JOLIET, IL — After months of unsuccessful negotiations for a new contract, Joliet District 86 teachers plan to vote on Wednesday whether to authorize a teachers strike. Wednesday also marks the same night as the District 86 school board’s regular meeting. So far, Joliet’s public grade school and junior high teachers have not announced when their strike would officially begin, school officials told Patch on Tuesday evening.
District 86 is now the fourth largest employer in Joliet. The District 86 has posted on its website an explanation of the key issues of dispute between Council 86 of the American Federation of Teachers-Local 604 and the school administration.
Superintendent Theresa Rouse came to Joliet in June 2016 after working as superintendent in King City, California for four years. Most of her public education career has been in California.
The following questions are written by Joliet Patch, but the answers come from District 86’s online negotiations posting on Nov. 8:
What is District’s 86 operating budget? approximately $150.8 million
Who funds District 86? $103.8 million is from state funding, $35.5 million is from local funds notably real estate property taxes, $14.6 million is from federal funding.
District 86 teacher salaries and fringe benefits: $70.5 million from the budget.
Has District’s 86 been cutting classroom jobs? The administration says it has increased teacher staffing by 56 jobs during the past 30 months. About half of the added teaching jobs were music, art and physical education, the administration noted.
Have raises for District 86 teachers kept up with the cost of living?
“Over the last five years the average wage increase provided to bargaining unit members was 16.7 percent. When compared to the Tax Cap Consumer Price Increase (CPI) of 8.2 percent over the same period of time, the bargaining unit members have received increases that are more than double the cost of living.”
OK, so what were the past raises for District 86 teachers?
“District 86 teachers have always received a pay raise of least 3 percent each of the past five years. Teachers got a 3.5 percent raise in 2014-15, a raise of 3.25 percent in 2015-2016, 2016-2017, 2017-2018 and a raise of 3.5 percent for 2018-2019.”
What kind of pay raises are teachers for District 86 seeking now?
“The Union’s first wage increase proposal at the start of negotiations was for a one-year contract with a 6 percent wage increase. The Union did not move to the wage increase proposal … until the Sept. 26 mediation session. In response, the Board then moved its wage offer to the proposal listed below at the beginning of the Oct. 7 mediation session, a session where the Union left after meeting for only one hour. Since September 26, the Union has not changed its wage increase demands in response to the Board’s offers.”
What other areas of compensation are a point of dispute?
“The Union’s last proposal was to increase certain athletic stipends, anywhere from 34 percent to 50 percent. The Board’s last proposal was to retain the existing compensation schedule.”
Let’s focus on the pay raise dispute. What does the teachers union want at this point?
“The Union’s last proposal was a three-year proposal as follows: 5 percent inclusive of step, including retroactive pay, 5 percent inclusive of step, 5 percent inclusive of step.
What’s the school administration’s offer?
“The Board’s last proposal was a three-year proposal as follows: Year 1 – 2.25 percent inclusive of step – upon execution of agreement, Year 2 – 2.25 percent inclusive of step, Year 3 – 2.25 percent inclusive of step.”
What does a 1-percent across-the-board pay increase for all District 86 teachers cost?
District 86 says it now spends $45,848,000 on teachers union salaries. “Therefore,each percent increase in annual salary increase costs $458,483.”
If the District 86 teachers union gets what it wants, what’s the impact on taxpayers?
“The three-year estimated additional cost of the Union’s salary proposal is $7,226,842.”
If the District 86 administration doesn’t buckle, what’s the impact on taxpayers?
“The three-year estimated additional cost of the Board’s salary proposal is $3,164,916.”
How many students are in District 86? 10,894
How many staff and teachers are there? 1,654 employees of which 789 are teachers.
How many schools? 15 elementary schools,four junior high schools and one early childhood center.
To read the entire report yourself, in English or in Spanish, visit the District 86 website here.
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