Last week three members of the Riverside-Brookfield High School District 208 Board of Education and top members of the RB administration met with the leadership of the RB teachers union in what was the first of what appears will be several meetings as the RB administration searches for ways to cut the budget.
While participants in the meeting were circumspect about their discussion, it is no secret that that the school board and administration would like the Riverside Brookfield Education Association (RBEA), which represents RB’s teachers and support staff, to consider adjusting their current contract to help RB reduce looming budget deficits.
But this initial meeting, which took place March 10 and lasted for nearly two hours, seems to have resulted in little beyond a commitment to keep meeting.
“It was an exploratory meeting,” said District 208 Interim Superintendent David Bonnette. “We are going to continue to communicate with one another. We have not come to any concrete conclusions at this point, but we will continue that dialogue as it moves forward.”
RBEA President Dave Monti said that the meeting was productive.
“The meeting on Wednesday between Dr. Bonnette, members of the school board and members of the RBEA went very well,” said RBEA Monti in an e-mailed response to a question about the meeting. “A productive and positive dialogue was held and we will continue to communicate with one another to help the district achieve its financial needs.”
The union was represented by Monti, other members of the RBEA’s executive board and a representative from the Illinois Education Association, the statewide union that the RBEA is part of.
Representing the school board was District 208 board President James Marciniak, Vice-President Sue Kleinmeyer and board finance committee co-chair Mike Welch. Bonnette, RB Interim Principal Tim Scanlon and the school’s lawyer were also at the meeting.
The next meeting with the union will probably be held in about a month or so, Bonnette said.
This means that any agreement with the union likely will not affect next year’s budget. The board plans to vote on budget cuts for the 2010-11 school year at a special meeting tentatively scheduled for March 23.
“I had not been factoring anything in as to that in terms of next year anyway,” Bonnette said.
Apparently the administration and the school board have not yet made a specific proposal to the union.
“We have not gotten to the point of any formalized request.” Bonnette said.