RIVERDALE, Ill. - Patton Elementary School teachers in Riverdale District 133 officially went on strike Tuesday.
The group of 19 educators said they are walking the picket line for themselves and for quality education.
School district officials alerted parents that the school would be open to accept students while the picketing and work stoppage is happening. Teachers said the district has a high teacher turnover rate, due to low salaries.
Even though school funding is always tight, the teachers said this year, the district received federal COVID funds that could be spent on art, music and technology programs.
The district offered a four-year contract with raises of 4.5%, then 4% each of the following years. The teachers want a 6% raise for three years to bring their salaries closer to the state average.
Staff are also striking over the district’s dress code, saying they are professionals and know how to dress for work.
Lashon Howard walked his four children to school so that he and his wife could go to work. He said his children are getting good grades and love their teachers. The strike means children are not receiving education.
"The teachers here are so wonderful, if they’re not getting a fair contract it affects us, too," Howard said. "The school is understaffed. It’s not fair to them to not get a good contract. It’s not fair to us parents to have to watch this."