INGALLS ST MAM AD 728x90px 03 30 21

Evergreen Park District 124 teachers consider strike

cheer teachers photo 10 3

Photo by Joe Boyle

Supporters of teachers in School District 124 in Evergreen Park applaud for the staff that may go on strike. A large crowd of supporters attended the board meeting that was held Sept. 25 at Central Middle School.

By Joe Boyle

Teachers from the District 124 School District of Evergreen Park are considering going on strike over what they state are lower salaries than their contemporaries from other local districts.

Negotiations took place on Sept. 23. The District 124 negotiating team and the District 124 Board were scheduled to meet again this past Wednesday, Oct. 2. If a tentative agreement cannot be reached, the teachers union could go on strike on Thursday, Oct. 17. The union is negotiating for a new three-year contract.

A large crowd of supporters, including teachers, parents and residents, filled the gym at Central Middle School for the District 124 Board meeting on Sept. 25. Many teachers and some parents and residents spoke out in support of the teachers.

One resident and teacher said that the instructors are “working hard putting the needs of the children first. Let’s settle our differences. I implore you to provide a fair contract.”

Barbara Nelson, who has been a teacher in School District 124 for 24 years, said a raise is warranted for the instructors and added that the negotiations have dragged on way too long.

“We have been negotiating a contract since March,” Nelson said. “We have teachers who put in extra duty in an effort to make more money. The price of the pay for insurance cuts into most of my pay. I love my job and that’s why the time is now to act before we lose more teachers.”

Tracey Gleason, a technology teacher at Southeast Elementary School, said she has volunteered to work with the negotiating team and added that it has been an eye-opening experience.

“I was a parent long before I was a teacher,” she said. “Six years ago, I became a District 124 teacher. I don’t think the board realizes the decisions you are going to make. Without a pay scale comparative to other districts, we will eventually lose more teachers. Your outstanding staff deserves better.”

School District 124 is comprised of five schools serving kindergarten through fifth grade in each of the four quadrants of the village. The elementary schools are Northeast, Northwest, Southeast and Southwest. All students enter Central Middle School beginning with the sixth grade.

Linda Blaeser, the lead union negotiator and a District 124 teacher, said they are concerned about the district’s paraprofessionals who are now required to be state certified.

“I got in when District 124 was the place to be,” Blaeser said. “But now teachers are leaving for higher salaries elsewhere. I respect the job of the school board. I’m glad there was some movement on Monday (Sept. 23). But salaries are still a sticking point. They deserve better. (The teachers) have husbands and wives who deserve a living wage. But we are heading in the right direction.”

The teachers union rejected an 11.5 percent salary increase offer on Sept. 23 for certified staff and increasing non-certified staff by 15 percent over three years, according to several teachers. Some teachers said they were at least encouraged that the District 124 Board made a counter offer.

Emotions were running high at the meeting as several teachers and parents ran over their three-minute allotted time to speak. Kim Leonard, the District 124 school board president, tried to rein in some of the speakers who went over the time limit as members of the audience yelled their support for the teachers.

A special education teacher said she is impressed by the dedication of the paraprofessionals.

“I share classrooms with these amazing paraprofessionals,” she said. “I have watched these women set up for the day and cut short their lunch because they have so much work to do.”

Local News

Brother Rice lineman Zak Bowden motions forward as quarterback Jack Lausch scores one of his three rushing touchdowns in Friday’s 40-21 road victory over Marist. Photo by Jeff Vorva

High School Football: Rice tops Marist as both powers eye playoffs

By Jeff Vorva Correspondent The buzz and postgame emotions from Brother Rice’s 40-21 victory over Marist on Friday was abbreviated. Because the heralded game was played on the final regular season weekend of the year, these area and state powers and bitter rivals quickly turned their attention to the playoff pairings announcements, which came less…

Chicago-Red-Stars-Logo

Last home game a winner for Red Stars

By Alison Moran What a way to end a season at home. It was a perfect night for a cool game of soccer, with temperatures in the upper 50s and no rain dampening the field. In front of 4,488 of the Red Stars’ faithful at SeatGeek Stadium in Bridgeview, the Chicago Red Stars defeated KC…

Marie Vachata was the second woman to serve as mayor of Lyons. Her term was 2001 to 2005. (Supplied photo)

