UPDATE: Contract talks between Belvidere teachers and the district will continue next week.
After more than six hours of negotiations Wednesday night Superintendent Dr. Michael Houselog says there was a "good exchange of ideas through the mediators, but very little agreement."
Some of the sticking points include class size in high school science labs, counselor services, special education workload and before and after school programs.
Both sides will meet again September 9.
BELVIDERE (WIFR) – Teachers in Belvidere are rallying for a better contract as they’ve been working without one since the beginning of the school year.
School board and Teacher’s Union leaders are meeting with a federal mediator as contract negotiations kick up again today and teachers were out in full force.
Dozens of Belvidere educators rallied outside district offices where teams from both sides are discussing class sizes, teachers’ pay and student services.
Union leaders say they want a contract that allows them to attract and keep talented teachers while also maintaining a high standard of education for students. The school board says they feel they can negotiate a fair deal with teachers.
“We've been negotiating in good faith all summer and I think they have as well, but right now we're far enough apart and that's why we called for the mediator, but if there's no movement then you know we would have to look at that option of striking,” said Belvidere Education Association President Mark Luthin.
Negotiations started at 4:00 p.m. Wednesday and according to Luthin if it goes late into the night, that’s more than likely a good sign that things are going well. If there’s no progress tonight, Luthin says teachers could declare an impasse.
If an impasse is declared, it would be at least two weeks before they could file the paper work necessary for a strike. Both sides say they’re trying to avoid this situation going that far.