Fellow CEA Member: We want to take a moment of your time to give you a summary of where we are in terms of bargaining our CEA Contract for the 2017-2018 school year with the Unit 10 School Board. This afternoon, Tuesday, October 24th, Stacey Lauenstein (Co-President and Bargaining Co-Chair), Denise Gruber-Cigliana (Co-President) and Mark Schusky (Bargaining Co-Chair) met with Superintendent Bob Green and School Board Members Gary Peccola and Dennis Craft. This was our latest in several rounds of “Three-on-Three” negotiations sessions in which we try to work informally to reach agreement on the major issues of our contract. We also have a full Bargaining Team consisting of Lori Billy, Matt Blunt, Toni Geisen, Cindy Kolda, Allison Pyatt, and our IEA UniServ Director Judy Griffin.
As we have mentioned previously, the State of Illinois was much delayed in passing its budget for the current Fiscal Year, and also passed a major reform of how schools are funded in Illinois. While this law has passed – which is good news – the Illinois State Board of Education is still working to determine the exact funding amounts each local school district will receive based on this new formula. ISBE has not yet finished these calculations – that’s the bad news – and may not for several more months.
This is the longest any of us on your bargaining team can remember that we have worked into a school year without a contract, and we certainly share any frustrations you may have about this. Know that we have shared these frustrations – multiple times – with the School Board. However, without final funding numbers from the State, it is difficult to reach a final agreement on salary and other monetary issues.
We have already reached tentative agreement with the Board on several non-money language items, but the major compensation issues remain unresolved at this point. The School Board also proposed increasing the Class Size language for all 4-12 classes. We are, of course, adamantly opposed to any change in our current Class Size language. We are hopeful that the Board will agree that their proposal to increase class size numbers will harm all our students’ education, and will withdraw this.
We have another “Three-on-Three” bargaining session scheduled for November 13th, which will give the full School Board time to discuss the remaining issues. It is our hope, always, that we will reach agreement on all remaining issues with the Board quickly and amicably. In this event, we will have a general membership meeting to discuss ratification of a contract at that time. In the event we are not able to reach some consensus with the Board on moving forward, however, we may at that point still hold a general membership meeting to discuss with you possible paths forward for us as CEA members. It will be critically important for you to attend any membership meeting(s) that are called.
We are in unchartered waters, well past the 1st Quarter, the Holiday season approaching, and with no quick agreement on a contract clearly in sight. While we remain hopeful, we also want all of us, as members, to be aware of the seriousness of the situation and the need for all of us to stand united in our goal of achieving a fair, equitable, and fiscally responsible contract that is in the best interests of our students and our community.
We apologize for the length of this update, but we want to paint a clear picture of where things stand in our contract negotiations at this point. Know that we continue working for all of us, and we will keep you updated as we have news to share. Be sure to follow us on FaceBook (Collinsville CEA)
Thanks, as always, for all you do for the students, parents, and citizens of Unit 10.
~Your CEA Negotiations Team