Teacher Strike?

Glen Carbon, IL

#21 Sep 1, 2008
No matter what profession you are in, we all have to agree that medical insurance is a valuable benefit. What the adminstration wants to do is cap the medical insurance. Medical insurance is one of the best and only "benefits" offered to the teachers at this time. Yes, teachers are in the classroom for 9 months of the year. However, many teachers continue their education throughout the summer months, attend workshops and conferences throughout the year and tutor students. Many teachers don't teach for the money, obviously. Teachers teach because they enjoy educating children and gain satisfaction when their former students go on to be successful citizens. No one wants to strike and keep the students out of the classroom, especially if inaccurate information is being communicated. However, when Highland School District prides itself on being the best of the best in eduation, they should pay the teachers who help make the district so successful.

Glen Carbon, IL

#22 Sep 1, 2008
Dad to 3, I must say I agree with you in regards to the high taxes AND the fees that parents pay to send their children to Highland School District. What happened to a free public education? I do have a couple of questions, only because I am fully aware that the business world and the world of education are much different from one another. Do you realize that teachers do not get a raise each year based on their performance, but rather on a fixed salary schedule based on years of service and the amount of education they have? This means that whether a teacher is doing an outstanding job compared to a teacher who is doing a mediocre job, they both get the same pay raise. Does that make sense to you? What is your salary increase based on? How well you do your job? How well the company is performing?
Another teacher

Edwardsville, IL

#23 Sep 1, 2008
As another teacher in this district, I hope that everyone knows that we don't all support the strike. There are several of us who would like to continue teaching for the sake of the kids. Going into teaching, I knew I wouldn't ever be wealthy. To correct the other teacher who posted above, in the 23 years I've been here, we have only once taken a pay freeze. Yes, the raises were much better years ago, but the freeze was also 10-15 years ago. I have family members in the business world who have gone years without a raise. Their "bosses" in management have better benefits, yet no one complains. It's expected. We have an excellent district, and I hope it stays that way.

Highland, IL

#24 Sep 1, 2008
As far as spending your summer furthering your education, do you think that no one in other professions does that? Except they don't get 3 months off to do it. You get paid if you tutor students, I know teachers who do it. Thanks to another teacher who actually got the facts correct. Unlike the previous poster from a "teacher" who didn't seem to know what the real facts were. You get the same raises because you belong to a union, that is what they negotiate for you. You are based on years of service, and education, those facts are documented in the public records of who gets paid what. Individuals can not be judged the same as union jobs, they do their own negotiating, that is why the raises are different. If a teacher is not doing a good job, they need to lose their job, just like in any other field.

Newtown Square, PA

#25 Sep 1, 2008
Hi 3Girls - I can certainly address your questions. First, yes I am aware of the way teachers pay raises are given. However teachers know this as well and they also know prior to deciding to becoming teachers that they are not going to become wealthy and make a modest income. As far as my profession, I am evaluated each year by performance, but the bottom line is that I get compensated on what the budget will allow. I can be doing the best job of anyone in the company, but if the money isn't there, my raise will reflect the fact that money is tight. I just received the lowest pay raise of my career and I work for a fortune 50 company. Times are rough right now and it will be a bit before things get straightened out.

Highland, IL

#26 Sep 1, 2008
Dad_to_3, I am in the same situation as you. My annual raise is based on the budget, not a penny over. If there isn't any $(like this year), I do not get a raise. So, I will work for 2 years with a "pay freeze" and I am not a teacher. I love our schools and hope this can be resolved quickly and amicably. This town is too small for a long drawn out mud slinging strike. I sincerely hope for all involved that this is not the case. Our kids deserve better than that. Also, alot of the teachers in our district are also parents in our district. Another benefit of working here .:)
Highland Parent

Worden, IL

#27 Sep 2, 2008
OUR KIDS DO DESERVE BETTER. We deserve teachers that realize that everyone in their district is dealing loss of jobs, higher prices on gas and everything else, more and more fees to send our children to school (it was $600 for me to just sign up 2 children this year, not counting sports fees, yearbooks, pictures, etc.)

