Scenes of a Protest: EP Teachers Stage Noisy Rally on 95th Street

Parents speak out in support of D124 teachers. The Evergreen Park teachers union has threatened to walk on Oct. 2 if it cannot reach a tentative contract agreement with the school board.

The Evergreen Park teachers union lined 95th Street on Wednesday afternoon bringing their case for a new four-year contract to the community.

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The teachers from Evergreen Park's five public elementary schools and the Dist. 124 school board have been in negotiations for a new contract since April. Wednesday's bargaining session ended with no agreement.

Another rally is scheduled before next Monday's bargaining session at Central Junior High School at 4:15 p.m. If a tentative agreement cannot be reached, teachers say they will go on strike on Tuesday (Oct. 2).

Cathy Pliska who has two children in D124 schools is rallying parents' support of EP teachers and their quest for a fair contract. Parents and community members wishing to join the group can email Pliska at yapyapyap50@aol.com.

Read Evergreen Park Patch's coverage of the ongoing teachers' contract talks:

  • Threat of EP Teachers Strike Looms
  • EP Teacher Contract Talks End With No Deal
  • D124 School Board Takes Public Comments on Teacher Contracts
  • D124 Starts Planning for Possible Teachers' Strike
  • EP Teachers' Union Authorizes Strike

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EP Lover September 28, 2012 at 02:24 PM
Very well said Rick & nooneyou know. I couldn't agree with your points more. I wish there were more people in EP who looked at the financial realities of the situation.
Plectrum September 28, 2012 at 02:34 PM
I've been sitting on the fence during the teachers' contract negotiations. I was even believing that the board was trying to be fiscally responsible to the taxpayers of EP. Filing what will be a fruitless lawsuit in a case that has already played out (and yes, most of us are not happy with the result) is a waste of money. If we are going to spend that money, give it to the teachers (and particularly to the paraprofessionals.) Stop using taxpayer funds to finance a particular board member's personal crusade against the Sisters of Mercy.
Rock Bobster September 28, 2012 at 02:42 PM
Actually,nooneyouknow, you're a little off on the issue of declining property values resulting in decreased tax revenues for the schools. The Property Tax Extension Limitation Law (PTELL) the "tax cap" law, protects schools from dropping property levels. Every year school districts can increase REVENUES FROM THE PREVIOUS YEAR by inflation rate plus new construction taxes. But there's more.... The Cook County assessor also allows schools to increase taxes to account for those who don't pay them. This "extra" tax can run from 3-20% of base tax based on the tax delinquency history of the district. This means the district is protected and the taxpayers foot the bill for deadbeats. Here's the kicker...what do you think happens when more people than expected pay their taxes and the district has overcharged the taxpayers for "deadbeats"? If you guessed that they'd have to return it ot the taxpayers or reduce the next years tax levy for it, YOU WOULD BE WRONG! Mike Madigan and his buddies in Springfield set thinigs up so that the taxing body can keep the overcharge. ...and Evergreen Park keeps on electing Dems who support this thievery! Can you say, "stuck on stupid"?LOL
nooneyouknow September 28, 2012 at 02:52 PM
I stand corrected. Thank you, Rock Bobster.
Rock Bobster September 28, 2012 at 03:27 PM
I just read the article. It says, "The district also claims the retirement center will cause area property values to fall, costing the district property tax revenue." Yep, those high density nun retirement villages certainly can be a blight on the community! Roving gangs of wheel chair bound nuns will be prowling the neighborhood, harrassing construction workers and extorting "protection" money from boyscouts and girlscouts selling cookies and those kids with summer lemonade stands! The HORROR! ...and don't forget burglaries....but only in ADA compliant first floor condo units! Yes...I can certainly see how the property values would plummet from all that loud hymn music in the morning, and all that "Hail Mary" and "Our Father" gang chanting going on! Before you know it, we'll be seeing sacramental wine bottles laying around the parks where our children play, and Rosary beads littering our streets! Thank GOD (oops, I forgot that he's the nuns' ring leader!) our school and Village Board is protecting us from this scourge!(tongue firmly planted in cheek)
