To the Editor:
I loved learning and I love teaching at Kishwaukee College. My Kish history began more than 20 years ago as a terrified, first-year college student.
I was the first in my family to go to college. I found a faculty that was like an extension of my family – they inspired me to go on to earn my bachelor’s and master’s degrees so I could fulfill my dream of returning to Kish to teach. I feel like I’m living my dream every day by giving back to my community what was given to me.
The Kishwaukee College administration is spreading misinformation about contract negotiations with its faculty. As the elected leader of the faculty and an alumnus of Kish, I would like to set the record straight.
The college claims that the concessions they are forcing on teachers are due to fiscal responsibility. This ignores the college’s near $1 million surplus collected during the past two years.
If the administration is insisting on cuts, there are plenty of budget lines that are needlessly heavy. Since negotiations began in March of 2014 through November, the college paid a downtown Chicago law firm a total of $145,387.24. There is no incentive for this firm to speed up negotiations because when they stall, they line their pockets. Not one member of the Board of Trustees, the decision-making body for the college, has attended negotiations. Decisions cannot be made without them. The college would save our students thousands of dollars by ditching their lawyers and bringing the board to the table.
The college claims to be offering raises in its latest proposal. The truth is, with the amount of cutbacks they proposed for health and retirement, most teachers will see no raise at all and some will see a dip in compensation.
Like many of my colleagues, I am raising a family and cannot risk losing hard-earned benefits in this next contract. Those of us who teach here do so because we love the school even though we’re paid between $5,000 and $14,000 less than our peers at other schools. More cuts could force our dedicated, veteran educators to look for work elsewhere.
This is unfair for our students, who deserve to continue the world-class education that Kish offers them.
President, Kishwaukee College Education Association
Kishwaukee College math teacher