By Ben Velderman
CARPENTERSVILLE, IL – That latest Illinois’ teachers strike ended the same day it began.
The Chicago Tribune reports that Community Unit District 300 board members reached a new three-year contract with the local teachers union about 9 p.m. Tuesday night.
Earlier that day, union teachers closed down school for the district’s 20,000 students to draw attention to their disagreement with the school board about class sizes and pay raises.
But according to the district’s website, board members had met the union’s demands to lower class sizes, even though it will force the district to potentially run a $15 million budget deficit to hire dozens of new teachers.
The board had even offered union members an annual pay raise of 2.67 percent, in addition to annual “step” increases that are based on years of service.
In other words, the union got virtually everything it wanted before it went on strike.
So why did union members decide to go ahead with their strike and inconvenience thousands of Carpentersville families?
There’s a strong possibility the union walked out on students just to remind the school board and Carpentersville taxpayers who is really in charge of the district.
There’s also the possibility that the one-day strike brought so much pressure on board members that they offered an even bigger pay raise (one that the district cannot afford) just to get teachers back in the classroom.
But because nobody is revealing any of the details of the new contract until it is officially ratified (and too late for taxpayers to have their voices heard), we can only speculate about whether the union was motivated by greed or its desire to intimidate.
Either way, the Carpentersville community learned an important lesson during the one-day school shutdown: Their local teachers union is being led by some very destructive individuals who wield a lot more power than their school board representatives.