Luciano Enriquez Valdez Jr. September 28, 2012 at 05:06 PM
Rock Bobster it must really tear up your inside to watch the video and see ALL the support for Dist 124 Teachers & Staff! I love your demagogue tactics!!! I've seen your comments on other subjects here on Patch.com. You are a "rabble-rouser"! I love people like you who hide behind a pseudonym and beat their chest but will not come to a Dist 124 board meeting. I see that you are very passionate about "busting unions" and wanna call teachers "greedy"! You should bring that passion to a board meeting or come to the rally and hold up your "anti-union" or "teachers are greedy" sign! "Concerned", "EP Lover", and yourself can get together and chant. Don't worry nobody will pay any attention to you three. I'd have a lot more RESPECT for you and what u say if u came to a meeting. I don't even think you are a RESIDENT OF EVERGREEN PARK. I'm not gonna debate you with numbers but I do KNOW the RESIDENTS (the majority) support the teachers & staff of Evergreen Park! You obviously didn't go to the last meeting and see the support from PARENTS, former students, etc. "Stuck on stupid" hmmmm??? That actually made me laugh!!
Luciano Enriquez Valdez Jr. September 28, 2012 at 05:06 PM
I'm gonna say this to you "Rock bobble head" (OPPS did I hurt your feeling? I apologize if I did) *Tongue in cheek! You need to start planning for a strike instead of posting all these comments on ALL these different topics on Patch.com. You have a lot of time on your hands...do you work?? I have PLANS for my three kids if the Teachers go on strike! My KIDS won't be hurt by this strike and life does go on! I will support them to the END! I guess that makes me "stuck on stupid"! Lol!! I'll email you. I'll take you out to dinner and we can discuss this in person civilly. I'll even pick up the tab since times are tough for you. What do u say?
Concerned September 28, 2012 at 05:50 PM
I think Mr Valdez made an excellent point and all of us rational commenters on here should get together to bring some reality to these discussions. I will be emailing you shortly, Rock Bobster.
Rock Bobster September 28, 2012 at 06:17 PM
Luciano, I'm always happy to speak to thoughtful, well informed citizens, but I have no time for mindless union supporting louts who support the unions even if it hurts their kids and community. Let's see which category you fit in by answering a few questions. 1) Any reasonable person understands that it is foolish and irresponsible to enter into agreements that will lead to you spending more than your revenues. How much of the revenues brought in by 124 are currently being spent? How much revenue beyond current expenses is available to the district for increasing salaries and benefits without raising taxes, cutting programs or increasing class size? 2) If the raises that exceed revenues are given by the Board and the taxpayers as requested by the union, from where will you get the annual revenue to pay for the raises and increased benefits?
Rock Bobster September 28, 2012 at 06:17 PM
3) Please explain how giving more than a inflation rate raise will make the teachers teach your children better. As far as being "competitive", how many years of experience is the union willing to bridge when hiring new expereinced educators into 124 for salary schedule purposes? How does this policy affect the ability of the district to upgrade staff and get the best faculty possible to teach your children? 4) Why is it fair for the district to pay 23.5% of the teachers salary for each year before 60 that the teacher wants to retire instead of keeping the teacher and using the funds to educate the children? Should the taxpayers pay for any of the EMPLOYEE portion of pension contributions instead of having the teachers pay their fair share and sppend the funds on the childrens education? These are the EASY questions to determine if you understand enough about the schools to make it worth the time to get together or correspond. I eagerly await your response. You can e-mail me at the address above if you want to send me a private message.
Dawn McNamara September 28, 2012 at 09:01 PM
As a Board Member, I would like to clear up some misconceptions about the pending lawsuit. 1) It is funded by private citizens, not District 124. A foundation was set up and funds were raised, when those funds are depleted, NO money from 124 will be used. We will NOT use taxpayers money for the lawsuit. 2) There are concerns about the close proximity the Mercy Home will be to Southwest school, the traffic is already an issue in the area. Also I would personally invite ANYONE to attend a Board meeting, especially the people commenting on here, we would love to see some new faces. At one meeting we had only 2 community members, so Please attend, give us your input, we are trying our best to work for you, the staff, and most important, the children.
