Wauconda Teachers to Try New Negotiating Approach
Heidenrich, Chris, Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL)
Byline: Chris Heidenrich Daily Herald Staff Writer
Wauconda school children are taught to settle differences by cooperating, and a similar approach will be used in teacher contract talks that start today.
The school board and Wauconda Education Association will use a process called Illinois Mutual Interest Negotiations, in which both sides bring contract requests to the table and present reasons for them. Everyone then explores ways to meet the requests.
Superintendent John F. Barbini said that is "significantly different" from the previous negotiating approach, in which one side presents its demands and the other side either rejects or accepts them.
"The whole goal is to get us to think outside of the box ... to come up with solutions," he said. "It is a much more collaborative process."
Wauconda Unit District 118 school board member Nancy Dobner, a district representative in the talks, said she hopes for more direct contact between the teams.
"We didn't really talk in the other process. It was lawyer to lawyer," Dobner said.
Joyce Houston, an Illinois Education Association field representative who will lead the teachers' union negotiating team, said the process came to Illinois about three years ago. …