D218 Board Defends 'Last and Best Offer' to Teachers Union

D218 Superintendent Dr. John Byrne says board's offer to teachers union is "very generous." Teachers union will present district's offer to teachers at undisclosed meeting this week.

In response to the D218 sent out a press release on Friday acknowledging the deadlocked collective bargaining agreement.

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D218 teachers’ four-year contract is set to expire on the first day of school on August 20, which is a freshman-only day. IEA Local 218, which represents teachers at , and Eisenhower High Schools, and the Delta Learning Center, rejected the district school board’s first offer in May.

“While several other neighboring school districts seek to freeze salaries and eliminate faculty positions, the board has offered substantial raises considering the difficult economic times,” Superintendent Dr. John Byrne said. “The teachers experienced a 40-percent raise during the 2008-12 contract years which was settled just prior to the economic woes becoming reality.”

See the two offers side by side. Read the pdfs.

The school board and teachers union have met three times with the federal mediator. At the last sit-down on July 9, the district declared an “impasse.”

An “impasse" occurs when no agreement has been reached and both parties believe that they are unable to make any more movement. The D218 board has since submitted its “last and best offer.”

Byrne pointed out that instead of cutting faculty positions or decreasing the number of classes in which students may enroll, D218 hired six new teachers.

The D218 superintendent said the primary differences of the two proposals center on salaries and health care expenses. The board of education has offered an average salary increase of 2.5 percent each year for the next four years.

The union has proposed raises totaling 15.44 percent over four years.

“Under the board’s offer, a teacher with 18 years of experience and a master’s degree plus 45 hours of post-graduate credits would earn $111,046 in 2012-2012, and $119,585 in year four,” the district stated.

The total dollar increase for the four-year proposal from the board of education plan is $3,250,182. The union’s total dollar salary increase for the 4-year proposal is $5,200,101.

The D218 Board of Education also laid out its offer for health benefits, offering co-pay expenses of $20 for primary care and $40 for specialists. The union has offered $15 for primary care and $30 for specialists.

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Further, the district is proposing a similar increase in co-pays and deductibles for all 728 district employees, which the district says will save approximately $500,000 per year. Co-pays and deductibles have not been adjusted in the district in nine years. Total health costs for the district are over $13 million per year.

According to district, “both sides have tentatively agreed that over the four years of the contract these contributes will increase to 20 percent."

"Compared to what employees receive in private enterprise, the board’s offer is very generous,” Byrne said.

The district also touted receiving the highest possible fiscal rating for the eighth consecutive year, and a perfect score of 4.0 from the Illinois State Board of Education.

District 218 is in a group of just 10 percent of all Illinois public school districts that are currently rated as financially sound by the Illinois State Board of Education, the press release read.

Bradley Wright, president of the teachers’ union and a science teacher at Eisenhower High School, said he received the same statement on Friday.

Wright said that the contract the union bargained for four years ago “brought us from the bottom of area districts to the middle of the pack.”

 “Four years ago our salaries were at the bottom,” Wright said. “One thing Dr. Byrne didn’t include with that idea of how much average raises were over the last four years was that the district increased their reserves by many millions of dollars over that same period of time.”

Wright said the union’s membership is meeting this week to review the district’s “last and best offer.”

“We’re not meeting for anything other than to give the information we have about the district’s proposal and have a discussion,” he said.

The district still hasn’t responded to the union’s offer of meeting dates with the federal mediator. Wright would not see where or when the teachers union was meeting this week.

"I’m sure they know through rumors when our meetings are but still haven’t agreed to the dates we offered,” Wright said. “We’re going to have our meetings and send another letter to meet with us.”

Regardless of whether teachers have a contract in hand on the first day of school on August 20, Wright said that school would start on time. 

Read more about D218 teachers' contract negotiations:

