WILLOWBROOK – Dozens of Palisades Education Association (Palisades EA) members, along with parents and other community members, plan to pack tonight’s Community Consolidated School District 180 school board meeting.
Palisades EA and District 180 are now in federal mediation and have been bargaining since the beginning of June. The teachers are currently working without a contract, which expired on June 30.
“Ninety percent of our teachers say they’ve considered leaving. That’s just about everyone, and it’s a really scary prospect when you consider we’re in the middle of a teacher shortage,” Palisades EA Spokesperson Kanisha Davis Evans said. “Most members say it’s low pay, a long workday and lack of administrative support that are forcing them to consider leaving. This is about wages, but it’s also about respect for the work we do every day.”
Palisades EA represents 57 teachers and other licensed professionals working in District 180. The district serves the nearly 450 students who attend Burr Ridge Middle School and Anne M. Jeans Elementary School.
“We love our students. We care about building strong communities. But the administration isn’t looking at the big picture here. You can have all the programs and supplies in the world, but if you don’t have good educators working with our students – none of that matters,” Davis Evans said. “We make less than several surrounding districts like Hinsdale, Westmont and Darien. We’re just asking to be paid fairly for our work and we know the district has the money to do that.”
More than 50 Palisades EA members plan to wear red and attend the board meeting at Burr Ridge Middle School (15W451 91st Street, Burr Ridge). The meeting begins at 6 p.m.
The 135,000 member Illinois Education Association (IEA-NEA) is the state’s largest union. IEA represents Pre K-12 teachers outside the city of Chicago and education support staff, higher education faculty, retired education employees and students preparing to become teachers, statewide.