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Oak Lawn Teachers Vote To Reduce Raises, Avoid Layoffs

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Oak Lawn Community High School

Oak Lawn Community High School, located at 9400 Southwest Hwy. in Oak Lawn, Ill. (Credit: CBS)

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OAK LAWN, Ill. (CBS) – Would you vote to cut a future pay raise in order to spare the jobs of fellow workers?

That was the choice facing teachers and other staffers on Tuesday at Oak Lawn Community High School.

As CBS 2’s Dana Kozlov reports, the vote wrapped up Tuesday afternoon when teachers voted to take smaller pay raises rather than face the prospect of major layoffs.

Oak Lawn School District 229 Supt. Michael Riordan said it was a cut-and-dried choice for teachers: vote for a smaller pay raise for the next few years or see about 20 percent of the school’s staff lose their jobs.

“The outcome was very positive. What I really like about it is that it really puts students first,” Riordan said. “The board and the union worked together to find an alternate solution instead of (laying off) 33 people and cutting programs for kids and the vote was very, very supportive.”

Teachers and staff voted 146-29 to take raises of 4% and 6% over the next two years, rather than raises of 7% and 9% that also would have required layoffs.

LISTEN: Newsradio 780’s Bernie Tafoya reports

Riordan said the vote will help keep the district’s financial health intact for the next five years.

Lower local tax revenues and the state budget mess had created a potential budget disaster for the district.

Teachers union representatives declined to comment on the vote Tuesday afternoon. But Riordan said school board members were ready to accept the outcome of the vote and move forward with no layoffs.

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