BOURBONNAIS – The Bourbonnais Education Association (BEA) is urging the Bourbonnais Elementary School District 53 Board of Education (BOE) to take the current two-year contract offer proposed by the BEA bargaining team. Financial comparisons show the BEA’s two-year deal will actually cost almost $27,000 less than the first two years of the BOE’s most current offer.
“We’ve done the math here. The board needs to say, ‘Yes to less.’ This is a win-win-win. Taxpayers save money, teachers will see their wages increase and we can avoid a strike. It’s a no brainer,” BEA President Lauren Lundmark said.
Tuesday afternoon the BEA took a straw poll of its membership. The members overwhelmingly support the BEA’s current two-year contract offer.
“The beauty of it is in two years, we will have the opportunity to re-assess the fiscal health of the district and make any necessary adjustments versus being locked into a five-year deal during such a tumultuous economic time,” Lundmark said. “Our members are saying, ‘This is a good start.’ The board needs to take the deal and avoid a strike. There’s really no reason not to.”
The BEA can legally go on strike at any time, however, the BEA’s tentative strike date is March 4. The next negotiation session for BEA and the BOE is tomorrow at 5:30 p.m.
“We are really hopeful the board will do the right thing,” Lundmark said. “We can end this right now, if they’ll just say, ‘Yes.’”
BEA represents 167 teachers, speech pathologists, psychologists and social workers who serve more than 2400 students. The district and BEA began contract negotiations in March 2020. BEA is currently working without a contract and has been since the beginning of the school year.
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.