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CLASSES RESUME TUESDAY, AGREEMENT REACHED

The District 46 Board of Education and the Lake County Federation of Teachers local 504 have reached a tentative agreement in their contract negotiations, and the three-day school strike has been suspended. Classes will resume at Avon Center, Meadowview, Prairieview, Woodview, Frederick, Grayslake Middle School, and Park Campus on Tuesday, January 22, following the already scheduled day off Monday for the Martin Luther King holiday.

The tentative agreement outlines the terms of a new two-year contract. No details will be shared until it is ratified by the teachers' union membership and then approved by the District Board, which is expected over the next week or so.

"This tentative agreement is indicative of our shared dedication and commitment to working together to meet the needs of all members of the District 46 community - teachers, students, families and taxpayers," said Ray Millington, District 46 Board chairman.
[ posted 01/21/13]


DISTRICT 46 QUESTIONS-AND-ANSWERS

STATUS OF NEGOTIATIONS AND THE STRIKE

1. What is the Board hoping to get out of tonight's negotiations?

The Board is unified and committed to resolving the strike as quickly as possible, and hopes to leave tonight's negotiating session with an agreement that is fair and equitable so that students can return to school as soon as possible.

Schools are already scheduled to be closed on Monday, January 21 in observance of Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

2. How did things get this far? How long have you been negotiating?

Our goal has always been to preserve quality education in this District while ensuring we have the funds to support that education long into the future. We have a significant budget deficit in this district that is a stark reality we must deal with.

The Board began its negotiations with the teachers' union nearly a year ago, in February 2012, and over time and many meetings, we have made good progress on many items. However, we still remain far apart on teacher salary and retirement.

3. Why aren't you meeting more? Why isn't the Board meeting every day to get this resolved?

The Board has been in negotiations since February 2012. We have made good progress during that time on several items, however, we still remain far apart on teacher salary and retirement. The Board is meeting at times that are agreed to by all parties.

4. How close are you to reaching an agreement with the teachers' union? What are the sticking points?

Since negotiations began in February 2012, we have made good progress on many items. However, we still remain far apart on teacher salary and retirement. Currently, the Board is proposing a salary freeze for the 2012- 2013 school year, and a one-time $1,000 stipend during the 2013-2014 school year, plus maintaining all benefits, including 100 percent paid-for healthcare coverage for individual HMO plans. The last proposal from the teachers' union included an increase (lane change) that would cost $133,000 in year-one, and $1,080,000 in year two of the contract.

During our January 17 negotiating session, a federal mediator from the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Services presented a suggestion for consideration. That suggestion would still have cost the District $650,000 over the next two years. While the Board appreciates and respects the mediator's work, the District does not have the money to support this suggestion.

The School District is committed to fair compensation for our quality teachers, but we must balance that against very challenging financial realities. Our school district faces serious multi-year budget deficits, diminishing funds from the state, and declining revenues. At the same time, unlike other neighboring school districts, we have avoided teacher lay-offs and kept class sizes small, preserving jobs, and maintaining educational quality while living within our means.

Our goal has always been to preserve quality education in this District while ensuring we have the funds to support that education long into the future.

5. It seems as though the Board really isn't giving at all on this - can't you give a little to get our children back in school?

We continue to negotiate in good faith, but we cannot spend money we don't have - it really is as simple as that. Unlike other districts, we have not laid off a lot of teachers or increased class sizes. Single HMO healthcare plans are still covered at 100 percent. That, coupled with significant decreases in state funding, has District 46 projecting a $2.2 million deficit next year. That is clearly not sustainable, and we certainly can't be looking to add to it.

6. How long do you anticipate the strike to continue?

We are determined to reach an agreement on the remaining issues in these negotiations.

We'd like to reach a fair and equitable agreement quickly so that students can return to school as soon as possible. Schools are already scheduled to be closed on Monday, January 21 in observance of Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

We know that nothing is more disruptive to a school community (parents, students and teachers) than a strike, and we don't want to miss any more days in the classroom. We are fully committed to working to resolution.

