PALATINE – The Community Consolidated School District 15 Board abruptly ended negotiations with the Education Support Personnel Association (ESPA) by falsely declaring an impasse, trying to enforce a take-it-or-leave-it “last, best offer” and threatening to post ESPA jobs if the offer was not accepted.

ESPA has refused the district’s alleged last, best offer despite the district’s threats to begin permanently replacing employees who have devoted years to serving the children of our schools. It is clear by the district’s repeated illegal and unethical actions throughout every stage of the negotiations process that the district had no intention of putting the community and children’s needs first. The district has chosen to use litigation as the primary method for contract settlement which will mean massive legal fees instead of negotiations, all paid by taxpayers to the district’s attorneys.

“It’s deceptive, untruthful, regressive and quite frankly, it’s illegal to give ESPA an ultimatum and threaten members’ jobs because the District 15 board is not bargaining with us in good faith,” ESPA President Angie Drazkowski said. “We are extremely disappointed by the board’s actions, but are anxious to get back to the students that we love.”

ESPA’s 454 members will put the students of District 15 first and return to work in their classrooms and schools on Monday. ESPA has filed several unfair labor practice charges against CCSD 15 and will continue its fight for a fair contract in court.

ESPA represents secretaries, clericals, classroom aides, nurses, and sign language interpreters in Community Consolidated School District 15 in Palatine. They have been working without a contract since July 1. ESPA began its strike on Mon., Oct. 16.

ESPA continues its requests for District 15 to come back to the table and bargain in good faith to reach a new contract. If the District will not do so, ESPA is confident that it will obtain this outcome, and other relief, through legal remedies.

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The 135,000 member Illinois Education Association (IEA-NEA) is the state’s largest education employee’s organization. IEA represents preK-12 teachers outside of the city of Chicago and education support staff, higher education faculty, retired education employees and students preparing to become teachers, statewide.