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Time to Fix the Broken Tier 2 Pension System in Illinois

The Tier 2 pension system affects ALL public educators (teachers, education support professionals and higher ed) who started employment on or after Jan. 1, 2011. In this video, IEA member Jessica Ward breaks it down perfectly for teachers, who pay into TRS. Fixing the Tier 2 pension system for all educators–participating in TRS, IMRF and SURS–is our union’s #1 priority for the Spring legislative session. For more info on Tier 2, check out our fact sheet: bit.ly/Tier2FactSheet

Tier 2 pensions are unfair, inequitable and undermine the retirement funds of educators that first started teaching after 2010. Teachers shouldn’t have to work until they are 67 years old to access their full retirement. We should fix Tier 2 because it’s the right thing to do and it would also mean making strides in addressing the teacher shortage crisis. This week, IEA members testified in front of the House Personnel and Pensions Committee to fight the system that serves to divide our union and find solutions. The IEA was joined by the IFT, AFSCME Council 31 and IL AFL-CIO. Thank you to our members for advocating for a Tier 2 fix and to our lawmakers for hearing our concerns.For more information on Tier 1 and Tier 2.

WEP and GPO restrictions are not fair to our members!

More than 2.5 million Americans, including many educators, have their social security benefits reduced–or lose them entirely– due to the Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP) and Government Pension Offset (GPO). That is not fair!

What is the Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP)? ESP members qualify for social security. While Illinois teachers & higher ed members do not qualify, the reality is that some of them work second jobs. WEP reduces the ss benefits teachers & higher ed members earn from those jobs.

What is the Government Pension Offset (GPO)? The GPO reduces–or eliminates–the social security spousal or survivor benefits. This means if you are an educator who loses a spouse, you could see your survivor benefits drastically reduced or eliminated entirely.

NEA has created an action page to contact your representative and tell them to stop unfair social security penalties. We need to FULLY REPEAL GPO and WEP!

NEA Leadership Summit

Registration for the 2024 NEA National Leadership Summit is NOW OPEN! Join us March 1-3 in Chicago. This year’s theme: Education. Democracy. Freedom. Our Right! Our Responsibility! The NEA National Leadership Summit is designed to develop activist leaders and prepare them with the knowledge and skills needed to lead thriving locals. Open to ALL members, regardless of experience level.

Best Wishes for a New Year

NUEA would like to wish everyone a happy and safe new year! On January 1, 40 years ago, our union’s legislation, the Illinois Educational Labor Relations Act, officially went into effect. This was a milestone moment for education employees across the state. The IELRA gave educators the right to collectively bargain. The IELRA shaped history. We look forward to an incredible new year of bargaining fair contracts and advocating for the strong public schools our educators and our students DESERVE!

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving to all of our District 203 IEA members, including those in NUEA, NESPA, NTA, and NUMA.

We would like to thank all of the union employees who work tirelessly to give students the best educational experiences possible. We know that high achievement does not occur in isolation, and on this Thanksgiving Holiday, we want to express our sincere gratitude to those who make our district a great place to live, work, and play!

NUEA and D203 Welcome New Teachers

The NUEA and District 203 welcomed new teachers into the district on Friday, August 12, at a breakfast held at Meson Sabika in Naperville. New teachers were joined by building principals, NUEA building representatives, NUEA executive board members, and District 203 school board members.

Speakers included the Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction Jayne Willard, Chief Human Resources Officer Bob Ross, NUEA President Ross Berkley, the Executive Director of the Naperville Education Foundation Wendy Goettsch, and Superintendent Dan Bridges.

A common theme throughout the breakfast was the importance of fostering supportive and collaborative relationships between all stakeholders. Speakers spoke about past collaborations and gave advice for fostering great relationships with upcoming students. This positive message carried with attendees into the first day of school for students, August 17, 2023.

D203 Teacher Union Awards Scholarships

Students honored for their Community Contributions

Four students from the Naperville area received scholarships from the Naperville Unit Education Association (NUEA) in the amount of $1500 each.  The Naperville-based teachers’ union annually gives three scholarships to high school seniors who are children of members, and one scholarship to an education major in their third year of study.  Scholarships are awarded based on extracurricular participation and contributions to the community. These scholarships were awarded in April, 2023.

The high-school scholarship recipients are Mark Park from Naperville Central High School, Felicity Abbott from Glenbard South High School, and Elijah Matas from Lake Park High School. The NUEA Future in Education recipient is Maria Gabrielli from Loyola University-Chicago.