Informed September 28, 2012 at 09:26 PM
The money for the suit has been put up by a private group/ foundation so no money of Dist. 124 is at risk. This issue has been discussed at past public meetings.
Ken Fryer September 28, 2012 at 10:10 PM
You know someone on here suggested perhaps there should be a short term contract and wait and see what happens in Springfield. I'm starting to think that's not a bad idea. Rock Bobster, the economic situation is this. SD 124 is in a good economic situation right now, and could probably afford this contract. However Dawn and the rest of the board's challenge is make sure we don't end up in a bad fiscal situation down the line and look like other school districts, i.e. Mokena 159. Were we have to start giving up art, gym and other extra curricular activities, not to mention lay off teachers class sizes etc. In looking at the proposals side by side there has to be room for a compromise. And if there's still a stench that this contract started under bad terms because of the past supt. then maybe we give the new board members, supt., and Springfield some time so we all have a better grasp of the situation. I will back up the video and say these teachers are fantastic, and the paraprofessional offer was way to low. Everyone has a job to do so let's figure it out. Also Dawn, many of us feel this lawsuit is silly, but thank god we're not paying for it. But if you can get anything out of them, try to get something for the kids or teachers. St. Xavier, McAuley that community has stuff to offer, so if anyone benefits it should be our kids. That would put a smile on all our faces, even those of us who don't agree with the suit.
Teacher September 29, 2012 at 01:01 AM
I think the public should know that our Union pleaded with the school board and prior administration to extend our contract for one additional year (postponing the negotiations of a new contract) for the following reasons: It would allow time to see what changes were made by state legislatures this fall. It would provide time for our new superintendent, new business manager and new payroll & benefits manager to assess and understand the state of our school district before dealing with the negotiations of a new contract. (The superintendent and business manager began on July 1st, right in the middle of the negotiation process). It would allow time for the school board to assess how new businesses in Evergreen Park might affect tax revenues. The former superintendent and school board would NOT agree to postpone negotiations. We feel it would have made much more sense to do this.
Sect. 8 September 29, 2012 at 09:42 AM
Easy solution . Replace the current teachers with laid off teachers at half the cost. This will save money. If the 124 parents don't like it there's private schools around. If you say you can't afford private school get a second job. Or in most cases a job.
nooneyouknow September 29, 2012 at 01:28 PM
Teacher, consider this: When the one-year extension was rejected, the union then began negotiating a new contract with most, if not all, of its opening positions being "maintain status quo." Given that, in general, negotiations begin with each side presenting positions that heavily favor themselves and then compromise bits and pieces away until agreement is reached, the union's "change nothing" demand tells me the union knew perfectly well that those terms are unjustifiable in the current economic climate. Then the union drew its line in the sand back in August and refused further compromise. I assume the "new businesses" you mention are Meijer and Menard's, which do not yet exist. The expectation of revenues from those sources has reached almost mythical proportions, yet no one can say when, or even whether, the stores will in fact be open and making payments. Have you never heard the adage "don't count your chickens before they're hatched"?
Rock Bobster September 29, 2012 at 01:30 PM
Teacher, you just made the case for NOT going on strike. There is NO limt to the time a negotiation can continue. Since I believe the "old" contract expired, aren't you being compensated under the terms of the old contract anyway? I agree it's better to wait and see what happens in Springfield. The logical thing to do for HONEST teacherswho CARE ABOUT THE KIDS ABND FAMILIES is to keep working until thinigs get settled. Why would any reasonable teacher strike when this option is available?
Rock Bobster September 29, 2012 at 01:41 PM
