Tentative agreement in Mahomet-Seymour strike

By CRYSTAL LIGON
Mahomet Citizen Editor

MAHOMET — The Mahomet-Seymour school district and its teachers’ union have reached a tentative agreement, according to the union.

“We are so happy,” Mahomet-Seymour Education Association Co-President Joan Jordan said, with tears in her eyes. “We’re going to get to go back to school on Monday.”
Linda Meachum, chief negotiator, who was standing next to Jordan, also had tears in her eyes.

“This has been the most contentious thing I think I’ve ever been in in my life,” Jordan said.
According to Jordan, the tentative one-year agreement involves a step pay increase plus a half percent, which means a 2.6 percent average increase in the teacher salary schedule; teacher aides would get step plus 1 percent, which would be about 3.5 percent; and support staff would get 3.5 percent.

“We got three extra sick days,” Jordan added.

Insurance increased by $25, from $545 to $570, according to Meachum.

Jordan said she expects the union membership to vote on the tentative agreement Monday afternoon.

The special meeting is still on for 4 p.m. to determine if interscholastic sports and activities will continue since it is only a tentative agreement.

When asked to confirm the tentative agreement, Mahomet-Seymour school board President Terry Greene said there would be no comment until after the 4 p.m. meeting.

According to the recently expired contract, Mahomet-Seymour teachers who have a bachelor’s degree made a minimum of $33,055 annually and a maximum of $53,434. The highest paid teachers, which includes teachers who have a master’s degree plus 90 additional hours of continuing education and 30 plus years of experience, made as much as $76,040.

The Mahomet-Seymour school district has about 26 teachers who qualify for retirement receiving 6 percent increases in salary each year over their last four years of service. It is expected that there will be about seven teachers who retire at the end of this year, including Joan Jordan, co-president of the MSEA, and Linda Meachum, chief negotiator of the union. Both are fifth-grade teachers at Lincoln Trail Elementary School.

In total there are about 195 teachers and 55 teachers’ aides, and about 80 other staffers such as secretaries, custodians and bus drivers in the district. Most of the teachers and aides are in the union. About half of the support staff are in the union, according to MSEA spokesman Eric Potter.

According to the district, MSEA teachers have averaged 6 percent increases per year for the last nine years.

In comparison to surrounding school districts, according to the 2009 Illinois State Report Card, Mahomet makes an average of $54,151; Urbana, $54,058; Danville, $61,344; Champaign, $52,410; Rantoul, $45,406; Monticello, $48,417; and Unity, $41,212.

The public can find the expired 2007-10 contract at http://www.ms.k12.il.us/district/district-employment-agreements/index.htm. The latest teacher salary schedule can be found on page 53 in Appendix A, www.ms.k12.il.us/files/mseacontract06.pdf.

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TheHarrowClub wrote on August 21, 2010 at 12:08 pm

That's not a very good summary. You must try harder.

From what I can decipher from your gibberish, you are saying the state has the right to intervene in a strike for some reason and that the union has no right to claim money, either because it is unpaid or because it is the state's (even though it is owed to the district).

What are you basing these conclusions on? Your personal feelings?

Uneducated4Real wrote on August 21, 2010 at 3:08 pm

What if that "personal grudge" is a principled determination to get bad talent out of the pool, someone perhaps like you?

TheHarrowClub wrote on August 21, 2010 at 3:08 pm

I have not been a target of that, so I don't know for certain how it would work.

But I assume someone would have to make a solid case for the "bad talent."

Interested wrote on August 21, 2010 at 12:08 am

Imposing arbitration on a school system would be counterproductive. The board and the parents should want to create an environment that is attractive to the best teachers. When you're talking about someone who fills potholes, attracting the best and the brightest isn't all that important.

The solution is to have reasonable people come to a reasonable compromise. The failure in this case can be laid at the feet of the individuals involved in the negotiations, not the labor relations system.

cthom80 wrote on August 21, 2010 at 1:08 am

Harrow Club,
Why are you so interested in the Mahomet school system? I am also wondering if you have something against uneducated people. Almost every post you have made refers to someone as being "uneducated" when they disagree with you. Surely, being the extremely educated person you present yourself as, you realize that A) your opinion is not fact and B) everyone has a place in the grand scheme of things. Who changes the oil in your car? Who drives your groceries to your local store? I doubt it's someone with a PHD. Not everyone can afford college and not everyone enjoys the classroom. Some people simply enjoy working and those people make your life easier. Be thankful instead of hateful. Even the "uneducated" can teach, it just may not be in the classroom.

