Despite teacher walkout, Lake Forest classes to resume Monday
By Linda Blaser firstname.lastname@example.org September 14, 2012 7:40PM
Lake Forest High School teachers walk the picket line in front of the school located on McKinley Road. members of the Lake Forest Education Association could not reach a settlement in late night talks on Tuesday. | Thomas Delany Jr.~ Sun-Times Media
The ongoing strike in District 115 took its first big bite out of the athletic apple with the cancellation of Friday night’s football game between the host Scouts and Lake Zurich.
The North Suburban Conference Lake Division contest officially is a forfeit loss for Lake Forest and a forfeit win for Lake Zurich. So, the Scouts now are 3-1 on the season going into next Friday’s Homecoming game against Zion-Benton.
Also lost to the strike is Lake Forest’s girls cross-country team’s appearance on Saturday in a big meet in Peoria.
Many other Scout athletic events have been postponed since the strike began last Wednesday morning. Those events, however, can be made up when school resumes. Football games can’t be made up because teams have games scheduled once a week, every week. Hence, the forfeit.
— Jeff Bonato
Updated: November 14, 2012 1:35AM
School will be in session at Lake Forest High School on Monday, but no agreement was reached Friday after more than seven hours of negotiations between striking teachers and the District 115 board.
The mediator suspended discussions at 4:20 p.m. Friday when the Lake Forest Education Association had not submitted its last, best offer, according to a statement released by the school board. The school board issued its best offer at 10 a.m., an hour into negotiations.
The union, however, said in a statement, teachers submitted a written counterproposal with financial concessions. At 4 p.m., the mediator informed the union there would be no response from the board.
School will be open Monday for a mandatory attendance day. The school board said there will be a full day of instructional programming, initially using temporary replacement staff.
The school board issued a call for replacement workers earlier in the week. By Thursday, the roster was full.
The school district reactivated teachers’ district e-mail to deliver the message that they are welcome to come back to work on Monday.
LFEA negotiators will return to the bargaining table at 10 a.m. on Saturday with the hope that the school board will be willing to bargain “towards a fair and equitable contract.”
“Each day the strike progresses, the adverse impact on our students increases,” School Board President Sharon Golan said. “The board’s primary goal remains the same — to serve our students.”
Friday’s negotiations following a nearly eight-hour session on Thursday in which the Board of Education said progress was made on numerous considerations.
Working through the mediator, the school board offered to defer the two-tier salary schedule to a faculty and board committee to come to a consensus, and agreed to phase in an HMO insurance change that would require teachers to pay more out-of-pocket, according to a statement released by the school board.
While the union said they put another financial offer on the table, the board contends the union is still demanding salary increases of 5 to 6.5 percent per year. According to the school board’s statement, the board responded by rejecting those terms and requested an undisclosed counter proposal, which the union declined.
“We are deeply disappointed by the union’s unrealistic expectations regarding salaries. Our offer keeps us highly competitive and fiscally responsible to the community we serve,” Golan said.
Lake Forest Education Association lead negotiator Tom Gigiano disagreed and said the union viewed the board’s action Thursday as no movement toward a compromise.
The 150 teachers walked out Wednesday in the first strike in the district, which serves 1,718 students, who come from Lake Forest, Lake Bluff and Knollwood.