Oct 16 2014

Mr. Manley’s Misinformation

At the October 6 Board meeting, over 1,500 community members, parents, and students were in attendance to learn about the status of negotiations and to show their support for D86 teachers. After a year of dysfunction, the negotiating team of President Richard Skoda and Board member Ed Corcoran was replaced by a unanimous vote of the board. On Thursday, October 9, board members Victor Casini and Kay Gallo met with the teachers’ negotiation team for six hours and arrived at a tentative agreement.

On October 13, all of this progress was placed in jeopardy.


On October 13, Noel Manley, husband of Board member Claudia Manley, began circulating malicious emails to citizens across District 86, Downers Grove, and elsewhere. As a Republican committeeman with extreme views, Noel Manley characterized the outpouring of community support last week as “a complete circus” of “five-hundred union members and supporters.”

Manley’s claim is deceptive for two significant reasons. First, The Doings, The Hinsdalean, and The Chicago Tribune all reported the number of attendees as approximately 1,500. Second, those who showed up often mentioned their skepticism of unions while noting that it is understandable why teachers feel the need to bargain collectively when dealing with the public relations stunts and bad-faith negotiation practices of Skoda and Corcoran. In audience communication, it was clear that the community does not trust Skoda or Corcoran.

Not only is Manley maligning the views of those in attendance at the October 6 Board meeting (which can be viewed at the D86 website), but he also implies in his email the need for deficit spending, program cuts and teacher layoffs despite the board’s own projections that indicate the district will see increasing reserves.

Then, with a classic union-bashing rhetorical flourish, Manley closed his email with arbitrary claims that D86 is “a union shop where seniority trumps merit,” despite the fact that Illinois law stipulates that a teacher’s tenure is directly related to performance.

It’s shameful that Mrs. Manley  is using her husband’s political influence to smear the community and its teachers this way; the community deserves more than such divisive rhetoric and deceptive extremism.

Tell Skoda, Corcoran, and Manley to stop their divisiveness. Email the D86 board to reiterate your support for the tentative agreement. Email Victor Casini, Kay Gallo, Jennifer Planson, and Michael Kuhn and urge them to vote “Yes.” All board members and Superintendent Bruce Law can be reached at boe@hinsdale86.org.

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Oct 16 2014

Derailing an Agreement?

As was reported by multiple media outlets, the outpouring of community support for D86 teachers at the October 6th school board meeting resulted in the school board unanimously voting to replace their negotiating team of Mr. Skoda and Mr. Corcoran. After a single negotiation session, the D86 school board’s new negotiators were able to reach a tentative agreement with the teachers late Thursday evening.

Unfortunately, since Thursday, community members and some internet sites have reported several actions that appear to be a concerted attempt by Mr. Skoda,  Mr. Corcoran and Ms. Manley to undermine this recent agreement:

1) An additional round of inflammatory, anti-teacher mailers were sent out late in the week, after an agreement had already been reached.  Why would the board continue to waste public money on these mailers after an agreement was negotiated? Who approved this expenditure? Where is this expenditure in the district budget? What was the total cost for yet another error-filled glossy mailer?

2) A surprise finance committee meeting has been scheduled for Friday, October 17th at 7am.  Mr. Corcoran is the chair of the finance committee; the financial report and the assumptions that guide its creation are directed by Corcoran, who was recently replaced as a negotiator.  Why would Mr. Corcoran hastily arrange such a meeting? Could this be a last minute attempt to derail the tentative agreement between the teachers and the board? Mr. Corcoran is involved in a similar situation in Clarendon Hills.

3) Board member Claudia Manley’s husband is a committeeman for the Downers Grove Republican Party who, within the past week, sent an error-filled, inflammatory email to members of the Downers Grove GOP, as well as others, encouraging them to contact newly appointed negotiators Gallo and Casini. The email is a direct attempt to derail the tentative agreement. Is Mr. Manley exploiting the his wife’s seat on the board to push an extreme political agenda in what is supposed to be a non-partisan venue?

4) According to one website, “Board members Richard Skoda and Ed Corcoran are reported to be pressuring their slate-mate Victor Casini to reject the agreement when it comes to a board vote following teacher ratification.” They voted to make Casini a negotiator, but not to have the power to negotiate or reach an agreement?

These actions appear to be desperate attempts by the board’s more extreme members to intimidate and bully fellow board members into rejecting their own offer.

Community members are encouraged to share this information with others, email the BOE at boe@hinsdale86.org, bring concerned friends and neighbors to all public board meetings and remind the board to uphold their commitments.


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Oct 15 2014

First Board in Decades…

Mr. Corcoran likes to send emails regarding school board business. Often of late, he even sends these emails from unofficial email accounts. In one such email response to a concerned community member, Mr. Corcoran said:

“This is the first Board in decades not dominated by Union advocates.”

It seems Mr. Corcoran is implying that the district has been somehow mismanaged for “decades.”  So let’s take a look at “decades” worth of results of such domination.

Over the last few decades the D86 has produced dozens of state championships, national merit scholars, award winning teachers, some of the highest test scores in the state and thousands of students who have gone on to excellent universities.

