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UPDATE: Winnebago teachers vote in favor of tentative contract

(WIFR)
Published: Aug. 16, 2018 at 10:20 PM CDT
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Updated September 5, 2018, 4:44 p.m.

UPDATE: WINNEBAGO, ll. (WIFR) -- The Winnebago Education Association (WEA) says it has voted in favor of a tentative contract agreement, possibly thwarting a strike.

The Winnebago School Board plans to take up the agreement Thursday at a special board meeting.

If passed, the WEA says it will sign an official agreement.

The teachers have been without a contractesince August 2017.

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Updated August 21, 2018, 4:56 p.m.

UPDATE: WINNEBAGO, Ill. (WIFR) -- The Winnebago Education Association (WEA) authorizes a strike Tuesday morning.

It says it will move forward with the strike Sept. 10 if WEA does not reach a tentative agreement with the Winnebago Board of Education.

The groups have been negotiating a contract since Apr. 2017.

WINNEBAGO, Ill. (WIFR) -- For the second time this week, Winnebago teachers and the school board have spent more than four hours in mediation trying to work out a contract.

"What they do for my kids every single day is they go above and beyond, through this entire process they've shown up and gave 110 percent regardless of this situation and they deserve the world," said Stephanie King, mother in support of the teachers.

Since August of 2017, teachers in the Winnebago school district have worked without a contract, despite about 15 moderated meeting between the Winnebago education association.

"What we are really hoping is that the board has listened to the community and listen to the things we have discusses at the bargaining table," said Sarah Meador, Winnebago education association president.

Despite filing intent to strike in April, the WEA say teachers will be in their classroom a week from today even if a new contract isn't agreed upon.

“Well, I think on both ends, we would like to have it in place before the first day of school we have a lot of preparation on both ends,” said John Schwuchow, Winnebago superintendent.

A big sticking point is teachers’ salaries. Meador says more than 30 teachers are behind on their steps, which are the raises they are paid each year.

“Unfortunately several years ago we agreed to rise up that base we agreed have a compression, that means people taught for four years being on the same step so we have many teachers that are four steps behind where they should be," said Meador.

And many people in the community gathered out front Winnebago middle school in support of those teachers getting a raise.

"The biggest point was to kind of come out tonight and let them know the community supports them with whatever they choice to do and to send a message to our board of education that we are ready for this to be over," said King.

The two sides started negotiation with a mediator in February of this year.