LAKE FOREST — Members of the Lake Forest High School Support Staff Association (LFHS-SSA) will attend tonight’s Lake Forest Community High School District 115 school board meeting to express concerns over current contract negotiations with the district. LFHS-SSA President Bridget Mobile will address the board during public comments. LFHS-SSA formed their union last year and are collectively bargaining their first contract with the district.
“Many have asked how the union was formed so quickly–the answer is easy–the historically poor treatment of Lake Forest High School’s support staff made this an easy conversation to gather around,” said Mobile. “We realized we needed a collective voice and a seat at the table. We know we are now stronger as we are united as one.”
LFHS-SSA is comprised of 115 teachers’ aides; building and grounds personnel; security; custodians and maintenance staff; office support; administrative assistants; and, kitchen staff who work with the high school’s 1,628 students. Approximately 38 percent of District 115’s support staff make less than $15 an hour. This year alone, the district has lost nearly two dozen support staff to neighboring districts like New Trier, Stevenson and Highland Park that offer higher wages and better benefits.
The LFHS-SSA and the district have met several times to reach a fair and equitable contract. The administration’s current proposal offers support staff less money. Under the board’s current proposal, more than half of LFHS-SSA members would not see their wages increase and would have to pay more for their health insurance.
“We want what’s best for our students, our schools and our communities,” Mobile said. “But our members are having to work two or three extra jobs to make ends meet. This is an injustice. Our students deserve more.”
Several LFHS-SSA members will attend the school board meeting on Monday, Dec. 3 at 7p.m. The meeting will be held in the board room at Lake Forest High School West Campus, 300 S. Waukegan Rd. (2nd floor).
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.