Marie Vachata gets a fond farewell from Lyons

By Steve Metsch Pat Wideman will never forget the first time she met Marie Vachata. “When I first moved to Lyons 50 years ago, she was the very first neighbor who welcomed me to Lyons,” Wideman said while sitting on a bench outside the village hall. Vachata resided two doors down on 46th Street when…

The Bridgeview Sports Dome before it was damaged in a storm in December of 2015. (File photo)

Bridgeview rents out former golf dome site for parking

By Steve Metsch The village of Bridgeview stands to make nearly $5 million by renting out space to park trucks where the golf dome formerly stood. The village will be paid $45,000 per month in an agreement that runs through September 2030. That comes to $540,000 per year and $4.86 million over the nine-year contract.…

Sandburg’s Maia Loureiro, shown in a first-round match in Barrington, is the fifth area player to finish in the top 10 in the state in girls tennis. Photo by Jeff Vorva

High School Sports Postseason Roundup: Maia, oh, Maia — Sandburg soph finishes in top 8

By Jeff Vorva Correspondent It was cloudy. It was windy. It was rainy. Many people might describe it as a lousy day, but Sandburg sophomore tennis star Maia Loureiro wasn’t complaining. She was playing tennis. In the state tournament. She opened her state career on that crummy Oct. 21 day at Barrington High School with…

Isra Syouri, 13, of Palos Hills, daughter of Steve's Bite owners, Sufian "Steve" and Kifah Syouri, cut the ribbon during the grand opening and ribbon cutting ceremony of the restaurant at 11906 S. Harlem Ave., Palos Heights. (Photos by Kelly White)

Steve’s Bite holds grand opening

By Kelly White Palos Heights welcomed in a new business last weekend. Steve’s Bite, 11906 S. Harlem Ave. in Palos Heights, held a grand opening and ribbon cutting ceremony on October 15. The store officially opened its doors over the summer, and owners Sufian “Steve” and Kifah Syouri said they could not be happier to…

Celebrating the naming of Rev. Jeffrey Clemons to the Lyons Township Mental Health Commission are (from left) executive director Ron Melka, Trustee Mike Porfirio, Rev. Clemons and state Sen. Steve Landek. (Staff photo)

Summit’s Rev. Clemons named to township’s Mental Health Commission

By Steve Metsch The Township of Lyons has a new member on its Mental Health Commission. The Rev. Jeffrey Clemons, of Antioch Baptist Church, 7513 W. 64th St., Summit, is joining the commission. His appointment won unanimous approval from the township board at its meeting on Oct. 12. He is the first African-American on the…

Carson Kukulski, 2, of Palos Heights, was happy to attend Lake Katherine's first-ever Oak-tober Fest at the nature center, 7402 Lake Katherine Dr., Palos Heights. (Photos by Kelly White)

Lake Katherine pays homage to the mighty oak

By Kelly White Lake Katherine Nature Center & Botanic Gardens celebrated the oak tree during the month of October with a cleverly named, Oak-tober Fest last weekend. “We wanted to have an event that was more of a fall festival in addition to the Monarch Celebration that we hold in September,” Gareth Blakesley, Director and…

Karen Sala

Check your smoke detector batteries

By Karen Sala Your correspondent in Gage Park (773) 471-1429 • [email protected] It’s October. Check the batteries in your smoke detectors. I woke up to the unpleasant chirping of one of my smoke alarms the other morning at about 4 a.m. Thankfully I had a 9-volt battery, so I was able to change it and go…

Mary Stanek

Día celebrations coming this month

By Mary Stanek Your correspondent in Archer Heights and West Elsdon 3808 W. 57th Place • (773) 284-7394 Día de Muertos (Day of the Dead) is celebrated especially by people of Mexican heritage. It is a joyful celebration, rather than mourning. Family and friends pay respects to those who have died. Traditions include building altars…

Neighbors

House Ad Subscription3
DVN Damar Kaminski Funeral Home House Ad
Brother Rice lineman Zak Bowden motions forward as quarterback Jack Lausch scores one of his three rushing touchdowns in Friday’s 40-21 road victory over Marist. Photo by Jeff Vorva

High School Football: Rice tops Marist as both powers eye playoffs

By Jeff Vorva Correspondent The buzz and postgame emotions from Brother Rice’s 40-21 victory over Marist on Friday was abbreviated. Because the heralded game was played on the final regular season weekend of the year, these area and state powers and bitter rivals quickly turned their attention to the playoff pairings announcements, which came less…

