Hinsdale District 86 teachers’ union not pleased with latest offer

A group of Hinsdale High School District 86 teachers and supporters gather outside Hinsdale South High School before Monday's School Board meeting. | Kimbelry Fornek/Sun-Times Media
A group of Hinsdale High School District 86 teachers and supporters gather outside Hinsdale South High School before Monday's School Board meeting. | Kimbelry Fornek/Sun-Times Media

The Hinsdale High School Teachers Association is not painting as rosy a picture of contract negotiations with the Hinsdale High School District 86 Board as the board president did Monday.

“There was dramatically less progress on Monday than in previous sessions,” association spokesman Michael Palmquist said Tuesday.

Board President Richard Skoda said representatives of both sides met for five and a half hours Monday, during which time the association made an offer and the School Board made a counter offer. Skoda reported the district acquiesced on its desire to eliminate salary schedules, and included one in its latest proposal.

Salary schedules spell out annual pay increases teachers receive each year they work for a school district, plus specify additional raises for advanced education.

“While some of the details of (the board’s) proposal are packaged as a salary schedule, our analysis reveals the drastic change they are proposing,” Palmquist in a statement.

Palmquist said the association compared the salary schedule District 86 proposed for a teacher with a master’s degree to the schedule at Lyons Township High School.

While the difference would not be drastic for experienced teachers, it would affect young and mid-career teachers, he said.

“It’s going to lengthen the amount of time it takes to earn more money,” Palmquist said. “For a teacher with a master’s degree, that matters.”

Based on base salaries in the schedule, and not including stipends for coaching or other extra work, or health insurance costs, new and younger teachers would earn tens of thousands of dollars less than they would at LT, which Palmquist called “our rival and comparable neighboring school district.”

Under the current salary schedule in District 86, it takes 20 years to reach the maximum salary level. Palmquist said the district’s offer would extend the schedule to 35 years, with smaller increases each year.

“It’s an entirely new schedule with significantly smaller step increases,” he said.

“That’s why we are not signing on the dotted line,” Palmquist said.

The teachers’ negotiating team is already trying to schedule the next bargaining session, but it will not be this week, Palmquist said.

Students return to school this week, and teachers want to focus on that, he said.

Another negotiating session will be scheduled “as soon as we can and when schedules allow,” Palmquist said.

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