"SD 124 is in a good economic situation right now, and could probably afford this contract." Ken, the district is currently spending 99.1% of its revenues according to isbe. The "surplus" is only$200,000 per year, and will only raise at the rate of inflation at best, depending on how much of the tax base is removed by Mayor Sexton's "TIFF"s. Spending reserves to cover predictable operating expenses would be poor fiscal management and irresponsible. The Teachers proposal would result in deficit spending unless the Board cuts back on student programs, so that is clearly not acceptable. The solution SHOULD be simple. Take a look at what the distirct revenues are, and, based on that, figure out how much the Board can give while maintaining programs. Actually, the Board has already done that and it is the basis of their offer. The Union plan would require deficit spending to give raises above the rate inflation with nothing extra in return. When you crunch the numbers, this really becomes pretty simple. The Board is offering the most it can without creating a deficit or cutting programs, and the Union is demanding a contract that will create a deficit and result in layoffs, tax increases, program cuts and increase in class sizes. Pretty clear which choice serves the children better here! Ken, you seem like a straight shooter. Please show me how the union offer can be accepted without creating a deficit.
Rock Bobster September 29, 2012 at 01:42 PM
Luciano, are you there (knock knock)? I'm waiting for an answer ot these simple questions!
Kat September 29, 2012 at 03:35 PM
We need education reform! The whole system from the political non educators on the school board to the political union membership required of teachers. It is not an effective system. Teachers should be paid more, but not on the backs of the tax payers.
Ken Fryer September 29, 2012 at 08:53 PM
Rock Bobster it's a 3-year-offer they're asking for. What I'm saying here and on other posts is we need to begin a serious discussion for the future. At some point will the board have to draw a line in the sand?, unfortunately if things don't turn around, yes. Do I think after all that's happened over the past few years that time is now, NO I don't. If we start running deficits over the next 3 years it will be small, and EP 124 will still be in a great fiscal situation, compared to other districts anyway. Believe me I'm not saying the time for the board to put their foot down is 10 years down the road, but after the last few years my worry is the board is going from 0 to 100 without looking at 50. Now Rock Bobster, If Springfield decides local school districts have to flip the bill for the pensions, the 16 million surplus (operating budget mind you) will dry up like a prune. Hence a serious discussion needs to ensue. There's been no working relationship between these two entities. I know a lot of these teachers personally, two of them came to my door today. Believe me I have no problem looking them in the eye and saying to the paraprofessional you are under paid, 12k a year for what they do isn't right. And I have no problem saying to the teacher, look, I don't think the board should be paying for insurance after you retire, or if you want that when you retire than everybody who's working now, needs to pay more.
Ken Fryer September 29, 2012 at 09:11 PM
continuing....so there's a discussion to be had here.......my worry as a parent is that with new board members, new supt. that we're going backwards......Bobster, I'm not sure if you're a resident or not, but the reason the teachers have the support they do now is they are really good. Trust me I feel very lucky to have my kids going there, and one of my children is in an early childhood at-risk program. So you want to draw the line in the sand now, and I'm saying it's not the time. You're thinking I'm naive that the teachers will come back in three years and want more more more....hey in three years they may have to take a lot less, or maybe more. I look at this deal and 124's fiscal situation and I say it's ok, although as mentioned above a future discussion may be necessary. So when you call me a straight shooter I say thanks. My straight shooting says the board needs to begin a long-term discussion with the teachers and community. And vice-versa. It should be noted that the reason there's a surplus is years ago the residents voted for a tax increase because the school budget was going bust. A tax increase isn't politically even possible now, so we all have to live within the numbers that are in front of us. That's what the board has to explain to the teachers, without trying to be heavy handed right away. I'm still optimistic that things will turn around for everybody. The middle has to win out Rock Bobster, you, myself and Luch could figure this out...or maybe not...lol
