Breaking it all down

Hinsdale’s Dr. Skoda is quite the hypocrite, isn’t he?
JULY 31, 2014
tags: collective bargaining, Hinsdale High School Teachers Association, Richard Skoda

It is generally considered bad-faith bargaining to come back to the bargaining with a lower offer than what was offered previously. Collective bargaining assumes an intent on the part of both sides to move towards each other, finding common ground.

It was unexpected – but not out of character – for the Hinsdale board in suburban Chicago to engage in bad-faith bargaining.

From the press release of the Hinsdale High School Teachers Association:

After delaying for several weeks, Mr. Skoda surprised the teachers with a counterproposal that increased teacher healthcare costs more than their previous offer.

“It’s regressive bargaining,” said John Bowman, president of the Hinsdale teachers association. “We are moving towards them and they are moving away from us. I don’t think they really want to come to an agreement.”

Dr. Richard Skoda is the president of the Hinsdale board, a union-busting extremist.

And a hypocrite.

The recent election of Skoda as the board president (by a 4-3 vote) could be interpreted as another tactic to attempt to legitimize the board’s extreme views since Skoda was a teacher himself for over thirty years at Morton High School. He is being portrayed as a dedicated professional who has devoted his working life to education through his teaching and board membership. And he is to be applauded for his willingness to work for both his community and his students over the years. But when he starts attacking the teachers’ proposals as outrageously expensive, everyone should be aware of how hypocritical any teacher would view his rhetoric.

Teacher salaries are a matter of public record, so no confidentiality is being violated when we look at Skoda’s salary over the years at Morton. In 2004, he earned $87,930 (all figures were obtained from the teacher salary data base found at after 27 years of teaching, roughly 3.3% more than the $85,115 he earned the year before. But for the next four years, Skoda’s salary went up 20% per year with the resulting totals:

2005 – $105,516;

2006 – $123,120;

2007 – $145,582;

2008 – $169,944.

In other words, from 2004-2008, Skoda’s salary increased by 93%. Yet this is the same man who is lambasting the HHSTA for an initial proposal of less than 5 ½ %, coming after base salary increases for the District #86 teachers of 0% in 2012-13 and 1.38% in 2013-14. You should also be aware that the 5 ½ % figure probably includes the cost of eligible teachers advancing a step on the salary schedule for an additional year’s experience, and that the base (starting teacher) salary increase proposal is more like 3%.

Skoda and his allies on the District #86 board (Claudia Manley, Victor Casini, and Ed Corcoran) have every right to make the case to the teachers about what they believe to be reasonable, financially sustainable, and fair salary proposals. Nobody is trying to censor their attempts to follow their convictions in leading the district. However, trying to bully the teachers through hypocritical, misleading public comments is wrong.

It turns out that while Skoda is using his past experience as a teacher as one of his talking points, he hides some key facts about his teaching history – and current situation.

The last four years of Dr. Skoda’s employment his contract as a teacher gave him 20 percent raises, a practice intended to boost pension benefits and which is now illegal in the state of Illinois.

It allowed him to collect a hefty six figure a year salary and a six figure pension.

Now, if your are a loyal reader of this blog than you know that I believe pensions are contracts. And while most teacher pensions in the state are below $50,000 a year, if an administrator or others were contracted for a salary that brought them a pension larger than the average classroom teacher, than that is what they should get.

But it takes a major level of chutzpah to be engaging in bad-faith bargaining, complaining about your teachers’ compensation and demanding teachers take a salary cut while sitting on a six-figure public pension.

from → Hinsdale

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