serfdom wrote on August 21, 2010 at 6:08 am

Keep in mind that "Those who can, do; those who can't teach". The best and brightest have always entered fields such as medicine, law, engineering, accounting, finance and others. Those beans stuck to the bottom of the bag go into teaching. They attend very unselective universities where practically anyone can achieve an education degree if they stay awake. Upon entering the workplace, they join a gang (teacher union) and develope this inflated sense of self worth. Since they have never been expected to actually achieve anything to earn respect, they demand it through the union and try to force it on others. Look at their posts. Are these the kind of people you trust to educate your children?

bulldogmom wrote on August 21, 2010 at 7:08 am

Serfdom, you are an idiot for making a comment such as this. You cannot genralize all teachers into this category. My husband teaches, he earned and paid for his four year college degree at the U of I, and he is well respected in his profession. Maybe you should teach. If so, your students wouldn't know how to spell... DEVELOP! You are like school in the summer time... no class!

serfdom wrote on August 21, 2010 at 7:08 am

Sorry, fat fingers, but the point is correct when applied to the union as a whole.

serfdom wrote on August 21, 2010 at 7:08 am

"genralize" You're too funny!

bulldogmom wrote on August 21, 2010 at 7:08 am

I guess I shouldn't be a spelling teacher either... ha ha ha. Sorry for being so angry with you earlier and calling you a name... I have a temper. Teachers have a tough job in the classroom. Anyone who is in it for the money ought to get out of the profession. You teach, because you love to teach and want to make a difference in a young person's life. I hope we don't have round two next year.

serfdom wrote on August 21, 2010 at 12:08 pm

Apology accepted. Need a question answered though. Why does your husband deserve the money I've earned more than I do?

Interested wrote on August 21, 2010 at 3:08 pm

I'll take a stab at that.

Her husband and every other teacher in the District is doing a valuable job and he deserves the compensation he earns. Because the service he provides benefits all of society, it is derived from the taxes that you and I pay. The pay raise that was negotiated was so small that your tax rate will not rise as a consequence. It will be covered by cuts elsewhere in the existing operating budget or be covered by the new taxes that come from new houses being built in the district. It was a reasonable compromise, so stop acting like someone just hijacked your SUV.

Uneducated4Real wrote on August 21, 2010 at 3:08 pm

New home construction is way down, and so are values of existing homes. Many are successfully having their assessments reduced. Property taxes will be down in 10/11 and 11/12. Fewer resources and growing obligations means something has to give.

Interested wrote on August 21, 2010 at 3:08 pm

You've already pointed out it's a pittance. It won't affect the rates.

TheHarrowClub wrote on August 21, 2010 at 11:08 am

I deal with many of those people. The difference is they are not in here making ignorant rants about teachers.

Hope that helps. Also, if you are implying that driving a truck is working and that teaching is not, then you are in need of a reality check.

Interested wrote on August 21, 2010 at 11:08 am

Also, if you are implying that driving a truck is working and that teaching is not, then you are in need of a reality check.
They made no such implication and only an idiot would draw that inference. They were reacting to your condescending characterization of everyone who disagrees with you as "uneducated," as though that made them inferior people. In fact, I would suggest that you need a reality check on that score.

TheHarrowClub wrote on August 21, 2010 at 12:08 pm

I need a laugh, and I get it from your posts.

Interested wrote on August 21, 2010 at 2:08 pm

Of course you do. You have demonstrated that you have no capacity for self-reflection.

mahomet_equalizer wrote on August 21, 2010 at 7:08 am

I would like to thank "Interested" for making me aware of my ignorance on collective bargaining and teacher's unions in the State of Illinois. These laws are drastically different than the private sector.

http://www.scribd.com/doc/32734830/Bargaining-for-Better-Schools-An-Intr...

All concerned taxpayers of Mahomet should take some time to review the document at the above link. The school board did the best they could do while having their hands tied under Illinois Law. If you want REAL change, it will require a change of the Illinois Law. Don't be mad at the School Board. After reading up on the laws of Illinois and the POWER the teacher's unions have, we should be thankful as taxpayers we were let off easy this year. We should all be very afraid for next year. Until the collective bargaining laws of Illinois with respect to School Teachers is changed, this will never stop.

The board had no choice but to settle. Under Illinois law, the Teachers could have stayed on strike in a mode known as "status quo", continued to be paid even if their contract was expired and the only way the board could have stopped them would be to take them to court and request an injunction to force them back to work.......a long, lengthy and costly process.

