Dist. 289 teachers give intent to strike

School board, MEA talks have stalled with mediation session set for Sept. 19

MENDOTA – Mendota Elementary School District 289 and the Mendota Education Association are currently trying to come to an agreement.

Contract negotiations between Mendota Elementary School District 289 and the Mendota Education Association began in February and stalled. A mediator was called in June. The MEA bargaining team was available to meet all summer and the two sides resumed talks on Aug. 14. After several meetings, talks have stalled once again, noted the Mendota Education Association.

"As of our last negotiation, the Board made significant offers to the Mendota Education Association in an effort to settle a new contract. We have been bargaining in good faith, and put forth a more than fair financial offer to the MEA. The board is trying to be fiscally responsible while offering fair compensation to our great teachers," stated Dist. 289 Board President Sean Pappas in a press release Sept. 6.

The MEA has requested a total compensation increase of 10.54 percent in year 1, 7.05 percent in year 2 and 6.84 percent in year 3. These increases are their lowest requests to date and total $2,226,333 in additional compensation over the three-year contract.

The Board proposal includes a 5.66 percent raise in year 1, 4.32 percent in year 2 and 4.41 percent in year 3. These increases are a combined $1,247,262 in additional compensation for salary over the course of the next 3 years.

The current salary package for teachers cost taxpayers $4,025,804 this past fiscal year.

The Board also paid additional medical benefits of $ 1,068,524.

The MEA only pays $179,412 per year for their health insurance, which is 14.38 percent of the total cost for benefits.

"We have also offered several new language items in the contract to help attract and retain teaching staff and provide additional benefits. There are still several other language items that have not been agreed upon," Pappas noted.

The MEA elementary teachers took an intent to strike vote on Sept. 4. Due to an overwhelming majority vote of 97 percent, a potential strike date has been set for Wednesday, Oct. 16.

The next mediation session is scheduled for Thursday, Sept. 19.

Pappas concluded, "We are hopeful for a resolution."


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