West Chicago teachers cite lack of leadership in no-confidence vote in District 94 president
In the end, Brad Larson argues the West Chicago High School Teachers’ Association (WCHSTA) had little choice but to unanimously adopt a resolution of “no confidence” in Community High School District 94 School Board President Gary Saake.
“There are a whole series of things Saake has done and said that prompted the resolution," Larson, WCHSTA president, told the DuPage Policy Journal. “The teachers association has been engaging in bargaining for a new contract for two years and agreed to a one-year extension that expired in August. Based on his leadership, and how he has interacted with employees of the district, we don’t think his being in charge is in the best interest of students or anyone in the community.”
Larson said teachers association members would now like to see the school board reorganize with different board members and elect a new president. The resolution also calls for community involvement becoming a regular part of the process.
“We’ve been in negotiations for a new contract for two years with little to show for it,” Larson said. “The lack of leadership speaks for itself. We hope to have our contract settled soon and have indicated our determination to the board.”
In a Dec. 21 press release announcing the no-confidence vote, the teacher’s group also criticized Saake for allowing his relationship with district employees to deteriorate to the point of being “less collaborative, less respectful, and more contentious.”
WCHSTA members also pointed to the way they insist he has refused “to consider establishment of processes for inclusion of members of the community in the decision making of the district” as a primary reason for their action.
Meanwhile, Saake recently told the Daily Herald he doesn’t believe the actions taken by WCHSTA are helpful to the process. He vowed that the board will continue working toward ratifying a new contract and serving the needs and interests of students in the district.
More recently, WCHSTA filed paperwork jump-starting the process that requires WCHSTA and District 94 board members to publicly post their final contract bargaining proposals.
“We’ve done the math,” Larson said in a press release. “We know the district has the money to meet our requests for a fair contract without raising taxes. We think it’s time the community has a chance to see the impact of the board’s proposals on D94 students. A strike is the last thing teachers want, and we are continuing to do everything we can in order to avoid that possibility.”