Nearly 75% of Morton teachers say they are considering leaving the profession, cite pay as the reason

MORTON – The Morton Education Association (MEA) recently surveyed its members and found nearly 75% are considering leaving teaching. Of those who are thinking about leaving, 80% cite pay as the reason. The new data comes as the MEA and Morton Community Unit School District 709 Board of Education (BOE) are preparing for contract negotiations to enter federal mediation.

“When you have three quarters of your educators saying they’re thinking of quitting, it should sound a massive alarm bell with all parents, Morton community members and the administration,” MEA President Shane Weyland said. “They’re not contemplating leaving because they don’t like teaching or because they’re close to retirement. They want to leave because they’re not making enough money. We love our students. We love that our schools are the heart of our community, but at some point, you have toput your family and their bottom line first.”

The Morton Education Association (MEA) represents 240 teachers, counselors, speech pathologists, psychologists and social workers. They serve the more than 3,200 students in Morton District 709. MEA has been bargaining with the BOE since February. After meeting more than a dozen times and still failing to reach an agreement, MEA enlisted the help of a federal mediator in May. MEA’s current contract expires Aug. 1. 

A majority of Morton teachers live in the district. Our children are students here, too. Investing in us is an investment in our community,Weyland said. “Our teachers are making less money than several of our neighboring districts, including Dunlap and Washington. If we’re not competitive, we are going to continue to lose talented folkswho will just drive down the road to neighboring districts.

MEA’s member survey also found:

  • 60% of Morton educators live in the Morton School District and 58% have childrenwho attend school in the district.
  • 35% of our teachers have an additional job to help make ends meet and provide for their families.
  • 80% of our teachers say their workload has increased in the last 5 years.
  • 60% of our teachers spend more than $250 dollars on supplies for their classrooms each year, with several spending more than $1,000.
  • Morton teachers are dedicated to the community and well-educated. A majority ofour teachers have been at District 79 for more than 5 years and 73% have an advanced degree.

The numbers don’t lie. Our teachers are incredibly committed to this community. We live here. We work here. We send our kids to school here. We pay taxes here and spend our money here. We are Morton,” Weyland said. “Yet, we are on the verge of a crisis in Morton. We know our district has the funds to address this. We can’t keep losing good folks to better paying jobs in the next town over. Our students deserve high-quality educators.”

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. Last, best offers are posted publicly and teachers could go on strike 10 days later.

The first date for federal mediation is set for July 8. For more information, check out the MEA Facebook page here.


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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