7. Are other District employees working during the strike?

Yes. All District secretaries, custodial and maintenance staff and administrators are working. They are not members of the teachers bargaining unit and the current contract negotiations do not affect their compensation or benefits package. They are part of a different union that is currently negotiating its own contract. District employees are helping to keep parents informed through ongoing communications and ensuring that all District 46 buildings are maintained for when students return to class.

8. When will students make up the days they are missing because of the strike?

It's too early to say. A determination of whether we will need make-ups and when will be decided once resolution has occurred so we know the full picture.

THE DISTRICT'S CURRENT OFFER TO THE TEACHERS' UNION

9. How is the Board making its decisions about which concessions to make in its negotiations with the teachers' union?

The job of the Board members is to balance the many needs of the varied constituents we serve, including students, parents, teachers and taxpayers, both business and residential. We are committed to reaching an agreement that will protect the District's long-term financial integrity and preserve the quality of teaching and learning in our schools. Just like any household, we have to look at the cost of the item (increased salary) and see if we have revenue to fund it. This Board is committed to living within our means while trying to balance the needs of all constituents within our community.

10. How do our teacher salaries compare to those in neighboring districts?

It's hard to say. Straight number comparisons do not tell the full story, so this is an exercise in futility. Every school district has different "lanes" -- thresholds that signify movement or raises -- teachers have varying levels of experience or longevity, benefits are different, and other variables make this more of an apples-to-oranges rather than a true or useful comparison.

ABOUT THE DISTRICT'S FINANCIAL STATE

11. What is District 46's financial state? Are things really that bad that we can't afford to give our teachers increases?

Our school district faces serious multi-year budget deficits, diminishing funds from the state, and declining revenues. At the same time, unlike other neighboring school districts, we have avoided teacher lay-offs, kept all benefits intact, and kept class sizes small, preserving jobs, and maintaining educational quality while living within our means.

Specifically, the State of Illinois, under its own financial pressures, underpaid the District by $1.5 million last year. We anticipate a $2.2 million deficit next year. Even without a salary increase for our teachers, the District still may face very challenging decisions, including eliminating teacher positions, increasing class sizes, ending extracurricular programs and possibly even closing one of our schools. The business community spoke out strongly against a levy that would have raised taxes and helped to close this gap.

Additionally, there is a misconception regarding the District's finances and its "reserve" funds being reported in the media. The Board's budget projects an end-of-fiscal-year balance in most operating funds, which when totaled is approximately $16 million. The end-of-fiscal-year fund balance is a snapshot taken on June 30 of each year, after the receipt of the first installment of taxes. For example, over the course of the year, as revenue is received and expenses are paid, the Educational Fund experiences a low-point balance of only $1.9 million (equivalent to only 28 days of expenses). Every year of budget deficit will further erode the end-of-year fund balance and also further reduce the low-point of the fund. This fund balance is necessary for the District to manage its cash flow and to meet its continuing financial obligations, including payroll.

12. What are the long-term prospects for the district? If teachers bit the bullet now on this proposal, which is clearly far from what they are seeking, is there hope for future salary increases?

We certainly hope to be in better shape financially in the future, but of course, that's a really tough question, and some of it depends on issues clearly out of our control like state dollars and the overall economy. It's one of the reasons we are working on a two-year contract rather than a longer one, because things are so unpredictable.

13. Even if you totally hold the line, will you still have to lay-off teachers, eliminate programs, even shut down a school as is detailed in your parent letter?

Potentially, yes, and all of these issues have been discussed publicly. Unlike other school districts, District 46 has preserved jobs, kept programs, maintained benefits, and kept class sizes small, but we cannot ignore this growing budget deficit. About 85 percent of the District educational budget is payroll so it is nearly impossible not to touch this area when bringing the budget back in line.

