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D86 Board President: ‘We Didn’t Call Off the Afternoon Session’ on June 10

Words get heated on both sides in ongoing Hinsdale high school teacher contract negotiations as expiration date looms.

D86 Board President: ‘We Didn’t Call Off the Afternoon Session’ on June 10

District 86 board members in the heat of contract negotiations with the Hinsdale High School Teachers Association, school board president Richard Skoda released a “point-by-point” rebuttal to "union propaganda" distributed by the teachers’ union prior to the board’s June 2 meeting.

Read school board's "NEA Union Propaganda Chart"

Hinsdale Central and South teachers voted unanimously to authorize a teachers’ strike in the fall if both sides cannot reach an agreement on a new teachers’ contract before the current one expires at the end of the month.

But before the teachers’ association’s “premature” unanimous strike vote on May 29, Skoda maintained in a written statement that classroom teachers had not been given the board’s contract offer:

“Members of the community are now requesting a response to a 14-point flier the Union recently published. The inaccurate information in this flier, as with other recent disinformation, is designed to advance Union efforts to seize back control of the Board in the April 2015 elections. Not one element of their flier supports their proposal for increased salaries and contract bargaining positions. Anyone reading the Union flier will quickly note that each point is an argument to deter implementing the new level of accountability brought to District 86.”

Further, Skoda and the school board alleged that the teachers’ association is in violation of its own collective bargaining agreement in the unexpired contract that “neither the Association nor any of the Employees covered by this Agreement will instigate or participate in any strike, sympathy strike, or any other intentional interruption of the operations of the District.”

The school board blamed Naomi Shepherd, the teachers’ NEA union representative, for instigating a strike vote before the school year ended and organizing teacher picketing at the board’s meeting on June 2.

“The Union brought union propaganda into our children’s classrooms on every occasion the school board met, a practice reminiscent of old style union scare tactics, and one to which our children ought not be subjected,” Skoda said.

After Monday’s board meeting, Skoda fired back that the school board did not cancel the afternoon bargaining session on June 10, as the teachers’ association has claimed.

In statements made to Suburban Life, Skoda said that the board adjusted its offer a flat freeze to a consumer price index cost-of-living increase, that would have added 1.7 percent pay increase to salary and performance pay.

Skoda said that after a morning of waiting to hear a response to the board’s latest offer on June 10, the teachers’ association countered, decreasing their March offer of 5.41 to 5.29 percent, Suburban Life reported.

At that point "there was no reason" for either the teachers or the board to continue negotiations June 10,” Skoda told the paper. "Quite honestly, with the board moving 1.7 percent, we were hopeful that we would get the teachers to move, that did not happen."

Continuing to express their respect for the teachers “individually and collectively,”  school board members hope to reach a fair and sustainable contract in upcoming meetings “within the framework of individual CPI increases and places education of the students first and foremost.”

The next bargaining session is scheduled for June 26.

Read Patch's past coverage of the Hinsdale high school teachers' contract negotiations:

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