Support staff union and Crystal Lake School District 47 administration reach settlement agreement

The agreement comes after the administration illegally hired an outside firm to recruit temporary employees

CRYSTAL LAKE – The Crystal Lake Association of Support Staff (CLASS) reached an agreement with the Crystal Lake Community Unit School District 47 administration after filing an unfair labor practice (ULP) with the Illinois Educational Labor Relations Board (IELRB). CLASS filed the ULP when the district administrators violated the Illinois Educational Labor Relations Act (IELRA) and illegally retained a recruiting firm to hire temporary paraprofessional employees.

Paraprofessionals assist students and teachers both inside and outside the classroom. They often work with the most vulnerable students, including those with special needs and behavioral issues. Hiring a firm to recruit temporary employees without bargaining first is a direct violation of the IELRA and the Illinois School Code.

“This is a big win for us, as paras, but also for the students we work with,” CLASS President Stephanie Lieurance said. “This settlement was a long time coming, and it goes to show when you see something wrong happening, speaking up is the right thing to do. We fought hard all school year to resolve this with the district, and we are so happy we can move forward.”

Last fall, the union learned district administrators hired a staffing agency to fill open positions. The agency could earn up to $65 for every hour a temporary employee worked. That’s more than four times as much as newly hired, permanent paraprofessionals make. The staffing agency was charged with finding temporary paraprofessionals to fill the 21 open positions in the district.

Under the newly reached agreement, known as a memorandum of understanding (MOU), CLASS members will be awarded:

  • A $2,000 payment at the end of the school year.
  • An immediate raise of $1 more an hour.
  • A 5% raise starting in July.
  • An extra paid professional development day, so they can train alongside the teachers they work with.

“This is a step in the right direction, and we hope this serves as a wake-up call to the district. We need real solutions to the paraprofessional shortages in our district, not just a band aid. We are looking forward to working with the district on a plan to attract and retain the most talented support staff for our students. Our students deserve the most talented staff members who are committed to their success,” Lieurance said.

CLASS represents more than 100 paraprofessionals who serve the nearly 7,000 students who attend the 12 schools in District 47.


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.

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