The following is attributable to Jennifer Vickrey, Kewanee Education Association Spokesperson and 4th grade teacher:
“It is offensive and disheartening to see Superintendent Sullens making up falsehoods intended to take money out of the pockets of the hardworking Kewanee teachers and education support staff. The statement put out by Superintendent Sullens claims the school board presented multiple offers to KEA when in reality these alleged offers were not actual proposals at the bargaining table. The truth is we did not get an official offer in writing until a week after the board meeting on Mon., Aug. 28 during mediation.
It is very disappointing to see the school district playing games in the media. We remain committed to coming up with real solutions that truly put our students first. We also remain available to bargain and exchange official offers at the table at any time. In regards to wages, here is what we can tell you: we are in the middle of teacher and education support staff shortage. Places like Wethersfield, AlWood and Geneseo all pay more than Kewanee. In fact, we know our teachers are getting calls to work in neighboring districts for better pay and benefits, and they’re taking those jobs. Because of that, there are several unfilled positions at Kewanee right now.
While we are losing good teachers and support staff to neighboring districts that offer more pay and benefits, the Kewanee administration makes so much money, they’re above the state average for administrator salaries, according to the Illinois State Board of Education. The data from the state of Illinois clearly shows Kewanee teachers are more than $20,000 below the average Illinois teacher salary. Meanwhile, on average, the Kewanee administrators, including, Superintendent Sullens, saw their salaries increase by $25,000 over 5 years. During the same timeframe, Kewanee teachers’ salaries increased by an average of $2,400, which is well below the state average.”
At 135,000 members strong, the Illinois Education Association (IEA) is the largest union in Illinois. The IEA represents PreK-12 teachers outside the city of Chicago and education support staff, higher education faculty and support staff, retired education employees and students preparing to become teachers, statewide.