Crystal Lake teachers and District 47 School Board to enter federal mediation over contract negotiations

CRYSTAL LAKE – Crystal Lake elementary school teachers are preparing to enter federal mediation after contract negotiations with the Crystal Lake Community Consolidated District 47 Board of Education (BOE) stall. The Crystal Lake Elementary Teachers’ Association (CLETA), which represents the teachers and other licensed staff in District 47, has been notified that the District 47 superintendent plans to file for mediation as early as tomorrow.

CLETA has been bargaining with District 47 BOE since October in the hopes of reaching a fair contract. CLETA’s current contract expires on Aug. 19, which is the first day of school. There are 670 educators in the CLETA bargaining unit.

“It’s disappointing that we have not reached an agreement, however, there are still a couple months before our contract expires and the start of school. CLETA has been ready and willing to mutually work toward a fair agreement that supports our educators and benefits our students and community,” CLETA spokesperson Jen Rutishauser said.

Federal mediation is the first step before a legal strike under the Illinois Educational Labor Relations Act (IELRA). If an agreement still cannot be reached with the help of a federal mediator, then the public posting process will be initiated. The last best offers are posted publicly, and then, the teachers could go on strike 10 days later.

There are several things at issue for CLETA:

  • Safe schools: CLETA is advocating for safe schools for all. Students deserve to be safe in their classrooms, as do teachers and staff. CLETA is advocating for improved safety policies and protocols.
  • Plan time: Currently, several District 47 educators do not have adequate plan time. A growing number of students need assistance with academic, behavioral and mental health issues. Plan time is needed to assess students’ needs, work on support plans and communicate with parents and teams.
  • Wage and Benefits: Over the years, Crystal Lake teachers have taken multiple hard and soft salary freezes to help District 47 through tough financial times. The district is in a much better fiscal position now, and CLETA is asking to be made whole.
  • Elimination of outside staffing agency: Students benefit and thrive from consistency, having thoughtful, talented adults who are dedicated to supporting them for their educational career. Because the wages are not competitive in Crystal Lake, the administration chooses to hire staffing firms in an attempt to fill open positions temporarily without thought to long term commitments.

“We are advocating for our students and for all of our teachers and staff. It’s important to attract and retain talented educators,” Rutishauer said. “It seems like the district can only focus on what’s happening this minute, but we’re fighting for a strong future. We need to make Crystal Lake a destination district. Our students deserve nothing but the best.”

The next bargaining date was scheduled for July 25, but that could change due to entering federal mediation. For more information, check out the CLETA Facebook page.


The 135,000 member Illinois Education Association (IEA-NEA) is the state’s largest union. IEA represents PreK-12 teachers outside the city of Chicago and education support staff, higher education faculty, retired education employees and students preparing to become teachers, statewide.

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