Earlier this month we thanked the Oak Park Teachers Association for accepting a one-year pay freeze in an effort to help District 97 solve its budget crisis. We extend the same thanks to two other unions who also agreed to freeze wages for a year.
Last week's decision by the Oak Park Teacher Assistants Association and the Oak Park Educational Support Professionals Association was good news for the cash-strapped district. Both unions will accept a one-year freeze, joining the teachers union and district administration next year. These are good-faith gestures of support for sound fiscal management. It's also a noteworthy sacrifice, though a fair one, since property owners are being asked to make one themselves come April 5, when the district seeks approval from voters for an increase in property taxes to climb out of its budget deficit.
A tax hike is a hard pill to swallow. These are not flush times. Having one's pay cut, or frozen, is also tough to swallow. It will be up to voters whether the district's referendum passes. But their decision should be based on the knowledge that the district's collective bargaining units are sharing the pain.