That’s how the Galesburg School District Superintendent is responding to the strike now officially underway by members of the Galesburg Education Association. The school year for students will not start tomorrow as planned, and all district athletic and extra-curricular activities have been cancelled until further notice.
Bart Arthur says there’s not much — if any — left that the district can give to the Galesburg Education Association, but he says the district will sit down with the union to talk basically whenever they want to.
Arthur tells the WGIL Morning News other than salary, he’s not sure just what else the union wants.
“There’s still so many issues out there that they haven’t let us know,” Arthur said. “They’re striking over salary, they’re striking over language. So, it’s pretty difficult to even narrow it down to ‘can we get a settlement?’ because they just have a lot of issues.”
Arthur and a statement from the school district both emphasized finances — and the fact that the district has lost nearly $3 million in state aid the last four years. Arthur says if that wasn’t a problem, there wouldn’t be a strike.
But the union has said repeatedly that money isn’t the only issue, nor is it necessarily the main issue. In their own statement last night, the GEA called district’s stance of blaming the state “an old standby.”
They say their own issues deal more with safe and fair working conditions, days and hours worked, and just cause for dismissal.