Oct 16 2014
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.