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Lawmaker Says School Strike Fault of State

WGIL Newsroom . Local News 386

(State Rep. Don Moffitt walks the Labor Day Parade Monday in Galesburg.)

(State Rep. Don Moffitt walks the Labor Day Parade Monday in Galesburg.)

A local lawmaker says if you want to place blame anywhere for the just-ended strike of Galesburg teachers, blame the State of Illinois.

While the Galesburg Education Association says their grievances with District-205 weren’t about money, 74th District State Representative Don Moffitt says the contract issues might be non-existent if the state paid its bills.

The Gilson Republican tells the WGIL Morning News there’s two ways the state has failed in terms of state funding of schools.

“The State has complicated it by being, one, late on payments, and two, decreasing or paying less than what was agreed to — a percentage of what was promised,” Moffitt said.  “The State has definitely — by not living up to what expectations were — has compounded the problem.

Moffitt says he seems to remember Senate Bill Seven — the bill that established the new teacher evaluation system and recall rights that were at the center of some of the contract talks and signed into law by the Governor in 2011 — passing by wide margins, and was a measure that teachers supported.

He says there was pressure to reform education in some form at the time, and that he had great reservations at first about voting in favor of it.

Moffitt tells WGIL no matter where you stand on the issues that led to the strike of teachers and paraprofessionals against the Galesburg School District, there are some things to remember.

“I’m certainly relieved that it’s over,” Moffitt said.  “I know there are strong feelings on both sides.  All of us need to be respectful of each other’s opinions.  We need to look ahead.  Get the kids back in school, and continue the educational process.”

Moffitt says he was at a breakfast last week in the Quad Cities commemorating Labor Day, and says when he brought up the Galesburg Teachers strike and its then-potential resolution, people were certainly aware of it.