Effingham Daily News, Effingham, IL

January 23, 2014

Unit 50 board, teachers at impasse

Bill Grimes
Effingham Daily News

TEUTOPOLIS — Teutopolis Unit 50 officials say it's only fair that district teachers take into account a decline in state aid.

But a majority of the district's teachers say the board's proposals will limit Unit 50's ability to recruit new teachers — and potentially create a negative impact on the educational quality in a public district that regularly posts the highest standardized test scores in the area.

The Unit 50 board and members of the Teutopolis Education Association teachers union have been working on a new contract since before the old one expired last August, to no avail. Wednesday, TEA members voted to authorize its leaders to post an intent-to-strike notice. TEA co-president Amy Oseland said the notice won't be filed until teachers who were not able to attend Wednesday's meeting get a chance to vote.

Negotiators on both sides admit the impasse is not where anybody wants to be.

"Everybody wants a contract settlement," said Unit 50 Superintendent Bill Fritcher. "But this is where we are now."

"A strike is the last thing the teachers want to do," added Oseland. "But we will not stand by and let this happen to our teachers, students and the whole community."

To access complete copies of both proposals, click www2.illinois.gov/elrb/

Once you accesses the website, the proposals are available by clicking a link on the left side of the board's homepage entitled "impasse final offers."