Teachers in Lyons Township High School District 204 have been working without a contract since school began in August. Negotiations on a new contract started in March and are continuing, but no agreement has yet been reached.
Currently teachers are working under the terms of the old contract.
Negotiators for the school board and the teachers union would not say much about the state of the contract talks or the subjects still under discussion. The two sides have an agreement not to comment publicly about the status of the negotiations or the specifics of any proposal, counter proposal or discussions.
“There’s good, respectful dialogue going on on both sides of the table, and we’re hopeful … that we’ll come to an agreement soon,” said Tom Cushing, the president of the LTHS District 204 school board. “Obviously I can’t say when and I’m not in a position to comment on the content of the negotiations in public. I would rather do that in private in the negotiation room. Both sides are hopeful that we’re coming to the end of the process.”
One negotiating session was held last week and another is scheduled for Dec. 12.
Joseph Maffey, a language arts teacher at LTHS and the president of the Lyons Township Educational Association, the teachers union, said that he couldn’t say much about the negotiations.
“Negotiations are still ongoing and that the LTEA negotiations team remains committed to cooperation and compromise during these talks,” Maffey said in an email. “The faculty is focused on delivering high-quality instruction to our students and continuing to make a positive impact on their education.”
A teachers strike seems does not seem imminent as both sides seem determined to keep talking and reach an agreement. But LTHS teachers apparently have been frustrated with the slow pace of progress. More than 100 teachers attended the Nov. 19 school board meeting in what Maffey, in a published report, called a show of unity.
In their previous three-year contract that expired this summer, raises in base pay for LTHS teachers were 80 percent of the rise in the Consumer Price Index. That raise in base pay was 2 percent in the 2017-18 school year.
LTHS teachers also got automatic step increases in addition to the increase in base pay. Many school districts have been limiting or eliminating step increases in recent contracts.
Riverside-Brookfield High School, for example, eliminated step raises in 2016 in the three-year contract it ratified at that time.
The average salary for a teacher at LTHS is $109,139 according to the 2018 Illinois School Report Card issued by the Illinois State Board of Education, making LTHS faculty among the best paid teachers in Illinois, but trailing teachers in a few northern suburban districts.
The starting salary for a LTHS teacher with a bachelor’s degree and no experience at LTHS is $56,700.86. The average salary for a teacher at Riverside-Brookfield High School is $96,486.
Lyons Township High School serves Brookfield families who live south of Southview Avenue, in the Lyons Township portion of the village. The rest of the village is served by Riverside-Brookfield High School.