Winnebago teachers announce strike date

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WINNEBAGO, Ill. (WIFR) -- Teachers in the Winnebago School District announce their plans to strike if a new employment contract can't be reached. It's been 17 months since negotiations began between the school board and the Winnebago Teachers Union, which has been working without a contract since August of last year.

The disagreement continues to revolve around salary. The district is currently offering a zero-percent base salary increase with increases for an additional year of employment and tenure, while the union is requesting a one-percent increase for the previous school year and a two-percent increase for the current school year. District administrators are hopefully another meeting will lead to a new agreement.

"As it stands right now it would be salary and that's the board's intention, our intention as a whole to bring both parties back together before that date so we can continue that dialogue moving forward," says Dr. John Schwuchow, the Winnebago Superintendent.

Meanwhile, parents are voicing their support saying they understand the position the teachers are taking with their intent to strike.

"I know that it will be a great inconvenience for parents and children. I am in full support of the teachers if that is what they end up being forced to do to be paid what they deserve to be paid. I'm in support of that," says Sheri Newsom whose grandson attends Winnebago Schools.

The union has set a strike date of Monday, September 10 if an agreement can't be reached. School board officials are currently not commenting on how the school day could potentially be impacted by the strike.

According to the state of Illinois, the average salary for a Winnebago teacher is a little more than $52,000 while the state average is around $64,000.