Hinsdale District 86 Board to consider teacher pension and salary schedule referendums

Ly Hodgkins was among 11 speakers to address the Hinsdale High School District 86 Board regarding contract negotiations. | Kimberly Fornek/Sun-Times Media file photo
Ly Hodgkins was among 11 speakers to address the Hinsdale High School District 86 Board regarding contract negotiations. | Kimberly Fornek/Sun-Times Media file photo

Hinsdale High School District 86 Board President Richard Skoda expressed optimism Monday ahead of a negotiation session Tuesday with the teachers’ union.

But the School Board also called a special meeting Tuesday night to consider putting two advisory referendums on the November ballot.

One referendum would ask if the district should “continue to offer eligible teachers the opportunity to earn 6 percent salary increases in each of the four school years prior to retirement?”

The second question would ask voters if the district should “continue to offer teachers an automatic salary increase for another school year of service to the district and attainment of additional educational credit?”

“Hopefully, Tuesday, we will have no need to put referenda on the ballot if we are making progress in negotiations,” Skoda said in an email Monday. “If not, the board needs to decide if they want the community to weigh in on any areas of impasse. My opinion is there is nothing more in the spirit of democracy and . . . more American than voter input at the ballot box.”

According to the Illinois State Board of Elections website, school boards, municipalities and other government bodies must pass a resolution by Aug. 18 if they want to have a referendum on the Nov. 4 ballot.

The board meeting is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Aug. 12 in the district’s administration center.

“I suspect on Tuesday both sides’ offers will be much different than what is on the table now,” Skoda wrote. “I met with the union presidents three hours on Friday, and again for three today.”
No lawyers were present, Skoda said. It was “just floating ideas.”

Audience communication is also on the agenda for Tuesday’s meeting. But the meeting will be in the conference room of the administration center, on the southeast corner of 55th and Grant streets, which has limited seating.

The School Board discussed the possibility of a referendum at its Aug. 4 meeting, with Skoda and board members Claudia Manley and Edward Corcoran saying they were in favor of proceeding with a referendum.
Corcoran specifically wants to ask voters if they are in favor of the end of career salary boosts, which increase the pension the employee collects for the rest of his life.

In ongoing contract negotiations, the School Board has proposed eliminating the teachers salary schedule, which gives certified employees automatic annual raises in the first 20 years they work for the district.

School Board member Michael Kuhn last week said he did not want to use a referendum to negotiate a teachers contract. Board member Jennifer Planson expressed a similar position, but, like board member Kay Gallo, said she wanted more information.

Board member Victor Casini was not at the Aug. 4 meeting.

Skoda said last week negotiating a contract with the teachers and other certified staff would not be delayed until the referendum results were known.



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