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Galesburg teachers continue negotiations with school board, strike possible

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An agreement between Galesburg teachers and the school board is still ongoing with just days before their contract expires.

The president of the Galesburg Education Association, Dave Sharp, said that no agreement was met Tuesday night, July 29.

“We believe that we have met nearly all of the board’s demands, while the board has failed to meet any of our requests that were substantive in nature,” said Sharp.

Related: Galesburg teachers standing firm in contract negotiations

An all-membership meeting has been scheduled for Thursday, July 31 at 6 p.m. in the Galesburg High School Auditorium. Sharp said the teachers may strike if that meeting does not end with a tentative agreement.

Click here to see the school board's contract offers

Previous reports indicate that the school board offered raising teachers’ salaries 2.02% in 2014 and a 2.06% raise in 2015.

Sharp said the association plans to file unfair labor practice complaints with the Illinois Educational Labor Relations Board. He said insurance costs have risen and work hours were attempted to be changed without agreement. He also claims that “the ethics of the mediation process” were violated because the school board was “publishing proposals to the public that had never been presented to teachers.”

“The tactics of the school board are driving a hard wedge between the board and the teachers and paraprofessionals,” Sharp said. “This is not good for anyone, least of all the students and our community.”

The Board of Education said some of the association’s demands are just not possible.

“We’re just in a tight spot right now,” said Bart Arthur, Superintendent of Galesburg District 205. “Contract negotiations are already difficult in Illinois, especially now because funding levels from the state have been cut so severely and the federal government is cutting back.”

Galesburg recently reported having a deficit of $2.7 million, according to the Register-Mail.