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Rauner claim of pension deal quickly shot down by Madigan, Cullerton – Chicago Tribune

21 Jan

Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner once again attempted to triangulate the Democratic legislative leaders he has been warring with in Springfield, announcing Thursday that he had struck a deal with Senate President John Cullerton on pension legislation while blasting House Speaker Michael Madigan as “unreasonable” and “irresponsible.”

But the claim of a deal was immediately rejected by Cullerton, who said in a statement that the pension legislation outlined by Rauner “goes beyond what we discussed and beyond what I support.”

Rauner, who is less than a week away from delivering a state of the state address while he presides over a government that has gone seven months without a budget, summoned reporters to his 16th-floor office at the Thompson Center in Chicago to announce what he billed as a “first step” “in the spirit of compromise.”

Rauner said he was dusting off and endorsing pension legislation that Cullerton had first proposed years ago. But there was a catch: Rauner said he wants the legislation altered to exempt salary increases from collective bargaining rights.

The governor said Cullerton had agreed to that change, but Cullerton disagreed.

“The governor called me this morning to say he was going to back my ideas for pension reform,” Cullerton said in a statement. “The plan he outlined at his news conference isn’t what we talked about. It’s not my plan. It goes beyond what we discussed and beyond what I support.”

Madigan also weighed in, saying in a statement that he was opposed to the proposal, and even going so far as to speak for Cullerton.

“Despite the governor’s desire to drive a wedge between Democrats in the House and Senate, neither President Cullerton nor I will agree to make changes proposed by the Governor that will hurt the middle-class families of our state,” Madigan said.

Source: Rauner claim of pension deal quickly shot down by Madigan, Cullerton – Chicago Tribune


District 225 signs new contract with teachers union –

20 May

Glenbrook High School District 225 officials have approved a new four-year contract with the district’s teachers union, creating a separate salary schedule for newly hired teachers.

Under the agreement, which went into effect on May 12, about 420 teachers represented by the Glenbrook Education Association will get an overall average compensation increase of 3.4 percent for the first year of the contract and a 3.5 percent raise for each of the remaining years, according to officials.

The district and the union approved a three-year agreement last summer but both expressed interest later in fall of 2013 in crafting a new, longer contract, said Assistant Superintendent Hillarie Siena.

“This new contract offers the district financial predictability and will help to ensure that the district is able to maintain its projected reserves,” Siena was quoted as saying in an official statement.

Teacher salaries are based on a formula that includes an inflation indicator and level of experience. Differences among salaries in that formula are known as “step” increases.

The approved agreement includes a new salary schedule for teachers hired after July 1, 2014, that adjusts the number of “steps,” or years, teachers would have to work in order to get the highest compensation with the district.

Right now, a new teacher with no years of experiences and a bachelor’s degree would get $53,716 in annual compensation at the district, and the most experienced teacher would get $125,077, Siena said.

While the minimum and maximum teacher salaries are remaining the same, newly hired teachers would be on a 32-year step schedule, in contrast to most of the teachers in the district who are on a 21-year step schedule, Siena said.

The longer schedule means that it would take teachers more time to reach the highest compensation possible.

“You have to work longer to get to the top,” said Matt Whipple, president of the Glenbrook Education Association. “This saves school district some money in the long run.”

The contract, which expires June 30, 2018, includes no changes in benefits including health and dental coverage, other than the usual annual premium increases and negotiated plan design modifications, according to the district’s press release.

District officials and union representatives expressed satisfaction with the negotiations.

“The board and association both believe that the agreement is fair to all stakeholders,” said Board of Education President Skip Shein in an official statement. “It is important to balance our need to attract and retain quality teachers while remaining fiscally responsible, and this contract accomplishes both.”

Whipple agreed on behalf of the union.

“We believe the agreement will allow us to maintain and enrich the excellence of our shared community,” he said.

via District 225 signs new contract with teachers union –

Map: How Much Do Your Local Teachers Earn? | Mother Jones

16 Sep

The Chicago teacher strike has resurrected the question at the center of much edupontificating: Are American teachers underpaid or overpaid?

For some perspective, we’ve compiled data on the average wages of elementary-school, middle-school, and high school teachers in more than 300 metropolitan areas. As you’ll see, most teachers make more than $45,320, the average yearly wage for all occupations tracked by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Yet the range of what they earn varies widely: Elementary-school teachers in Jefferson City, Missouri, earn an average of $37,090; their colleagues in Long Island, New York, earn an average of $90,560. More…

via Map: How Much Do Your Local Teachers Earn? | Mother Jones.

Chicago Teachers Union Fact Finder Press Conference July 16 – YouTube

17 Jul

Fact Finder Press Conference July 16 – YouTube.

