During a meeting of the Galesburg Education Association Tuesday night at First Lutheran Church, the latest contract offer by the District 205 Board of Education was rejected.
By rejecting the offer, the GEA has opted to go on strike. This is the first teacher strike in 37 years for the Galesburg community.
GEA Spokesperson Tami Qualls says picketing assignments were handed out.
“Most people are located at their buildings,” says Qualls. “This does not just impact Galesburg educators, it impacts outlying districts for Knox and Warren Counties.”
Although the contract was reviewed, no vote was actually taken on the matter. It is known that salary, firings, retirement and other language is still in dispute after a mediation session Tuesday afternoon.
Qualls says she believes the teachers have the support of the community.
“We are doing what we think is best for our students and our community,” says Qualls. “You can’t offer a contract that is not worthwhile, that’s not comparable to our area.”
The District 205 Board of Education held a special closed door meeting last night to review the state of negotiations. No details have been released from that meeting.
Depending on how long the strike continues, high school sports could be affected with teams possibly forfeiting games. Teachers say they won’t be receiving pay while on strike, but should the work stoppage last 10 days, Qualls says there are salary options.
“We’re offered zero percent loans and the finance of that loan is paid by the Illinois Education Association,” says Qualls.
No mediation sessions are currently scheduled that would seek to end the strike in the near term.
Listen to coverage originally aired live on WGIL Tuesday night here.