President’s Insights 2-25-19

This single word represents one of the things our members think about the most and the thing I am asked about every single day.  How do we make our schools safe? How do we make our students safe? How do we make our teachers safe? All of these questions come up on a daily basis.  It is the reason I asked you to send me your stories. It is the reason I took those stories, redacted the names and schools, and brought them to Tony Sanders, Suzanne Johnson, and John Heiderscheidt.  It is a conversation that dominates every Monthly Contract Meeting and has part of some lengthy discussions at bargaining. Our students and teachers need to feel safe or else real learning cannot occur.

The response from district administration was one of understanding and that changes have to be made.  There isn’t a quick fix here. Our schools in many cases are in crisis and need to be better. Over the coming weeks, we will continue to work with downtown administration to address these issues.  We will be working with them in review of the student code of conduct, and we will continue these discussions at bargaining, and outside of bargaining. As I have said before, there is no amount of language in our contract that can make our schools safe, but we must continue to have the conversations.  We must continue to work to make sure that every single person enters their building feeling safe and that they have the support they need to be successful.

We are still collecting your stories.  If you want to share, please do so at  If you don’t mind us sharing your name and school with downtown administration to help facilitate the conversation, please let me know.  

I hope these stories can be a launch point for our district in improving the safety of the students and staff of our district.  
We have a quick turnaround between now and the next RA.  I hope to have more to share about safety improvements as well as a clearer picture of where we are headed with bargaining at the March 20th RA.  If you have any questions, do not hesitate to reach out to me.

The interest of what is going on in bargaining has been expressed repeatedly. Due to the nature of bargaining, there is no information we can share at this time but do know steady progress continues in bargaining.  We are close to completing language on a number of issues. Bargaining is an arduous time intensive task as we want to be thorough and responsible to all members.  Your patience is greatly appreciated.

We have added some additional dates in case they may be needed.  Thes dates are:
Tuesday March 5, 4 pm – 8 pm
Friday March 8, 8 am – 2:30 pm
Tuesday March 12, 4 pm to 8 pm
Wednesday March 13, 8 am – 3 pm
Saturday March 16, 8 am – 4 pm
Monday March 18, 8 am – 2:30 pm

Members are welcomed as guests during evening hours and Saturday.  Please let me know if you have an interest as there remains a few open dates.

On Tuesday, March 5, we will hold our Spring Elections for ETA Officers, Section Directors, Instructional Council and Special Education seats, and NEA Delegates.  We have a number of great candidates running for these positions and it is important that we vote to show that ETA members want their voices to be heard.  

We allowed time for our candidates for Secretary and Treasurer to speak at the RA as well.  Sarah Madson and Donna Kielbasa spoke for 3 minutes about what they would do in the position of Secretary while Sandy Citron and Carol Mammoser spoke about the position of Treasurer.  These positions are important parts of our organization and seeing them contested shows that we are growing as an organization.

Make sure you review all election materials prior to Tuesday, March 5 and if possible, make sure you have a schedule of times when people can vote.  Make sure your voice is heard in these elections and show that ETA is as strong as ever. Call the ETA office should you have any questions. Jim Krambeer and Ann Peacock, ETA election co-chairs and Kathy Difatta, IEA staff, will be available to answer questions on election day.   Remember, only ETA members are allowed to vote.

Grassroots Political Action
In addition to our own organization having elections, we also have local elections coming up on Tuesday, April 2.  

Jen Bury and Jeff Horler have been working extremely hard to organize people to get out the vote for candidates who support public education.  If you are looking for yard signs, volunteer opportunities, or information on candidates you can check out our brand new political action website at  This website has all the information on the IEA endorsed candidates as well as other information about the election.  If you have any questions or want to help out, reach out to Jen and Jeff and

Those Who Excel
Those Who Excel (TWE!) is upon us.  Thursday, April 18, at Streamwood Bowl will be the night we can come together as the ETA and raise money for scholarships for U-46 students.  We are looking for schools to start organizing their raffle baskets as well as reach out to members of the community for items that can be raffled off.  

The following Thursday we will recognize our students at the Those Who Excel Scholarship Night at Larkin High School.  In addition to recognizing students from our High Schools who are looking to pursue a career in education, we will also recognizer eighth graders from the 8 middle schools and 6th graders from all of our elementary buildings.  Be sure to submit the names for these students so we can honor these students on April 25.  

You can find the links to these forms below.
6th and 8th Grade TWE Nomination Form
High School TWE Scholarship Application
Retirement Language
As we continue to bargain, we know we have a number of members who are wondering what that does to retirement.  This last week, language was developed and sent out to members who are looking at retirement. The language can be found here.  If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to reach out to myself or Jack Janezic.

3% Repeal
Thank you to everyone who turned in signatures for the 3% repeal petition at the RA on Wednesday.  These signatures are being organized to be delivered to state lawmakers to let them know that we need to repeal the 3% rule now!  A bill that would repeal this has moved out of committee and now awaits being moved to debate on the floor of the Illinois house. These signatures will help to make that process continue and we hope to see more movement on this bill in March.  This week we need you to email our local lawmakers encouraging them to bring this bill up for a vote. You can find your representatives at this link and it will walk you through the process of sending a message to your local representative.
I thank you again for organizing this so quickly and getting us those signatures so we can continue to push to repeal the 3% pension rule.  

SIP and SD Training
We are in the process of developing a SIP and SD training to help our SIP and SD committees.  Our committees are in need of guidance so they can operate at the highest level. This training will give our members the tools they need to be effective in making decisions at SIP and SD.  

ETA Financial Audit
At the RA, a motion was passed that will allow the ETA to move forward with a financial audit.  Over the last decade we have had a number of financial reviews but not a full audit. The goal is to make sure our practices and procedures are solid and that our financial statements are up to date and represent sound operating practices for our organization.  Once the audit is completed, we will share with the organization our next steps to make sure that members dues dollars are being maximized.

Barb Bettis
ETA President

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