So we got some new info today courtesy of the Elmhurst Press. Seems that the proposal from the School board is still not satisfactory to the teachers. They want a larger salary increase and expect significant increases in the retirement proposal. That the salaries are lower then Naperville District 203 seems to be a sticking point. They are about $2600 lower.
Why is Naperville the yard stick? Is it the highest paying district in the state? Do their teachers walk through the streets like, Pimps On parade, sporting their Bling? Is there gonna be a throw down? It's the only other school district ever mentioned.
We also got some bad news that the Districts was over budget in regards to school construction and improvement, to the tune of $1 million. I never liked those fast-tracked smarty-pants anyways.
But then we got some good news, they are spending $500,000 to upgrade tech equipment at the district schools. I guess the microfiche machines are getting old.
There is another Elmhurst publication, The Elmhurst Independent, that has more info. Unfortunately they have no website to link to. We are efforting some kind of link.
This is a quote from comments Joan Davis, Chief Union Negotiator for the teachers, made in response to my earlier entry.
"You are right - teachers need a competitive salary but unlike big business, school districts don't have "big pockets". One correction-until we settle this, we are working under our old contract. As of now - all we want is for the Board to recognize that we are not replaceable, care about our students and deserve a little more. Keep you posted."
So the teachers do have a contract. Their old one.
I believe her when she says they care about the students.
I believe they are not replaceable, within reason of course.
I believe they probably deserve a little more. Elmhurst is pretty frickin' expensive.
But how much is to much and what can the School District afford? This is what I want to find out.
According to the Elmhurst Independent Aug. 23rd edition, in an article I can't link to, District 205 has approved a budget of over $90 million for 2006/2007. Their largest budget ever, with appropriations for $81,612,441 and reserves. That is a 8.75% increase from the 2005/2006 budget. The article goes on to say that the Educational Fund represents 76.6% of their total budget, with salaries being 74% of the Educational Fund.
This same article describe a surplus for the 2006/2007 year of $489,562. So that's good news. But there are projects going on that are coming in over budget. I'm not savvy enough about this stuff.
If anyone can help me decipher that info, please do. Is 74% going towards salaries to much?
I also linked to a rather angry letter in the Elmhurst Press in an earlier post. It's not a Pro-teacher letter. The Independent has a very well written response in their letters I wish I could link to. Here is a teacher defending herself and other teachers that I can link to, here. Her defense answers a couple of the accusations from the first letter. Not directly, since she is in Virginia I think, but generally if you are asking yourself these same questions.
There will be a School Board Meeting on Aug. 28th. I will try to attend and get some answers.
I also welcome anyone's help in getting to the bottom of this, correcting my mistakes or improving my blog.