SEA Bargaining Extension Update

SEA Members,

The SEA bargaining team has secured an extension of last year’s contract and terms for the 2021-2022 school year. Certified staff will see a 3% bump to their pay plus step. ESPs, COTAs and PTAs will see a 4.25% bump plus step to their pay for the 2021-2022 school year. As it is an extension there is no new language to the contract from either side. When Aaron approached me to be the bargaining chair, I took the position with the understanding that we would approach the board to try and get them to buy another year using last year’s figures. Had the board turned it down, the bargaining team was ready with language and dates to do a traditional bargaining. However, with COVID and the exhaustion of this and last school year, we feel this is a nice compromise. The school board unanimously agreed and put together the same package as last year for next school year. This means starting the year with a contract in hand and pay raises in place. Additionally, impact bargaining will continue as long as COVID is an issue for the schools, which is all but guaranteed heading into next school year. An approval of an extension would also mean we already have a large jump on proposed language when we do return to bargain next year.

After we take this deal to the executive committee and the AR’s, we will be setting a date to vote to ratify this extension. All of the language collected by the team will be kept and worked on for the next bargain and will be handed to whomever chairs or co-chairs the team. Thank you for your time and input during the building level zooms and know that all of those ideas and suggestions are still being worked on and considered for the next bargain.

Below you will find the dates for the ratification process. Please send questions you have about this to me at or to Lindsey at

Important Ratification dates:

  • SEA Exec Vote (agreed)-4/27
  • AR meeting & vote – 5/11
  • Public Comment – 5:00 Zoom (after AR meeting, 5/11)-All members welcome
  • Voting: 5/11- 5/12 (Via Google Form)

Ben and Lindsey

Sue Handy Scholarship 2021: Deadline Extended to April 12

The Springfield Education Association announces the application availability of the SEA/Sue Handy Scholarship. The scholarship is open to District #186 students and the children of SEA members who are pursuing a career in public school teaching.

The scholarship was instituted in honor of Sue Handy, a Springfield educator who taught at Butler Elementary for many years. Sue wanted to encourage students to become teachers and had dreamed of creating such a scholarship. Before she was able to put it in place, she lost her battle with cancer. The scholarship was instituted in honor of Sue Handy, and had been continued under the auspices of the SEA.

The due date for the scholarship application has been extended to April 12, 2021. Only the scholarship applications that contain all of the information requested will be considered for selection. Applicants must be available on April 21, 2021, for a virtual personal interview. The winner/s will be announced at his or her high school’s senior awards assembly, if applicable.

Each scholarship recipient will receive $5000 payable over four years with proof of enrollment along with a one-year membership into the Student-IEA program. Recipients of the scholarship will be notified the first week of May.

186 School Board to vote on 2020-21 Student and Family Handbook

At the Monday August 3rd District 186 school board meeting, board members will be voting to approve the 2020–2021 Student and Family Handbook. Sections of this handbook have been revised to address Covid-19 health concerns.

Here are some of these revisions:

Students Enrolled in Remote Learning:

  • Will attend all video class in their entirety (unless the teacher states
  • While in a video class the camera will be on and focused on your person
    not another part of the room.
  • Will be sitting up out of bed preferably at a desk or table.
  • Will be dressed according to the dress code below.
  • Will participate in classroom discussions organized by the teacher

Student Dress Code:

Following COVID-19 recommendations from the ISBE and IDPH students will wear masks while in the school building. These masks must be in compliance with the school dress code above. Masks or gaiters that are solid colors, printed with District #186 or school logos are preferred. Bandanas will not be permitted to be worn as a mask.

Attendance Policy:
Academic progress is improved by regular school attendance. When a student is absent, a parent should call the school. If no phone call is made, the school will attempt to contact the parent or guardian. (No notes will be accepted at the high
school level.) If no contact is made between the parent and the school, the absence will be unexcused.

A student will be allowed ten (10) excused absences per school year without a doctor’s note. After 10 days, all absences without a doctor’s excuse are considered unexcused. Doctor’s notes must state the student was unable to attend school and give exact times when the student was seen in the doctor’s office. Parents please note: Nine (9) days of unexcused absence is considered chronic truancy (105 ILCS 5/26-2a) and may result in court action (705 ILCS 405/3-33.5). Parents please also note that 10 days of absence, excused or unexcused, will result in a student being classified as having “chronic absenteeism” on the school report card for the State of Illinois. The above attendance policy applies to Remote Learning days and In Person instructional days.

