SUGAR GROVE – Hundreds of Kaneland Education Association (KEA) members and community supporters plan to wear red, rally for a fair contract and pack the Kaneland Community School District 302 board meeting on Mon., June 24.
KEA has been negotiating with the district for more than seven months.
“We are Kaneland. Many of our members live here. Our children go to school here. We pay taxes here. We care deeply about what happens in our schools. When you invest in us, you invest in our community,” KEA President Raney Good said. “This is about doing what’s best for our community. We want our students to succeed and we’re willing to do whatever it takes to make that happen.”
KEA has 346 members who are teachers, social workers, psychologists, nurses and speech pathologists within the Kaneland School District. The district has six schools and serves 4,410 students from the communities of Sugar Grove, Elburn, Kaneville, Virgil, Maple Park, Montgomery, Aurora, Courtland and North Aurora.
KEA’s current contract expires on June 30. On May 22, KEA requested to begin mediation with the district. The first scheduled mediation is set for June 27.
“We want the community to know that the board can meet our requests without raising taxes. We’re teachers. We’ve done the math,” Good said. “Every year, we’re losing educators to school districts that pay more — like Elgin, West Aurora and Central. If we don’t make our salaries competitive, we will not be able to attract and retain quality educators, which means our students will lose.”
One of the main sticking points of the contract negotiations is the school board’s desire to get rid of a traditional step-and-lane salary schedule. Every other school district in Kane County uses a salary schedule.
“We need a traditional step-and-lane salary schedule. We’ve been using one in the district for 45 years. We know it works. It compensates our teachers based on their experience and education, which is what the district claims it values,” Good said. “We need to keep ours in order to remain competitive and continue to attract the best and brightest teachers to our schools.”
The KEA rally will begin shortly after 6:30 p.m. at Harter Middle School (1601 Esker Dr, Sugar Grove). The school board meeting will begin immediately after at the same location at 7 p.m. Good will be reading a statement at the board meeting and rally goers will head inside to pack the meeting.
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.