Updated 9-1-12: GazeboNews asked the Lake Forest Education Association if it would like to respond to the District 115 School Board’s letter that was sent to parents on Friday. Here is the Union’s response:
There is no new information presented in the Board’s new statement or the posting on the school’s website. We continue to stand behind the numbers compiled by Dr. Larry Frank, PhD., an Illinois expert on the school budgeting process who was hired by the LFEA to review the Board’s numbers. We hope that the Board has real news for the community after the next collective bargaining session on Thursday, September 6th.
Lake Forest Community High School District 115 Board of Education sent the following communication to parents on Friday, Aug. 31
August 31, 2012
Late Friday, the Board of Education was informed that the Union filed an “intent to strike” notice. The Board of Education anticipated this action.
Both final offers have been published for public review on the Illinois Educational Labor Relations Board website. Additionally, for your review, the Board has provided a detailed summary (.pdf) of the Board of Education’s proposal, including projected salary schedules, on the school district website www.lfhs.org.
The Board of Education’s 3-year proposal includes average raises of 2.6% for the first year, 3.4% for the second year, and for the third year, a formula based on the Consumer Price Index (CPI). It is important to note that the teachers received no increase in compensation for the last school year. That freeze, however, followed a five-year period over which salaries increased by an average of 5.5% annually, elevating our teachers’ salary schedule to one of the highest in the state.
We have had several inquires about the Union’s claim that the district’s fund balance will grow by $20 million over the next 3 years. On June 12, 2012, the Board of Education voted to place the proposed 2012-2013 Budget on public display. The projected revenues are $43.9 million and not the $48.9 million figure incorrectly cited by the LFEA. Unfortunately, the LFEA has carried that erroneous assumption forward, thus overstating and compounding the incorrect amount, and consequently grossly overstating future fund balances.
We would like to underscore that we believe the contributions of our professional staff to the quality education of our students are substantial. The present proposal is reflective of the Board’s commitment to maintaining competitive offerings to attract and retain the highest quality teachers. It keeps our teachers’ compensation among the highest in the state (regional comparisons are illustrated in the summary). Also be assured that the Board remains steadfast in its commitment to provide fair compensation that is reflective of today’s economic realities.
The Board and Union are scheduled to meet again on Thursday, September 6. The Union has announced, through the media, that its members will engage in a strike on September 12, 2012 if no agreement is reached. The Board has a detailed strike plan in place. If a strike occurs, the Board will outline the specifics of the strike plan, which is exclusively focused on the best interest of our students.
We will continue to keep you updated as information becomes available. The Board thanks everyone for the time and attention contributed to this important matter and would like to express sincere regret for this unfortunate distraction at the beginning of the school year.
Lake Forest Community High School District 115
Board of Education