An inexperienced school board with new members would be like throwing fresh meat to the wolves when it is time for contract negotiations. If you want change, keeping or voting out the school board members is not going to help. The change must come by modifying the state law. Is it any wonder a pro-union politician running for Senate was with the teachers yesterday?

Bad news Citizens of Mahomet......it's not your school district. It's the Union's. If you want it back, you'll have to get the Illinois Law changed.

Interested wrote on August 21, 2010 at 10:08 am

If you think Illinois Law is going to be radically altered on this point, you're whistling in the wind. We would all be better advised to spend our time crafting a cooperative, collegial environment in the school district.

Besides, your post makes it sound like the teachers made some windfall out of the negotiation. The pay table move whopping 0.5 percent. This won't affect your taxes one iota.

mahomet_equalizer wrote on August 21, 2010 at 12:08 pm

Are you insinuating Illinois is so corrupt that a law cannot be changed? Unfortunately you are probably correct. I know it is not possible to change anything when the public is uninformed. An informed population makes for a strong democracy and anything can be changed by voters.........except maybe in Illinois.

I have never said the teachers got a windfall from the negotiation. In previous posts I said the 0.5% equated to approximately $255 and it was ridiculous the community was held hostage for 2 days for this amount of money. With roughly 2000 students in the district, the emotional stress and financial impact on the students and families is far greater than $255.00 each. 2000 X $255 = $510,000.00. Maybe the Union should compensate the parents and students for the pain inflicted on them by their ridiculous charade. Negotiations must be win/win for a successful outcome. With the current Illinois Laws for Collective Bargaining with the Teacher's Unions, there is only One Win....the Teachers Union.....thank you for steering me in the direction to become educated on this matter.

I mean no disrespect to the teachers with regard to those that perform. This is not about the Teachers. They are being played by the Union like pawns in a game of chess. For $255 the Union made the teachers march with picket signs, shut down school, disrupt an entire community and cause tears to flow from the precious children they so value and teach. Was it really worth it?

Interested wrote on August 21, 2010 at 2:08 pm

I don't think it has anything to do with corruption; it has to do with political reality in this state. Illinois is so solidly Democratic that the GOP wasn't even able to defeat Blagojevitch, who did everything imaginable to make himself a one-term governor. I think your desire to change educational labor law is not only politically impossible, it would be bad policy as well. The IELRA is good policy and has served education well, even if you and your reactionary cronies think otherwise.

Once again, it is my firm belief that the strike and the disruption to the community was not due to labor relations law. It was due to the suspicious and divisive personality of a small number of people who were negotiating. They are constitutionally incapable of regarding the board and the administration as colleagues and partners. They reflexively act as though they are oppressors and tyrants to be overcome. They persist in this childish and overly defensive attitude no matter how open and cooperative the board and administration may be toward them. This will not change by changing labor law.

P.S. You say the union made the children cry over a pittance. Couldn't the School Board have given them this offer a week ago and thereby avoided all the tears? Truth is that given the personalities involved, this painful process was probably necessary for people to stop tilting at windmills and come to a reasonable compromise.

novanut wrote on August 21, 2010 at 11:08 am

Im tired of how bad a teacher has it when they only work 6 months of a year...give me a break my company is holding the line at 1 1/2 % raises this year, my wifes company has closed its doors and im happy just to have a job in times were in right now! The teachers union is a joke ...DONT COME ASKING FOR A TAX INCREASE...another over taxed mahomet citezen

TheHarrowClub wrote on August 21, 2010 at 11:08 am

Six months a year?

The uneducated: They use whatever numbers they feel like. Doesn't matter if they are correct.

Well, back to suggesting inaccurate posts for removal.

Interested wrote on August 21, 2010 at 11:08 am

Have you ever heard of hyperbole?

TheHarrowClub wrote on August 21, 2010 at 12:08 pm

That isn't it.

Interested wrote on August 21, 2010 at 2:08 pm

Oh? How about a definition, oh Educated One?

Interested wrote on August 21, 2010 at 11:08 am

I don't remember hearing any of the teachers say they have it bad. They did say that the support staff (secretaries, custodians, bus drivers) are barely getting by, like many working class folks. This wasn't personal. It was strictly business. They asked for something and ended up accepting something less. I just wish they would have been able to do it without a strike. Knowing some of the people involved, I think personal trust issues were the biggest reason for that. I am hopeful that new leadership will not see the world through an us-versus-them lens.

nana25 wrote on August 22, 2010 at 11:08 am

Please post the name of the school district(s) that work 6 months per year. I will alert the teachers in my family. Then we can count on them to help out on the farm more frequently!!

sahuoy wrote on August 21, 2010 at 12:08 pm

wOw and you say others are uneducated?

