Leaders of the Greenville Education Association teacher’s union have announced informational picketing will occur Thursday from 5:00 to 6:15 p.m.at the Bond County Community Unit 2 Central Office on North Hena Street.
A negotiating session with a federal mediator is scheduled at that location starting at 6:00 p.m.
Scott Spencer, GEA president, told WGEL the group started bargaining this summer and now, a quarter of the way through the school year, they’re still working under the terms of their expired contract. He said they have met seven times with the school board. They want to let the community know that they are working diligently to put a new contract into place.
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Spencer said the school board’s attorney has made suggestions during the negotiations, including a hard freeze for district teachers, meaning, “no movement for classes taken, even if they have been approved by the district, and no steps for…years of experience teaching.”
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The GEA president emphasized the action being taken by the teachers is not a strike, but a way to inform the public. Spencer said Unit 2 is a great school district and has good people in leadership positions and a great group of teachers who love their students.
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Spencer said negotiations began later than usual because teachers assisted the district in changing to a more affordable health insurance carrier to provide significant savings. Earlier this school year, a non-binding informal contract proposal was turned down by about 95 percent of the teachers, according to Spencer.
He added the GEA has looked at the final budget numbers presented by the district and does not agree with the conclusions.