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D124 Teachers Stage Rally for New Contract

The elementary school district's teachers' union made a lot of noise in front of Central Junior High School demanding that the D124 board settle on a new three-year contract.

About 200 elementary school teachers and support staff from staged a rally in front of on Thursday afternoon demanding a fair contract.

The Southwest Suburban Federation of Teachers Local 943 is in negotiation for a new three-year contract. The old contract expired on the last day of school in June.

International Federation of Teachers field service director Dennen Pajeau told teachers gathered for the 20-minute demonstration that union reps would stay at the bargaining table with the D124 board of education until a new contract was settled.

A teacher who did not want her name to be used for fear of retaliation by the district said contract talks were stalled “at the usual sticking points,” including salary increases, health benefits and retirement pensions.

“We’ve been in negotiation since April and since that time we’ve lost five good teachers who’ve gone on to other districts because the new contract hasn’t been settled,” she said.

Teachers claim the district is operating at a $10 million surplus. Classes in the district started last week, forcing teachers to begin the school year without a contract.

D124 has four elementary schools and a junior high school, serving 1,900 students. According to the Illinois State Board of Education website, the average salary for a teacher with 15.8 years of experience is $62,875.

D124 Superintendent Robert Machak could not immediately be reached for comment.

Evergreen Park Patch will have more of this story next week.

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