The NUEA scholarships were created by certified staff in District 203 through their union to recognize outstanding contributions among area high school seniors.  The Future in Education Award was added to help support a collegiate student entering the field of education.  The scholarships are funded by member dues and represent a small portion of the local support provided to the community through scholarships, volunteerism, and charitable giving.

Mark Park

This fall, Mark will be attending Saint Louis University with a major in entrepreneurship within their Business Scholars Program.  As a student at Naperville Central, Mark participated in Drum Show, Marching Band, Concert Band, and gave private lessons to percussion students at all levels.  Mark launched several start-up businesses, including Scent Snacks, Melo, and Redhawk Records. Mark is the Vice-President of the Naperville Central chapter of DECA, an international organization which prepares future business leaders in the areas of marketing, finance, hospitality, and management. 

Mark also excelled in his pursuits outside of NCHS.  He is active as a worship team leader at his church.  Additionally, he is the Vice President of Finance for the Naperville Children’s Business Fair.  Despite all of that, he still found time to work as a busser at Meson Sabika/Santo Cielo.  He also served on the ALIVE Teen Advisory Board as the co-leader of the Diversity Committee.  Mark’s wide array of experiences make him an ideal candidate for this scholarship. 

Felicity Abbott

Felicity will be attending the University of Illinois in the College of Media this fall.  She is an artistic athlete, excelling at both sports and the arts while a student at Glenbard North High School.  Athletically, Felicity played tennis during her junior and senior year.  She also played volleyball for three years and basketball for all four years.  Perhaps most impressive, however, was her leadership as a soccer player, earning JV Captain during her sophomore and junior years.

Even with her busy schedule, she still found time to excel musically and academically.  Felicity played in the orchestra for all four years of high school.  Additionally, she served in several leadership roles for Best Buddies and Student Council.   She was a member of the French Honors Society, the Principal’s Advisory Board, the Council of Presidents, the Key Club, and the National Honors Society.  She also excelled as a Section Editor and Editor in Chief of the student newspaper.  Through these activities, Felicity’s leadership acumen and drive for distinction clearly show that she is deserving of the NUEA scholarship.

Elijah Matas

Elijah will travel to Purdue University this fall to study Civil Engineering.  Elijah’s four years at Lake Park High School illustrate a clear balance between his academic excellence and his community support.  Elijah is a gifted soccer player, earning a spot on the 2022 All-Academic Team.  He also served as a PE leader, wrestling score keeper, and a soccer referee.  Outside of the realm of athletics, Elijah also was a gifted student.  He always made the High Honor Roll, and participated on the Math Team, Earth Club, and National Honor Society.  Elijah’s interest in AP Physics and AP Calculus helped drive him to pursue civil engineering.

Outside of school, Elijah’s community support was clear.  He provided several hours of community work through the Willow Creek Community, which included working for Phil’s Friends and Feed My Starving Children.  He worked the concession counter at Trinity Lutheran Middle School for various sporting events.  He also helped distribute books for the West Campus Book Distributor and the Spring Hills Book Fair.  Elijah hopes that his focus on civil engineering can help him tackle some of the world’s greatest challenges, such as climate change, poverty, and discrimination.  His aspirations are admirable; hopefully this scholarship can help him achieve those lofty goals.

Maria Gabrielli

Maria currently attends Loyola University-Chicago with a major in Curriculum Development.  She is passionate about instilling critical thinking, creativity and curiosity, and helping students develop a real love for learning that will last a lifetime.  Maria also sees the larger perspective of her work: By teaching, mentoring, and advocating for her students, she believes that she can help to create a more equitable and just society.  Education is a powerful tool for social change and every child deserves quality education, regardless of their background.

Maria credits her past schooling for helping her to prioritize her tasks, stay organized, and manage her time.  She also learned the importance of empathy.  By empathizing with others, she is able to communicate effectively, collaborate productively, and develop a sense of community with a global awareness.  Maria will be an articulate advocate for her students, and very deserving of this award.

About the NUEA The NUEA is the association of 1400 certified staff members who work in Naperville School District 203.  They are a unified voice advocating for students and the teaching profession.  Led by President Ross Berkley, they work with the community, administration, students, and parents in District 203 to help provide the best educational experience possible to residents of Naperville, Bolingbrook, and Lisle with District 203.