Retired teacher taken into custody at Galesburg school headquarters

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A retired teacher was taken into police custody as the federal mediation session continued between teachers and school administrators in Galesburg, Illinois.

As of 3 p.m., neither negotiators for teachers or the school district were commenting on progress.  On the 15th day, the stalemate remained rooted in state education reforms passed in 2011.

Related: No deal in Galesburg; teachers strike enters third week

As the stalemate continued, retired Galesburg teacher Jim Jacobs showed up carrying a sleeping bag and pillow into District 205 headquarters.  Jacobs stated he planned to stay there until the strike was over.

Police were called, and Jacobs was taken to a police squad car moments later.

Jacobs spent more than 35 years as a teacher in Galesburg.

At issue in the strike negotiations, is state legislation passed in 2011 which mandates that teacher layoffs are based mostly on performance ratings rather than seniority.

It's called "Recall Rights." That's the way teachers are called back to work after a layoff.

Negotiating recall rights conflicts with state law, according to the school board.

Teachers say they want fair evaluations that will keep the best teachers, regardless of cost.

Galesburg parent Samantha James says she worries that the best teachers won't come to work in Galesburg.

"The older teachers, they need to be able to come back first," she said. "You don't recall back the lower grade teachers who haven't been around for years."


  • MominQC

    Why should a poor performing teacher with seniority be called back over a well performing teacher? The teachers say they are doing this for the children, but this topic seems to be more on personal interest. There are too many teachers who get tenure and then coast to retirement because they can’t be let go. If recall if based on performance it not only is in the best interest of the children, but weeds out those who aren’t engaging the students.

      • Amanda

        Mr. Triplett! I’m so glad to see you are still around. You are one of the best teachers I ever had. As for MominQC and Mr. McClurg, you are both missing basic pieces of information on the reasons for this strike. The info you need is easily accessed on the GEA website and the state legislature’s website but I’ll summarize for you. Teachers are divided into 4 groups based on performance. They are layer off and recalled to work based on those rankings. Currently, groups 2 and 3 are treated equally. The teachers instead want groups 1 and 2 treated equally. The reason is that if things stay the way they are good senior (higher paid) teachers can be let go in favor of more junior (lower paid) teachers who aren’t as good. The board claims state law prevents them from agreeing to the change. They are wrong because the law specifically says if a different agreement is reached between the board and the teachers it can trump the one laid out in the law.

    • Dar

      I’m not addressing poor teachers. Poor teachers should be gone whether they have tenure or not. I’m talking about the majority of great teachers who have devoted many years to educating students and then let go because of budget or numbers and they lose seniority and possibly their pension.

  • Sherry

    Some people really need to get their facts straight! Good teachers are fighting for what is right not to be selfish. They work hard to give our kids a good education, regardless of what idiots say, and want what’s best for them.

  • christa

    This is really hurting my 15yr old daughter. She has refused going to school cause of this strike. She’s done missed 5 days worth cause she needs the extra help, even tho she hasn’t given the regular teachers a chance to help her. This is really sad, and heart breaking.

  • Misty

    Right now, Galesburg High School is nothing more but a mold paradise due to the weather during construction. The teachers are fighting for safety due to the rising violence in Galesburg. Also, the teachers have agreed to give up wages so that they can have their Recall Rights. The Recall Rights are so the teachers who have dedicated their life to teaching are able to get their retirement. These teachers are fighting for the students not themselves! !!! If they didn’t care they would be 3 weeks of paychecks in and not be fighting the weather while putting in more than 8 hour days. Great role models keep it up teachers!!!

  • Ben

    The teachers are on strike because the district sank all the budget in to a stadium rather than the school so we have mold, falling ceilings,asbestos, and under paid teacher .

  • Lori

    These honorable professionals are striking to ensure better education for OUR children. Anyone who understands the value that veteran educators bring to the classroom both for the students and as mentors to new and aspiring teachers understands this issue and that it is for our children, the betterment of the community, fair labor practices, and attracting and retaining quality teachers in our schools that these dedicated teachers stand for our community interests. Anyone who thinks teachers are overpaid & underestimates their work needs to spend a day in their shoes. We entrust our children and our future to these teachers. I am So proud of our teachers & Mr. Jacobs for taking this stand for us. Thank you for your commitment to our children and community. Stay strong!

  • Old vs Youth!

    Wow age discrimation on both ends. Older teachers need to change with times and younger teachers can be great leaders along with those older teachers. I see that older teachers get too comfortable with their ways and are not evaluated as equally as someone newer…2 seperate ratings! I agree with the law and it should remain the same.

  • Old vs Youth!

    Oh btw these older teachers are making great money vs the younger teachers, I don’t want to hear about low wages and now we’re on a 3 week strike! They can take out a loan to pay for bills….I feel sorry for the parents and students not able to get started on their education! And as far as the safety of the schools go, go ahead and requst those changes but see your property taxes rise higher than ever to make those changes. Better off building new schools, or if you don’t like the schooling stituation move! I live in Quincy and its wonderful here:)

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