MURPHYSBORO– Tonight the Murphysboro Education Association (MEA) officially got a new contract. The MEA voted to ratify the contract on Wed., Oct. 9, and tonight the Murphysboro 186 Board of Education (BOE) also voted to ratify the agreement.
“We are thrilled. We fought hard for this contract, and it made all the difference. This new agreement truly puts our students first and sets the district up for a bright future,” MEA Chief Negotiator Catlin Langellier said. “It’s unfortunate, it took us a strike to get us here, but our students are worth fighting for. This strike was difficult, but it brought our community together and made us stronger in the end.”
MEA ended its weeklong strike and went back to school Thurs., Oct. 10. A strike was declared on Thurs., Oct 3, after negotiations between the MEA and BOE stalled. The two sides had been negotiating since March 2019. MEA includes 152 teachers, counselors, nurses and social workers in District 186. District 186 serves 2,047 students.
“We are happy to report this new agreement truly puts our students first. This new contract makes everything we’ve been through worth it. It will help us better plan for the future and allows educators to have a bigger say in curriculum development,” Langellier said. “We also made sure that we are making up all the days we missed because of the strike. This was extremely important to MEA. We wanted to make sure our students will not be penalized in any way.”
MEA’s new agreement includes the following wins for Murphysboro students:
- Three-year contract: The longevity of this new agreement will allow all parties to better plan for our students’ futures and the future of the district. It will allow educators to know what’s coming, while also allowing educators to concentrate on teaching students.
- Strike days will be made up: Students will get the time they missed in their classrooms back with no penalties. Teachers gave up one of their personal days in order to help mitigate costs to the district in making up these days.
- Changes to Curriculum Council: The changes include involving educators’ input on the placement of classroom aides. Administrators also will have to seek out and consider teacher observations when evaluating aides.
In regard to financials for MEA members, the new contract includes the following salary increases:
- Year one: 3.0%
- Year two: 3.0%
- Year three: 3.5%
“Fairly compensating our educators will mean that Murphysboro can attract and retain the best and brightest teachers for our students,” Langellier said. “We want teachers to want to come to Murphysboro, and to stay here. We think this contract will help us reach that goal. This is a step in the right direction for our community.”
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.