Residents pack Hinsdale District 86 Board meeting to discuss teacher contract

It was standing room only at Monday’s meeting of the Hinsdale High School District 86 Board, with the community eager to hear about ongoing teacher negotiations and comment on the approach board leaders are taking.

About 10 people had their say during the public comment portion, from residents who said if teachers think they are not fairly paid, they can go to a different school district, to former School Board member Ly Hodgkins, who said District 86 is a desirable place to live with high-achieving students, “because we have superb teachers who are not necessarily overpaid.”

Ninety or so people attended the meeting.

Bruce Davidson of Hinsdale suggested the district use another labor tool, the lockout.

“It is my understanding after (a) lock out, you can then start a replacement process,” Davidson said urging the board to consider the options, suggestions it would even the playing field with teachers who can choose when to strike.

Community members had different opinions not only on how much the district teachers should be paid, but also on the flier the district mailed to residents.

School Board President Richard Skoda said he has already spent hours responding to emails and “the universal theme is ‘thank you for the information.’”

Sarah Taylor of Willowbrook was not one of them.

“I am offended by this flier. It’s misleading,” she said.

The district must think its residents do not understand statistics, Taylor said.

A list of average salaries at various school districts included both elementary and high school districts, public and private schools.

“I don’t understand the relevance,” Taylor said.

The parents and taxpayers in this community care about education, she said.

“They move here knowing the taxes are going to be high,” she said.

Resident Carol Park advised, “let’s do the negotiation in private, with no more mailings please.”

In response to criticism about the board not disclosing how much the mailing cost, board member Edward Corcoran said it cost about $10,000.

Skoda said the board wants the community to know what the district is offering the teachers and whether residents think it’s fair or not.

“If you think our offer is not fair, tell us what is,” Skoda said.

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