Group Wants Dist. 155 Board to Get Tough with Unions

Article excerpt

Byline: Larissa Chinwah

A newly formed group in McHenry County wants the Crystal Lake High School District 155 board to stand up to the teachers union as the two sides meet to renegotiate contracts in the coming months.

Members of Grafton, Algonquin, Nunda, Dorr Community Advocates, or GANDCA, formed after a January school board meeting where school leaders said they would increase the tax levy to meet expenses, said Chris Williams, a Lake in the Hills resident and founder of the group.

"It occurred to me that there is the potential for a $1.5 million deficit in the next school year," Williams said. "The property values are going down, and if they don't increase the tax rate, they won't meet expenses. Our home values are going down, but we'll still be paying the same amount of tax."

Because the district will not operate in a deficit, Williams said, there are three options for the school board: reduce spending, increase revenue or taxes, or a combination of both.

Williams said the group is not against teachers or the union and said the purpose of the group is to be a voice for the community.

"Our group might be in the minority, so let's find out," Williams said. "It's not about the teachers, it's not about the union. It's about taxpayers being tapped out."

But the president of the teachers union, the District 155 Education Association, said historically the union has always bargained fair contracts with the board.

"History shows that we have never gone into negotiations and asked for more than the school district could afford." Justin Huely said. "That's why we are in a good financial place at a bad financial time. …