Thursday, May 29, 2014

Two Year Teachers' Contract Approved Tonight By BOE; 2014-2015 School Year Start Date Pushed Back

Earlier tonight, Dr. White emailed D181 parents and attached the following Joint Press Release issued by the BOE and HCHTA. Please sound off and let us know what you think of the new contract.

Absent from Dr. White's email was any discussion of the terms of the new Administrators' salaries which were also approved tonight.  We will have to wait until the approved Consent Agenda listing each administrator by name with their new salary is published on Board Docs.  (As of publication of this post, it had not yet been posted.) We will report the administrators' salary increases as soon as the information is available.


"A Joint Press Release from District 181 and the HCHTA


On Thursday, May 29, 2014, the Community Consolidated School District 181 Board of Education unanimously approved a new contract with the Hinsdale-Clarendon Hills Teachers’ Association (HCHTA). The members of the HCHTA voted in favor of ratifying the agreement on May 28. Representatives of the Board and the HCHTA remark that the process was extremely collaborative and resulted in a contract that is a “win win” for all stakeholders.

"The Board of Education values the highly talented and dedicated teaching staff of District 181. We wanted to ensure that the contract reflected our respect for their professionalism while being responsible to the community," said Board of Education Vice President and Negotiations team member Jill Vorobiev. "The contract also supports the Board's commitment to providing staff with the necessary structural supports to implement District and legislative initiatives and continue fostering an environment of excellence in education."

“The teachers of District 181 are very pleased with the new contract,” agreed Sarah Hoffman and Heather Scott, Co-Presidents of the HCHTA. “The process was a great partnership.”

HCHTA and District representatives had an initial negotiations planning meeting in September and began meeting formally in February. Teachers Matt Haeger and Erika Sajpel, Negotiations Chairs for HCHTA, explain that the group’s decision to use interest-based negotiations made for a more open and productive dialogue from the start. “In traditional negotiations, the representatives are in different rooms, exchanging information and sharing positions on issues in an indirect way, rarely interacting,” Sajpel explains. “That is how we have historically conducted negotiations in District 181, but in the interest-based process we used this time, all meetings were together in a large group or as sub- committees. The round-table format allowed us to addresstopics more openly and problem solve as a team.”

“Through this process, we have worked toward the same goal like we do on all other important District issues,” notes Assistant Superintendent for Learning (Pupil Services) Dr. Kurt Schneider. “We listened to one another’s stories and made a very conscious effort to understand the other perspective.” Though the interest based process takes more time, Schneider says the journey to get to the end result was time well spent. 

The new agreement is effective May 30, 2014 through June 30, 2016. The contract includes an increase to base salaries in each of the next two years. Assistant Superintendent of Business and Operations Gary Frisch notes that the base increases closely align to the latest consumer price indexes for the most recent years (1.75% in 2014-15 and 1.5% in 2015-16). The contract also calls for an increased contribution from teachers for family insurance. “The higher contribution will assist the Board of Education in recouping the increase in insurance costs to the District,” Frisch explains.

Frisch notes that one of the most significant components of the contract is the formation of a new committee that will begin meeting in the fall. The Compensation Review Committee will review the teachers’ salary schedule, continuing education, health insurance, professional development, retirement and other forms of compensation. “A team of representatives from the Board and HCHTA will consider how these contract features should be designed in a 21st century education system,” Frisch says.

Recently named Superintendent Dr. Don White says he is enthused by the committee’s charge. “The committee will look at ways to be creative and flexible in teacher compensation while ensuring that the design is sustainable over time. We want to continue to attract and retain outstanding teachers, and we also want to encourage and reward staff for meeting District goals through professional development.” The two year agreement will expire as the work of the committee is scheduled to finish, in the spring of 2016.“Creating a committee to fully vet these issues now will ensure that long-term solutions in the next contract have been well thought out and collaboratively designed.”

“We are in a new economic reality and a new education reality,” Dr. White remarks. “The Compensation Review Committee work will allow us to take a modernized look at our practices and be agile in responding to the current financial picture, as well as to the many educational changes happening at the local and national level. The Board has expressed a commitment to providing teachers with the tools and resources to accomplish this work.”