School Operations During a Pandemic or other Health Emergency:

A pandemic is a global outbreak of disease. Pandemics happen when a new virus emerges to infect individuals and, because there is little to no pre-existing immunity against the new virus, it spreads sustainably. Your child’s school and district play an essential role, along with the local health department and emergency management agencies, in protecting the public’s health and safety during a pandemic or other health emergency. During a pandemic or other health emergency, you will be notified in a timely manner of all changes to the school environment and schedule that impact your child. Please be assured that even if school is not physically in session, it is the goal of the school and district to provide your child with the best educational opportunities possible.
Additionally, please note the following:

  1. All decisions regarding changes to the school environment and schedule, including a possible interruption of in-person
    learning, will be made by the superintendent in consultation with and, if necessary, at the direction of the Governor, Illinois
    Department of Public Health, local health department, emergency management agencies, and/or Regional Office of Education.
  2. Available learning opportunities may include remote and/or blended learning. Blended learning may require your child to attend school on a modified schedule.
  3. Students will be expected to participate in blended and remote instruction as required by the school and district. Parents are responsible for assuring the participation of their child. Students who do not participate in blended or remote learning will be considered truant.
  4. All school disciplinary rules remain in effect during the interruption of in-person learning. Students are subject to discipline for disrupting the remote learning environment to the same extent that discipline would be imposed for disruption of the traditional classroom.
  5. Students and parents will be required to observe all public health and safety measures implemented by the school and district in conjunction with state and local requirements.
  6. During a pandemic or other health emergency, the school and district will ensure that educational opportunities are available to all students.
  7. School personnel will work closely with students with disabilities and other vulnerable student populations to minimize the impact of any educational disruption.
  8. Students who have a compromised immune system, live with an individual with a compromised immune system, or have a medical condition that may impact their ability to attend school during a pandemic or other public health emergency
    should contact school officials.
  9. During a pandemic or other health emergency, teachers and school staff will receive additional training on health and safety measures.
  10. In accordance with school district or state mandates, the school may need to conduct a daily health assessment of your child. Parents and students will be notified of the exact assessment procedures if this becomes necessary.
  11. Parents should not send their child to school if their child exhibits any symptoms consistent with the pandemic or other health emergency.
  12. Please do not hesitate to contact school or district officials if you have any concerns regarding your child’s education, health or safety.

SEA Back to School Preference Survey #2: Live Results & Member Comments

In our recent SEA survey, members were asked to respond to the following question:

The District 186 Board of Education will be meeting on Monday August 3rd. The seven board members will vote on a ‘Return to Learn’ plan for the 2020-21 school year. How do you want District 186 schools to start the 2020-21 school year? (assuming the choices below are the only ones available)

  • Hybrid
  • Remote Learning

You can view a real time summary of responses here. (Note: This survey will remain open until the end of the day on Sunday August 2nd.)

In this survey, members were also invited to share ‘other comments/questions’. You can view these responses here.

If you have not yet received a link to this survey, please contact your building AR. SEA is currently working on streamlining email communications with members. We appreciate your patience during this process. Thanks!

(The pie chart screenshot accompanying this post shows results at 9AM on 7/30/20.)

FAQ #1: Face Mask Requirements in District 186 Schools

(SEA Members: Feel free to leave any comments below.)


  1. Who will be providing masks for students? (answered)
  2. Is there a solid plan for issuing masks? (addressed/no specifics)
  3. Will GOOD masks be provided? (not addressed)
  4. Will students be allowed to wear personal masks? (not addressed)
  5. How will we ensure that student masks are cleaned and disinfected daily? (not addressed)
  6. What is the disposal method for contaminated masks? (not addressed)

District 186 Responses:

  • “All staff and students will receive a cloth mask that can be washed and reused. Disposable masks will be available if someone does not have a mask. All schools will be guaranteed to have the supply that they need without having to wait to receive additional supplies.” (RTL Plan, p. 10)
  • “Disposable masks are readily available at all schools and will be restocked as needed.” (RTL Plan, p. 13)
  • “Students who do not have a mask or forget theirs at home will be provided one at school.” (, 7/27/20)



