Galesburg teachers miss first paycheck during strike

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Friday is the first day that Galesburg teachers are missing their paychecks.

That’s as the strike against District 205 moves through its 10th day.

Dave Baxter just wants to teach Physics at Galesburg High.  But as the strike drags on, he’s missing his first paycheck in 21 years.

“As I miss this first paycheck, my resolve is stronger,” he said.  “As we stand in the rain, my resolve is stronger.”

Some 675 colleagues face the same situation on a damp, humid Friday.  There are mortgage payments due and bills waiting.  Teachers remain committed to the cause.

“Here we are together,” Baxter continued. “We’re getting to know each other more and more.  “We’re building relationships and bonding. That’s something I don’t think we figured would happen.”

“Just Cause” issues remain up for grabs, which are tied to possible tenure reforms.

“Not to be unjustly let go just because of experience, which we all know gets linked to higher salaries,” said Galesburg teacher Brad Bennewitz. “We think that’s not fair.”

Also, “Recall Rights,” when teachers are called back from layoffs.

“The Illinois State Board of Education makes it very clear,” he continued. “That is available to us.”

While teachers are talking, the school district is keeping quiet on Friday.  The next mediation session is set for Tuesday, August 26.

The longer the strike, the tougher it gets for the entire community. Teacher Dave Baxter finds support in the solidarity.

“We’re stronger than we’ve ever been before,” he concluded. “That’s good.”

Even as their paychecks stop during the strike in Galesburg.