14. How did the school district get into such bad financial shape?

Significantly diminished state dollars is the biggest issue. The district did cut nearly $6 million in operating expenses over the last three years as the economy turned, so we have been preparing as best we can. District 46 has preserved jobs, kept programs, maintained benefits, and kept class sizes small, but we cannot ignore this growing budget deficit.

15. What about Administrator salaries? Have they been frozen? Are they getting raises? Might not this be a place to cut and find some revenue for teachers?

Some of the principals had their salaries realigned with the responsibilities of their jobs. Not all received an increase. The rest of the non-union employees have not received an increase in three years. In addition, administrative positions have been cut in an effort to preserve both teaching positions and class size.

16. How do the District's property taxes and budget relate to and impact each other?

Property tax revenues generate 67 percent of the District 46's annual budget. Significantly, 64 percent of the District's overall budget goes toward salaries and benefits. Clearly, property tax revenues almost do not cover the costs of providing the current level of salary and benefits to District 46 employees.

Based on sentiment we heard in our town hall meetings and other communications, we do not believe that taxpayers are ready to approve a tax increase right now. That said, we also recognize that statewide changes in school funding may threaten the quality of education in this District. If this trend continues unabated, the District may have to turn to the community for the financial support necessary to maintain the quality of our educational program.

17. The District didn't exercise its right to increase its levy this year -- if the District had increased taxes would it be able accommodate the salary demands of the teachers' union?

It would have been some help, but would not have covered the whole of the union's salary demands with our current deficit. Before the Board voted on the levy, we did, as required by law, host a public hearing that was promoted and advertised to the full community. Those who participated and attended the hearing mostly spoke out against the levy.

Like most households and businesses, this district must attempt to control its budget deficit before it increases expenditures.

18. If an agreement was reached and teachers were given what they are asking, what would that mean for the overall budget of the District?

The last proposal from the teachers union included an increase (lane change) that would cost $133,000 in year-one, and $1,080,000 of new costs in year two of the contract.

During Thursday's negotiating session, a federal mediator from the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Services presented a suggestion for consideration. That suggestion would still have cost the District $650,000 over the next two years.

The State of Illinois, under its own financial pressures, underpaid the District by $1.5 million last year. We anticipate a $2.2 million deficit next year. Even without a salary increase for our teachers, the District still may face very challenging decisions, including eliminating teacher positions, increasing class sizes, ending extracurricular programs and possibly even closing one of our schools.

19. I have heard that the District maintains a significant fund balance. Why can't these monies be reallocated to cover the costs associated with increasing teacher salaries?

There is a misconception regarding the District's finances and its "reserve" funds. The Board's budget projects an end-of-fiscal-year balance in most operating funds, which when totaled is approximately $16 million. The end-of-fiscal-year fund balance is a snap-shot taken on June 30 of each year, after the receipt of the first installment of taxes. For example, over the course of the year, as revenue is received and expenses are paid, the Educational Fund experiences a low-point balance of only $1.9 million (equivalent to only 28 days of expenses). Every year of budget deficit will further erode the end-of-year fund balance and also further reduce the low-point of the fund. This fund balance is necessary for the District to manage its cash flow and to meet its continuing financial obligations, including payroll.

ABOUT THE DISTRICT'S COMMUNICATIONS WITH PARENTS

20. How can parents and the community share our concerns and comments with the Board and the teachers' union?

The Board is very interested in hearing from parents and the community on this issue. Please direct your questions to askaquestion@d46.org and keep checking the website as new questions and answers will continue to get posted.
[ posted 01/20/13]


January 18, 2013

Dear District 46 Family:

This has been a tough week for everyone. The School District and the Board of Education recognize that the community would like to see negotiations conclude and the school strike end immediately. We share this sentiment, and will continue to work hard toward resolution.

School District 46 is committed to fair compensation for our quality teachers, but we must balance that against very challenging financial realities. Our School District faces serious multi-year budget deficits, diminishing funds from the state, and declining revenues. At the same time, unlike other neighboring school districts, we have avoided teacher lay-offs and kept class sizes small, preserving jobs, and maintaining educational quality while living within our means.

