New Glenbard High School District 87 Superintendent David Larson said during his first local public appearance Monday that he hopes to elevate the practice of teaching by promoting the school district's 585 teachers like "a hospital promotes its doctors."
Those are warm words for the faculty, who have been negotiating a contract with the school district since mid-February. But Larson himself won't be involved in the contract talks.
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Board President Rich Heim and other board members expressed hope last fall that a new superintendent would be selected by February so that person could be involved in contract negotiations. But Heim said this week that Larson won't be part of the discussions because he'd be coming in late to the process.
Interviews with Larson and other superintendent finalists didn't take place until the end of February, weeks after contract talks had begun.
Heim said it eventually will be up to Larson to be "clear about final teacher negotiations and the implications any changes to the contract will mean for the district."
Larson, currently superintendent of Birmingham Public Schools in suburban Detroit, officially replaces Mike Meissen as Glenbard superintendent July 1. While Larson is finishing up work at his current job, Glenbard officials have been keeping him abreast of some of the happenings here by sending him board of education packets and other district materials.
Heim said he doesn't see any major roadblocks in negotiations between the Glenbard Education Association and members of the District 87 negotiating team, which includes three of the district's assistant superintendents -- but not Meissen, who announced last August that he would be stepping down at the end of the school year.
The two sides have met about a dozen times, Heim said.
The current five-year agreement expires Aug. 9.
Tom Tully, president of the faculty union, characterized discussions as moving slower than both sides probably want, but that there's no issues that have "put us at a standstill."
"When you start talking about important issues, you tend to slow down a bit so everyone can get their point of view heard, so both sides have an understanding of what the other side is saying," Tully said. "But any time you are compromising, it takes time."
Heim said it's his expectation a new contract will be in place by the time Larson takes over on July 1.