CONFLICT OF INTREST July 30, 2012 at 01:15 PM
This cannot be how school board member Larry Harris feels.When he was appointed to the 218 school board the first thing he did was to vote in an open meeting to hire his wife as a teacher in the school district.
John Martin July 30, 2012 at 03:04 PM
Here's what people fail to realize. We all live in America and have the freedom to choose how we want to make a living. That's the great thing about this country, we have choices. The man or woman laying brick, swinging a hammer, driving a truck or working in a office has the choice to do these things to make a living. No one is twisting anyone's arm to be a teacher or anything else in life, no one is forcing anyone to make a choice on how they want to make a living. You had 4 years or possibly longer to decide while going thru college to decide what you wanted to do, and you CHOSE to be a teacher. If it's not FAIR or too HARD then do something else. Good luck in finding a job with the salary, health insurance, paid holidays, approx 3 months off a year, pension and earlier reitirement than most jobs. Plus, you really have good job security after gaining tenure for the most part. So PLEASE stop crying about how bad you have it, I highly doubt the people in this country that are not working want to hear it!
R.E. Former July 30, 2012 at 07:54 PM
John Martin. This is not about choosing to be a teacher or a restaurant manager or a truck driver. Its called "collective bargaining" and public employees in this state stiil have that right. In the case of D218, a listless school board is being led by a couple of senior administrators who have much more lucrative wage and benefit packages than the faculty do. If the President and Board members do not assert themselves as elected officials with responsibilities to the tax payers, the teachers end up with a "last best offer" from administration, on "behalf" of the school board. Apparently, John Martin, you are not involved with education, because the best that you could contribute to this conversation was (essentially) "You chose to be a teacher. Stop crying."
Salary other July 30, 2012 at 09:47 PM
Do the pay increases apply to the Village of Oak Lawn Trustee's spouse who was hired by Dr.John Byrne as a political favor? That was Trustee Phelan and a non-teaching position. Perhaps a lot of waste over at the District Office?
fyiOakLawn July 31, 2012 at 02:49 AM
The administration got a huge raise this year and they do not pay for their insurance or retirement, the board pays for it. The teachers pay for insurance and retirement. If you look at the salary schedule the board has proposed, the pay goes down and the insurance goes up. Looks like a few board members will have a hard election this April.
fyiOakLawn July 31, 2012 at 02:52 AM
Also, I'm sure Bob Shelstrom will be along soon from his mansion in Palos Park to give us today's right wing talking points. Bob?
fyiOakLawn July 31, 2012 at 02:55 AM
When you want to attract good teachers to your district, you have to pay them at the same rate as surrounding districts. That's all that raise was for since the teachers were making such a low salary in the past.
fyiOakLawn July 31, 2012 at 02:56 AM
And I bet John you are wishing you had become a teacher facing the little pay you are getting now.
Lorraine Swanson (Editor) July 31, 2012 at 06:44 AM
4pointO, I'm copying and pasting your comment (without the swear) because I like it. In the future, please refrain from profanity because it violates Patch's terms of use (oaklawn.patch.com/terms). "Wow these guys are greedy. They have it great in this district! Just because there are increased reserves doesn't mean they're entitled to it. Superintendent Dr. John Byrne said “The teachers experienced a 40-percent raise during the 2008-12 contract years which was settled just prior to the economic woes becoming reality." Holy --- a 40% raise? FORTY percent. Is anyone else outraged (besides aspiring teachers of course)???"
Bob July 31, 2012 at 01:47 PM
Thanks for the intro, fyi. I see you're continuing your tradition of posting without adding value, intelligence, ideas or anything of value to the blog. There's a few things people should know about this process. First, there's no legal requirements for there to be a contract in force when school begins. If the district "locks out" teachers or teachers go on strike, its due to politics, greed, and a lack of concern for the students and their families. If there is no agreement, the two parties can agree to continue under the existing salary schedule by "memorandum of understanding". After reviewing the contract, it seems the step increases from the existing schedule alone are more than generous. The schedule provides for raises ranging from $1960 per nine months for lane 1 teachers (starting salary $40,000) to $2840 per nine months for the top lane. In addition to this, teachers would be eligible for "lane increases" if they increase their eduation level. It seems the salary progress provided under the existing salary schedule is pretty fair without any across the board schedule increases, considering the state of the economy in the Obama jobs recession. Of course, any staff member who feels their talents are worth more than that, especially for all those six figure employees, should be free to accept any of those multitudes of six figure offers they're receiving from all those other school districts!LOL
fyiOakLawn July 31, 2012 at 04:33 PM
See. Bob did not disappoint. Tea party comments and all.
StevenJ July 31, 2012 at 09:51 PM
Another great questionable association and business practice by the SD 218 board and it's politics. A Former school board president and lawyer who left his seat after hiring the districts' current law firm has now ironically signed on as a partner in that same law firm. See article in Daily Southtown, "Odelson and Sterk expands business and office".
R.E. Former August 01, 2012 at 06:18 AM
An interesting point, but not relevant. The person you refer to was not involved with D218 when they made the unholy deal with Mr. Mike Graham. Burt Odelson handled that deal exclusively. How else could someone simply "threaten" to sue and get such a lucrative settlement? The impotence of the school board, both then and now, simply underscores the reason the teachers union has to be steadfast against the administrative elite. A few people who have contracts and were NOT elected to represent. Transparencey has to start with the current administration's commitment to the students and the taxpayers of the district. Show that, then make your argument for "last best offer"! Odelson and Sterk have expanded their office and business, in respectable part, due to their work for D218. They have expanded their staff and it is a quite cozey thing. Wonder how much that firm got for the Graham deal that they brokered???
