LOUISVILLE – After months of failed negotiations, the North Clay Education Association (NCEA) is calling for the North Clay Community Unit School District #25 Board of Education (BOE) to invest in the North Clay students, educators and staff.
NCEA has been in contract negotiations with the BOE since April 23, 2019. NCEA has been working without a contract since August 2019, which means NCEA members are about to begin their second school year working without a contract.
“It’s really unfortunate this is all happening now in the middle of a global pandemic. We need to finalize our contract, so we can all focus on our students and the health and safety of our community during this trying time. Our working conditions are students’ learning conditions,” said NCEA Chief Negotiator Jennifer Iffert. “If the district doesn’t invest in its teachers, our students lose.”
The BOE’s latest contract proposal would pay some experienced teachers less money than they are making now while at the same time offering substantial raises for coaches and a one-time bonus for new teachers.
North Clay has lost approximately 30 teachers in the last 10 years. A majority of NCEA members live in the school district and have children who have attended, will attend or currently attend North Clay schools.
“We are North Clay. The majority of our members grew up here and graduated from the same schools where they now teach. Investing in North Clay teachers is an investment in our community,” said NCEA President Brian Wattles. “Neighboring districts like St Elmo, Flora, Neoga and Ramsey pay experienced educators more. We need to be not only attracting high-quality teachers, but also retaining them. Our students deserve the benefit of both new ideas and experience.”
“We are teachers. We’ve done the math. The district can afford to meet our requests without raising taxes,” Jennifer Iffert said. “We have enough cash on hand to operate and pay salaries and benefits for the next two school years without getting outside funding. We’re asking for a small portion of that. We need competitive salaries so we can not only attract, but also retain, great teachers and provide our students with the very best education possible.”
NCEA represents more than 40 teachers, guidance counselors and speech pathologists in the North Clay CUSD #25. Approximately 600 students are currently enrolled in North Clay schools. The next scheduled virtual (video) bargaining session with the district is Mon., Aug. 17 at 6 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.