Since April 2016, West Chicago District 94's teachers have sought a contract to allow hiring and retention of high-quality, effective teachers. One obstacle: the board of education can't get their math right. Meantime, the futures of students, teachers and the school hang in the balance.
Since October, District 94's board president has touted the supposedly exorbitant costs of the teachers' proposal. On Jan. 9, the board of education estimated our proposal's cost at nearly $13.2 million. Since then:
• Jan. 11: the board informed us of a nearly $2.8 million error in their math; their projected cost of our proposal fell to just over $10.4 million.
• Jan. 16: calculation errors of $1.1 million lowered the board's projection to just above $9.3 million. A further $400,000 error by the board was found that same evening.
• Jan. 17: the board's estimate fell again, to about $5.9 million. The cost of a fifth contract year should have been removed previously, and $752,000 on top of that departed their estimate.
Less than two weeks, no changes to the teachers' proposal, and the board's cost estimates of it fell by over $4.6 million. There's more …
• Jan. 9, the board presented their own proposal. Estimated cost: $2.29 million over four years. By Jan. 17, that cost was recalculated to $674,000, a $1.6 million decrease. The board's president told the Daily Herald that proposal would cost $2.9 million. Two days later the board published the cost as $2.1 million.
Confused? Here's what you need to know: we are negotiating for a fair contract, and our bargaining partners appear incompetent or willfully misleading. A board of education inaccurately presenting its own proposals does not create confidence among its employees or constituents.
Brad Larson, President
The West Chicago High School Teachers' Association