms with substitutes, keep some buildings open for working parents who depend on us for childcare? I hope it doesn’t come to this but these are the questions that we are starting to ask.”

The school district board and Evergreen Park Federation of Teachers have been in negotiations for a new contract since April.

Before Monday’s bargaining session, on the front lawn of where they were joined by striking Chicago Public School teachers.

Watch the video of Monday's teachers' rally.

Teachers is nothing that the district cannot afford, which is carrying a $16.2 million fund balance. 

D124 officials defended the fund balance on its website as being necessary to meet cash flow needs because expenditures are not always aligned with receipt of local, state and federal revenue.

Both sides have been working with a federal mediator since declaring an impasse last month.

Monday’s bargaining session lasted 90 minutes after the board increased its final offer in salary, insurance and retirement in an attempt to move towards settlement, according to the D124 website.

Illinois Federation of Teachers union mediators conveyed that teachers are sticking by their Aug. 30 “best and final offer. “

Both sides' impasse offers are expected to be posted on the state's Educational Labor Relations Board website on Thursday.

D124 officials said the union has not offered to meet before the next scheduled bargaining session on Sept. 24. A second meeting has also been scheduled for Sept. 26.

Read Evergreen Park Patch's complete strike coverage:

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Do you support the teachers? Tell us in the comments.

