Fellow CEA Member,

We finally have some modest progress to report on the negotiations front. CEA Co-Presidents Stacey Lauenstein and Denise Cigliana and CEA Bargaining Co-Chair Mark Schusky (with Co-Chair Stacey Lauenstein) met Monday, November 20th, with School Board President Gary Peccola, School Board Treasurer Dennis Craft and Superintendent Bob Green for an “informal” 3-on-3 Negotiations session.

We mutually agreed that the School Board would withdraw their proposal to increase class size for this year (from 28 to 32 for Grades 4-6, and from 30 to 34 for Grades 7-12). In exchange, we agreed on CEA’s end to wait for further bargaining on salary issues (the only remaining issue to bargain) until the Illinois State Board of Edication (ISBE) releases finalized school funding numbers for the 2017-18 school year.

ISBE is currently working to complete these funding numbers because the Illinois Legislature passed a new way the State funds schools in August. The old funding formula, commonly called GSA (General State Aid) has been replaced by an Evidence Based Model (EBM) that incorporates additional data from school districts to determine each local District’s funding level. Because this new EBM funding amount has not been determined yet, the School Board is reluctant to agree to any increase in our negotiated salaries at the moment. We on the bargaining team agree that it is in all our best interests to wait for further negotiations sessions with the School Board until ISBE determines these finalized funding amounts. We are hopeful ISBE will have these final figures soon, but IEA has counseled us it’s possible this may not occur until possibly January.

Once ISBE provides the EBM numbers, we will resume negotiations with the School Board as quickly as possible and will at that point hope soon to have a tentative contract to recommend for ratification. We also are hopeful that ISBE will finalize its EBM numbers before January, of course.

However, there are certainty still many hurdles to face before negotiations conclude. While we continue to hope for the best, it is of course prudent to prepare for any eventuality.

In the meantime, we are at least happy to report that there will be no class size increase on the table for any future negotiations for this year.

Thanks again for all your patience as we work our way through an unprecedented delay (in any of our bargaining experiences at least) in contract negotiations this year.

Special thanks too to the other members of our CEA Bargaining Team: Lori Billy, Matt Blunt, Toni Geisen, Lisa Bossetto, Cindy Kolda, and Allison Pyatt; as well as our IEA UniServ Director Judy Griffin. Your support, guidance, help and encouragement are invaluable!

We will of course keep you updated with any new developments regarding our negotiations as quickly as we have something to share.

Thanks for all your tireless efforts on behalf of our Unit 10 student family. We wish you all a restful and enjoyable Thanksgiving!

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