Right now Belvidere, Rockford and Winnebago School District's have all turned to a federal mediator for help.
The day planner's not filled up yet, but over the next three weeks Mike Salmon's calendar is going to be filled. You see this is the man who is going to be bouncing back and forth from one side to the other and one district to another.
Federal Mediator Mike Salmon says, "Time is the element in mediating teachers contracts and folks want to make sure that's all settled and kids can go to school."
The Belvidere School District will be the first to meet with Salmon. Right now 125 teacher’s aides do not have a contract. The union and the district are trying to nail down a three year deal before August 24th. Salmon will help mediate through differences regarding a compensation package.
Salmon says, "Sometimes it takes a 3rd party to come in whose able to see both sides and see where an agreement may come in. I don't think it's a bad sign."
The Rockford Public School District and the teachers union have a first session with this federal mediator on Thursday. Then Salmon still has to squeeze in time for the Winnebago School District who as of Sunday mutually agreed to mediated talks. The two sides are stuck on a compensation package. But with the calendar reading august all three of these districts start the new school year in about 23 days. So is there enough time to avoid a strike?
Salmon replies, “Sometimes deals come together quickly and at the end some take more time so it's not an impossible prospect at all."
Three districts with three different contracts but all will hopefully hear the school bell ring come August 24th.
The Belvidere School District could be in the same situation next year as the teachers contract expires at the end of the school year.