  1. Will face masks be mandatory in all District 186 school buildings? (answered)
  2. Will face masks be mandatory on all First Student school buses? (addressed/no specifics)
  3. Will staff and students be required to wear masks during PE? If so what about staff and students who would have a hard time breathing with a mask on due to medical reasons? (not addressed)
  4. You cannot have a mask on while eating, how will everyone remain protected when masks are off to eat breakfast or lunch? (not addressed)
  5. Will some students or adults be allowed to be exempt from wearing a face mask? (not addressed)
  6. What documentation, if any, will students and staff need to be exempt from wearing a mask? (not addressed)
  7. What are the policies at the early elementary level, particularly in special education when students may or may not tolerate masks? (not addressed)
  8. Will staff who cannot medically tolerate wearing a mask still be allowed to teach in the building? (not addressed)

District 186 Responses:

  • “All staff and students are required to wear face masks at school and on school buses.” (RTL Plan, p. 10)
  • “All school buildings will have signs regarding face masks requirements and social distancing requirements and other safety procedures that are consistent across all school buildings.” (RTL Plan, p. 12)
  • “All visitors will be required to wear face masks at District schools and buildings. Appointments will be required and visitors will only be allowed in the office. We will have extra masks on hand to provide to visitors in the event they forget to bring one of their own.” (RTL Plan, p. 11)
  • “Students will be allowed to remove masks if outside and social distancing is maintained.” (RTL Plan, p. 17)
  • “Students will be required to wear masks on buses.” (RTL Plan, p. 17)



  1. How will the requirement to wear face masks in District 186 schools be enforced? (addressed/no specifics)
  2. What consequences will be in place for students refusing to correctly wear masks? Will students automatically be sent home if they refuse to wear their masks properly? (addressed/no specifics)
  3. What happens if students remove their masks and sneeze/cough/spit on other students or teachers on purpose? (not addressed)
  4. Will District 186 staff members be sent home for refusing to wear a face mask around work colleagues? (not addressed)
  5. Will employees have back-up at the District level for students/parents who refuse to wear face masks on buses and in our school buildings? (not addressed)
  6. Can we refuse to have a student in our classroom who does not wear a mask or wear it properly? (Obviously some students may have a medical exemption for the masks, but I am not talking about those students) (addressed/no specifics)
  7. Will additional security guards be hired to make sure parents/students do not enter without masks? (not addressed)

District 186 Responses:

  • “District 186 Superintendent Jennifer Gill said there is not a set punishment in place for those who refuse to wear a mask, but the expectation to wear one is still there.” (, 7/27/20)
  • “If someone refuses to wear a mask, the district will take the next steps required. However, Gill said those are teachable moments for students on why wearing a mask is so important.” (, 7/27/20)
  • ““We certainly don’t want this to become an issue where it’s a yelling match or a screaming match or a disciplinary, you know, ‘you’ve got to go home’ match,” Gill said.” (, 7/27/20)
  • “According to the District, all incidents will be treated on an individual basis.” (, 7/27/20)
  • “Currently, District 186 is still working on an enforcement plan or some form of punishment if a student refuses to wear a mask in school.” (, 7/27/20)
  • “Gill said staff will use signs and cues during the school day to remind students about the importance of wearing one.” (, 7/27/20)



  1. Are teachers limited to wearing only face masks or are face shields an option? (addressed)
  2. I heard that teachers will be required to wear both a mask and face shield. What about the foreign language teachers? Students are required to speak in the target language being taught, pronunciation is one of the biggest factors, how will students be able to imitate sound(s) and mouth movements instructed by the teacher wearing both a mask and a face shield? (not addressed)
  3. Lanphier doesn’t have air conditioning in some of the classrooms in the Edison wing. Will you expect teachers to use classrooms on that side of the building wearing masks? (not addressed)
  4. Also teaching Lower grades letters/sounds…when they can’t see our faces due to masks- how will that work? (not addressed)

District 186 Responses:

  • “We are cognizant that Personal Protective Equipment, extra supplies, clear face masks and gowns where needed are extremely important for our employees to allow them to serve students in a manner that is safe and meets the individual student’s learning goals.” (RTL Plan, p. 17)