A Parent's Corner
Letter to Parents
Dear Parents of District 156:
As teachers in District #156, we know that the current status of stalled negotiations is not easy on anyone. We want you to know that we share your concern and frustration. The last thing we ever would want is a strike. Unfortunately, the unwillingness of the Board of Education to meet and reach a fair compromise is pushing us in that direction.
The McHenry Community High School Education Association is concerned about and dedicated to the students’ and district’s future. Teachers are proud of their professional work with the students of McHenry. We are working hard to make our schools the very best they can be. To that end, we have agreed to teach an additional class this year to make professionals more accessible to students. Our goal is to make sure students will receive additional academic assistance as they need it during the school day. In addition, teachers worked diligently this year in and out of the classroom to increase the academic rigor to ensure student growth in necessary skills. Every student’s education and growth as a person is the Association’s number one priority.
Because of poor compensation and benefits, McHenry Community High School District 156 has had a great deal of difficulty hiring and retaining its first choices of teacher candidates. Other districts with better compensation and benefits simply hire them instead. Unfortunately, the compensation package put forward by the Board of Education in this year’s negotiations would continue to keep District 156 non-competitive in the hiring and retaining of quality teachers.
The teachers’ association is working hard to retain the quality educators that currently serve the students. We’re working hard to create a school district that attracts the quality teacher candidates that other districts want to hire as well. The exodus of teachers from District 156 is more than troubling. It’s a disservice to the students who count on us to provide them with quality educators.
Teachers have been working without a contract since the end of July. Negotiations have gone on for over five months without agreement. Even while knowing that teachers agreed to change the work environment by taking on an additional class, even knowing the State requires more data collection from the creation of assessments teachers must make and administer, and even while knowing that the technology requirements mandated by the district that teachers must learn on their own time has increased, the Board of Education has offered multiple inadequate compensation packages that actually CUT PAY OF TEACHERS. This is unfair and will hurt the quality of the school district. With the already large amount of turnover in staff due to teachers finding better compensation and working environments elsewhere, this type of pay reduction would only make the problem worse.
Since fiscal year 2011 the total teachers’ salaries to the District has decreased over $875,000. The teacher insurance cost to the District has also decreased more than $175,000 over the same time period. The total savings to the District in salaries and insurance over the past four years is over $1,000,000. In addition, the District purposely over-budgets their expenditures resulting in a surplus of over $4,500,000 the last three years that is not going to provide educational benefits to students.
In closing, we want you to know that we are doing our very best to secure a fair agreement that will serve the school district well now and in the future. Students remain our highest priority. Many District 156 teachers live in District 156’s boundaries. We want our children, as well as yours, to have the best educational experience possible. We would never fight a cause that was not in the best interest of our children and yours.
For further information, please visit our website at: district156teachers.org.
McHenry Community High School Education Association (MCHSEA)