Hinsdale District 86 officials show their hand in teachers negotiations

Hinsdale High School District 86 officials are taking an approach that is unusual for labor negotiations and disclosing what they say they’re offering district teachers as they hammer out a new contract.

School Board President Richard Skoda and board member Edward Corcoran held a news conference Monday to say the board’s offer to teachers is “more than fair.”

Both Skoda and Corcoran are members of the negotiating team, which was scheduled to meet with teacher representatives Tuesday and again on July 24.

The contract with the Hinsdale High School Teachers Association would cover teachers, but also social workers, guidance counselors and librarians.

The district is proposing that employees who earn $73,000 or less would get a raise of about 1.28 percent (based on 75 percent of the consumer price index of 1.7 percent) plus a bonus of $500 if they are rated “proficient,” or $1,250 if they are rated “excellent.”

Teachers or certified staff who earn more than $73,000 would get a raise of just 50 percent of the consumer price index, which would be about 0.85 percent. Their bonuses would be $500 if they are evaluated as proficient and $1,000 if they are rated excellent.

The district reports more than 85 percent of teachers are rated excellent in their evaluations.

If a teacher earning $100,000 were rated excellent, he or she would receive a raise of $850 and a $1,000 bonus, which would increase their yearly earnings to $101,850.

The School Board wants to eliminate annual longevity, or “step” increases, but continue to pay higher salaries for advanced education.

But to be paid more, a teacher’s advanced degree would have to relate to what they teach, “a master’s degree that added value in the classroom,” Corcoran said.

District officials also want employees to pay more for medical insurance.

The district offers only one insurance plan, a PPO. Although the employees’ deductible has risen, the amount they pay monthly for insurance has not gone up since 2006, Corcoran said.

In fact, the teachers did not have to pay anything for their insurance from February 2013 to December 2013, as a means of sweetening the last contract.

In their proposal, the district is offering an HMO and health savings account plan, in addition to the PPO.

The employees would pay nothing to participate in the HMO or health savings account.

The district has proposed raising the monthly $181 charge for family coverage in the PPO plan as much as 400 percent, which would be about $900, which could mean some teachers could actually have less total take-home pay than they did this year. Skoda later said the increase would be closer to $500, and then said they wanted to raise it“significantly.”

Employees also would have to pay an extra $200 a month for their spouse in any of the plans.

Michael Palmquist, spokesman for the Hinsdale High School Teachers Association, called the board’s plan a radical proposal that would reduce the take-home pay of 70 percent of the teachers.

“It will make District 86 the only high school district in the state not to offer a salary schedule,” Palmquist said. “It will offer less experienced teachers the lowest 4 year earnings of any comparable school district.”

Palmquist said the teachers’ offer is less than 1 percent higher than last year.

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