CARBONDALE – The Carbondale Education Association (CEA) will file its intent to strike notice with the Illinois Educational Labor Relations Board (IELRB) today. The notice allows CEA to legally strike in 10 calendar days. The earliest date educators could walk is Fri., Oct. 4.
“We are filing our intent to strike because we want to send a clear message. We will not accept anything less than ensuring our students are learning in a safe environment,” Norman said. “We are drawing a line in the sand. Safety is worth fighting for. Our students are worth fighting for. We won’t stop until we get what’s best for our community.”
CEA includes 136 teachers, social workers, and other licensed professionals. They requested to begin bargaining for a fair contract in March, but the board did not meet with them until June. CEA’s current contract expired on Aug. 11. District 95 serves 1,536 students.
“This is about safety. We want to keep our students and our staff safe at school,” CEA President Melissa Norman said. “We have had this conversation several times with District 95, but turnover within the administration has made it impossible to guarantee consistency when it comes to our students’ safety. This time we want it in writing. We want it in our contract. It’s too important to overlook, and we are willing to do whatever it takes to make sure our schools are a safe environment for everyone.”
The major issues that need to be resolved at the bargaining table are as follows:
- Student safety – CEA is asking for contract language that provides teachers with interventions and resources to ensure ALL students have a safe and orderly learning environment. Academics cannot occur without addressing behavior needs of students.
- Competitive salary – It’s becoming increasingly difficult to attract and retain high-quality educators because of the teacher shortage. CEA wants to keep salaries competitive with neighboring districts. The district has the funds to meet CEA’s requests without raising taxes.
- The BOE’s latest proposed salary package means a large portion of Carbondale teachers would actually be making less money year after year when their salaries are compared to inflation or the consumer price index (CPI).
- Carbondale teachers spend hundreds of dollars on school supplies every year, some have reported spending more than $1,000.
- Here are the latest financial proposals from CEA and the BOE:
CEA’s next mediation session with the Carbondale School District 95 Board of Education is scheduled for Oct. 3 at 4:30 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.