Dixon Public School District hasn't seen a teachers' strike in three decades, but that's changing in just a couple days. This comes down to contracts and what educators call "unfair working conditions."
In the early hours of Tuesday morning, the Dixon Education Association, or DEA, rejected all school board members' offers in contract negotiations. District teachers begin striking Thursday.
"The board made an offer to the teachers Monday night of a one percent raise on the base, so every teacher would get a raise and they did ask that the teachers participate in some of the healthcare costs." -says Superintendent Mike Juenger.
Juenger says what started out as miles away from the DEA's offer is now just yards, but they're looking to get within inches of the union's proposed 5-year contract.
"They would like to see a 3.75% raise on the base and then they would like to see a step increase, so together it's almost a 6%. It can vary within anywhere from the 5.75% to a little over 6% raise." -Juenger explains.
The Board of Education meets tomorrow night to discuss budging their offer. Then Thursday evening it's back to the bargaining table with the DEA negotiating team. If a deal isn't reached there might not be school next week. Administrators are working on setting up daycare during regular school hours for the parents who can't stay home with their kindergarten through 5th grade children.
"Our hope would be by Monday or Tuesday to be in that position." -adds Juenger.
DEA organizers say the two parties are still far apart in these negotiations. They've sent out a letter stating that if temporary daycare is set up, they're asking parents to not bring their kids to that. Union representatives say it's essentially choosing to cross a legitimate collective bargaining unit's picket line.
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