One divisive tactic of a small group of individuals who stand against much needed school improvements is attacks on our teachers. Their insistence that teachers are overpaid bullies who don’t deserve the salary they earn is false and easily disproved.
There is another fact those promoting community division on the referendum would like the public not to know. The number of school days in teaching contracts are not the same from district to district. To again use the peer group used throughout this series, the following data is from the Illinois School Report Card. It shows that D86 teachers teach more days than any of their peer districts, in some cases up to a week longer:
180 days Hinsdale Township 86
179 days Maine Township 207
179 days Stevenson 125
178 days Hersey 214
178 days Niles Township 219
178 days Northfield Township 225
177 days New Trier 203
176 days Lyons Township 204
176 days Oak Park River Forest 200
175 days Downers Grove 99
175 days Riverside-Brookfield 208
177 Average School Days
The bottom line on D86 teacher contracts is this: Our teachers have continually negotiated in good faith, working collaboratively within the district’s financial priorities to achieve contracts that had meaningful and significant concessions in benefits, repeated salary freezes, and the lowest increases of our peer districts in the area. Teacher salaries in D86 are below average for peer districts in both starting salary and highest salaries paid. And our teachers teach more days in their contract than that of other peer districts.
In spite of all this, every way you look at the data, our teachers are highly accomplished leaders in their fields, registering elite levels of student achievement both academically and extracurricularly at both our high schools that consistently are ranked among the highest rated in Illinois and in the nation. Despite the barrage of attacks and sub-par facilities, our teachers have consistently delivered outstanding educational and extracurricular results.
Focusing negatively on D86 teacher contracts is just a diversion by a small group of individuals to divide the community in hopes of derailing the passage of a much needed referendum. They’d rather use teacher contracts as their cover for a political agenda despite the fact that the law prohibits the use of funds from the referendum for anything other than the projects identified in the proposition. […] The District cannot use the money to add staff or to increase salaries or benefits.”
We believe our school facilities should be equitable with peer schools’ facilities. We believe our school facilities should represent the district’s tradition of excellence. We believe our students should have facilities that are on par with the education they receive within them.
We believe the way to achieve this is to do what surrounding communities have done repeatedly and pass the April 2nd referendum.
It’s time. Our students deserve it.