President’s Insights 9-3-18

Welcome Back
Welcome back to the 2018-2019 school year.  This past Wednesday it was an honor and privilege to preside over our first Rep Assembly of the 2018-2019 school year.  The work ahead of us is great, but I am excited for the challenge.Those before us were able to achieve great things. Their unity and hard work has benefited this generation of membership. This summer I met with several past presidents to listen and learn how they met their challenges and successes. I say this because our history is important and the agreement we use today is a result of strong leadership and sacrifices on part of past leaders and members.

The ETA is now in our care.  It is now up to us to groom the next generation of the ETA.  We must stay united and be stronger, together, more than ever before.  Together we can accomplish great things. Together, we can make the ETA a stronger organization.

I have enjoyed meeting many of you over the first few weeks and cannot wait to meet and discuss the issues that impact you on a day to day basis.  Feel free to reach out if you would like me to come out to your school or if you would like to meet individually.

Window Cling
IEA is offering a window cling that you can put on your window at home that will let people who want to knock on your door telling you why you should quit your union, not to knock because you are sticking with your union.

You can order your free window cling here –

Bargaining Team
The team includes Nicole Barder of Laurel Hill, David Borg of Elgin High School, Amy Grantham of Otter Creek Elementary, Eric Ilich of Bartlett High School, Noemi Hernandez of Washington Elementary, Donna Streit of Eastview, Jack Janezic our Uniserv Director and myself.

This team represents so much of our district. This is a team that I believe is very strong and diverse in experience and knowledge. I also recognize that there is much more expertise amongst our members.  We will rely on you the members to provide further expertise when necessary, and we will seek that out.

If you see any of these people, be sure to congratulate and thank them.  These members will be busy over the next months representing 2500 strong and I have no doubt they can lead the ETA in a positive direction.

Step and Lane Conversation
On Tuesday, August 21, 2018 The Elgin Teachers Association was informed by School District U-46 that the Board of Education will be withholding step increases pending a successor agreement. We were also informed that if we negotiate a step movement as part of a new contract for this school year, the Board of Education will make the necessary adjustments at that time, which will then be reflected in your paycheck. As stated in the most recent joint statement, lane changes will continue to be awarded.

This decision will impact all members.  All members will be left without a pay increase while we go back to the table to bargain a successor agreement, unless they have invested in advanced education credits.

We understand the challenges the new TRS 3% law, passed on June 4, 2018, presents the school district.  There is uncertainty in the amount of penalties that the district will incur as a result of this law. In addition, not getting step and waiting until we return to the table and agree upon a successor agreement creates a lot of uncertainty on our members.   We are disappointed that the Board has chosen not to honor the entirety of The Elgin Agreement as has been done during previous bargains that expired without a successor agreement.

With a bargaining team in place, we are ready to get back to the table and get an agreement that brings certainty to our members.  Our goal, as always is to bring a tentative agreement forward that works for our members, our students and our community.

Board of Directors Meeting
Moving forward, we will be reporting out what occurs at our Board of Directors meetings.  We ran on a platform of transparency and want the membership to know what work we are doing that will guide the ETA.  If you are interested in being a guest at any Board of Directors meetings, please email me to arrange a time to be a guest.

Peer Assistance Review and National Board Certification
Amanda Sanders from the Peer Assistance Review team and MaryEllen Friel, a National Board Certified teacher presented on each program respectively.  For more information, check out the attached presentation from the RA, or click the link to see a video that gives you more information about the program.

Peer Assistance Review Video –

National Board Certification Video –

Board of Education Communications Team
The Board of Education Communications Team will be meeting this Thursday, September 6, for the first time this school year.  We are still in need of few members. This team will be incredibly important this year as we bargain. It will allow us to communicate directly with members of the Board of Education about the things that are happening in our buildings and impacting our ability to best serve our students.  If you are interested in taking on this important work, please reply to this email that you are interested.

Contract Improvement Committee and Work groups
We are in the process of finalizing the configuration of the Contract Improvement Committee.  Isabel Torres has been nominated as a co-chair of the committee. This committee will be reviewing data and discussing further data they need to collect to help direct our Bargaining Team at negotiations.

In addition, we need members to help fill out our four work groups.  Those groups are focused on safety, work load, student placement, and compensation.  If you are interested in being a member of these teams or the CIC, please reply to this email with your name, school, and group you would like to be considered for.

Section Director Election – Secondary Section 3
The representatives from Larkin, Kimball, and Abbott met before the start of the RA to vote for the Section Director seat vacated by Scott Sternal.  Members of the section voted unanimously to vote Lisa Whitmer of Larkin High School. Thank you to Lisa for stepping up to give service to the ETA.

Barb Bettis
Elgin Teachers Association

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