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District 46 Residents Turn Out for Citizens' Strike Forum

The often outspoken, self-proclaimed education watchdog Lennie Jarratt hosted a town hall-style meeting Wednesday to talk about District 46's financial woes and the teacher strike.

About 30 residents attended an informal meeting Wednesday night at Grayslake's State Bank of the Lakes to hear Lennie Jarratt, founder of the citizens' group "For Our Children's Future," present his ideas for District 46's financial sustainability and to discuss the teacher strike, which is headed into a second day.

The goal of his organization, said Jarratt, is to find "out-of-the-box solutions" to school district finance problems.

Referring to the District 46 teacher strike, Jarratt presented slides detailing the contract proposals of the union and school board. He said he believed both sides were "at fault" for allowing negotiations to turn into a full-on strike.

"It's a power play to me," he said.

Jarratt, a one-time senate candidate and founder of the Lake County Tea Party, criticized the board for what he sees as a continual disregard for making wise financial decisions. He also chastised the union for refusing to recognize that the district has no money to give teachers the raises they seek.

While referencing several district-released documents, including one that detailed the dwindling fund balance, which is projected to drop to a dangerously low $1.9 million by May, Jarratt advised that tax anticipation warrants, referendum requests and a possible state takeover were not unrealistic consequences of making poor financial decisions.

Regarding teacher compensation, Jarratt suggested the district enter into a 5-year contract agreement with the union instead of two years to end the cycle of frequent negotiations.

He also proposed an end to salary schedules and the elimination of end-of-career salary increases for retiring teachers. Lane changes, suggested Jarratt, should become a one-time bonus, not a part of a teacher's regular salary structure. All of these would save the district money, he said.

Teacher perspective?

One resident in the audience said he wanted a teacher's perspective on Jarratt's suggestions, though no one in attendance indicated they were a teacher.

Another resident said he felt the strike was more about money than doing what was best for the students. Jarratt responded that like police officers and firefighters, teachers should not be allowed to go on strike.

D46: 'Fiscal Reality' Won't Allow for Teacher Raises

POLL: D46 Board and Union to Negotiate Again Sunday. What will be the Outcome?

Gallery: From the District 46 Picket Lines

District 46 Strike is On

UPDATED: No Agreement Reached in D46 to Avoid Strike

Few District 46 Students Attended Strike Camps on Day One

D46 Childcare Plans in Case of Teacher Strike

Agree? Disagree? Agree to disagree? Tell us in the comments.

Lennie Jarratt January 21, 2013 at 01:49 AM
I don't believe they will lower the foundation level. From what I am hearing there will be an attempt to raise taxes again instead. The EAV is adjusted by county, not state wide. An Assessor told me there will be another state factor put on again this year as well. The only issue is the percentage. If they raise taxes or shift the pension back there will be changes to accommodate the extra costs to a certain point. The board went with the best information they had at the time. They had these same projections for close to a year I believe if not longer.
Lennie Jarratt January 21, 2013 at 01:51 AM
You just stated earlier you went to Family Taxpayers, again that is not ISBE.
Terri January 21, 2013 at 02:39 AM
I followed the link on the right side of your page with the presentation...took me to the ISBE data base via Family Taxpayer
Lennie Jarratt January 21, 2013 at 02:44 AM
LOL, no you did not follow the link "Illinois State Board of Education".
Forethe Community January 23, 2013 at 06:56 PM
350 people showed up Sunday in the freezing cold to support the teachers of their district. That’s: • 10 times the number that showed up for either of the For Our Children’s Future town halls. • 10 times the number, on average, that shows up to BOE meetings. • 5 times the number that have ever shown up for a BOE meeting (in recent history). 30 local business showed their support for the teachers by supplying food, providing parking, providing warming shelters, allowing access to their bathrooms, and donating cash to help teachers that might need it in a prolonged strike. Residual benefits went to local food banks through excess donations. That’s: • 10 times the number of local business’s that spoke at any levy hearing. • Equal to the number of attendants at any For Our Children’s Future town Hall. • Equal to or greater than the average attendance at a BOE meeting. Actions speak louder than words. I applaud the board for listening to the public. I only wish the silent majority had been more vocal at the levy hearings. It’s too late to do what the public really wanted.

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