Jul 29 2014

How does the Skoda/Corcoran offer make D86 less competitive?

Published by under Negotiations,News

Imagine a top teaching candidate with a masters degree and seven years experience interviewing for a position at Hinsdale 86 and neighboring Lyons Township. How would the employment offers of each district compare?

In Hinsdale, the Board will tell such a candidate that her experience doesn’t matter, divide her seven years experience in half and round down to three years of experience credit. This candidate would earn $68,160. Because she will not earn more money for experience or advanced coursework, she will earn around $68,000 in inflation adjusted dollars, for the rest of her career because, unlike every other high school district in Illinois, step and lane will no longer exist in Hinsdale 86.

At Lyons Township the same top candidate would receive credit for all their seven years experience, and start on Step 8 of the salary schedule at $82,283. She will be able to see the salary schedule in use, and plan for her financial future earning step and earned lane advancement throughout her career.

If she does her due diligence, as all top candidates do, she will look beyond the first year salary and examine her earnings potential.  Her research will show that a salary schedule like LT’s enables her to earn thousands of dollars a year more than Hinsdale.  In Hinsdale 86 there will be no salary schedule, essentially freezing her salary in inflation adjusted dollars.

Finally as a top candidate, she’ll do a quick Google search to see how the Board of Education refers to the teachers in their district in public discourse.

Ultimately when this top teaching candidate makes the decision of which school district they want to be a part of they will quickly realize that if they accept a position in Hinsdale 86 they will:

  • Work for a Board that doesn’t value experience or advanced education.
  • Earn thousands less every year.
  • Earn a salary that never increases in real inflation adjusted dollars.
  • Never earn more money for having advanced degrees.
  • Have no salary schedule she can plan on.
  • Have much lower long-term earnings potential.
  • Work for a Board that is openly hostile to its teachers.

So when it comes to attracting and retaining high quality teachers, do you think this candidate will consider the Hinsdale 86 offer as “more than fair”? And this doesn’t even begin to touch on the health insurance cost increases of up to 229% in the Skoda/Corcoran offer.

So the question is: Does the Board’s offer make District 86 less competitive?
Yes. Immediately.

With the board’s latest offer, the four-year earnings for a new teacher in District 86 will be the lowest in the area – from Proviso to Downers, from Highland Park to New Lenox.  Teachers in other districts will be earning thousands of dollars more per year and over their career. The best candidates will undoubtedly choose other districts. Teachers still in the early stages of their careers will leave for better paying opportunities elsewhere.

Is District 86 already losing high quality teachers?
Yes.  Several candidates in several departments have not accepted offers from District 86 and the district has seen record number of resignations of existing staff members. At least a half dozen candidates have seen job offers rescinded by the Board.

Skoda keeps saying there are hundreds of good candidates available. But why are Department chairs still struggling to fill teaching positions in late July? It’s important to remember that candidates in the current pool have not been hired by any other school district so how is it that they are suddenly so qualified to teach in this district? Since when has “good enough” been acceptable for Hinsdale 86? There is a long tradition of “best of the best” as the hiring standard in District 86. Unfortunately that standard appears to be in danger due to the actions of board members like Skoda and Corcoran.

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Jul 28 2014

How will District 86 compete?

Published by under Association News,Negotiations

salary comparison V5b

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Jul 25 2014

District 86 Teachers Association Says School Will Start on Time, Aug. 22

Published by under Association News

Hinsdale High School Teachers Association urges Board to put students first

The teachers of the Hinsdale High School Teachers Association (HHSTA) today announced that the 2014-2015 school year will start on time regardless of the recent negotiations between the association and the school board. In June, the association made a counter proposal to the board that keeps the district competitive with other districts and increases the teachers’ share of healthcare costs. Still, as of July 25, the board has not offered a counter proposal in return. With students’ first day of attendance just weeks away on August 22, the teachers today voiced confidence to the community and to students that the school year will begin on time as scheduled. Faculty will attend all previously scheduled pre-student attendance day events, workshops, meetings, and orientations with the overall goal to provide the vital strong start to the academic calendar.

“The overwhelming support teachers have received from the community informs us that our priorities are aligned with theirs,” said John Bowman, president of the teachers’ association. “Parents, students, and community members, alongside teachers, all agree that the district’s top priority must be providing a best-in-the-state education to the students without delay by the board’s radical proposals. The start of the school year is important for our students and our teachers. Autumn is the heart of the college application process, the start for our award-winning clubs, music programs, plays, championship athletics and the first step in a year of academic pursuit for all students. Students deserve to start the year as scheduled, on time. We eagerly await the board’s long delayed counter proposal to make a smooth beginning of everyone’s year.  Now is not the time for their extreme political agenda to derail school.”

The District 86 School Board and the teachers are currently in federal mediation, and accordingly, are not to discuss details of negotiations in public. The teachers will continue to abide by the process of mediation and not publicly discuss details of ongoing negotiations, instead, bargaining in good faith that a fair, balanced, and sustainable agreement will be met.


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Jul 25 2014


Published by under Association News,Negotiations

Why isn’t the deal done?

The board isn’t negotiating.  The teachers tried to meet with them since September.  The board didn’t have a proposal until March.  Now that we are in mediation, they haven’t responded to the proposal we made in June.


