SOURCE: Illinois Education Association

March 16, 2010 15:32 ET

March 19 Is Pink (Slip) Friday in Illinois Schools

SPRINGFIELD, IL--(Marketwire - March 16, 2010) - This Friday, public school employees hope the public and especially policymakers will "think pink." March 19 has been declared Pink Friday by the Illinois Education Association (IEA), the state's largest education employees' union.

According to union President Ken Swanson, all IEA members are encouraged to wear something pink as a gesture that is intended to raise awareness of the thousands of "pink slips" or layoff notices that education employees are receiving this month due to the Illinois budget crisis. 

"These layoffs not only are a tragedy for the employees and their families, but they are devastating to education quality in Illinois. It would mean bigger class sizes and the elimination of key programs, such as arts, language and sports," Swanson said. 

"Mass layoffs will delay Illinois' economic recovery for years. By wearing pink, we're sending an SOS to House Speaker Michael Madigan and House Minority Leader Tom Cross and telling them to put the people first, Save our Schools and Save our State."

Swanson said IEA supports Gov. Pat Quinn's proposed 1 percent income tax surcharge for education, but says the crucial needs of the state go well beyond schools.

"State agencies that care for so many children who come into our schools, agencies that aid our state's senior citizens and the physically and mentally ill, are all on the verge of collapse. That is why, in addition to the surcharge, we strongly urge support for comprehensive tax reform, as found in HB 174," Swanson said.

It is estimated as many as 17,000 education employees will receive "pink slips," known in education as RIF (for reduction in force) notices. State law requires that public school employees receive early notice that their positions are not guaranteed for the next school year. Most RIF notices are being delivered in the month of March.

For more information about Pink Friday and other issues of interest to education employees, parents and guardians of students, visit the IEA website:

Illinois Education Association-NEA is a statewide organization, with more than 133,000 members, representing teachers and education support professionals, along with higher education faculty and staff, graduate assistants, retired education employees and students preparing to become teachers.

IEA is a state affiliate of the 3.2 million member National Education Association (NEA).

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  • Charlie McBarron