OakLawnGuy August 01, 2012 at 12:10 PM
Odelson And Sterk have done very well from Oak Lawn business alone. 218, 229, Village lawsuits....he has served Mr. Madigan in a loyal fashion as well.
Step Up August 01, 2012 at 01:06 PM
People must question this board & admin for not catching the long pattern of abuse Graham suffered at the hands of former brd member. Clearly Doc and the biz manager Larry should've known yrs back. Why couldn't the highly paid admin stop the intimidation? How did they not know Graham would sue? Graham had to check in daily with a board member pushing local 134 biz! Graham was threatened on a daily basis to use the board member connected electrical biz. 218's biz manager Daly shouldve seen irregularities in the contracts and work before signing off. At best they are all incompenent. At worst, criminal. There should've been a paper trail of complaints prior to this lawsuit threat from Graham. Someone at the top is not doing there job! that means loss of money not only for teachers but tax dollars.
R.E. Former August 01, 2012 at 03:41 PM
To be sure, Mike Graham is not a victim of anything, except possibly his own greed. When he was hired 5 or 6 years ago, he was a close friend of the Pratl family. He was hired by D218 as a groundsman and worked mowing grass for 30 days and was then promoted to Building Engineer. One year later he was promoted again to Director of Maintenance/Construction. During this time he remained friends with the Pratls and made no complaints of any type. Then, a couple of years ago, he had a falling out with he Pratls. Last year, he threatened to sue the school board making several unsubstantiated charges. Rather than investigate, the board settled with him, giving him a lucrative cash settlement and a multi year contract. Just because someone repeats the accusations that he made in a private letter to the board, it doesn't make them true. The reality of it all is that many of the things that he charged 16 months ago are still happening at the school district now. He is still maintenance director, but he can't blame Pratl now. And the Board President continues to keep his head in the sand. there are electrical contracters working at the district and one of them was recently incorporated just to take a contract with the district. (a personal friend of Graham's) The EPA is investigating an incident of improper asbestos removal at one campus and some offices remain sealed off with school about to start. The Board and senior administration are fully aware of these things, but no comment.
R.E. Former August 01, 2012 at 03:47 PM
And where is Graham through all of this? It appears that he is on some sort of leave. It has been his tendency to take leave and disappear during controversial issues. This stream has moved from Board?Administration conduct at a time of impass to trying to hold Mike Graham up as a victim and saint, but that is just impossible. The same officials and administrators who enabled him a year ago are the same ones who have brought teacher union negotiations to an impass. It is truly a sad situation.
nepotizm August 01, 2012 at 04:20 PM
No I do not beleive so. John Byrne hired Sue Phelan as a CTE Grant Facilitator starting at $18.08 an hour over on Kilpatrick. She started on 01/05/09. The opening wasn't published like all the rest. I heard he tailored it into a 9 month or 206 day per yr instead of full year for her just so she could have summers off and be close to home to transport children. These patronage hires need to end at all levels not just at the top.
DOUBLE TROUBLE August 01, 2012 at 05:17 PM
If it was a favor it was not as big as the one he did, when he hired her sister in law Terry Phelan for double the salary at the District Office.
St. Paul August 01, 2012 at 05:44 PM
With the right leadership on the board or even 1 board member not asleep at the wheel can make good things happen for the district. Someone must bring to light the inappropriate happenings. I'm afraid in this case for years there has been no leadership. It's been all about favors, jobs, contracts, getting jobs, coverups and the like. Grahams unsubstantiated charges could've very well been falsified. Why can't this board question legal strategy? Please tell me RE Former, do we not need a shakeup on the board and administtation and law firm? Not to say all board members are bad but to allow the improprieties time after time is a testament to the damage the can continue to cause. ITs time to think outside the box. Board members hiring relatives. Punishing and rewarding certain staff. Contracting buddies for jobs the list goes on and on. Did the union make an endorsement in the last election? Maybe it wouldve made a difference instead of the dead tie and current board.
Bob August 01, 2012 at 07:48 PM
Yeah, fyi, although I'm not in the tea party (I guess not supporting Ron Paul was the litmus test), I strongly agree that we're "Taxed Enough Already". Here's an idea, fyi. How about having a POINT when you post, some useful or interesting information, or actually something pertaining the subject? Unless you're on a government or political payroll, you actually have to THINK from time to time! Now that I've given you an idea, I expect it to die of loneliness before long. Even though it may threaten your status as a Dem hack, TRY to come up with idea now and then. Get enough of them and you may actually morph into a Republican!LOL
anthony August 01, 2012 at 07:53 PM
StevenJ August 08, 2012 at 04:23 AM
As a resident of D218, we need to be aware of the whole picture. Looking at an article in the Souhtown entitled "Top-paid teachers: Blue-collar suburbs offer blue-chip pay" puts forth a message that does not even mention our home district. Maybe this says something of why there is a discussion about a new contract? Wouldn't we want to hire and retain highly qualified teachers, and not lose them? The idea, "what you put in is what you get out", I would think these ideas should have the community stand with the people who stand in front of our kids each day!
Gary August 10, 2012 at 04:27 PM
These people are insane! Isn't time to stop this from getting even farther out of hand. According to the Sun Times, some of our teachers are the second highest paid in the State. Just because you get a Masters, does not mean you are a great teacher for a high school. Every time they cry poor, look at your tax bill and realize that if the pass a referendum, they will just give themselves a nice big pay raise and cry poor again in 2 years!


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