Rockford Teachers Contract Expires Without A New Deal

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With their contract expiring Thursday, Rockford public school teachers will head into July without a new deal with the district.

Negotiators for nearly 2,000 teachers in the Rockford School District are looking for a multi-year deal with salary increases. The district and teachers union bargaining team are not scheduled to meet again until July 14.

Health coverage costs remain a big sticking point. While contract talks typically lag into August, both sides admit a lot of work still needs to be done before the start of school August 24. "I would have liked to have had them nailed down by now, but it didn't happen, so we'll just go forward and keep plugging at it and hopefully we'll come to a successful conclusion," Rockford Education Association President Molly Phalen said.

"There's always money involved and I think that's going to be the biggest challenge for both sides to overcome," board member Mike Williams said. Rockford teachers last went on strike in 1984. However the teachers union says it is way too early to discuss any possible labor stoppage.