Highland Park teachers declare impasse
Updated: September 25, 2012 1:34PM
HIGHLAND PARK – The teachers’ union in North Shore School District 112, based in Highland Park, has declared an impasse in its contract talks with the school board, setting into motion a series of deadlines that potentially could result in a teacher’s strike in mid-October.
A union spokesman said the board is proposing to freeze teachers’ pay for two years and link the third-year raise to the Consumer Price Index. Other outstanding issues include the pay raises teachers receive for completing coursework and pre-retirement pay incentives.
“The board’s current proposal will result in District 112 being one of the worst school districts on the North Shore in terms of teachers’ benefits,” said Pamela Kramer, president of the North Shore Education Association. “That will cause teachers to use their time in District 112 as a stepping stone to other better-paying districts where teachers are respected and receive better benefits. We do not want District 112 to become a revolving door.”
District spokesperson Andi Rosen said the school board feels the union’s characterization of the proposal is inaccurate, but declined to elaborate further, noting the details would be made available Sept. 21.
Average teacher pay in the district was reported at $70,566 on the 2011 School Report Cards, based on an average experience level of 11.5 years.
Under the contract that expired Aug. 21, a starting teacher with a bachelor’s degree earned $41,149, while the maximum pay was $107,345 for a 22-year veteran with a master’s degree plus 45 additional course hours.
The North Shore Education Association notified the school board Friday that it was declaring an impasse in negotiations and filing the motion with the Illinois Educational Labor Relations Board. The union and school board have seven days, or until Sept. 21, to submit their most recent proposals to the state agency and detail the costs associated with their proposals. The labor board has another seven days to post the proposals on the agency’s website. The earliest a strike could begin is Oct. 12, about a week after the next scheduled mediation session Oct. 4.
Teachers declared the impasse following a third mediation session Wednesday, Sept. 12.
By law, teachers must provide the school board with notice of their intent to strike at least 10 days prior to a work stoppage. That has not occurred. The district serves 4,300 pupils in Highland Park and Highwood.
Kramer said that prior to negotiations, the union agreed to changes in health insurance coverage estimated to save the district about $486,000 a year, or nearly $1.5 million over the three-year contract period. The changes included higher deductibles and co-pays.
Rosen said the School Board will post its proposal on the district’s website Sept. 21, the same day of the filing with the state.