Is this situation the result of the flat tax levy?

No.  The flat tax levy won’t affect schools until 2016.  This is because of a complicated process related to taxes, the state and schools.

The money that funds the 2014-2015 school year is the tax money from 2012.  The CPI that year is 1.7%.  So, if the district had 10,000,000 in revenue in 2013-14, they would receive 10,170,000 in 2014-15.  The teachers proposal only increases costs for salary and benefits by 1% – much less than the 1.7% the district will receive.


Are the teachers going to go on strike?

A strike is the last thing we want.  We love working with the kids and don’t want them to be affected by this situation.

In 2006, 2010 and 2012, we came to work for months without a contract.  We even agreed to a salary schedule freeze in 2012.  Back then, we believed we could still come to an agreement because we trusted the board’s negotiating team.  This time, with Skoda and Corcoran in charge, we don’t have that same trust.  They seem more interested in pushing a political agenda than negotiating with the teachers and preserving the quality of education provided for the children.

If the board declares impasse, however, they then have the legal right to force their agreement on the teachers, which would result in a loss in income for the majority of the faculty.



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Jul 23 2014

Questions about Skoda and Corcoran’s Expensive, Error-filled Newsletter

Published by under Association News

Did Skoda and Corcoran violate the board’s bid requirements?

According to industry contacts, to print and mail the newsletter costs between $16,700-$20,200. Postage would have had to be paid for prior to mailing the pieces, and alone would have cost between $7500-$11,000. When was the public vote at a board meeting? Who authorized that check? Were they in violation of the code of ethics, budgetary regulations or bid requirements?


Where is the money coming from?

In the initial Chicago Tribune article, Skoda was quoted as saying the monies came from the Negotiations budget. According to the actual budget, there is no negotiations budget. When did they get an estimate for printing and mailing an expensive, unnecessary newsletter to include in the budget?


Was the mailing unethical?

It was mailed with the district’s non-profit indicia. See this link for the legal requirements of content for qualified mailings. The first paragraph states:

Authorization to mail at the Nonprofit Standard Mail (nonprofit) rates is a privilege granted by law only to authorized organizations. Civil and criminal penalties apply to false, fictitious, or fraudulent statements made in connection with a Nonprofit Standard Mail.

They may have violated the use of the indicia by including political rhetoric/graphics on the document. By including the picture of the Chicago Tribune editorial, it ceased being an informative document to educate the public, and became a politically motivated one.


Are they negotiating in bad faith?

A printer contact and graphic designer suggested the following timeline: 2-3 days for content collection/research and general design, 7-10 days for printing, 3-5 days to process/mail. The timeline is interesting because the last mediation meeting was July 3rd, 11 days before the release of the newsletter.

Instead of working on a proposal to get school started, they made an expensive, unnecessary newsletter. 

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Jul 22 2014

New Board Majority Have Their Facts Wrong

Published by under Association News,Negotiations


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Jul 18 2014

Mr. Skoda continues misinformation campaign

Published by under Association News,Negotiations

The District 86 School Board, in a recent attempt at a media blitz, has published a series of documents and graphs that contradict truth and verifiable public information. Launched in a press conference on Monday, at which Board minority members and community residents were denied access, President Richard Skoda and Mr. Edward Corcoran published a series of documents marred with misinformation and factual errors. Brochures of these misleading graphics are being mailed to District 86 residents, the cost of which Mr. Skoda refuses to share. Below are just a few of the figures that the School Board has incorrectly cited:

Misinformation by Board Facts Details
The average salary of District 86 teachers is $111,000. According to the district’s website it is $80,900. And this is for an average faculty member with decades of experience and advanced education. District 86 also has a lower maximum bachelors salary than Lyons Township, Riverside Brookfield and many other comparable districts. The salary schedule is public information. So are the schedules of nearby districts.
Teachers should pay for “reasonable increases in health insurance premiums”. Mr. Skoda’s proposal would increase premiums for most teachers by 300%, increasing annual premiums to almost $7000 in just one year. According to Crain’s Chicago Business, the average maximum insurance cost in Illinois is $5,366 per year.
Mr. Skoda’s newsletter states median household income in the district decreased by 4.79%. According to Mr. Skoda’s source, median household income increased by 4.79% Check the source Mr. Skoda incorrectly cited: www.usa.com.
Mr. Skoda claims that teachers “distributed union buttons” to students in school. Students and parents created and distributed buttons to protest the Board majority’s policies.  Teachers had absolutely nothing to do with it. Parents, students, and community members have been overtly supportive of teachers throughout the negotiation process.


“Watching the Board publish misleading information, and spend their budget on elaborate media stunts has been frustrating, to say the least,” said John Bowman, president of the HHSTA. “Teachers are still hopeful that we can come to an agreement that is sustainable and reasonable. We want to both honor the mediation process and bargain in good faith, while also making sure the Board’s misinformation is checked for accuracy.”

The District 86 School Board and the Hinsdale High School Teachers Association (HHSTA) are currently in federal mediation, and according to the rules of mediation, are not to discuss details of negotiations in public. Disregarding these rules, the School Board has persistently and consistently continued its barrage of media stunts, sending out brochures, letters, and holding press conferences. The teachers will continue to abide by the federally mandated mediation rules and not discuss details of negotiations in public.

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