Doesn’t appear to be any mismanagement in those types of results.

Perhaps Corcoran meant the “Union advocates” on previous boards destroyed the district’s finances.

Except that’s not true either.

By working collaboratively for decades with district teachers, previous boards significantly increased the district’s reserve fund balances, achieved D86 being one of the few AAA bond ratings for school districts in the state, and maintained one of the lowest tax rates of any high school district for district taxpayers.

Seems like a school board dominated by so-called “Union advocates” has done pretty well for the district’s students, schools and taxpayers.

The same can’t be said for Mr. Corcoran’s board.

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Oct 14 2014

Dawn Oler Named ILAFCS Teacher of the Year

Hinsdale, Ill. – October 14, 2014 – Hinsdale Township High School District 86 today proudly announced that Hinsdale Central High School Family and Consumer Sciences teacher Dawn Oler was named the Teacher of the Year by the Illinois Association of Family and Consumer Sciences (ILAFCS). According to ILAFCS, the award recognizes exemplary teachers with outstanding educational programs that utilize methods, techniques and activities integrated into the curriculum that provide the stimulus for and give visibility to family and consumer sciences.

As the award recipient, she will represent the State of Illinois in the National Teacher of the Year Award program and she will speak at the ILAFCS state conference in March 2015.

“I am so honored to receive this award,” said Ms. Oler. “It is a tribute to my students. They make me laugh, they make me cry, they force me to rethink everything and they challenge me to grow every day!”

Commenting on the key lesson she tries to impart to her students, Ms. Oler stresses the concept of care. She continued, “Care about yourself, about others, about the environment, your community, and the impact you have the potential to make. Everyday provides an opportunity to improve your character and your life, seize that opportunity.”

Ms. Oler earned a bachelor’s degree in family and consumer sciences education and a master’s degree in human development and family studies both from the University of Wisconsin-Stout. She continued her education at Olivet Nazarene University, earning a master’s degree in school improvement leadership. In 2012, she received recognition as a national board-certified teacher in career and technical education through the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards. She has spent the past 10 years at District 86.

In addition to teaching, Ms. Oler currently sponsors Family Career and Community Leaders of America and Future Educators Association student organizations at Hinsdale Central. She has served on the ILAFCS District 1 Board and has presented at both state and national conferences. She currently leads courses in culinary arts, independent living and coordinates the Invitation to Teach program. Most recently, she has been involved in the design of an honor’s level curriculum and introduction of a Baking and Pastry Arts program.



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Oct 10 2014

Hinsdale District 86 and HHSTA Reach Tentative Agreement

Hinsdale Township High School District 86 and the Hinsdale High School Teachers Association (HHSTA) are pleased to announce that tonight they have reached a tentative agreement resolving negotiations.

The next step is to put this agreement in front of the full membership of the HHSTA and then in front of the Board of Education. Details will be released once this agreement is approved by both parties.

“We are so pleased to make this joint announcement tonight, ending speculation about a potential strike,” said District 86 Superintendent Dr. Bruce Law. “This resolution will allow everyone to refocus their energies on the excellent education we provide to all of our students and will restore the natural rhythm of the school year. This move reinvigorates all of us and is a positive step forward.”

HHSTA Lead Negotiator Jeff Waterman said, “We have reached an agreement that recognizes the contribution that our teachers make in the lives of District 86 students each and every day. We want to thank the community for their tremendous support during this process. We believe this deal will give our teachers the opportunity to continue to provide the high quality education for which the District is renown while granting teachers access to the professional growth and development that enables them to be so successful in the classroom.”



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Oct 09 2014

Breaking: Teachers reach tentative agreement

While no details have been released, the teachers have reached tentative agreement with the school board’s new negotiating team.

Details will be posted soon.

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Oct 07 2014

Massive Community Turnout Supports Teachers

Massive Community Turnout Supports Teachers
Board negotiators replaced under pressure from community

October 6, 2014 – Hinsdale, IL – Over 1,000 community members and teachers attended the District 86 Board of Education meeting on Monday in hopes the board majority would put aside their extreme agenda and vote to approve the teachers’ compromise proposal.

“The teachers want to thank all of the community members who came out and stayed late to show their support. This is another indicator of how much the community cares about our students, our schools, and our teachers,” said John Bowman, president of the teachers’ association. “It was a heart-warming show of support.”

The vast majority of community members spoke in favor of the teachers’ proposal with many arguing for the board to accept the teachers’ compromise. Several also continued the call for the board majority to resign.

“We’re disappointed that they didn’t vote on our compromise proposal last night, but we hope that negotiations continue Thursday in a more professional manner. We hope this is not just another political move by Mr. Skoda and Mr. Corcoran to avoid the public scrutiny they’ve brought upon themselves,” said Bowman.

“We look forward to working with the board’s new negotiators,” said Jeff Waterman, chief negotiator for the teachers. “Our two-year proposal already moved us to the middle after months of compromises.”

The teachers have scheduled a mediation session for Thursday afternoon, but are willing to meet at any time to reach an agreement.



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