HIGHLAND PARK – This afternoon, the North Shore Education Association (NSEA) will hold a community rally in support of a fair contract. NSEA members, District 112 families and members of the community will rally prior to NSEA’s last schedule mediation session with District 112 Thursday evening.
“Our students deserve the benefit of quality educators. We are asking the board to help us avoid a strike, and to come to an agreement that puts our students first,” NSEA President Sheri Henkel said. “Right now, the board wants to control how teachers spend their plan time. That is unacceptable. Teachers are professional, most with advanced degrees. Highland Park should be a destination district — not just for superintendents but also for teachers. That has not been the case in recent years.”
On Sept. 19, NSEA members voted overwhelmingly to authorize a strike.
“The absolute last place we want is to be on the picket line. We’d rather be in the classroom with our students,” Henkel said. “But we are dedicated to reaching a fair agreement that makes District 112 a competitive district that values our students and our educators — new and returning. It doesn’t have to be bricks and mortar improvements OR competitive compensation for our teachers. The district can afford both. What we can’t afford is to lose more quality teachers to other districts. Our students deserve better.”
NSEA has 391 members who are teachers, special education teachers, counselors and social workers. The association requested to begin bargaining for a fair contract in March. NSEA’s contract expired on Aug. 14. District 112 serves 3,964 students.
District 112 and NSEA disagree on several key issues including:
- Plan time – District 112 would like to take plan time from our educators and use it for whatever they deem necessary. Plan time is vital to our educators so they can continue to ensure our students receive a high-quality education. Our members are working through their plan time and doing additional unpaid work outside of school hours.
- Currently, we know:
- 99% of teachers do school work on nights and weekends.
- 99% of teachers come to work early or stay at work late.
- 97% of teachers work during their unpaid lunch.
- Currently, we know:
- Competitive wages – District 112 continues to insist on adjusting teacher wages for the consumer price index tied to CPI. This is not an adequate salary increase, particularly after teachers have received only CPI raises for the past two years. NSEA is asking for a real salary increase that will make teacher salaries competitive with neighboring district, so we can retain quality educators. In the past year alone, more than two dozen teachers have resigned.
- Continuing education – The board wants to limit the institutions we can go to for higher education. We need to continue to learn and not have limits put on our professional growth. NSEA strongly believes members who seek additional education should be able to choose where they go for schooling.
NSEA members, District 112 families and members of the community will rally ahead of NSEA’s scheduled mediation session with the district on Thurs., Oct. 3. The rally will start at 3:45 p.m. at the District 112 offices (1936 Green Bay Rd., Highland Park). The mediation session will begin at 4:00 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.