Harlem Teacher Negotiations

By: Max Seigle
By: Max Seigle

If you walked into the Harlem School District offices Saturday, it might have appeared like any other quiet weekend. But as the clock ticked on into the evening hours, the atmosphere behind these closed doors changed as teachers and the Board of Education worked into the night on contract negotiations. "Most of it, no surprises, is financial issues, salary, benefits and other financial issues out there," said Teacher Spokesman Lenny Nieves. He says teachers have felt an unlevel financial playing field when compared to other districts in the state. And he says that's caused teachers to leave the classroom for better offers. "The younger teachers are going because we, the union feels, their salaries aren't competitive," Nieves said. But if you ask District Superintendent Pat Deluca he'll say that's not the case. "I think that's a myth and they have to prove people have left because they went to a comparable size district," DeLuca said. Neither side would comment on contract offer specifics saturday. But Deluca feels the board is giving its best. "I believe the school board has put more resources on the table than any school board can remember." One thing everyone in the district likely remembers is when teachers went on strike for almost two weeks in 2004. It's a scene that both sides Saturday hoped to avoid....and open school this Tuesday as scheduled. Negotiators need to reach an agreement by Sunday afternoon to allow a full 24 hours of review by all teachers...so they can teach by Tuesday. If they don't, the school board could decide cancel to classes. District Support Staff are also working on a contract. DeLuca says a tentative agreement was reached on both sides and he expects final approval soon.

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  • by Melissa Location: Machesney Park on Aug 20, 2007 at 05:58 PM
    Why can't they do this at the start of the summer not two weeks before school is to start? They are not thinking of the kids!! They had all summer to work things our and they didn't. Why?
  • by janet Location: machesney park on Aug 20, 2007 at 10:36 AM
    i agree with everything said above. i dont ever remember having this many problems when John Hurley (sp?)was the superintendent. the teachers need their raises! our kids deserve the best teachers! we will be known as the striking school system and no good teachers will be coming to our district, and the good ones will leave:( Maybe Deluca will take a 10 yr pay freeze :) on tv he acts like its the teachers who won't budge. And that HIS DEADLINE is 7:00am tuesday. What does he think we are all going to get our kids ready that morning, wait till 7:00am , and hope the buses will get to pick up the highschoolers and get them to school by 7:30 am. Come on - Cant he just admit that there will be no school on Tuesday!!! We can all see it! He's still playing off that school wil start. ITS NOT! even if They do sign a contract Monday night i wont be sending my children to school Tuesday - it's just to short of a notice. We require a 24hr notice too! Deluca- give them a decent raise!!
  • by cindi Location: loves park on Aug 20, 2007 at 08:02 AM
    Mr. Deluga fails to mention the double digit raise he recieved. Since the harlem district has been under his dictatorship, the students have suffered tenfold. Take a look at the state test scores. there is no denying he has failed as a leader. If it werent for the dedicated and compassionate harlem teachers, our kids would be much worse off than they already are under current administration.
  • by Vicky Location: Machesney Park on Aug 19, 2007 at 08:09 PM
    I think Pat Deluca is power crazy. I know somebody who works at the school and she says that things are not going well with the negotiations. Pat DeLuca needs to resign as superintendant of Harlem School District. Since his has become superintendant, the district has gone down hill. The teachers in this district deserve to be paid what the rest of state makes. They are paid way less than any other district in Illinois. The support staff also need a raise and better benefits. They do most of the work. There are some good teachers in the district, but they don't make any money, so they are leaving for better positions, leaving the teachers who don't care to teach our kids. DeLuca wants to spend the extra money on himself and the school board offices. They all got brand new laptop computers and 3 years ago, they all got $500 to $800 chairs. I say, get DeLuca out of the office and let the kids go back to school.
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