Rock Bobster September 30, 2012 at 03:13 PM
Ken, I agree wiht much of what you say. Am I correct in understanding that you support not generating a deficit in order to fund new raises and benefits? If so, the solution to this shold be simple. There's a certain finite amount of money coming available for increased compensation. The Board, as I understand it, is willing to make this amount of funding avaiable to staff. The only question SHOULD be how the funds allocated for raises and increased benefits should be distributed. It's my understanding, however, that the unions are demanding that raises and benefits be given that will result in substantital deficits. You certainly don't supportTHAT, do you?
Concerned September 30, 2012 at 03:32 PM
Maybe if D124 teachers aren't happy with their salary, they can go work for IFT and in most cases, double their income. http://illinoispolicy.org/blog/blog.asp?ArticleSource=5045
Plectrum September 30, 2012 at 11:55 PM
I apologize for assuming the District was using taxpayer funds. I just hope that lawsuit isn't detracting from the time and energy being put into the contract negotiations. And why wasn't this whole weekend devoted to negotiations?
Tom Mulrenin October 02, 2012 at 05:27 PM
Rock Bobster, Are you really this stupid? Asking just to keep what you already have is greedy? I can think of quite a number of vocations that might be attractive to a greedy person, being a teacher isn’t one of them. Greedy? I have many friends and family members who are teachers and none of them are getting rich for what they do. No one ever talks about the countless extra hours these people put in that they do not get paid for. I don’t know a single teacher that doesn’t take home work every night of the week. They are subjected evaluation based on the performance of their students many of whom are as stupid as you seem to be. Being a teacher is a hard and often thankless job and you need to shut up. P.S. If you can read this, thank a teacher.
Concerned October 02, 2012 at 05:31 PM
Anyone out there that stands with the board on this one (who are all elected and serve voluntarliy, btw), please take a moment to email Kathy Rohan and tell her so. krohan@d124.org
Bob October 02, 2012 at 08:32 PM
First of all, Tom, the teachers aren't asking just to "keep what they have". they're asking for raises in excess of inflation. For Gosh sakes, can't you read their "best and final" offer posted on line? Obviously you CAN'T read, so BLAME a teacher! As for your claim about teachers you know "not getting rich" I guess you don't know any HS teachers in the area. Oak Lawn 229 teachers are paid a maximum of $132,000 for nine months REGARDLESS of their teaching ability. That means that even the worst PE teacher at Oak Lawn is paid substantially more than engineering managers for about 20% fewer work days. In HS district 230 EVERY 43 year old teacher who started at 23 in the district with an MA who went through the GRUELING demands of taking a 3 hour class every OTHER summer is paid $120K for nine months. According to Obama, a working couple each making that amount makes them "rich" and deserving of tax punishment. Some teachers are grossly overpaid, and some grossly underpaid. This is the outcome of the "seniority first" union system. The teaching profession would be much better, and fairer, if we had a free market for teacher services undistorted by union greed and unfairness. That won't happen until we have fair change in Springfield to put the KIDS first instead of the union campaign contributors.
Bob October 02, 2012 at 08:39 PM
PS Tom, I've taught at both the high school and college level, so I know better than you what a teaching is all about, and its challenges. I've found that after ten years there are mainly two types of teachers still in the profession; those who truly love teaching and the kids and would never THINK of walking out on them for few bucks, and those who are virtually unemployable in any other field and are parasitically sucking the system dry. Funny how it seems that districts with more of the latter always seem to have the most activist and aggessive unions....Can you say "CPS"?
siumom October 05, 2012 at 12:00 AM
The union definitely can grasp economic reality. They were ready to take a pay freeze and stay one more year on the old contract while negotiating the new one. The school board refused this proposal. That fact needs to be spread among the community.


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