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D-15 Teachers' Union Ads Are Off Base

Community Consolidated School District 15 is negotiating a new contract with its teachers' union.

In advance of contract negotiations, CTC (the union representing CCSD15 teachers) started an ad campaign to discredit financial claims made by the school administration. In their ad CTC suggests the district has a history of "grossly inaccurate projections", obviously to convey the impression the district routinely underestimates revenue.

For 2008 CTC demonstrates the district budgeted for a deficit of $2.5 million but experienced a deficit of only $206,000. So, it must have "found" over $2 million in unanticipated revenue, right? Wrong. Actual revenue came in $1.6 million less than projected. The reason for the lower ending deficit was the district took aggressive cost savings steps throughout the year to minimize the ending red ink.

For 2010 CTC claims the district projected a budget deficit of $1.2 million but actually experienced a surplus of $6.8 million. While true, when the district drew up the original budget it could not possibly have known the effect of two one-time windfalls. About $5 million came from a change in how Cook County collected taxes, which simply advanced the collection of taxes from the next budget year while not increasing them. About $3 million more came from temporary Federal Stimulus funds. Was this really poor forecasting?

CTC's most recent ad looks at the fund balances of past years to suggest projections of a declining fund balance in future years is somehow flawed. Are they disputing the projected future revenue growth based on the Consumer Price Index? Are they disputing the projected expense for wages and benefits based upon the existing union contract? We don't know as they are silent on both.

CTC fails to recognize that it has been mostly cost containment actions that have produced the past financial results they presented. As such, per the Illinois Interactive Report Card CCSD15 now has the highest class sizes of its three closest neighboring districts after having eliminated 132 teachers since 2002. Suggesting those same past financial results will magically occur in the future without something giving is just wishful thinking. Let’s hope that the “something giving” is not even higher class sizes, essentially funding our deficits on the backs of our kids.

Mark Evenson

Palatine

Vicki Wilson March 13, 2012 at 11:02 PM
Thank you Mark. The residents of District 15 really need to know the whole story and not just the cherry-picked data that suits the CTC's agenda.
Mark March 14, 2012 at 12:30 AM
Thank you Vicki. One thing I wanted to point out was that I do have the highest respect for the teachers, especially those my kid's have. I would not want anyone else for them. I certainly do not want any more teachers to be forced from employment. That being said, I really don't believe their leadership (CTC) is doing them any favors with their series of ads meant to discredit the district administration. After all they will be negotiating with them in a few short weeks. I have seen the numbers and I can find little if any fault with the administration. However, the same cannot be said for CTC. That is unfortunate.
Bucephalus March 14, 2012 at 12:31 AM
And here we go again. D15 only presents the completely accurate data and CTC only presents cherry-picked data.
Vicki Wilson March 14, 2012 at 02:30 AM
Agreed. The CTC leadership is doing a huge disservice to the members they are supposed to be representing. The teachers need better leadership -
Maryb March 14, 2012 at 03:02 AM
oard Member Scott Herr states on his blog site, www.scottherr.org/2012-03/2011-negotiations, that the CTC leadership with their most recent Daily Herald print ad is in violation of the agreement from June, 2011. If the situation was reversed how fast do you suppose the CTC would file a labor grievance? Negotiations have not even officially started and we already see very aggressive action from the CTC leadership.
Lamplighter1980 March 14, 2012 at 03:37 AM
I have a few questions if someone can answer them 1.) What cost savings did the district implement in 2008 to save money? 2.) Are you saying they have 132 less teachers on their payroll then they did in 2002? 3.) What was the violation of the agreement? I read their ads and they seem pretty straight forward with what they claim are the district's numbers. I am just trying to understand what is going on.
Norma Holmes March 15, 2012 at 04:34 AM
The district can cut and cut and cut - but - since salaries and benefits are the bulk of our budget - we will get NOWHERE if CTC is heading in the salary / benefit raising direction already !
Scott March 15, 2012 at 01:16 PM
Lamp - the agreement was that all statements would be joint statements (not unilateral ones like the CTC did)

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