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Negotiations in Murphysboro break down after third day of teachers’ strike

UPDATE 10/7/2019 AT 9:51 P.M.:

MURPHYSBORO (WSIL) — The Illinois Education Association sent some additional clarification to dispute the Murphysboro School Board’s statement:

Tonight during mediation the BOE offered us a $500 bonus only for Murphysboro teachers with masters‘ degrees, which is about a third of our membership. The total cost of the bonuses would be $28,000. Since we began negotiating, we have come down 9.1 percent. The board has only increased their offer by 6.91 percent.

ORIGINAL STORY 10/7/2019 AT 9:08 P.M.:

MURPHYSBORO (WSIL) — The Murphysboro school board posted to its Facebook page that negotiations have stopped Monday night.

The post says:

The Board Team experienced another disappointing evening. After presenting multiple offers to the Teacher Team that added over $100,000 to their salaries (over three years), the teachers were only willing to move by $9,200 (over three years). They stopped negotiating after one proposal. The Federal Mediator agreed we were not getting anywhere.

The Federal Mediator is not available until Friday the 11th. The Board looks forward to the teachers resuming negotiations.

It doesn’t appear classes or extracurricular activities will resume before then.

MEA Spokesperson Lisa Shields sent us the following statement:

We’ve bent as far as we can go. Our teachers need to be able to provide for their families. Still, we’ve made concession, after concession, after concession at the bargaining table. We’ve moved nearly twice as much as the BOE has over the course of the bargaining process. We did that in good faith. We did it to get a deal that puts our students and our schools first, but they won’t even meet us half way.

Their offer tonight moved less than half a percentage point. It’s the equivalent of offering to buy us coffee and a donut once a week. It’s so disheartening to see the board playing games like this, games with our families’ and our students’ futures. We have a lame-duck superintendent, who doesn’t appear interested in doing what’s best for our community. In fact, the BOE is already working on his replacement. Tonight, we’re asking for transparency. We’re encouraging the community to ask to see the numbers. Call the district office and ask the business manager why the district always finds money after settling our teachers’ contract.  The end-of-the-year surplus shows the district has more than enough money to meet our requests without any hardship whatsoever to the taxpayers and to the district.

We want to be back in our classrooms with our students. We could be back there tomorrow, if the BOE would stop this charade and start focusing on getting things done. We hope they can find the ability to come to the table and bargain with us in good faith. We are ready willing and able to bargain every night at 5 p.m. until we get a deal.

Currently, there are no mediation sessions scheduled.

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