AURORA, Ill. – The threat of a teacher strike loomed over the East Aurora, Illinois school district in late 2015 and early 2016.
Teachers union members were working under the terms of a labor agreement that had expired in June 2015, rejected three contract offers from the school board, and voted to authorize a strike in December 2015, according to news reports.
They finally reached an agreement with the board on a new contract in March 2016, narrowly averting a strike.
During the long negotiations, union officials cited teacher salary as a major hang-up in negotiations.
“…Salary for staff with master’s degrees, particularly those who have been working in the district for years, was one of the remaining issues,” the Chicago Tribune reported. “…Salary for all staff (also) remained a concern.”
So just how much did East Aurora teachers make during the 2015-16 school year, when they kept rejecting contract offers from the school board and threatening to strike?
The school district paid 975 teachers a combined $60,419,949 in base salary, for an average of $61,968 per teacher. The teachers received $8,692,667 in medical benefits, for an average of $8,915 per teacher. They also received an average of $452 in dental, life and long-term disability coverage.
The school district also made a combined $5,679,475 in pension contributions on their behalf, for an average of $5,875 per teacher.
All of that adds up to an average total compensation of $77,210 — $15,242 more than the average base salary.
East Aurora teachers worked 190 days that year, for 7 ½ hour days. Using that schedule, the average total compensation breaks down to about $406 per day and about $54 per hour.
Teachers have demanding jobs, but that’s pretty good money. Yet East Aurora teachers were willing to walk out on strike, and leave their students without instruction, if they didn’t get more.