The Lake Forest District 115 Board of Education on July 14 approved a new one-year contract with the Lake Forest Education Association, terminating the last year of the existing contract. The contract will automatically renew for three years if the administration and union reach an agreement on a new school day schedule for Lake Forest High School before December 31, 2015.
Here is an email that D-115 sent to parents after the July 15 District 115 board meeting:
Following the teacher’s strike in 2012, the administration and Lake Forest Education Association (LFEA) committed to changing the historical pattern of contentious bargaining and loss of instructional time for students. Regular meetings led to beneficial conversations, improved relations, and a conviction to working together for common goals. During these discussions, the group agreed to change the tone and redefine the fundamental relationship between the Board of Education and teachers. Earlier this year, as a result of these efforts, the
Board and administration entered into discussions with the LFEA about a future labor agreement.
By collaboratively working together, the teams formulated a proposed agreement prior to the expiration of the existing teachers’ contract. This has never been done before in the recent history of Lake Forest High School.
The teachers presented the proposal to their membership and the LFEA approved the proposed agreement. It was then submitted to the Board of Education for review at their July meeting. As with all contract negotiations, specific details of the proposal remained confidential until approved by both parties.
On July 14, the Lake Forest High School Board of Education voted to approve a new one-year contract, with a potential three-year extension with the Lake Forest Education Association. The new agreement terminates the last year of the existing contract (2015-2016) and offers a new 1-year contract for 2015-2016 with an automatic renewal for 3-years, contingent upon the development of and agreement on a new school day schedule before December 31, 2015, to be implemented in 2016-17.
The contract includes a 3.8% average increase in its first year and a 4.4% average increase in year two. Increases for the third and fourth year are based on a funding formula tied to the CPI. The newly endorsed contract allows LFHS teachers’ compensation to remain competitive with similar high schools and maintains the district’s financial health.
One key component addressed in the contract was the teacher evaluation process. Some of the important contract changes improve and clarify evaluation procedures. A Standing Evaluation Committee will be created and charged with establishing a research-based professional practice rubric, supporting documents, and evaluation forms to ensure a consistent, quality teacher evaluation process.
The contract also includes important language addressing the school day and how best to use instructional time. The LFEA, Board, and administration are all interested in using classroom time most effectively. The new contract outlines the basic parameters to accomplish this, and allows a team of teachers and administrators to construct a new school day schedule to enhance student learning. Input will be solicited from parents, students, Board members, and other stakeholders throughout the process.
The anticipated outcome will be the design of a new schedule with the goals of raising achievement by ensuring students have expanded learning time and more individualized instruction, enriching educational offerings by broadening the curriculum and increasing choice and opportunity, and enhancing teaching practice and student growth by providing time for analysis of student data, personalized feedback, and individualized support.
Board of Education President Reese Marcusson thanked the Board, LFEA and District Administration for their collaborative work in reaching this agreement, commenting, “We have taken great strides to change the tone of discussions and redefine the relationship between teachers and the Board of Education. I would like to acknowledge former Board Presidents Todd Burgener and Dick Block for initiating this process.
We have come together and agreed on a new contract before the expiration of the current contract, ensuring no loss of instructional time. I’m proud to say this is an historic first for Lake Forest High School. The entire process was positive and respectful.
This new contract maintains the district’s financial health and is fiscally responsible to the community. Importantly, it has provisions to enhance student learning and allows our teachers’ compensation to remain competitive in today’s marketplace.”