Letters to the Editor

Letter: I’m a retired Sycamore educator and I support Sycamore teachers’ negotiations efforts

As a retired Sycamore educator, my heart has been with all teachers during their struggle to support, nurture, and teach kids during the COVID-19 era.

They have battled physical distance, confusing procedures, changing guidelines, student apathy and depression and fears of bringing the virus home to their own families.

Through it all they have shown amazing creativity, resilience and sacrifice. For example, Sycamore teachers have been working under an expired contract since August, patiently working on negotiating a salary schedule that would start to make their pay comparable to similar districts. They’ve taken salary freezes in past years, while expanding their workload to include hybrid, remote and parallel teaching. They’ve carried the district through the pandemic.

Despite the teachers’ dedication and expertise, the district is not offering a salary package and working conditions that the teachers have earned. I would ask you to read what the teachers have to say about that at https://www2.illinois.gov/sites/elrb/Pages/FinalOffers.aspx. You will not find this on the district website. (You will, however, see what appears to be the district’s selective editing of the facts).

School board members should negotiate a fair settlement because the teachers deserve one, but there’s a purely practical reason to consider, as well. Although the Sycamore community likes to boast about its terrific schools, right now life does not “offer more” to Sycamore teachers and their families. It’s foolish to assume they’re going to stick around and continue to fall further behind in career earnings compared to what they could be getting elsewhere. If the board really values their teachers, it should settle the contract and hopefully keep them.

No one wants the education community to devolve into despair and division, jeopardizing the quality of the often-lauded Sycamore schools. I ask you to read in full what both the district and teachers have made public, and then let school board members know that you want a settlement that ultimately offers more for all of Sycamore.

Barbara Henson