WESTVILLE, Ill. (WCIA) — Westville teachers have been working without a contract since the start of July. Now, they are advocating for better pay and working conditions.

Teachers packed the school board meeting Wednesday night ahead of their first planned mediation with the school district happening later this month. They talked about improving working conditions, fixing pay inequity, plans to boost teacher retention, and they brought attention to how teachers pay for their own supplies — sometimes upwards of $200.

In a survey by the Westville Education Association, nearly 70% of Westville teachers have considered leaving the district. They hope to solve some, if not all, of these issues during their Nov. 29 mediation with the district.

Union spokesperson and 12-year educator Amy Pacot said the quality of education for students is at risk.

“We definitely have to address the wage inequities that we have in our district. We have other communities and districts that are paying more,” she said. “Knowing that we do have so many teachers that have considered leaving, we need to take some action. If we don’t, our teachers are going to continue to leave and our students’ education is going to suffer.”

The union said they hope to avoid strike conversations at this upcoming meeting. WCIA 3 did reach out to Westville’s superintendent, but he was unable to speak on Thursday.

In the meantime, teachers and members of the community plan to wear red every Wednesday to show support.