I do think teaching is a honorable profession but there are other honorable professions that do not get hold our children "hostage" to get what they want. If you are truly there for the children, then think about all the football, volleyball, soccer, tennis and cross country seniors you might be messing up scholarships for if they don't get their season to play their sport. One wonders if the contract would have ended at the end of the school year when Highland got a lot of recognition for Jake Odorizzi if you would have held them hostage.

I do understand sports are not everything, but they also help draw residents to our community and our school system so they should not be ruled out.

Also our children deserve better administrators and school board. Two of our past RETIRED superintendent are still collecting a salary as consultants. If the new superintendent each time is a qualified person why do they need a consultant. Burgett was the consultant for Warner and now Warner is the consultant for the new guy. Also Dennis Brueggeman apparently "retired" a couple years ago, but is still on the payroll. Our school board does not care about any of the concerns of the district. I have only been at one meeting where an unanimous vote was not met. I spent a year going to meetings and it was futile. The Board does not care what is said, they have the minds made up already or just vote along with everyone else.

United States

#28 Sep 2, 2008
Sorry teachers. Times are tight. Layoffs, raise freezes, economic downturns, gas prices. Taxpayers can't afford to pay more. Unfortunately a lot of parents just got done paying their property taxes, then those obscene registration fees amidst fears they may lose their own jobs and aren't getting raises. That's the economic environment right now. I don't think you are going to get a lot of support in the community.

Bonne Terre, MO

#29 Sep 2, 2008
Let's list what teachers get that you don't get with any other job.

1) Yearly pay for 9 months work.
2) Insurance
3) Labor Day,Columbus Day,Veteran's Day,2 days off for Thanksgiving,11 days off for Christmas/New Years, MLK Day, President's Day, Casmir Polaski Day, 3 days off for Easter, Memorial Day, 2 half days & 3 full days off for "In service" meetings. This does not include the number of days you get out at 2:20.
4) Paid Personal days off.

I have worked in an office, from home & babysit (currently for 2 toddlers, 8 - 12 hours a day 7 days a week!). I am almost 50 and have been working since I was 13. I have had 2 vacations but 1 was my honeymoon!! My husband & I currently pay over $500 for insurance...his part after what his employer pays! After 5 years, my husband gets 1 weeks vacation, no personal days, Thanksgivng & Christmas off (no other holidays!!) and works 8 - 16 hour days.

Why were we feeling sorry for our teachers again??

Many teachers I know have permanent summer jobs, many in Pest Control (in Missouri).

And just why are we suppose to feel sorry for you???


Newtown Square, PA

#30 Sep 2, 2008
Janis - Very good points and I couldn't agree more. I guess at this point, how much are union dues? Drop the union dues and there is an immediate raise. Or if the insurance is a problem, go with what the auto industry has done with the UAW and have the union provide insurance and take it out of the schools hands. This will put them in control of how much they pay and what type of coverage they get.

Addressing the Highland Parent from Alhambra - if you are correct in that we are paying consulting fees to Warner and other past superintendent's this is not ok with me either. This sounds much like the "good ole boys" club and the your scratch my back I'll scratch yours. I am sure we are paying a pension on top of this as well so nothing like "legal" double dipping. As a taxpayer that pays for the Superintendents salary and no doubt the consultancy fees this is ridiculous and the school board needs to put an end to it. So far I have been somewhat satisfied with the way the board has been handling things, but if they let this type of thing go on, then there will be little doubt that I will attem to unseat one of them in the coming years.

