CCEA has filed for federal mediation in ongoing contract negotiations
DOWNERS GROVE — Members of the Center Cass Education Association (CCEA) and community members will attend Tuesday’s board meeting to voice concerns over ongoing contract negotiations. Members will address the board, asking them to put students first and come to a fair agreement as soon as possible. CCEA members have been negotiating for a fair contract with Center Cass District 66 since March and have been working without a contract since August.
“Our salaries are already lower than that of neighboring districts in Woodridge, Downers Grove and Westmont,” said CCEA member Jake Little. “Many of our teachers are working a second or third job to make ends meet. We are fighting an uphill battle to attract and retain high-quality educators. We have an amazing community with great kids and supportive parents, and we want to do everything we can to maintain the quality schools that these families deserve.”
CCEA is composed of 84 teachers serving 1,000 students across three schools. Nearly half of CCEA membership work or have worked additional jobs to make ends meet. Over a third considered seeking teaching positions elsewhere or thought of leaving the teaching profession altogether.
The CCEA bargaining team and members of the board of education met several times in a collaborative environment to make changes to the contract that would promote the best learning environment for students. However, the current board proposal lacks a transparent salary structure and discourages teacher collaboration. After the last negotiation session, the parties struggled to reach agreement on changes to teacher compensation, and the District 66 board declared an impasse in negotiations. Consequently, CCEA has filed for federal mediation in hopes of reaching a fair agreement with the board.
“We want what’s best for our students, our schools and our communities,” Little said. “Our proposals will help us attract and retain high quality educators to work with our students and those proposals are also fiscally responsible. They will not impact district services or require a tax increase. We’re hopeful that we can come to a fair agreement that’s in everyone’s best interests soon.”
Several CCEA members will attend the school board meeting on Tuesday, Nov. 13. The meeting will be held at Prairieview Elementary School (669 Plainfield Rd., Downers Grove) at 7 p.m.
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.