EP Lover September 14, 2012 at 01:23 PM
agree with EP Family that the kids are the ones we should be thinking of. Yes, our children are all benefitting from the excellent teaching staff in D124 and appropriately compensating the teachers should be and in my opinion, is a goal of the district board/admin. However, teachers are not the only variable impacting our children. Some classrooms in the district have as many of 31 kids without a dedicated para-professional - that's approaching the teacher/pupil ratio in some of the Chicago Public Schools. Additionally, each of the five buildings is in need of significant repairs/improvements. Furthermore, our district arguably should increase the focus of technology and technology education as part of the curriculum and that takes money as well. There are undoubtedly other pressing needs that require funding. Given a limited supply of funds and the pending decisions by the state regarding pension funding, how does the district prioritize the various demands on it's finances? It seems that some would say "teachers first, worry about the rest later" but I believe that line of thinking is short sighted. What if the district overspends? Won't that have an adverse impact on our students down the line? As much as we may want to direct funds only to teachers' compensation, it simply may not be possible to ignore other needs.
Katie Castaldo September 14, 2012 at 02:02 PM
Oh sweetie, Mama dont play that. I don't have a facebpk page and I certainly didn't stalk you to get information on where your kids go or went to school! I clicked on your mama don't play that name and up came a remark you said back in June about voting St. Bernedette the best preschool in the area. I don't have time or the need to "stalk" you. Maybe if you don't want people to know your buisness, YOU SHOULD NOT Comment on Public News Records sites such as this. And I LOVE ST. Bernedette. I made ALL of my Sacarments there, They are a great Parish, that unforutantly is dwindling down in attendence and parishioners. Prob because of People like you. and your I'm so GREAT attitude, maybe instead of suggesting earlier to personally give Public school teachers a raise out of our own pockets, you should put your money where your mouth is and help St. Bernadette and give them money. I get my OWN INFORMATION thank you. And All I had to do is click on your MAMA DONT PLAY THAT Name. Get a CLUE LADY.
mamadontplaythat September 14, 2012 at 02:30 PM
Yes, I am quite sweet ;) If you had no time to stalk me you wouldn't have clicked on my name and look through my comments? Wow, you really love St. Bernadette that much to talk the way you do of it. I would love to see how you act when you hate something. I could comment on your attitude but I will remain the classy one in this conversation. Don't you think that I am giving St. Bernadette money by sending my kids to school there and being a member of the church?!?!?! You are making your side look foolish with your personal attacks on people ;)
Jennifer Valdez September 14, 2012 at 03:02 PM
EP Lover, I wanted to put this out there so people know and are aware that The Evergreen Park District 124 Education Foundation has been established and the contact is a SW parent (Katie Elwood). Money raised by the Foundation will be used to upgrade the Technology labs at all five District schools. Many community wide events will be held for this foundation to raise funds in the future. There is even a walkathon next week to kick off the school year http://www.d124.org/Technology%20Walkathon.pdf As for large class sizes - the easy fix for that would for the district to go to grade centers vs. neighborhood schools. We had max capacity last year in our 5th and 6th grade classrooms at SE BUT we shared a teachers aide (1 per room) instead of being split. It is frustrating with the inconsistencies between the schools I know. I would pull the parents together and plead your case with your principal and if that doesn't work the superintendent (Especially if there is no help for these teacher). Push for help or to have an additional classroom added - if it was done at SE it should be done there. With our district classrooms becoming the LRI (least restrictive environment) for many students who are being mainstreamed and they need additional help well that certainly effects not only those students but the rest of the classroom.
Jennifer Valdez September 14, 2012 at 03:07 PM
As for the five buildings needing repairs and improvements - I cartainly hope the district utilizes Menards for ALL the supplies needed when it opens. It would have been nice also if the district would have went locally for bids and contracts for the work instead of using FGM Architects in Oak Brook. Keep the green in Evergreen right?
EP Lover September 14, 2012 at 03:27 PM
I am aware of and applaud the efforts of the Technology Foundation. However, it is unfortunate that we need to raise money for Technology in our schools and that the budget will not stretch to cover this critically important component of our children's education. As for the issue of grade level centers, I believe that there are many reasons why they should not be implemented and fervently hope that the district does not move in this direction. Part of the appeal of EP’s schools is the ability of children to walk to school and to minimize transportation time and cost. I have heard (but have not substantiated the info) that the costs of busing would outweigh any cost savings in teaching salaries. In any case, I will gladly accept larger class sizes to keep my children in their immediate neighborhood and would likely consider private schools for my children should district wide grade level centers be implemented. As for the Menard’s suggestion, that’s not particularly relevant or helpful since the store won’t open until sometime in 2013. While I agree with the concept of shopping locally, it may be more cost effective to buy from another vendor and I trust the appropriate officials to make those decisions.
