MIDLOTHIAN – The members of Bremen High School District 228 Joint Faculty Association (BHSD228-JFA) submitted the organization’s last contractual offer to the Illinois Educational Labor Relations Board (IELRB) for public posting. By law, once the IELRB posts the last best offers from D228-JFA and the Bremen High School District 228 Board of Education (BOE) on the IELRB website, BHSD228-JFA can choose to go on strike in 14 days. The decision by BHSD228-JFA comes after a lack of progress during negotiations.
“The last thing we want to do is go on strike, but we are willing to do whatever it takes to put our students first,” BHSD228-JFA President Greg Fitch said. “This is about our students. Class sizes have gotten bigger and courses are being cut, severely harming our students learning conditions. Our students’ learning conditions are our working conditions.”
BHSD228-JFA has been working without a contract since July 31 and negotiating with the BOE since December 2018.
District 228 has four schools: Bremen High School, Hillcrest High School, Oak Forest High School and Tinley Park High School, and serves more than 5,000 students. D228-JFA has 353 members who are teachers, social workers, counselors, nurses, psychologists, librarians and speech and language pathologists.
“We need to do more to effectively attract and retain talented educators, to ensure that our students have a bright future here in District 228. Why would anyone want to come here to teach? We have the 13th lowest starting salary of the 15 districts in the area. It’s clear the board is not focusing on what’s best for long-term student learning,” said Fitch.
Key issues at the bargaining table are:
- Competitive compensation – BHSD228-JFA’s proposals have included language that would make our salaries competitive with our neighboring districts, helping us attract and retain the best talent. This is more important than ever, given the current teacher shortage crisis.
- BHSD228-JFA’s most recent contract proposal included, on average, a 3.6 percent raise every year for five years.
- BHSD228-JFA’s starting salaries are among the lowest of the 15 high school districts in the area.
- Class sizes – BHSD228-JFA wants the district to put in writing class size restrictions to ensure a productive student learning environment and to also help ensure classes remain at a manageable and safe level.
On Tues., Nov. 19 BHSD228-JFA members and community members plan to pack the BOE meeting, which starts at 7 p.m. at Tinley Park High School (6111 175th St., Tinley Park).The next scheduled mediation session is set for Wed., Nov. 20 at 4 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.