BOURBONNAIS – Teachers at Bourbonnais Elementary School District 53 (BESD53) could be on strike by early February.
The announcement comes after the Bourbonnais Education Association (BEA) submitted a final contractual offer to the Illinois Educational Labor Relations Board (IELRB) for public posting. Teachers within the District can legally strike within 14 days after the offer has been posted to the Illinois Education Labor Relations Board’s website.
“The last thing we want to do is go on strike, but we are willing to do whatever it takes to put our students first,” BEA President Lauren Lundmark said. “We have made financial concessions in the past, including taking salary freezes and having our benefits cut, in order to put our students first. The district is now standing on financially solid ground, and we’re asking them to make us whole again.”
Several major sticking points for the BEA 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.
“We have to do better. We are afraid of losing good quality educators to neighboring districts like Bradley, Bradley-Bourbonnais High School, and Manteno due to their higher wages,” said Lundmark. “We need to value and invest in our staff so we can invest in our students and our community.”
In BESD53, 167 teachers are represented by the BEA. They include teachers, speech pathologists, psychologists, and social workers who serve more than 2,400 Bourbonnais students. Teachers have been working without a contract since the beginning of the school year.
The next bargaining session between the BEA and District 53 is scheduled for this Wednesday, January 27th at 5:30 pm.
Two informational pickets are scheduled for Tuesday night from 4:15 pm to 5:15 pm at Shabbona/Shepard schools and Route 45/Armour Road. Organizers say those pickets will move forward, regardless of weather conditions.