Katie Castaldo September 14, 2012 at 03:41 PM
Well Cheri they are TAKING forever to post my follow up comment to you calling me a coward and a stalker. Which I have no time for that. I do not have a facebook page and I do not care where your kids go to school. I DO however get MY OWN information and I clicked on your MAMA DONT PLAY THAT name to see other comments you have made and found one form June of this year saying where your kids go to school. That YOU put on this website. If you do not want people to know your personal buisness then DON'T COMMENT on Social Public Sites Such as this one!!!!
mamadontplaythat September 14, 2012 at 03:54 PM
Katie, sorry they are taking so long to post your comment. If you don't care where my kids go to school then why did you feel the need to bring it up? You must have been very curious about me if you went clicking on my name and searching back to June for a previous comment that I made about a great school. My point wasn't that you "knew" my "personal business (my children's school)" as you put it. My point was the MANNER in which you found it out. Why do you still find the need to attack and TRY to bully me? I will never think the way you would like me to, you will never think the way I do. End of story! I think there are more constructive ways to have a discussion than attacking people, but that's just me.
Jennifer Valdez September 14, 2012 at 04:19 PM
Why is this unfortunate? Establishing foundations is nothing new and its been happening throughout our state as well as this country in both private and public schools to raise money. Look into what other districts have been doing for their schools and the children. Maybe we would have more even money on technology for our children in D124 if we didn't spend so much on legal bills now.
Katie Castaldo September 14, 2012 at 04:19 PM
Oh Cheri, Its just as much a personal attack on me that you are conducting as well. I answered your comment thearting that I was stalking you and that I am a coward. I proved you wrong. I have every right to cick on your name and see more assine comments that you have made. Was looking for comments reguarding this topic not knowing that they keep comments previously POSTED BY YOU. And I never said anything bad about St. Bernadette, just people like you that are probally pushing people away from that parish because your so close minded. And ye you do pay tution thats the cost of going to private schools. But, open your bank book more Sweetheart, Because last I heard The Parish needs financial help. So you seem like such a do gooder then HELP YOUR OWN CAUSE!!! I am done with you and this back and forth. I commented MY THOUGHTs becasue I care about the teachers. YOU SEEM NOT. Have a nice day and Keep up that I'm so Great Attitude, I'm sure you will go far.
Jennifer Valdez September 14, 2012 at 04:20 PM
Grade level centers do have the pros and cons and thats a whole other topic BUT when it comes to the BEST interest of the children and THEIR educational opportunities NOT walking convenience or immediate neighborhood. I think people in this community should strongly take that into consideration. Other districts do it AND get this....they offer bus service the parents/guardians can pay for if the kids cannot be driven. Most kids are driven to school now anyway aren't they?
Jennifer Valdez September 14, 2012 at 04:21 PM
Private vs. Public schools is also a personal decision and neither is better than the other. If parents like you choose to change from public to private because you are not in YOUR neighborhood, it just makes the public school class sizes even smaller : ) As far as I know Evergeen still only has one zip code and we all pay the same EP property taxes 2013 is just around the corner and why wouldn't this be particularly relevant or helpful? The repairs and improvemnts are not being done any time soon are they? NO the kids are all in school. I've seen the "To Do" list have you? Buying from Menards only makes sense especially for ALL the $$$$taxes$$$$ the district is speculating to make off that development. We would look like hypocrites telling this community to keep the green in Evergreen and then have the district go elsewhere now....or maybe Menards is not in your "immediate" neighborhood. How can you trust these appropriate officials I might add? Oh wait I can probably answer that....You MUST just trust our school board members. The district is $16M in surplus right now anyway and not hurting for money are we????
mamadontplaythat September 14, 2012 at 04:29 PM
Thanks for calling me a sweetheart ;) For the record, I am pretty great, I have an amazing life and family and I have gotten very far in life in my short 32 years. Not that I am bragging or anything! Good luck to you, I wish you much success.
nooneyouknow September 14, 2012 at 05:47 PM
The Board's offer is fair and reasonable. The Union's refusal to budge on any issue in any way since the end of August smacks of bad faith.
Jennifer Valdez September 14, 2012 at 06:08 PM
So does the administration STILL enjoy full benefit coverage while teachers union are being offered additional cuts in their pay and benefits???
Jennifer Valdez September 14, 2012 at 06:19 PM