United States

#31 Sep 2, 2008
I will teach the Nations Youth

Edwardsville, IL

#32 Sep 2, 2008
Whenever I see the "180 days of work" argument... it makes me think "what about lawyers"? Why doesn't anyone ever make the argument "well, lawyers only spend a couple of months in the courtroom each year so they must have a ton of time off!". Now, if people disagree with that statement, then why do they judge teachers by a different scale? Over the Labor Day weekend "off" I spent 12 hours a day creating online videos for my students who are absent or who would benefit from extra help. I also loaded those up to my website (that I developed and pay for out of pocket) for students to access from home. I provide websites for parents to access so they know what the homework assignments are. I provide pictures of labs so that parents can keep in touch with what their kids are doing in school. All of that is done in my "off" time - so, it's "volunteer", right? I left a lucrative job at a pharmaceutical company five years ago to teach. I do have a Masters, but it's not an easy one - it took me three years of full-time research at a medical school to achieve. Yet, my husband, with no college degree and in his first month at a new job, earns twice my salary and has full medical benefits. Why do I teach? I do it because my kids are in high school and I want to be a part of their world. Will I do it after they graduate? No, the pay won't keep me. I'll go back to the business world where I can spend an hour a day in my business office "at work" "checking email" and visiting the restroom when I need to, not between pre-set bells. Sure I love teaching or I wouldn't do it, but it is an exhausting and undervalued job.

Edwardsville, IL

#33 Sep 2, 2008
In regards to Highland - the Highland School Board hired a lawyer to spearhead their negotiation team. Her fee is reportedly over $120 per hour to negotiate on behalf of the board. Just think, if a parent paid $600 in fees this year, they were paying to hire a lawyer for 5 hours. Is that really what parents want their money to go for? On the other hand, the board's first raise proposal last spring to teachers was for 0.25%. That calculated to less of a raise for a teacher in an entire year than the board's lawyer makes in one hour. Is is any wonder that the district teachers have decided to put their foot down, and may actually strike for the first time in recent memory? Somebody needs to stand up to this school board and administration!

Newtown Square, PA

#34 Sep 2, 2008
Again, we have a teacher that has chosen to teach knowing this is a job that does not pay as well as the private sector. This is a choice that is made for various reasons and all teachers know this prior to going to school to become a teacher. Anyone that says different is not being honest. I commend the school board for committing to not putting the district in a deficit situation. If this means a pay freeze, then so be it. If it means .25% raise, then be happy with it. I know people that have had to take pay cuts in order to keep the doors open on business and retain their jobs. Bottom line here is that I have compared the highland teacher salaries with other comparable districts and the salaries are not all that different. There are obviously outliers, but in general the salaries are comparable. As far as paying for a lawyer to handle the negotiations, great. If it means that I save money in the long run as a taxpayer, I am perfectly fine with this method.

Hang in there School Board. The teachers have very limited parent support, if any at all.

Glen Carbon, IL

#35 Sep 3, 2008
Can you hear the sigh of relief at the city office? No one is worried about what they are doing so long as the school district issue is on everyone's mind.

Since: Sep 08

Worden, IL

#36 Sep 3, 2008
Check out championnews.net . It shows teachers and administrators salaries from 2007.

We currently have 3 librarians each making 52165, 41229 and 68673, to be a librarian. Do we really need 3. Only 1 travels to Grantfork, Alhambra and New Douglas, and our parents volunteer.

We currently have 15 Administrators earning from 40000 (part-time principal) to 145637 (superintendent) for 7 schools.

I do not have the newspaper right now, but they do publish the year-end report and show the consultants fees on that.

Does our school district really need 2 social workers as well as 3-5 guidance counselers? ex. S. Thomas making 76,596.

Superintendent level - no teaching
Warner 145,637
Newton 91194

High School
Carmitchel 134,146
Lanxon 96,203
B. Thomas 123,042

Middle School
Probst 92157
Hughes 75,400

D. Suhre 82,080 - does teach 1/2 the time

New Douglas
Grapperhaus 72,671 - does teach 1/2 the time

Brown 40,000 (part time). Baer 50,????- does teach 1/2 the time

Highland K-6
Wright 77,241, Korte 85514, HIckey 67725, Brauns 69713,

Also the countless others, Tim Bair financial/buses, Dennis Brueggeman, financial/buses who retired what 2-3 years ago but still on payroll and at every registration.

