Bargaining Sessions Continue for Rockford Public School Contract Talks

ROCKFORD (WIFR) -- Representatives for the Rockford Education Association and District 205 met today for another bargaining session. It looks like progress was made, however frustration still remains.

Both parties met for four hours today and after what the REA calls a quote "fruitful" discussion of outstanding issues, they say the district said it could not finalize a contract because they do not have that authority. That's because all proposals must be approved by the school board which doesn't meet until Tuesday. REA president Karen Bieschke released a statement saying quote, "We did our homework and came prepared. Why didn't Superintendent Willis and his team do the same?"

23 News spoke with Doctor Willis tonight, he tells us that he's happy both parties met today, but says they just found out today about the latest REA proposal. The district must take it back to the school board to see if that's what they want. Meanwhile,

Teachers will meet at the Coronado Theatre tomorrow where Bieschke says because a tentative agreement has not been approved, they will have to vote on the board's last offer which they already rejected. A strike is still an option for the REA.

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  • by Marvin on Mar 26, 2012 at 02:01 PM
    The only reason the board is holding out and making excuses is because w/IL new law that allows the district to force their well upon the teachers by removing the bargaining rights after a set amount of time. I am still reading up on this new law. But it basically lets any negotiation be drawn out and lets the employer push it's contracts onto the workers, no matter how unfair it is to the workers, thus leaving them their only alternative of striking.
  • by Marvin on Mar 26, 2012 at 01:47 PM
    For those of you commenting, plz understand that unless u have the facts 2nd hand gossip isn't true. Ask the school board to release the information of the meetings like I did. When rejected I use the "FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT LAW" to obtain the records and u'll see and have all the facts in front of u, so u to can see the horror that the board is thrusting upon the teachers!!!!
  • by Jessica Location: Rockford on Mar 26, 2012 at 10:47 AM
    I agree with Kathy. The teachers and the union need to conceed to some cuts. The rest of the public sector workers have to take pay and benefit cuts in order to save their job. Anyone who pays taxes in Rockford should have a say or at least know what is going on.
    • reply
      by Marvin on Mar 26, 2012 at 01:32 PM in reply to Jessica
      Case u haven't noticed the remodel of the new building and office furniture and supplies for the administration, most of the teachers pay Rockford taxes and support the class room of which students go and learn and they have no say in what the district does w/tax payer monies. No more then you our I do. Stop putting the blame on the teachers and start looking at the board that yet once more this year got a raise and bigger sty-pens for there "work" that they do!
  • by Kathy Location: Rockford on Mar 26, 2012 at 08:31 AM
    As a concerned grandmother, I just cannot understand that at this late hour, why they cannot call the Board to a emergency meeting? Rather than wait another day for the regular scheduled meeting on Tuesday! While I fully support the Board in attempting to reign in the districts healthcare costs, and reject the teachers statement that they cannot afford any increases in their share of healthcare premiums! One has to draw the conclusion that the teachers honestly have the attitude that they are above the rest of population. Unfortunately, the public has been left out of the process!
    • reply
      by J. John Wilson on Mar 26, 2012 at 09:08 AM in reply to Kathy
      That's ridiculous. The teachers have offered to pay increased healthcare and the district turned down their offer. The teachers have never once said that they were above the rest of the population. Not once. They have tried to deal but the board won't have it. The public wasn't left out of the process... they elected the current Board!!!
    • reply
      by Marvin on Mar 26, 2012 at 01:37 PM in reply to Kathy
      The figures put out by the board to the media are not turn! I know first hand that the board is trying to increase a teachers premiums up over 800% per check, that puts a family of 4 at over $1200 A PAY CHECK for health care alone! Lets not mention the longer hours and the fact that the teachers have been working w/0 a contract for almost a yr just so your child or grandchild can have there education, and lets not mention the abuse of power by the board either...
      • reply
        by Michelle on Mar 26, 2012 at 08:22 PM in reply to Marvin
        Where are you getting the $1200 per pay check figure? The contract that was made public on the district website gives a figure of $178 per month for family coverage for the 2012/13 school year.
  • by J. John Wilson Location: Rockford on Mar 25, 2012 at 09:51 PM
    This is purely for the purpose of breaking the union. Yes the district, city, and state are broke. But the REA is TRYING to deal. The district is not. It makes one wonder if the district and the superintendent are trying to get the teachers to strike and replace them with the Ombudsman plan. This entire affair has been nothing but a train wreck from the start of negotiations back last April.
  • by Fed up on Mar 25, 2012 at 08:56 PM
    This is just more of the same from Dr. Willis. If there is any possible way to be aggravating, he's pulling it. We could be voting on a contract tomorrow night and now we have to vote on a strike. The only winners in this situation are Hinshaw & Culbertson and their billable hours.
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