To help address the changes in education, both the Board and HCHTA wanted staff professional
development to be an area of major focus of the contract. “We are committed to being up-to-date with current best practices and working with the Board and administration in putting the structural supports in place to allow for ongoing professional development,”explains Hoffman and Scott.“It is important that teachers have opportunities to plan and discuss together how we can best serve students and be most effective in the classroom.” Schneider says he is confident the professional development plan will be a positive step forward. “We now have a modernized, data-driven professional development plan with a goal oriented focus that is more consistent and clear.”

The plan also aims at reducing the amount of substitute teacher use by moving some staff development time outside of the school day. Hoffman and Scott say teachers are looking forward to preserving in-class time as well as having their professional development schedule for the next school year provided well in advance.“A sub-committee working during negotiations has mapped out the professional development plan for 2014-15; when teachers end this school year, they will know what next year will look like. We are excited that the new plan provides more opportunities to meet and collaborate throughout the year.”

In addition to seeing what both sides hope will be a decrease in the number of substitute teachers that are called upon during the year, families will be impacted by a second change to the professional development plan.The first day of school for 2014-15 will move from Thursday, August 21 to Monday, August 25 to create additional staff development opportunities at the start of the year. Therefore, also on May 29, 2014, the Board of Education approved the 2014-15 school calendar which reflected the change in start date. The last day of school will now be Friday, June 5 (if no emergency days are used); winter break and spring break dates were not affected by the change.

Dr. White commended both groups for their successful efforts. “I am excited to join a team so committed to building a positive climate and working together to resolve challenges. This has been a model of the kind of work we want to continue cultivating - open, collaborative, and centered around providing the best possible education for students.”"


Anonymous said...

Why was Schneider involved? I don't care if this was Interest Based negotiations that involved a committee structure. He had no business involving himself in this project. Why was this allowed? He was originally hired to run the Special Ed department. What possible qualifications does he have to participate in the HCHTA contract negotiations? Has everyone lost their minds?

Anonymous said...

I couldn't agree more. Did he get a raise tonight???

Anonymous said...

Schneider should no receive a raise! Hopefully, Dr. White will quickly see that the only two left in the Administration, besides Gary Frisch, need to go! Since everyone else "jumped ship," I guess no one wanted Kurt and Dawn! It would be excellent if Dr. White could bring in a whole new group of administrators of his choice. Frisch should go, too. As demonstrated by his leadership on the Facilities Committee, Frisch doesn't have the work ethic necessary in D181. He is mediocre at best!

Anonymous said...

If Schneider and Benaitis received raises, it will truly show how pathetic the BOE is and their warped sense of reality. Notice how quiet Schneider has been lately? Can't rock the boat now with a new boss at the helm. He should be sweating bullets, given his previous job performance, as should Benaitis.

Anonymous said...

While it never seems like a good idea to call for any person's ouster directly, the degree to which all the district level staff has failed to fufill their duties is striking. The recent fiasco regarding facilities would seem reason enough to oust all the district's staff in that area, including the business officer. As confusion still reigns in important curricular matters it is hard not to also call for their replacement.

Surely all senior staff should give the superintendent the courtesy of assembling his own team. No doubt that was in the minds of those that have left;others that seem to have been unable to find a new position appear to have morphed their position to suit their own ends instead of fulfilling the role to which they've been hired ought to be the subject of extensive scrutiny by the new superintendent -- it is not enough that they may be filling a new role, are they the best person to serve the district given such chameleon-like ability to re-shape themself?

Unfortunately the decision of the BOE to put district level staff under contract before the new superintendent was able to offer input may place the district in the unpleasant position of needing to "buy out" staff that is incompatible with the new leader. This also puts Dr. White in a position that may alter his relationship with other staff...

Ultimately the most important thing is that the district addresses pressing issues that impact student learning in an appropriate way. The less time wasted with staff that has their own agenda the better.

Anonymous said...

I agree completely with the previous comment. These comments are right on and very well communicated. It truly is a shame that Dr. White is saddled with the "chameleon administrators" and their presence will impact Dr. White's developing relationships with our teachers and staff. I hope everyone takes these circumstances into consideration and allows Dr. White to do his due diligence and evaluation of the "chameleons." Hopefully, the "chameleons" won't be around much longer and the issues around student learning can be addressed quickly.