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WEB EXTRA: Full Galesburg Education Association Statement

WGIL Newsroom . Local News 1729

Here is the latest statement from the Galesburg Education Association, issued mid-morning Thursday.

The Galesburg Education Association is disappointed with the Board’s misleading statements regarding efforts to reach an agreement that produces the best educational environment for our students, educators, and the community. Not only did we approach them yesterday afternoon at 1:35 to set up further negotiation dates and times, but we did not get a response until seven hours later that they will not negotiate until next week.

The School Board has indicated in its most recent news release this morning that it has requested a meeting with the federal mediator and is waiting for a GEA response in regard to potential meeting dates. After contacting the federal mediator yesterday, she indicated to GEA the soonest she could meet with both sides would be Tuesday, Aug. 19. A federal mediator is not required to be present to continue negotiations. The GEA requested to meet with the School Board at 8 a.m. today to continue talks in order to expedite an agreement and get students back in the classroom. We stand ready and willing to meet without a federal mediator to reach a resolution.

To add to that disappointment, the School Board now has denied football coach Tim Dougherty’s appeal for a waiver to hold practices during the strike. This waiver is available to the School Board specifically for football, a contact sport, under IHSA guidelines. In order to be able to compete in IHSA-sanctioned games that are scheduled to begin on Friday, Aug. 29, the team must hold 12 days of “contact” practices. These practices must be conducted under professional coaching supervision largely to protect the athletes from injury both during practices and games.

Last week, GEA assured Coach Dougherty we would not stand against the waiver request, recognizing that continuing to practice is in the best interest of the student athletes. Our goal all along has been not to put students in the middle. We continue to stand by this.

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