NEGOTIATIONS TO RESUME FOLLOWING TEACHERS’ REJECTION OF TENTATIVE CONTRACT AGREEMENT
Since January, the LaGrange Highlands District 106 Board of Education has been working with the Highlands Association of Teachers (HAT), the union that represents our 82 teachers, to negotiate a fair multiyear contract that serves the best interests of all Highlands stakeholders – our students, teachers, and taxpayer community. When we last communicated with you on November 21, we believed we had reached a tentative agreement that the HAT and the Board would soon vote to approve.
Today, we were extremely shocked and disappointed to learn that the teachers recently voted to reject the tentative contract agreement negotiated by their union leaders and the Board. This is a highly unusual and unexpected circumstance. The parties will soon resume negotiations — again, with the assistance of an independent mediator from the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service.
The rejected offer supported our District’s ability to continue to deliver a high-quality education, while also fulfilling our commitment to compensate our teachers fairly, maintain a balanced budget and sustain our long-term economic viability.
Under the terms of the tentative agreement rejected by the Highlands teachers, every teacher in the District would have received a salary increase in each year of a proposed five-year contract, as follows:
- 2019-20: 5%
- 2020-21: 4%
- 2021-22: 3.25%
- 2022-23: 3.25%
- 2023-24: 3%
Because the raises listed above are percentage-based (i.e., every teacher receives the same percentage increase), every teacher in the District would have received a 20% salary increase over the rejected five-year contract.
These salary increases, along with any negotiated increases in extra-duty stipends for teachers who coach or supervise extracurricular activities, would have been paid retroactive to August 2019, which is when our previous contract expired.
All of the members of the Board are parents of Highlands students or alumni, and like you, we value and respect our teachers. We want our District to be a place where they can grow and thrive as professional educators at every stage of their career, and where they are all competitively compensated for their excellent work in educating our children. Yet, we are also committed to preserving the long-term financial health of our District and want to ensure that we are able to provide our teachers and students with the tools and resources they need to deliver the excellent education our community has come to expect and deserves. We are mindful, too, of the importance of keeping our classroom sizes small amid rising enrollment trends and ensuring that we can adequately plan for critical capital improvements to maintain our school buildings.
We are all eager to reach a contract agreement and return the District’s sole focus to providing a premier educational experience to our more than 920 students. Please encourage both the Board and the HAT to keep talking and working toward agreement. We will continue to provide timely updates on the status of negotiations via email and the District website.
As always, we thank you for your support of the Highlands, our students and teachers.
Both parties met last week on November 13 to continue negotiations on a successor collective bargaining agreement. The meeting was productive, and the parties expect that the remaining issues will be resolved within the next few weeks.
The Board and the Union are pleased to report that they have come to a tentative agreement on salaries and benefits for the next five years. Negotiations on remaining issues will continue on Wednesday, October 30.
The Board and the Union teams met to continue negotiations on the successor collective bargaining agreement. Negotiations were productive and the parties continue to negotiate in good faith. The parties are scheduled to meet again to continue the process on October 28 and October 30, 2019.
Earlier this week, the Board and the Union met to continue negotiations on a successor collective bargaining agreement. Both teams exchanged proposals and continue working together in good faith. We appreciate your support in this process.
Currently, the Board and the Union have committed to continuing negotiations next on October 28, yet both parties are hopeful that a meeting date next week can be finalized as well.
Thank you, and have a wonderful weekend.
The following message on behalf of Heather Pilch (Teachers' Union President) and John Corcoran (District 106 Board President):
The Board and the Union met on September 30 to continue negotiations on the successor collective bargaining agreement. The meeting was positive and progress continues to be made toward a fair resolution for all stakeholders. The parties have committed to continuing negotiations on October 16, 28, and 30.
The following message is shared on behalf of Heather Pilch (Teachers' Union President) and John Corcoran (District 106 Board President):
As we began the 2019-2020 school year, the Board of Education and the Highlands Association of Teachers (HAT) issued a joint communication about the status of our ongoing teacher contract negotiations. Since negotiations began in January, the negotiating teams from the Board and the union have met more than 20 times and have reached tentative agreements on a number of issues, including teacher work day, personal leave, and planning time.
The current contract with the teachers expired August 15. Teachers are currently receiving last year’s rate of pay and benefits as we continue negotiations. When we reach agreement, any increases will be paid retroactively to the start of the school year.
The Board and the union continue to meet with the support of a mediator to address the economic issues yet to be resolved, including salary and benefits. The parties continue to work in good faith to negotiate a multiyear contract that serves the best interests of all Highlands stakeholders – our students, teachers, and taxpayer community. Our next negotiation session is scheduled for Monday, September 30.
The demonstration held on Friday by employees and parents was in no way an indication of a pending strike. We have a shared interest to reach a contract agreement without disruption. We will continue working on open issues through the bargaining process. We are also jointly committed to not allow the bargaining process to interfere with the consistent, high-quality instruction that the teachers are providing to the students in our classrooms on a daily basis.
Please show your support for Highlands by encouraging both the Board and HAT to keep meeting and working to achieve a contract agreement that supports both the educational quality and the financial stability of our district. As appropriate, we will continue to provide timely updates on the status of negotiations via email and our district website.