ONEIDA – Members of the ROWVA Support Education Association (RSEA) will pack tonight’s Community Unit School District 208 Board of Education (BOE) meeting. An RSEA spokesperson also plans to read a statement to help educate the public about the negotiation process during the public comment portion of the BOE meeting. The last bargaining session was on Nov. 5 and since then the BOE has refused to add any additional negotiation session to the calendar.
“We are anxious to get back to the table to negotiate in good faith. We are requesting the board put our students first and work on getting a fair contract in place now,” RSEA Chief Negotiator Laura Danner said. “We cannot come to a fair agreement if the board won’t come to the table. We are asking the board to be fair and honor its commitment to us and to the students and community they were elected to serve.”
RSEA has 19 members who are bus drivers, classroom aides, cooks, kitchen staff, custodians and secretaries. RSEA has been in contract negotiations with the BOE since August. RSEA members have been working without a contract for months. Their most recent contract expired Aug. 31. District 208 serves 605 students.
“The majority of our members live here and work here. Our children and grandchildren go to school here. Investing in us is an investment in your community,” Danner said.
RSEA remains ready, willing and able to bargain and is encouraging parents and community members to call the board and ask them to come back to the table.
“We’ve been giving to the district year after year after year, and in return the district is literally nickel and diming us. In fact for each of the last 4 years, our wages have increased by less than 25 cents an hour each year,” Danner said. “We make so little money, many of us have second and even third jobs just so we can make ends meet and put food on the table.”
Tonight’s BOE meeting begins at 7 p.m. and is at ROWVA Junior/Senior High School (346 E. Rowva Dr., Oneida).
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.