Arbitrator: Give Chicago teachers 35.7% raise over four years – Chicago Sun-Times

17 Jul

The independent fact finder’s recommendation that Chicago Public Schools officials have been pinning their hopes on to resolve a contentious teachers contract dispute is finally in — but Mayor Rahm Emanuel may wish it wasn’t.

The report essentially gives Emanuel’s school board a tough choice: dole out double-digit teacher raises in the first year of a four-year contract, or roll back the mayor’s signature longer school day and year effort.

Fact finder Edwin Benn found that CPS “caused this problem by lengthening the school day and year to the extent it did when it was having serious budget problems,’’ according to a copy of Benn’s long-awaited report reviewed by the Chicago Sun-Times.

“The board cannot realistically expect that it should not have to compensate employees for the problem it caused by an almost 20 percent increase for the employees’ work time. Continue reading

Walker Redefines Act 10’s “Base Wages”: Teachers’ Pay Likely to be Slashed by 30% | Uppity Wisconsin

26 Apr

Under Act 10, public workers can’t negotiate health care benefits, work conditions, or really anything. The one thing they can “negotiate” is whether or not their wages will be adjusted for inflation.But, now we find that this was just the tip of the iceberg.The Wisconsin Employment Relations Commission (WERC) General Counsel Peter Davis has confirmed that a new rule recently approved by Governor Walker, together with Act 10, will prohibit school districts and other governmental bodies from including most so-called “add-ons” in the pay scales of new contracts. While years-of-experience add-ons largely will be preserved, additional education, advanced degrees and most other add-ons will be prohibited from being put in the contract.This will hit all public sector workers hard, but will teachers the hardest.

Davis agreed and said that a commonly used “guesstimate” for the effect of the changes was that about 30% of the wages actually paid to teachers would not be counted as part of the total wages. Continue reading

The Pattern on the Rug – Bridging Differences – Education Week

28 Mar

By Diane Ravitch on March 27, 2012 11:41 AM

Dear Deborah,

There comes a time when you look at the rug on the floor, the one you’ve seen many times, and you see a pattern that you had never noticed before. You may have seen this squiggle or that flower, but you did not see the pattern into which the squiggles and flowers and trails of ivy combined.

In American education, we can now discern the pattern on the rug.

Consider the budget cuts to schools in the past four years. From the budget cuts come layoffs, rising class sizes, less time for the arts and physical education, less time for history, civics, foreign languages, and other non-tested subjects. Add on the mandates of No Child Left Behind, which demands 100 percent proficiency in math and reading and stigmatizes more than half the public schools in the nation as “failing” for not reaching an unattainable goal.

Along comes the Obama administration with the Race to the Top, and the pattern on the rug gets clearer. It tells cash-strapped states that they can compete for federal funding, but only if they open more privately managed schools where few teachers have any job protections, only if they adopt national standards that have never been field-tested, only if they agree to evaluate teachers by student test scores, and only if they are ready to close down low-performing schools, fire the principal and staff, and call it a turnaround. Continue reading

Quinn wants to eliminate state funding for retired teacher health insurance – Chicago Tribune

27 Feb

Gov. Pat Quinn wants to eliminate state funding for two health insurance programs that provide coverage for retired schoolteachers and community college instructors across Illinois.The idea, part of the new spending plan the governor unveiled last week, would cut roughly $92 million from the Teachers Retirement Insurance Program and the Community College Insurance Program.

About 77,000 retired educators and their dependents outside Chicago are covered under the programs. Without the state share, retirees might be required to pay higher premiums. The costs also could be passed on to local school districts, which in turn could result in property tax hikes. Continue reading

Retroactive pay cut for Manatee teachers |

20 Feb

MANATEE COUNTY – In a devastating night for Manatee County teachers, School Board members imposed a retroactive pay cut of 2.75 percent for this school year, raised health insurance premiums and ended automatic annual pay raises awarded for longevity.

The moves came despite a protest by more than 300 teachers who lined Manatee Avenue West and packed the hearing, many wearing red T-shirts and holding signs saying “enough is enough.”

Even worse for teachers: the pay cut applies to this school year as well, and will be retroactive. Beginning with paychecks in March, a year’s worth of salary cuts will be jammed into the 11 paychecks left in the school year. Continue reading

Think tank proposes basing teacher pay on school performance – JSOnline

16 Jan

A study from a conservative Wisconsin think tank proposes a new system of compensation that would boost teachers’ pay based on the performance of the schools they work for.

Michael Ford, research director for the Wisconsin Policy Research Institute, proposes the system as an alternative to what he calls “lock-step” pay systems based only on teachers’ years of service and educational attainment.

He also says his proposal would be more effective than systems that reward individual teachers without regard to where they work.

“The key to creating a consistently high level of teacher performance is building a school culture that demands it,” Ford wrote in his report, titled “A Modern Teacher Compensation System for Wisconsin.” Continue reading

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