WILMETTE – Tonight teachers and other supporters plan to gather at a safe social distance just before the Avoca School District 37 Board of Education (BOE) meeting to push for the best contract for students, educators and the community.
“We fear that positions will be cut and program offerings will be reduced. Our students will not have the same opportunities they had before. We don’t want to lose all the things that make Avoca special.” Avoca Education Association (AEA) President Jen Pease said. “Under the board’s current contract proposal, programming cuts could be made. There has already been talk of reducing staff for our impressive and award-winning Strings Program. It’s a huge draw for the district. Our students deserve these opportunities. We have to protect them.”
The AEA represents the 85 teachers and other certified staff members working in District 37. More than 700 students attend the schools in District 37, which is a feeder district to New Trier High School.
AEA has been working without a contract since Aug. 24 and has been bargaining with District 37 since June.
“We are actually asking for less money than we got in our last contract because for us this is about putting our students first. We want to do what’s right for our students and our community,” Pease said. “The board, on the other hand, is proposing drastic cuts to salaries and benefits, which will make it extremely difficult to retain our talented and experienced educators. Without high-quality teachers our students’ education will suffer.”
This evening’s rally starts at 5:45 p.m. at Marie Murphy School (2921 Illinois Rd., Avoca). The BOD meeting begins at 6:30 p.m. at the same location. Pease plans to make a statement during the public comment period. All rallygoers are being asked to wear masks, socially distance and follow all Illinois Department of Public Health guidelines during the rally.
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.