BOURBONNAIS – Up to 2,400 students could find their days altered as early as next Friday when the Bourbonnais Education Association (BEA) could hit the picket lines.
This after nearly a year of contract talks. Talks between the BEA and Bourbonnais Elementary School District 53 (BESD53) have been ongoing since March. Several issues are still keeping the educators and the District apart include compensation and health and retirement benefits issues.
A recent proposal from the District included a 12% salary increase spread out over the course of the next three years.
“We are so grateful to work in such a wonderful community that continues to support us during this very difficult time. We are hoping all that support will encourage the board to come to an agreement on a fair contract,” BEA President Lauren Lundmark said. “We don’t want to go on strike. We’d much rather be in our classrooms with our students than out on the picket line.”
After braving cold weather conditions in an informational picket in January on Route 45, teachers tonight are asking members of the public to support them virtually by wearing red and posting support on social media for the BEA. The next bargaining session between the BEA and BESD53 is scheduled for 5:30 pm tonight.
“We are in the middle of a teacher shortage. Teachers are retiring early or leaving the profession entirely because of the pandemic. We need to make sure we are doing everything we can to attract and retain high-quality staff so we can continue to provide the best education possible for our students,” said Lundmark.
In a statement released earlier this week, BESD53 said any days missed due to a possible strike would be made up during summer.