Well Thank you Dramajoy, Not many people from this community would step up to the plate when the district called for volunteers for this financial task force. It was a great experience to collaborate with community members and alot of good ideas and discussions were certainly brought to the table. Very eye opening! I also encourage people in this community to attend school board meetings if they are so worried about where a big chunk of their tax bill is going for and to speak up during the public comments section as the D124 school board will not even acknowledge anonymous comments or tips. Knowledge is power!
nooneyouknow September 14, 2012 at 06:41 PM
Yep. Just like the terms for certified personnel are different from the terms for non-certified personnel. Different jobs, different requirements, different compensation details. In fact, I can't think of a single business or field of employment where every person gets the same paycheck (etc.) no matter what function they perform.
thorn1 September 14, 2012 at 09:55 PM
Public unions should be outlawed again as they once were. The tax payers are held hostage by the public unions in most cases because there is no option to purchase these civil services elsewhere. Everybody that is reading these comments work just as hard and are just as passionate in their jobs as these teachers are. The difference is we can't walk off our job and demand to have the lowest performing worker paid as well as the truly gifted person. All this with tax payer funds. The E.P. teachers do a great job, thay are paid very well for it and if they are not happy by all means look somewhere else for work. How dare you threaten the children of E.P. schools with walking out on them for what you perceive as being slighted. Submit your resignation and find someplace where you will be happy. I have always old my children that the most important thing in a job is to be happy and enjoy what you are doing. I urge all E.P. teachers to do the same.
Ken Fryer September 14, 2012 at 10:50 PM
For those worried about your tax bills. There's a process to appeal your taxes. Maybe your house is over assessed. I encourage anyone frustrated with your taxes to look into it. I did, and it saved us some money. I did it because I thought my house was over assessed. I didn't do because I thought the school systems were getting to much of my tax money. You have to remember if the school system goes down the drain our homes values will be worthless. That goes for seniors, people who send their kids to catholic schools and everyone else. I think it's fair for someone to look at both proposals and say this is what I think. I'm going to do that right now. And when I do it I'm not going to hold it against the teachers that I haven't gotten a raise. What's really needed right now is leadership. There's no doubt the teachers felt bullied the past few years while some on the board sat on their hands. I would encourage the new supt. and board members to sit down and not only talk about this contract, but the future. Make them partners. The board can say, hey, we do have a surplus, but this much needs to go into renovations in the future, so, we can take care of you now, but in the future you might be looking at little or no raises. Also make them a partner in talks about those renovations and other stuff. It's my kids first year in the school district. From my short time with it I can tell everyone I think they're the salt of the earth.
Ken Fryer September 14, 2012 at 11:15 PM
Just a couple more points: The reason I say leadership is because of what has gone down the past few years. While at first glance the proposal from the teacher's seems fine. They need to understand in this current political climate that right now we couldn't get a tax increase. So it's smart to stay fiscally sound, but that doesn't mean they need to be squeezed. So it's my hope that with a new supt., board members (along with the old ones) that they can develop a partnership. That will take dialogue, compromise and leadership. And while I'm not sure whether we agree or disagree, I love a free meal, so I may have to take Luch up on his offer...
Paid to Much September 17, 2012 at 04:42 PM
Joining a K-8 elementary district (#124) and a 9-12 high school district (#231) into a new K-12 unit district would be a consolidation. In general, the consolidation process includes:  a consolidation petition filed with the local Intermediate Service Center for districts in Cook County. The petition must, along with other things, describe the territory to be consolidated, list the tax rates for various purposes which the proposed district shall be authorized to levy, and provide for the election of a new school board for the consolidated district. The petition can be filed by board resolution of each district listed on the petition or be signed by 50 voters or 10% of the total voters, whichever is less, from each of the districts listed on the petition.  a local hearing conducted by the Intermediate Service Center / approval or denial of petition by Intermediate Service Center. The petitioners must pay the cost of the notice of the hearing and the cost of the transcript taken at the hearing; a deposit will be required at the time of filing the petition. The local hearing is where the petitioners will highlight why they believe a consolidation should happen. The hearing is also the place where anyone in any affected district may testify for or against the petition.
Paid to Much September 17, 2012 at 04:44 PM
