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Teachers strike in Bourbonnais after year of failed negotiations

Negotiations between District 53 and 167 local teachers first began in March 2020

BOURBONNAIS – Teachers are on strike this morning in District 53 after negotiations between the Bourbonnais Education Association (BEA) and Bourbonnais Elementary School District 53 failed to yield any significant results.

 “We did everything we could to prevent this from happening.” BEA President Lauren Lundmark said Wednesday. “We would much rather be in our classrooms with our students, but instead we are fighting for them out on the picket line.”

Negotiations between the two sides first began in March 2020.

The BEA, which represents 167 local teachers and other school workers, will begin picketing at 8 am at the Bourbonnais Upper Grade Center.

“We are teachers. We have done the math.” Lundmark explained. “The district has at least $10 million in reserves. We know they have the funding to maintain our insurance and retirement benefits while also providing competitive percentage raises to our staff across the board. This is about investing in our students and our community, so we can continue to provide our students a high-quality education for years to come.”

The 2021 strike will impact over 2,400 local area students.

Several labor issues in the District include common planning time, fair and competitive compensation, maintaining health and retirement incentives, and a return to step-and-lane salary structure, a key element in bringing and retaining young teachers in the District.

Teachers in Bourbonnais entered the school year without a contract and have been working without one since August. BESD53 officials said last month any days missed during a pending strike would be made up during summer. 

According to Illinois Education Association, the BEA’s most recent proposal will cost District 53 less money than the board’s proposal when compared to the first two years.  

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