Here's where things stand: We have been negotiating with the teachers union (Lake County Federation of Teachers) since February 2012, and during that time have made good progress on many items. However, we still remain far apart on teacher salary and retirement. Currently, the Board is proposing a salary freeze for the 2012-2013 school year, and a one-time $1,000 stipend during the 2013-2014 school year, plus maintaining all benefits. The last proposal from the teachers union included an increase (lane change) that would cost $133,000 in year-one, and $1,080,000 of new costs in year two of the contract.

During Thursday's negotiating session, a federal mediator from the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Services presented a proposal for consideration. That proposal would still have cost the District $650,000 over the next two years. While the Board appreciates and respects the mediator's work, the District does not have the money to support this proposal.

The State of Illinois, under its own financial pressures, underpaid the District by $1.5 million last year. We anticipate a $2.2 million deficit next year. Even without a salary increase for our teachers, the District still may face very challenging decisions, including eliminating teacher positions, increasing class sizes, ending extracurricular programs and possibly even closing one of our schools. The community decided against a levy that would raise taxes and help to close this gap.

Additionally, there is a misconception regarding the District's finances and its "reserve" funds being reported in the media. The Board's budget projects an end-of-fiscal-year balance in most operating funds, which when totaled is approximately $16 million. The end-of-fiscal-year fund balance is a snapshot taken on June 30 of each year, after the receipt of the first installment of taxes. For example, over the course of the year, as revenue is received and expenses are paid, the Educational Fund experiences a low- point balance of only $1.9 million (equivalent to only 28 days of expenses). Every year of budget deficit will further erode the end-of-year fund balance and also further reduce the low-point of the fund. This fund balance is necessary for the District to manage its cash flow and to meet its continuing financial obligations, including payroll.

The Board has never contended that the teachers do not deserve a salary increase. Rather, the Board has stressed that any salary expectations of the teachers must be something the Board has the ability to finance. In the current economic situation, that ability is limited. The Board has tried to be mindful of the needs of its students, teachers, residents and taxpayers throughout this process.

Representatives from the District and the teachers union are scheduled to meet again Sunday, January 20, and are committed to meeting sooner and/or throughout the day Monday as needed to reach agreement.

We hosted two town hall meetings on these issues in December and early January, and remain very interested in hearing from parents and community members on this issue. Please direct your questions to askaquestion@d46.org and we will respond to them as quickly as possible.

Our goal has always been to preserve quality education in this District while ensuring we have the funds to support that education long into the future. We are committed to resolving the strike as quickly as possible.

Sincerely,

Ellen Correll
Community Consolidated School District 46
Superintendent
[ posted 01/18/13]


Per Superintendent Correll at 3 PM Today

The strike continues. There will be no school tomorrow Friday January 18th, 2013


The school board recognizes the community would like to see the strike issue resolved for both the staff and the students. The school board would like to continue to give annual raises at least 2 % above Consumer Price Index as they have every year in the last decade. The financial reality does not allow us to do so. The State of Illinois, under it's own financial pressures, underpaid the district by 1.5 million dollars last year. Furthermore our financial projections show a 2.2 million dollar deficit next year, even if we do not give raises to the staff. The Board is trying to avoid deficit spending.

What does that mean for D46 students and community?

1. The district may need to eliminate 37 positions for school year 2013-2014 2. The district has already begun discussions of the possible need to close a school. 3. Staff raises at this time will add to the deficit and could lead to further teacher eliminations, increased class size enrollments and possible program elimination. 4. There is a very real possibility that the State of Illinois will shift some of the pension burden to the school districts.