TheHarrowClub wrote on August 21, 2010 at 12:08 pm

Yes. They prove it with their posts.

Yours is in the wrong place, by the way.

mahomet_equalizer wrote on August 21, 2010 at 2:08 pm

I would like to extend my sincerest appreciation to the Mahomet Teachers that are the Super Stars. We know who you are and you are appreciated. The Super Star teachers that happen to be on the bottom end of the pay scale are victims of the Union just like the rest of the taxpayers and students.

Illinois Collectively Bargaining laws for Teachers Unions do not allow individual negotiation with any teacher. If you are one of the Super Star teachers not being paid what you are worth, we wish it did not have to be this way. Unfortunately there is dead weight in the Union that must be carried and because they are protected by the union, the Super Star teachers at the bottom or middle of the scale suffer. If Mahomet Seymour School District were NON UNION, every teacher could rise to their full potential and be compensated what they are individually worth. The union will not allow this to happen.

The Taxpayers don't mind paying for Super Stars, it's the dead weight that is dragging us down.

To those Super Stars that deserved more than a 0.5% ($255.00 average) raise, I apologize. This is what happens in a Socialistic environment. You will never be compensated based on your individual worth. Monetary compensation that should truly be yours will unfortunately have to be given to the mediocre and sub standard teachers. It's kind of like sharing your A with the F student. You deserved the A because of hard work, but due to collective bargaining laws, you must give a portion of it away to the F student.

The real challenge if the Collective Bargaining laws cannot be changed is trying to remain a Super Star Teacher while watching your compensation given away to the less deserving.

Interested wrote on August 21, 2010 at 2:08 pm

No external force dictated what the pay table will look like. The members of the MS faculty worked together with the Board to come up with it.

Who is competent to judge which teacher is a Super Star and which is Dead Weight? Do you think you're competent to evaluate instruction in every grade and subject from pre-K to calculus?

And do you want teachers who are willing to try new instructional content and techniques or would you rather have them play it safe because the gamble might get them labeled "dead weight?"

The school district has four years to decide whether an employee has the attributes it takes to be an excellent instructor. After that, the teacher needs the protection to be able to innovate and do their best for the kids.

Besides, we don't want any right-wing nut-jobs forcing professional educators to teach kids that man living alongside dinosaurs is a reasonable scientific theory.

mahomet_equalizer wrote on August 21, 2010 at 4:08 pm

"Interested", your rebuttals never disappoint me. You are truly entertaining. No disrespect intended.

While I would never pretend to be competent to evaluate instruction in every grade with every subject. I view your question completely rhetorical.

Your comment: "After that, the teacher needs the protection" is quite interesting. You are talking about adult professionals that are highly educated with a minimum of a Bachelor's Degree and many with a Masters or Doctorate. Do you believe individuals with similar educational backgrounds in the private sector need protection? Who or what are we protecting them against............the citizens of Mahomet that ultimately write the teachers' paychecks? I didn't realize the citizens of the school district were that scary. Are you referring to protecting them from the school administrators? Are you referring to protection from the Union for fear of retaliation if they speak out against them?

Living in the private sector, I am not accustomed to this "protection" you are describing. I guess no one wants to protect a right-wing-nut-job.

Interested wrote on August 21, 2010 at 11:08 pm

They do not need protection because they are highly educated, but because of the nature of their work. They do need protection from anyone, administrators, the public, or even state legislators, who would tell them that they must teach Creationism in science class or cannot assign Catcher in the Rye in high school English, or defining pi = 3. Academic instruction is different from a commercial job. Drawing a false analogy to the private sector is flawed reasoning.

You intrigue me, though. What possible retaliation could the MSEA take against a member who publicly spoke against them? The union does not hire or fire or assign duties to its members.

cretis16 wrote on August 21, 2010 at 2:08 pm

Recession? HIgh Unemployment? Poor Economy? Households just getting by on the paychecks? No problem for MS District....here's a bag full of taxpayers money for all of you, and if you run out, let us know....we'll go even higher on the property taxes.

TheHarrowClub wrote on August 21, 2010 at 2:08 pm

This message brought to you by the same people who say the teachers should "do more with less," in good times and bad, for the last 25 years.

