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Contract Talks Prompt School Board Comments

WGIL Newsroom . Local News 268

Now that the Galesburg Education Association released specifics of their contract proposal, District 205 is releasing a few specifics of their own.

In a press release sent out Monday evening, the Galesburg School Board says they are seeking a settlement that accommodates both taxpayers and teachers.

The District faces a $2.7-million deficit going into the next fiscal year and has previously said the negotiations with the teacher’s union will affect that figure.

“The State has not met their obligation in funding the General State Aid formula for a number of years,” the release says.

District 205’s contract with the GEA is set to expire at the end of July. According to multiple sources, as that date draws near, the chances for a teacher strike are becoming increasingly likely.

According to the District’s press release, the School Board has proposed maintaining the current salary schedule. A 2.02-percent raise would occur in 2014, followed by a 2.06-percent raise in 2015 with the aim of getting to a 2.27-percent average increase by 2016. That proposal was made on July 25th of this year but has not, by any means, been adopted.

In a recent post on it’s website, described as an open letter to friends and family, the Galesburg Education Association says they want to reach a settlement.

“Our Teachers and Paraprofessionals have spent countless hours fighting to resolve this before school ended this past year,” the post says.

That same post goes on to say some in the media implied that the union wants a work stoppage. In a story that aired multiple times on WGIL on Friday July 25th, GEA Spokesperson Tami Qualls was cited as saying the opposite.

“All we can do is pretty much hope that this is resolved in a friendly manner and there is no strike,” Qualls said in the July 25th story. “I mean nobody, no teachers want to do that. We want to make it as easy and what’s best for our community and our kids, and students, and we want to be in the classroom. That’s what we’re all about.”

The School Board’s proposal would allow the GEA to reopen the contract in the instance General State Aid is fully funded for the 2013-2014 formula structure.

In their proposal, the Galesburg Education Association says they want to keep retirement current while slashing the number of early dismissal days while maintain the number of overall hours.

Talks will continue on Tuesday with an informational picket scheduled. Union sources say Tuesday’s meeting may have a big role in leading teachers to make the decision on whether to strike.