Dixon educators head to their schools at 7 a.m. Thursday morning just like usual, but they won't be there to teach.
It's a whole school day tomorrow filled with picketing and proving the point that Dixon teachers won't work in what they call "unfair conditions."
Most of Wednesday night's school board meeting was taken up by public comment. One after another, parents and union members urged school board members to come to the bargaining table with open minds willing to compromise. Teachers want almost a 4% base salary raise with a step increase to about 6%. School board members say that's not possible, District 170 will run out of cash. The board's willing to offer a 1%, but they used an executive session to discuss moving on that. Dixon Education Association members say this isn't just about money. It's about improving areas they've seen neglect in, like special education and the dwindling number of teacher's assistants which educators think are needed, since the number of students per classroom is only getting bigger. Both sides of this contract deal say they want to figure this out and get it over with not just for the kids, but district moms and dads.
"We apologize to the parents of Dixon and the students, because this is a huge inconvenience for the families and for the kids, but we felt like the board needed to have a message, that we are very serious about this we want a fair contract." -says DEA President Sandi Sodergren-Baar.
Superintendent Mike Juenger adds, "I'm sure there's a lot of disappointment. I've gotten half and half from parents, one side saying 'Stay tough,' and then also 'We need to do these things for the teachers.'"
After a day of protest, the district and DEA's negotiating teams will meeting tomorrow evening, 7 p.m., at the district's central office to bargain.
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