For the teachers and their many community supporters it must seem that the Board of Education is unwilling to give the staff adequate raises. As with everyone, we hope that an economic turnaround will start to improve revenues to the district. Until that time, the board is committed to the long term financial health of the district. This offer gives some compensation increase to our outstanding teachers, while maintaining their excellent benefits and attempting to lessen the negative impact to our students.
[ posted 01/17/13]


Per Superintendent Correll at 1:00 PM:

The strike continues. There will be no school tomorrow Thursday January 17th, 2013
[ posted 01/16/13]


Board of Education
Strike Update
January 16, 2013


As the teachers continue to engage in their strike, the D46 Board of Education would like to clarify some misinformation. In several interviews, the Union has stated that it already agreed to a salary freeze in the first year of the contract. In one report, the Union even stated that there was a tentative agreement on a first year freeze. This is not the case. There has never been a tentative agreement on a first year freeze. The teachers' salary proposal for the first year of the contract included a lane change at the cost of $133,000. This proposal also called for $1,080,000 of new costs in the second year of the contract. The Union has made it clear in the proposals it made public, that it will not accept a proposed soft salary freeze in the first year of the contract without adding significant costs to the second year.

Last night, the mediator presented a proposal that he believed represented a "middle ground" between the parties' positions. The Board appreciates those efforts, but it is ultimately the Board, and not the mediator, who must find the money to pay the increased costs of any agreement. During a time when the Board is facing serious multi-year budget deficits and declining revenue, this is not an easy task. When projecting budget deficits in excess of $2 million, adding more money to that deficit is not an obvious solution.

There is a misconception regarding the District's finances and its "reserve" funds. The Board's budget projects and end- of-fiscal-year balance in most operating funds, which when totaled is approximately $16,000,000. Sometimes these end- of-year balances are collectively referred to as a "reserve fund."

However, these balances are not akin to a savings account or "a rainy day fund." Rather, these fund balances fluctuate throughout the course of the fiscal year as revenue is received and expenses are paid. The end-of-fiscal-year fund balance is a snap-shot taken on June 30 of each year, after the receipt of the first installment of taxes. For example, over the course of the year, as revenue is received and expenses are paid, the Educational Fund experiences a low-point balance of only $1.9 million (equivalent to only 28 days of expenses). Every year of budget deficit will further erode the end-of-year fund balance and also further reduce the low-point of the fund and may cause the district to take out tax anticipated warrants, an additional cost to the district.

The Board understands that the teachers had hoped for higher salary increases. The Board has never contended that the teachers do not deserve a salary increase. Rather, the Board has stressed that any salary expectations of the teachers must be something the Board has the ability to finance. In the current economic situation, that ability is limited. The Board has tried to be mindful of the needs of its students, teachers, residents and taxpayers throughout this process. The Board looks forward to the next meeting with the Union in an effort to reach an agreement.
[ posted 01/16/13]


Per Superintendent Correll at 11:52PM:M

Unfortunately, the Board of Education and D46 teachers were unable to reach an agreement. The teachers have informed the district that they will be on strike beginning tomorrow, Wednesday, January 16th. Please watch the website for further updates.
[ posted 01/15/13]


Superintendent Statement to the Public

Dear Parent/Guardians:

As you are aware, the Board of Education and the Teachers' Union have been in negotiations for several months. As of this date, no agreement has been reached. The Teachers' Union has identified January 16, 2013 as a tentative strike date if no agreement can be reached during negotiations this evening.

I realize that this is a challenge, for you, the parents. I will be sending a School Reach call out either late Tuesday night or early Wednesday morning regarding the results of the meeting on Tuesday. I will notify you as soon as I know whether or not there will be a strike.

Please review our website (www.d46.org) for updates and other information regarding the impending strike. Hopefully, both sides will be able to come to an agreement on Tuesday night.

