Lake Forest High School Teachers Go On Strike

By aaroncynic in News on Sep 12, 2012 7:40PM

Chicago teachers aren’t the only teachers on a picket line this week. The Sun Times reports Lake Forest High School teachers walked out of contract negotiations late last night and are now officially on strike. Chuck Gress, union spokesperson for the Lake Forest Education Association, said the union was “disappointed that the Board of Education did not respond to the LFEA’s last salary submission.”

According to ABC7, the “key sticking points” in the contract dispute in Lake Forest are health benefits and salary. Megan Stoll, a science teacher at Lake Forest High School told ABC the board of education’s contract offer “would be money out of my pocket. It would be a step back, and I would be earning less this year than I did last year.” Teachers in the school oppose a new pay structure which separates new teachers from current ones, with newer teachers making less, according to the Chicago Tribune. Gress told the Tribune “we are fearful if we, as a faculty, accept a contract that says new teachers will earn less over the course of their career, our district will no longer be able to compete.”

The Board offered a system of pay increases over the next three years which would be 2.6 percent for 2013 and then 3.4 percent for the subsequent two years following. The union proposed a pay increase of 5.6 percent for two of the three years and one 6.5 percent increase on account of a pay freeze in last year’s contract. Those would have been the levels of pay increases had there not been a freeze.

Sharon Golan, President of Lake Forest District 115 said the offer the board presented was a fair one. Golan told ABC the average teacher makes more than $100,000 a year, but the union said that figure was misleading. According to the final offer from the Lake Forest Board of Education, beginning teachers in District 115 with a bachelor’s degree make $50,116, with teachers beginning with a master’s degree starting at $56,007. Top teachers with a master’s make $120,826 and the highest salary in the system is $127,649.