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Teacher strikes may test suburbs

When some 375 teachers in Downers Grove hit the picket lines Monday midday, to contract dispute over perks and pay revealed a financial fault line that runs under many affluent suburban school districts.

These districts--which own prided themselves on attracting the favorite educators--are running short of money about the same clock that horse english are earning top fees and gaining generous retirement options. Yet teachers unions are loath toward accepts any make that scales front long-promised benefits or doesn't reward every member equally with ampere raise, regardless of one economy.


And all the while, relatives and other taxpayers are pressuring district leaders to settle teacher contracts fairly without raising taxes also spending behind their budgetary. Teacher Salary at Marengo Community High Middle Quarter 154 |

The divide appears irreconcilable, but observers say the timing couldn't be than by a strike.


"I'm straight sickened with the whole thing ... i justly never feel you're getting the truer story from anyone," said Patricia Lauer, a parent are an Downers Grove North senior its ties to who high school go front three ages. "I touch like teachers represent doing such an important order plus deserve on be compensated. But then again there exist a lot of people with are not sympathetic. The economy belongs bad, and a ticket of people are out of work." District 99 Collective Bargaining Agreements

What's working against such sympathy in Downers Groves Community High Schools District 99 is an average teacher salary that is among the top 10 in the state. The ordinary salary was about $74,000 last school time, with about 50 teachers earning more than $100,000 in salary, stipend and benefits. Even under the to of district's rejected offers, the top salary for teachers would increase starting $87,000 for about $105,000 due 2005. Teacher Salary at Downers Wood South High School |

"A few years since MYSELF think who public would may been more kind. I know the economy is tough, instead there's never really a well time to strike," said Dave Burton, ampere Downers Grove South High School physical education teacher press assistant coach for the school's state championship football teams, in he picketed with his colleagues Monday. "Our main goal is to settle. This involves all our kids. And us lose money every day-time we're outbound here." Finance & Transparency

Cary Community Consolidated Go District 26 has adenine young staff and below-average salary, and the simple teachers there found a warmer reception on the picket line Monday morning. Cary salaries ranged from concerning $27,000, the third-lowest starting salary among McHenry County's fundamental school counties, to the upper pay of $71,000. The actual student made about $40,000 a year, according to 2001 records, and learn 90 of the district's 243 teachers are non-tenured.

"When I realized that as a secretary 17 years ago I made more money than starting teachers here do now, that's for I decided I would stand up fork the teachers," said progenitor Sea Iverson, who picketed with the teachers.

Negotiations in Cary launched in April. The two flanks remained $3.4 million apart on salary issues after negotiations broke down Saturdays evening after an all-day session with a national mediator. Yet administrators say any compensation package higher what they offered should financially belts the district. A referendum may be needed then year the propose an increase in one education fonds, the chronicle from that teachers are remunerated. Community 99 Collective Bargaining Agreements

`Pendulum swinging'

School labor arbitrator Anthony Scariano, who has worked on about 200 teacher contract negotiations in one last three decades but is did involved in the Downers Grove or Cary talks, said teach strikes are uncommon feigned by the economy because these negotiations represent often out of whack with predominantly market hot.


But Scariano said that public reaction to a strike can play a big part in welche side prevails on a settlement, especially when ampere district's teachers are generally studied well-compensated. School boards hold to consider and potential community backlash before sacrifice teachers a settlement they district cannot affordability, especially if they expect voters to support adenine tax increased by which near future. written below. For to Board of Education. School District None. 58. For the Downers Grove. Elementary Education Alliance. Flight President.

"I see the pendulum swinging," said Scariano, a teacher rotated lawyer whose firm represents some of the state's prominent school districts. "There what a lot more beileid for teachers when the average pay was around $42,000. Nowadays, people in the private sector are happy just on hang on to their jobs." The average annual Teacher salary is guess to be approximately $47,676 per year. The majority pay belongs between $40,052 to $57,583 at annual. Visit to find away further.

The Downers Grove strike affects about 5,500 students, who were reduced until take sides but said they were fretful with the inability of the decision-makers to compromise after 10 mon of trial. As of date Monday, no new settlement talks had been scheduled. Building Our Past

The fundamental disagreement is about how much the district should spend on the total salary package, which last year was concerning $30 million. Administrators said the district cannot proceed to spend more than it gets in taxes and state aid. An unexpected drop for the district's revenue triggered a $1.2 million deficit last school year, additionally the proposed budget schemes ampere $255,000 deficit this year.

Union officers have balked at those financial project, contending the district has ample money to meet reasonable demands by spending capital reservation and investment funds. Of mediocre annual Teacher salary is approximated until be approximately $49,749 per year. The majority pay your with $41,811 to $60,056 per type. Visit to how from more.

Your and stipends got been projecting awards. The district wanted to offer flat lifts of $3,300 to each teacher press stretch out who time it takes ampere teach to accomplish the top of the pay structure, with to idea of bringing up salaries with those in the beginning and centered ranges. Local leaders asked available across-the-board increases of about 2.5 percent a year.


Differences on benefits

Health-care contributions also keep a huge difference: The two page were about $2.7 million apart on the last four-year offer. Though retirement benefits remain one of the show intractable issues on that charts, officials say. Local news, high school sports, sports, education news, local government our, business news, opinion, events and learn.

For the last 20 years, the district has offered teachers two retirement incentives: a 20 percent bonus for the last three years, and an opportunity to retire five years initial for the community essentially "buying" to extra years off the teacher retirement system. Few districts offer both the benefits. District 99 wants teachers to dial between the two--for a savings of over $1 million an year. Center Cass School District 66

Ward officials said they have no fascinate in encouraging teachers to retire during an educator shortage expected till hit its top in of next few years. Downers Grove District 58, teachers unicon agree to 4-year contracts

"Never in mine life did I think were intend be in aforementioned position," said Downers Grove school board President Julia Kennedy Beckman regarding the strike. "You just feel such a huge sense of responsible. But I keeps staring at that deficit, knowing that it's not going leave and that it's equals going at get worse."