Sincerely,
Ellen Correll

Download the Superintendent Message: English | Español
[ posted 01/15/13]


Board of Education Statement to the Public
The school board has attempted to discuss different scenarios with the union. Unfortunately the union hasn't accepted or countered any of our attempts to resolve the issues. Another mediation session has been scheduled on Tuesday, January 15.
Regards!
Ray Millington, Board of Education President
[ posted 01/12/13]


Negotiation Update
The Board of Education and Teachers' Union will meet again on Tuesday afternoon at 3:45PM.
[ posted 01/12/13]


Superintendent Statement to the Public
The Board of Education/Teachers Union negotiations on Friday night did NOT result in an agreement. There is another negotiation session scheduled for Tuesday, January 15, 2013. It is my suggestion however, that you begin planning for a strike and any needed child care. I will continue to update you but wanted to make sure you have plenty of time to make plans. I will be working with Champions to develop child care plans at Meadowview and Prairieview. As soon as those options are firmed up, I will post on the district website. I know this is a very challenging situation for all of you and it is our hope that an agreement can be reached. In the event of a strike, I will be sending out a message via the School Reach phone message system, posting on the website, an email blast and notification to the media. If you have any questions, please feel free to email me.

Ellen L. Correll, Superintendent
[ posted 01/12/13]


Board of Education Statement to the Public
The Board of Education is hopeful that a new contract with its teachers will be successfully negotiated without disruption to the education of the students. However, it must also prepare in the event those efforts prove unsuccessful, there are no further discussions and the teachers strike. The Board of Education may consider providing services to students during a strike, if feasible. The Board of Education will collect applications from appropriately certified teachers and PSRP to provide services on a temporary basis in the place of those teachers who choose to participate in the strike.

In addition, the Board of Education will also be collecting applications for the PSRP positions. While the District and the PSRP union are not yet at impasse and the PSRP have not filed a strike notice, the Board of Education needs to be prepared in the event that the PSRP/District talks prove to be unsuccessful.

Current District 46 staff may elect to apply for any vacancy.

Download the Board of Education Statement and Job Position Listings
[ posted 12/20/12]


Board of Education/Teacher Negotiations
Despite multiple negotiation sessions and five mediation sessions, both parties have been unable to agree on the terms of the new contract. A new, updated Board of Education Proposal has been posted to the Board of Education webpage. This proposal was presented to the Teachers' Union on November 28th. Please continue to monitor the CCSD46 website for any further information regarding the negotiation process.
[ posted 11/29/12]


LCFT Teachers' Union Strike Date Announced
The District 46 Board of Education and the Grayslake Federation of Teachers met again last night (November 12) and were unable to come to agreement. The teachers have declared January 16, 2013 as their strike date. Both sides have agreed to meet again on November 28. Please continue to monitor this site for more information as it is available.

If you have any comments, questions or concerns, please feel free to email the Board of Education or me, at correll.ellen@d46.org
[ posted 11/13/12]


Update on Board of Education/Teacher Negotiations
The District 46 Board of Education and the Grayslake Federation of Teachers continue to bargain in good faith, including a meeting last night, October 30. Another date to meet has been scheduled for Monday, November 12. During this period, we expect "business as usual", meaning school will be open. If anything changes with this, parents will be immediately notified through the emergency calling system and email. Thank you for your patience. I will do my best to keep communications open! Please do not hesitate to contact me with any questions or concerns you may have.
[ posted 10/31/12]


Board of Education/Teacher Negotiations
There are no new updates regarding the teacher negotiation process. Both sides have agreed for further discussion within the next few weeks. Please continue to monitor the CCSD46 website for any further information regarding the negotiation process.
[ posted 10/22/12]


Update on LCFT Teachers' Union Strike Vote
As reported in the media, District 46 teachers voted this week to authorize a strike, IF NECESSARY. After the Illinois Educational Labor Relations Board (IELRB) receives the final offers from both the Board of Education and the Teachers' Union, the teachers will have a 10 day waiting period before considering to walk out. It is my hope that both sides will continue to bargain in good faith. The Board of Education and the Teachers' Union are currently working with a Federal Mediator.

Please continue to monitor the CCSD46 website for updates.
[ posted 10/17/12]





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Ellen Correll, Superintendent
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