MURPHYSBORO – Tonight’s mediation session between the Murphysboro Education Association (MEA) and the District 186 Board of Education (BOE) once again ends without an agreement. The following is attributable to MEA Spokesperson Lisa Shields:
“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 for the BOE and MEA.
The 135,000 member Illinois Education Association (IEA-NEA) is the state’s largest education employee’s organization. IEA represents preK-12 teachers outside of the city of Chicago and education support staff, higher education faculty, retired education employees and students preparing to become teachers, statewide.