 a local hearing conducted by the Intermediate Service Center / approval or denial of petition by Intermediate Service Center. The petitioners must pay the cost of the notice of the hearing and the cost of the transcript taken at the hearing; a deposit will be required at the time of filing the petition. The local hearing is where the petitioners will highlight why they believe a consolidation should happen. The hearing is also the place where anyone in any affected district may testify for or against the petition.  approval or denial of the petition by State Superintendent. The State Superintendent will review the petition, the written order of the Intermediate Service Center, as well as the transcript and other evidence entered at the local hearing and issue an order approving or denying the petition.  referendum vote. If the petition is approved by the State Superintendent, the Intermediate Service Center will cause the referendum question to be placed on the ballot. The consolidation question must be approved by a majority of those voting in each district. A brochure on this process can be found on the ISBE website at: http://www.isbe.net/sfms/html/reorg_school.htm For all other counties in the state, a regional superintendent handles the consolidation hearing duties. In the brochures, any duties mentioning “regional superintendent” would be handled by the Intermediate Service Center in Cook County.
Paid to Much September 17, 2012 at 04:44 PM
Successful consolidations are eligible to be calculated for four incentives. Those incentives are:  Deficit Fund Balance: Compares the reorganizing districts’ fund balances for the four operational funds. If there are deficit fund balances, this incentive will pay the difference between the lowest deficit and the other deficits.  General State Aid Differential: Compares the General State Aid payment received by newly formed district to the total amount of General State Aid the districts would have received if no consolidation had happened.  Salary Differential: Based on teachers employed in one of the original districts in the year before the consolidation who are also employed in the new district, calculates the difference between what the teacher was paid in their original district and what the teacher would have been paid if placed on the salary schedule of the highest paying original district.  $4,000 Per Certified Staff: Pays $4,000 based on the head count of each full-time certified staff member of the newly formed district.
Paid to Much September 17, 2012 at 04:48 PM
Jenifer or Ken I suggest you take the reins and run with it!
Jennifer Valdez September 17, 2012 at 05:37 PM
I could take the reins on this but I won't. I believe one of the board members we presently have is very knowledable on this consolidation you suggest but Quinn may have other ideas. http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2011-02-17/news/ct-met-school-district-consolidation-20110217_1_district-mergers-school-districts-david-vaught http://www.americanprogress.org/issues/education/news/2012/03/16/11335/school-district-consolidation-isnt-as-simple-as-it-seems/ http://www.dailyherald.com/article/20110222/news/702229987/ http://southtownstar.suntimes.com/news/3976119-418/squeezing-schools.html http://illinoisissuesblog.blogspot.com/2012/04/panel-looks-for-alternatives-to-forced.html http://www2.illinois.gov/ltgov/Pages/PRESSRELEASESimonStateshouldmakeschooldistrictmergerseasier,moreaffordable.aspx
Paid to Much September 17, 2012 at 06:05 PM
So obviously it's going to happen; the difference would be, do we get the incentive of four thousand dollars per teacher or just get the rug pulled from under us. I believe the incentive is only on the table a few more months. Have any links for that?
Ken Fryer September 17, 2012 at 11:39 PM
Paid to Much:. I'm not sure when the conversation turned to this, but the both boards have meet several times over the years and concluded it wasn't a good idea or didn't save money. I'm not opposed or for combining school districts, but during previous contract disputes the teacher's at 124 brought up the fact that the high school teacher make so much more. That's just the way state funding works. District 231 is fiscally sound for many years. Making major decisions on what Springfield does from year-to-year in my mind isn't a good idea. Those incentives can be taken away in a heartbeat. Either way I don't think that it will ever happen. And by the way, I've taken the reins as a volunteer for various things throughout my life. And when I've done that I was never afraid to put my name on it, good or bad.
omar September 18, 2012 at 01:50 PM
First off.... forget how much the teachers do or do not earn. The District has a $16+MILLION surplus. This shows that either we (EP residents) are extremely over-taxed or that the public employees are severely underpaid. As to the tax issue... we need taxes to stay solvent. So forget that argument. Underpaid? Most definitely. It is funny when people get into an uproar when they read that such-and-such teacher is paid $90K! Do you know what the minimum Major League Baseball salary is? $420,000. MINIMUM. Median is over $1Million. But no one raises an eyebrow at this. How much money did Justin Bieber make last year? Madonna? Brad Pitt? etc Our priorities are out of whack when we don't question the athletes and entertainers' and their earnings, and then turn around and squawk when our educators ask for more. Let's see Justin Bieber mold the children for the future. I steadfastly, as an Evergreen Park resident, support the Teachers on this issue!
thorn1 September 18, 2012 at 06:58 PM
Omar, you understand the taxpayers provide the salary for the teachers, right ? Baseball players are paid by the baseball team owners. See hao that works?
Paid to Much September 20, 2012 at 09:35 PM
How does it not save money? Instead of two administrtators for each district there would be one. Maybe one of the salaries from the technology administrator can go towards technology. I don't have the numbers but we probably spend more on salaries for technology than we do technology.

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