Galesburg Teachers' Strike

August  18, 2014

      A teachers strike in Galesburg is now in its fourth day and negotiations are scheduled to resume tomorrow. The Galesburg Education Association, the school board, and a federal mediator will try again on Tuesday to agree on a contract.

      Union spokesman, Dave Sharpe, says the group wants safer working conditions, changes to the teacher evaluation system, and protection from unfair dismissal. 

      "I wish this could've been resolved before we had to result to striking. My hopes are that we can get an understanding of what it is that we need to help our teachers and our students in this school district, and in the end when this is solved that the board, the administration, and the Galesburg Education Association can work together to solve any problems that may arise in the future."

      Superintendent Bart Arthur says one of the main sticking points is teacher evaluations and recall rights. Currently teachers are rated as unsatisfactory, needs improvement, proficient, and distinguished. And the board want to give preference to those rated distinguished.

      "The union would like to put all the proficient and distinguished into a category and have them called back if we have to make rifs (reduction in force) or cuts. But the board, and state law, are against that so I don't know how we're going to come to a settlement there."

      The Galesburg Education Association represents 650 teachers, teachers aides, counselors, outreach workers, and nurses. The strike affects about 4,500 students.

      Classes were scheduled to start last week.