UPDATE: Dixon Teacher Strike Ends, Back to School Today

By: Shannon Smith Email
By: Shannon Smith Email
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JOINT PRESS RELEASE: The Dixon Public Schools Board of Education and Dixon Education Association are pleased to announce that at 1:40 a.m., Wednesday morning, the parties reached agreement on a four-year contract. Both students and teachers will return to school on Wednesday, March 13th and begin ISAT testing by the end of this week.

The specific details of the contract will be made available after the teachers ratify and the Board approves the tentative agreement. The DEA plans to ratify the agreement on Monday, March 18th and the Board of Education will approve the agreement at its March 20th meeting.

The Board and DEA affirmed that with this strike now being resolved, it is time for the parties to put any disagreements behind them and move forward in a positive direction for the benefit of the students, parents and community.

“With the assistance of the federal mediator, both parties worked hard to find creative solutions to resolve the outstanding issues,” said Sandi Sodergren-Baar, President of the DEA. “We are confident that the settlement is the best one for our schools and will keep the District moving forward,” said Tom Balser, Board President.

DIXON (WIFR) -- Contract talks in the Dixon School District continue, both sides have been at the bargaining table since 6:00 p.m. As of right now, there's no deal. But negotiations will continue late into the night.The school district says if a contract settlement is reached parents will receive a phone call by 5:00 a.m. If there's no call, there will be no school Wednesday. We will have the latest tomorrow on 23 News This Morning.

DIXON (WIFR) -- The teacher’s strike in Dixon is still going strong. Today it entered it’s ninth day after teachers walked out of a bargaining session yesterday evening. This afternoon, a federal mediator called both sides back to the negotiating table. Talks will resume tonight at 6. Teachers say they’re still not happy with the districts proposals on class size and the length of the school year.

Many parents and students aren't’t exactly thrilled either.

No homework for a week is bittersweet for 6th grader, Logan Miller. Logan says it’s been a struggle to keep himself busy. “I’m missing all my teachers and everything because I’m so used to talking to them and getting advice from them and other things like that, and that now that’s kind of gone.”

Although he’s enjoying time off now, Logan’s afraid this strike will hurt his summer vacation. It’s also something Eric Hoffman worries about. He wants his kids to understand this “play time” isn't’t free.

“They’re going to have to play catch up later down the road and what is that going to mean for them? Is it going to mean more homework, a lot of those things that we’re concerned about in terms of that pressure,” Hoffman said.

Judy Gross says it’s not a vacation for her three kids. Although she supports Dixon teachers, Gross is afraid of how the time off will affect her son’s skill level.

“He struggles with reading and I think he’s being hurt the most out of the three of them,” said Gross.

That’s why Logan says he hopes everyone can agree soon for the sake of the students.

Since the strike, many students have attended the Reynoldswood Christian Camp or Dixon Family YMCA, while their parents are at work.

UPDATE: Dixon Public Schools and the Dixon Education Association, the union that represents the District’s 166 teachers, will return to the bargaining table at 6:00 p.m. this evening.

According to the School Board, it is their top priority to get students and teachers back in the classroom as soon as possible and they are cautiously optimistic about the potential of achieving resolution at tonight’s session as the parties have already reached agreement on most non-economic issues.

Dixon Public Schools families will be advised of the status of tonight’s session via automated telephone call no later than 9:00 p.m.

Up-to-date information about the status of negotiations will be available on the District website at www.dixonschools.org.

DIXON (WIFR) -- The federal mediator assigned to assist in negotiations between Dixon teachers and the school board has called for new talks later today, according to a news release issued today by the Dixon Education Association (DEA).

Dixon teachers have confirmed their readiness and availability to meet at any time. There has been no official announcement from the school board as yet.

Dixon teachers have been on strike since February 28th.

“We are absolutely committed to getting back to the negotiations table today and bringing this dispute to an end as fast as humanly possible,” said Sandra Sodergren-Baar, President of the DEA. “If the board will meet with us with a sincere desire to find a solution, we know we can get this done and get the students back in school.”

Sodergren-Baar said several items in dispute have been settled in the last few negotiation sessions. Remaining major items include class size, availability of textbooks, length of instructional year, compensation and insurance.

“These major sticking points are resolvable if all parties come to the table with the commitment to do so,” Sodergren-Baar said. “But it takes two to reach an agreement. We’re here and ready to negotiate.”

The DEA President said teacher representatives reached out through the mediator to school board members on Sunday and invited them to become more directly involved in discussions to resolve the dispute. She said teacher representatives believe face-to-face negotiations among teacher and board representatives could change the negotiations atmosphere in a positive way.

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