"Just Say No" to Striking District 144 Teachers

CHICAGO—The president of Illinois’ largest taxpayer organization today called the striking teachers of Prairie-Hills School District 144 “incredibly greedy” and suggested that the school board “just say no” to their outrageous demands.

The elementary school teachers, who make an average salary of $48,200 for a 180-day school year, initially sought raises of 15% over the next two years. “The District 144 teachers are shameless in their demand for huge raises while the economy is tanking and millions of workers are losing their jobs,” said Jim Tobin, President of National Taxpayers United of Illinois (NTUI). “Social Security recipients will receive a 0% cost-of-living increase next year and yet these government workers turned down a 3% raise in each of the next two years and chose to strike.”

“It is unconscionable for government grade-school teachers to pad their incomes while homeowners struggle to pay the still-rising property taxes that finance teacher salaries while worrying if they will have a job tomorrow. The rest of us don’t have tenure like teachers do.”

“The school board should tell the striking teachers that they are lucky to have jobs in these economically-troubled times, and be negotiating salary cuts to provide much-needed property tax relief, not salary increases.”

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4 Responses

  1. Tanisha says:

    Mr. Tobin,
    I would like to express to you my deepest sympathy in that you sound like a complete fool. How about you get your facts straight before you choose to respond to this situation. Here is my advice to you, come out to teach in a low-income school of need for a day and then respond in the manner that you did. Us teachers, who are definately not teachers for the pay, work with low-income African American children of need within classrooms of 32-36 ( junior high)…our days are very much so stressful, but we do it because it is a calling, but just like you and all other citizens of the United States, we have families and bills to pay as well.I am a 4th year teacher and I make under $40,000 a year. I pay property taxes, daycare and mortgage as well. This is my career and I’m dedicated, but my family has to survive too. Futhermore, “lucky to have a job”, hopefully you don’t have children, because the message that you send out it completely foolish.

  2. Ron says:

    The children are probably better off with the teachers on strike!

  3. Shante' says:

    Ron, no student is better off without qualified teachers in the classroom. I support the teachers! While I can see that there are some valid points made by the oppossing sides, the facts remain that PHSD 144 ramains to be one of the largest and lowest paid districts within the south suburban area. We continue to lose qualified teachers to other districts, most of them within 10 minutes, in any direction, because the district salaries for educators cannot equate. Some teachers use our district as a means to get student loans forgiven and experience so that they can go to a better paying district! How can our children compete with their peers in other districts if we continue to lose quality teachers and cannot attract quality repalcements for them? They simply won’t be able to!

    I make these statements, again, in support of the teachers, as 1. a taxpayer in the district, 2. a parent of 2 children in the the district, 3. a parent-volunteer and PTO president of the disrtict, and finally, 4.an employee( who is laid off because of the strike)of PHSD 144. I am affected on all sides of the coin, yet I see what the techers go through on a daily basis. I understand the economy is in shambles and I still think they deserve more! We have no problems with CEO’s nationwide making 7 figures yearly to do whatever it is they do, but we take issue with the people who have educated those CEO’s and future ones because they ask to still make well below 6 figures! Something is severely wrong with this picture.

  4. Therese says:

    I believe the teachers should get a pay increase. The district test scores have improved dramatically over a 5 year period. However, I just spoke with the Illinois State Board of Education and what strikes me as absurd the taxpayer/parents have NO rights to help mediate an end to this madness. The only recourse we have left right now is to take the children to the picket line and ask the board and the teachers to grow up and act like adults and mediate this immediately so they both can get back to what they are being paid to do – EDUCATE THE CHILDREN

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