If you notice the 3 center school principals teach 1/2 of their day, maybe our other administrators could jump in and do the same.

Highland, IL

#37 Sep 3, 2008
Yes, Highland is a great district to work for. I have worked here for over a decade. We have lower violence and drug problems here than in surrounding districts, and our scores outshine most in our region. Parents and their communication with teachers is the best support for making this district what it is. But if we are to KEEP our good teachers in the district, they should not continue to accept lower pay and lower benefits than that which is provided by districts that DO have more problems and DO have lower scores. Those who take a closer look at the packages offered by other districts will see that the teachers at Highland have accepted their cuts in pay for the last THREE contracts - not the last three years, but the last three contracts. Think of how this has impacted their lifetime earnings and especially their retirement. Highland teachers do not have their retirement paid by the Board - others School Boards are willing to pay it for their teachers!(i.e., Breese-Central et al). The health insurance benefit has been in place for as long as I've been here, and for that we and our families are grateful. We just don't want something that we've had all this time to be taken away. We're not asking for anything more than what we've already had as far as insurance is concerned. We accepted little to no pay increases to keep that benefit. And it was done because the teachers recognized and understood the financial difficulties of the time, as was shared by our leaders. Now that the district has the money, it's time to do what is right, and get the teachers back up to par with local districts. Not doing so would cause a mass exodus of teachers - going to school districts who will offer better packages, or to corporate America, where ANY teacher, can perform above the standard. Yes, Bob in St. Louis...teachers CAN perform above even YOUR standard.

Minneapolis, MN

#38 Sep 3, 2008
Looks like pretty good pay for doing absolutely nothing.

Since: Sep 08

Highland, IL

#39 Sep 3, 2008
#1. Get the fact straight. Teachers are paid only for the hours and days that are worked. They are not paid for holidays. They are not paid for the entire year for 9 months of work. Their pay for 9 months of work is stretched out and paid over 12 months. Many school districts do not even give their employees the option of being paid over the 9 months. Teachers are not paid one red cent for ANY extra time put in, which is plenty-both required and volunteered.
#2. The Highland School District has over 1.5 million dollars in their current budget. School districts are not and should not be in the business of saving money. School districts ARE NOT a part of the business world. They are in the business of spending money--on students, programs, technology, salaries, etc. in order to better their districts. Why do people think Highland is such a great district? It is because of the teachers teaching in that district. If they start losing their excellent teachers due to poor salaries and benefits then they will eventually no longer be a high performing, exceptional district. What will happen to the community then? It makes sense for the community to support our teachers in this situation. Highland has already lost several excellent teachers to other higher paying districts with better benefits. They have replaced those teachers with less stellar employees than were lost. Are those the people you want teaching your children?
#3. Wake up people--you have already paid the higher taxes. Don't you ask where that money is going? Don't you wonder why it isn't going to maintain the calibur of teachers that teach in this district? Do you ask what is going on with that enormous administration building that was purchased supposedly for student/classroom use as well as administrative use? You want to maintain your superior school district for your children and the community, but you don't want to do what it takes in order for that to happen. Good luck with that.

Highland, IL

#40 Sep 3, 2008
I think we can all agree on the VAST amount of money the administrators waste. I agree about the librarians salary, that is nuts! We could staff that with parent volunteers. I know I would volunteer and know other parents that would as well. I also agree with the consultants being crap! If we could get the board to cut the wasteful $$, then maybe we could get them to give it to teachers. But..if they have surplus $$ why are the parents bending over and taking it at registration with the fees? Public education is NOT free anymore and it is supposed to be. I donate books every year to the teacher class room and greatly appreciate all of the time they put in to their job. Some more than others. I know the hours they work on their "free" time. I think slamming teachers is completely off subject and not right. If they are so bad, why are you giving them your children to mold and educate? I do not approve of the strike or salary increases, not the way the budget is now. Now, if you could negotiate some of the wasteful spending $ and free that up, go for it!!

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