Effingham Daily News, Effingham, IL

September 19, 2013

Altamont teacher negotiations still at impasse

Teachers could strike next week

Jackson Adams
Effingham Daily News

ALTAMONT — Negotiations between the Altamont School Board and Altamont Education Association are still ongoing after a mediation Wednesday. Another meeting next week may end in a strike if progress is not made after teachers voted to strike Thursday.

Superintendent Jeff Fritchtnitch said he believed negotiations at the meeting, which lasted about three hours, seemed to be moving forward and a further negotiation session is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Monday.

In a release, AEA President Mike Delaney said teachers are still looking forward to a contract and agreement to be set. However, he said no real progress was made on the teachers' primary issues, namely pay and district's attempts to reduce prep times, beyond establishing the language of the contracts.

"A settlement that is fair and equitable for all of our members, the students and the community has always been our goal," he said. "We remain optimistic that an agreement can be reached."

The AEA met Thursday and voted unanimously to authorize the bargaining team to call a strike. Delaney said this authorization would allow teachers to call the strike after Monday's meeting, although it may not lead to an immediate strike and that a strike vote may not have been necessary if progress on any of the primary issues had been made.

"If we could have come in today and said we made progress on the big issues or maybe a big issue, we might not have taken a strike vote," he said, "We're just still not in agreement."

No date for the strike to begin has been set.