As in the past two
years, no one from the public spoke at the hearing on the Duneland Schools
But that doesn’t
mean the Duneland School Board didn’t get a message during its meeting
Nearly 130 Duneland
teachers, staff and retirees filled the meeting room and the hallways of the
Administration Building while the board conducted its meeting. However, it
was not explained in the meeting why the teachers came out in droves.
But there was a
reason, according to Chesterton High School teacher Bob DeRuntz who, after
the meeting adjourned, told the Chesterton Tribune the teachers
wanted to show their unity in the midst of negotiations going on between the
Duneland Teachers Association and the Duneland School Board for a new salary
“They hope that
these negotiations will establish teacher salaries that are comparable with
other surrounding school districts,” DeRuntz said.
DeRuntz, who is the
DTA’s spokesperson for the negotiations, said that while under contract, it
has been seven years since Duneland teachers last received a pay raise.
“People came (to
the board meeting) to emphasize that teachers need to be made a priority and
that our teacher salaries, which have fallen far behind those of our
neighboring schools systems, need to be made more competitive,” he said.
DeRuntz said he’s
worried that “if Duneland salaries aren’t competitive then Duneland will
lose great veteran teachers and that it would be difficult to attract
highly-qualified educators competing with other school districts with better
“Our brand, the
Duneland Difference, is real, and it has been hard earned by generations of
great teachers serving our community,” he said. “We must invest in our brand
if we hope to continue to have the best teachers in our classrooms for our
meetings continue today at 4 p.m. at the Administration Center and a large
number of current and retired teachers are expected to gather in front of
the Administration Center as talks go on between the DTA and the School
DeRuntz said he
hopes both sides “can reach some common ground” on Tuesday. The negotiations
may continue for the rest of September.