Teachers of Sherrard Community School District voted in favor of a strike Sunday, February 9, 2014.
Dozens of teachers from the Sherrard Education Association (SEA) convened at United Methodist Church in Preemption, Illinois. It didn’t take long, two hours in fact, before they made their decision.
“We took our intent to strike vote and we had an overwhelming majority in favor of an intent to strike,” said SEA spokesman and physical education teacher Todd Volkert.
The intent to strike doesn’t necessarily mean the teachers will strike. The teachers have 10 days before they can vote on when and whether or not they will strike. Volkert hopes that this will help speed up negotiations with the Sherrard Board of Education.
“We are hoping that it never actually gets to the point where we have to strike,” Volkert said.
The Sherrard Board of Education has agreed to the SEA salary request, according to Sherrard Community Unit School. The school board wants its employees to agree on one year contracts while the union wants three year contracts instead.
The union supports the start schedule the district has now, while the school board would like a universal start time. In a universal start time, all students would go to school at the exact same time.
"We have decided that what we are fighting for is worth making some sacrifices for," Volkert said.
The fight has gone so far that teachers planned to wear all black clothing in schools on Monday to show their unity.
We asked whether this was bringing the issue inside the school.
"You know, everybody knows what's going on so if it becomes an issue, then we would revisit that," Volkert told News 8.
The Sherrard Board of Education plans to meet Monday, February 10 at Sherrard High School to discuss the negotiations. That meeting will follow another at the school district office. The first meeting Monday starts at 6 p.m.
Teachers like Todd Vokert are ready for the ongoing battle to cease.
"Teaching is a lifestyle for us, not a job. We want to get back to what we do best, and that's educating the youth."
For now, the school, teachers, students, and parents can just wait. But the window is closing for both sides to come to an agreement.
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