MENDOTA, Ill. — Teachers spent a fifth day on the picket lines today in Mendota, Illinois. They are seeking comparable wages similar to nearby districts such as Lasalle and Peru. However, they say the school board of District 289, is not hearing them out.
“They don’t seem like they are too urgent to find a solution because we haven’t had a meeting in a few days,” Matt Chalifin, P.E. teacher at Lincoln Elementary said. “They should be at the table as we should be —trying to negotiate this thing to get us back into school along with the students.”
On the other hand, school board president Sean Pappas says they’re offering a fair deal.
“We’re not offering zero to these teachers,” Pappas said. “We’re offering a very generous package and we believe that is more than fair it’s the largest in the history of our district.”
In the cross-hairs are parents, whose students are in District 289. Shelly Stamberger says she support the teachers, despite her children missing school days.
“You gotta have a back up plan,” Stamberger said. So”, you always have to have a backup plan. No matter what. They are not our babysitters. They are our teachers and they are there to teach your kids they are not there to babysit your kids.”
It’s worth mentioning, missing school is also tough on the teachers.
“It’s hard, especially when you hear sometimes people think that we are having the day off,” Valerie Chase, fourth grade Lincoln Elementary teacher said. “And, we’re at home resting up that’s not the case. We don’t want to be out here. It’s hard on us, especially when it gets longer and longer. We’re thinking about our kids because we know that they want to be back in the classroom. We definitely want to be back in the classroom. So, it’s not easy.”
One second grader says he’s not too sure exactly what the strike is about, or really what a strike is, but says he misses school.
” I wanna go back to school to see my friends,” the second grader said.
He may be back in the classroom this week, if the board and the teachers union can come to terms in their meeting on Wednesday.