Interested wrote on August 21, 2010 at 2:08 pm

What would you know about the last 25 years? Based on your comments, I doubt that you're even 25 years old.

This kind of us-teachers-against-the-world attitude is the same dysfunction that made a cooperative negotiation impossible.

Grow up.

TheHarrowClub wrote on August 21, 2010 at 3:08 pm

Don't you have a misplaced post to move?

Uneducated4Real wrote on August 21, 2010 at 3:08 pm

What was your ACT score, genius?

serfdom wrote on August 21, 2010 at 3:08 pm

I don't think they count negative scores.

TheHarrowClub wrote on August 21, 2010 at 3:08 pm

You would know.

Interested wrote on August 21, 2010 at 3:08 pm

I'm more interested in his MMPI scores. (It's a personality test.)

TheHarrowClub wrote on August 21, 2010 at 3:08 pm

I have the results from a different test. They indicate an ability to see past nonsense, like what's in this thread, and to push for solutions.

Interested wrote on August 21, 2010 at 3:08 pm

Obviously you don't know enough about the software on this site to figure it out yourself, so I'll explain it to you. I'll try to use small words so you can follow.

The database here has a bug (a programming error). If you are not yet logged in to the site when you click on "reply" it takes you the login screen then posts your reply as though it were a new topic.

Don't you just feel like an @$$ now?

No, you probably don't ... because of your narcissistic personality disorder.

TheHarrowClub wrote on August 21, 2010 at 3:08 pm

I am aware of that. The solution, though, is to log in, then post.

Hope that helps.

serfdom wrote on August 21, 2010 at 3:08 pm

Bagdad Bob, Are you feeling that your online "education" degree has kind of let you down when dealing with adults. I think you're so used to working at the 1st grade level, you simply can't snap out of it.

cthom80 wrote on August 21, 2010 at 2:08 pm

I have a feeling that HC was the kid picked last in P.E. and spent a lot of time studying. Now that he has undoubtedly become successful he gets his jollies from picking fights with those he feels are not at his "educated" level. Then he pats himself on the back because no one in their right mind would be in the same room with him willingly. I've met pretentious people like this and they are impossible to reason with. My advice to HC, even though he doesn't want it, would be to get off the computer, socialize a little, try not to argue and maybe you'll make a friend or two. You do know what a friend is, don't you? Be careful though, if you use the same condescending tone face to face that you have demonstrated in your posts you will have to start cyber stalking the news gazette again and nobody wants that.

TheHarrowClub wrote on August 21, 2010 at 3:08 pm

I am trying to interpret what you mean with your last accusation.

If someone were "cyberstalking" the newspaper (and I'm not sure how that would happen), how would you know about it?

Are you implying you are some sort of secret agent for the newspaper?

Interested wrote on August 21, 2010 at 3:08 pm

Do you know what a metonymy is?

Just as someone may use "the crown" to represent an entire kingdom, one can use "the newspaper" to represent its web site.

mahomet_equalizer wrote on August 21, 2010 at 5:08 pm

Hey guys, I have to go. Mom is calling me. She said I can't play with you any more because your liberal views will corrupt my innocent mind. I have to get ready for my first day of kindergarten. I want to make a good impression.

It's been fun playing pin the tail on the liberal with all of you. It's now time for me to go and get educated. I hope I get HC for my teacher. He seems so nice.

TheHarrowClub wrote on August 21, 2010 at 8:08 pm

Let us know what you "pinned" anyone on.

I guess we should just be glad you didn't ruin the country, leave a mess for others to clean up, and then complain about how they are doing the clean-up.

baileyea4 wrote on April 11, 2014 at 12:04 pm

I came across this by accident and while it is very old, I have to say something. People complain that teachers get the summer off and "only work 3/4 of the year" but it boggles my mind because these teachers are responsible for a large part of the foundation upon which these children's adulthood will be built.

Sure, parents are a big deal. The foundation can be built by parents without a teacher, but only if they are GOOD parents. Good teachers help ensure that no matter what life is like at home, their students will be shown how to become intelligent, responsible, hard-working adults.

You get what you pay for, people. If you want crappy teachers who don't educate but instead baby-sit, then don't get angry about uneducated, unemployable sloths suckling at the government's teet. Had you invested money in the teachers and the education, you would have more employable, constructive members of society. Check out the rankings of schools in the country. You'll notice that wealthier areas have better schools and that's not a fluke. Pay more for better teachers and you get more dedication from them and therefore more results from the students. It's not 100%, of course, as things rarely are, but the return on investment is a very safe bet.