Proposal to Niles teachers’ union revealedPublished 11:26pm Monday, October 17, 2011
The Niles Community School Board opened up its contract negotiations with the Niles teachers’ union to the public during Monday’s board meeting, laying out a proposal that asks teachers to accept an 8 percent cut in base salary and caps on insurance cost.
To sweeten the pot, the school board is offering the teachers union a signing bonus of $4.1 million in total for the 2011-12 and 2012-13 school years ending in June 30, 2013. The money, which could be divvied up however the union pleases, would come out of the district’s fund balance. The board is also offering a 50-50 split on additional revenue based on a formula that considers increases in state revenue and increases in student count.
“If our revenue and student count go up then the teachers get 50 percent of the increase,” said Supt. Richard Weigel.
The proposal, Weigel said, would help the district’s dire financial situation by making salaries rise at a slower pace, while saving the district a lot in retirement and FICA.
Weigel offered a few examples of teachers who would make more money under the proposed plan, assuming the signing bonus is pro-rated.
Teachers’ union president Katherine Elsner called the board’s decision to reveal the proposal in a school board meeting counterproductive.
“I haven’t seen this much made public before,” she said. “The NDEA traditionally hasn’t made these public ever. We work it out at the table instead of in the public.”
Elsner, who spoke during the meeting, said the board gave the proposal to the teachers union at 4:30 p.m. Friday.
She was skeptical of the board’s newest proposal.
“After two years, when the bonuses have disappeared, the additional 8 percent salary cut, the reduction in benefits and an uncertain revenue sharing plan would be devastating to our members and those relying on our educational community. Resulting salary schedules will take double the time to achieve,” Elsner said.
Prior to revealing the board’s proposal, Weigel laid out the district’s bleak financial future. If nothing changes, the district would have a negative fund balance of $3.4 million in 2012-13 and a negative fund balance of $8.7 million in 2013-14.
“If we do not ask for a change now and continue to spend our fund equity then we will be out of money by November, December next year,” Weigel said.
“We have one more year and we are going to be broke. Each month we wait is going to cost us. The longer we wait the deeper the deficit we will have.”
Tags: Niles school board