SYCAMORE – Former Sycamore teacher Barb White urged the school board Tuesday to sign an updated contract with Sycamore School District’s teachers’ union. Educators have been working under an expired contract for more than 100 days.
The contract the school district had with the Sycamore Education Association, the school district’s teachers union, expired July 31, according to district documents.
White said she taught in the district for more than 25 years and was a member of the Sycamore Education Association before she resigned in August.
White described Sycamore as “a community that knows and commits to each other, and it’s time we do that again.”
“Board members, Sycamore teachers don’t just work for you, they work with you for the benefit of students,” she said. “So what is the hold up and what else has to happen for them to prove their value?”
Members of the union were not immediately available for comment.
White said teachers shoulder a variety of responsibilities, such as planning, grading, collaborating and teaching, in addition to encouraging struggling students, coaching sports, sponsoring clubs, writing letters of recommendation and persevering through the pandemic.
“Our students have seen a lot of immature and inappropriate behavior by adults in the past 18 months,” White said. “Let’s avoid more of that and model cooperation, communicate value and retain that sense of community by swiftly settling a fair contract. That wold be the Spartan way and that’s how we can truly empower all students to succeed in their world.”
After the meeting, Superintendent Steve Wilder said he echoes the public comments made earlier and completely agrees with them.
“I’m glad we’re working towards a fair and reasonable agreement,” Wilder said. “Teachers worked very hard these last 20 months of the pandemic, and we will do everything we can to come to an agreement as soon as possible.”
When asked the status of the bargaining and discussions, Wilder said that he “could only say that the process is still ongoing.”
The next Sycamore Board of Education meeting will be held 7 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 14.
This story has been corrected to convey there were some members of the Sycamore Education Association in the audience at the school board meeting Tuesday, Nov. 23, 2021.