Chicago-Red-Stars-Logo

Last home game a winner for Red Stars

By Alison Moran What a way to end a season at home. It was a perfect night for a cool game of soccer, with temperatures in the upper 50s and no rain dampening the field. In front of 4,488 of the Red Stars’ faithful at SeatGeek Stadium in Bridgeview, the Chicago Red Stars defeated KC…

Marie Vachata was the second woman to serve as mayor of Lyons. Her term was 2001 to 2005. (Supplied photo)

Marie Vachata gets a fond farewell from Lyons

By Steve Metsch Pat Wideman will never forget the first time she met Marie Vachata. “When I first moved to Lyons 50 years ago, she was the very first neighbor who welcomed me to Lyons,” Wideman said while sitting on a bench outside the village hall. Vachata resided two doors down on 46th Street when…

The Bridgeview Sports Dome before it was damaged in a storm in December of 2015. (File photo)

Bridgeview rents out former golf dome site for parking

By Steve Metsch The village of Bridgeview stands to make nearly $5 million by renting out space to park trucks where the golf dome formerly stood. The village will be paid $45,000 per month in an agreement that runs through September 2030. That comes to $540,000 per year and $4.86 million over the nine-year contract.…

Sandburg’s Maia Loureiro, shown in a first-round match in Barrington, is the fifth area player to finish in the top 10 in the state in girls tennis. Photo by Jeff Vorva

High School Sports Postseason Roundup: Maia, oh, Maia — Sandburg soph finishes in top 8

By Jeff Vorva Correspondent It was cloudy. It was windy. It was rainy. Many people might describe it as a lousy day, but Sandburg sophomore tennis star Maia Loureiro wasn’t complaining. She was playing tennis. In the state tournament. She opened her state career on that crummy Oct. 21 day at Barrington High School with…

Isra Syouri, 13, of Palos Hills, daughter of Steve's Bite owners, Sufian "Steve" and Kifah Syouri, cut the ribbon during the grand opening and ribbon cutting ceremony of the restaurant at 11906 S. Harlem Ave., Palos Heights. (Photos by Kelly White)

Steve’s Bite holds grand opening

By Kelly White Palos Heights welcomed in a new business last weekend. Steve’s Bite, 11906 S. Harlem Ave. in Palos Heights, held a grand opening and ribbon cutting ceremony on October 15. The store officially opened its doors over the summer, and owners Sufian “Steve” and Kifah Syouri said they could not be happier to…

Celebrating the naming of Rev. Jeffrey Clemons to the Lyons Township Mental Health Commission are (from left) executive director Ron Melka, Trustee Mike Porfirio, Rev. Clemons and state Sen. Steve Landek. (Staff photo)

Summit’s Rev. Clemons named to township’s Mental Health Commission

By Steve Metsch The Township of Lyons has a new member on its Mental Health Commission. The Rev. Jeffrey Clemons, of Antioch Baptist Church, 7513 W. 64th St., Summit, is joining the commission. His appointment won unanimous approval from the township board at its meeting on Oct. 12. He is the first African-American on the…

Carson Kukulski, 2, of Palos Heights, was happy to attend Lake Katherine's first-ever Oak-tober Fest at the nature center, 7402 Lake Katherine Dr., Palos Heights. (Photos by Kelly White)

Lake Katherine pays homage to the mighty oak

By Kelly White Lake Katherine Nature Center & Botanic Gardens celebrated the oak tree during the month of October with a cleverly named, Oak-tober Fest last weekend. “We wanted to have an event that was more of a fall festival in addition to the Monarch Celebration that we hold in September,” Gareth Blakesley, Director and…

Karen Sala

Check your smoke detector batteries

By Karen Sala Your correspondent in Gage Park (773) 471-1429 • [email protected] It’s October. Check the batteries in your smoke detectors. I woke up to the unpleasant chirping of one of my smoke alarms the other morning at about 4 a.m. Thankfully I had a 9-volt battery, so I was able to change it and go…

Mary Stanek

Día celebrations coming this month

By Mary Stanek Your correspondent in Archer Heights and West Elsdon 3808 W. 57th Place • (773) 284-7394 Día de Muertos (Day of the Dead) is celebrated especially by people of Mexican heritage. It is a joyful celebration, rather than mourning. Family and friends pay respects to those who have died. Traditions include building altars…

House Ad Subscription1
Cook County Sheriff ad.2