East Moline teachers, board members continue fight for fair pay

EAST MOLINE, Illinois - East Moline teachers are speaking out saying there has been little to no movement in contract negotiations between them and the school district. Teachers confronted school board members on Monday, November 28, 2016 but the district says don't blame them, blame the state.

It was standing room only as teachers filled the East Moline School Board meeting in a sea of red. The East Moline Education Association says its movement is for unity, as contract negotiations come to a standstill.

“It's not the teacher's fault, it's not the board’s fault we are not getting our funding from the state of Illinois and it's hurting all of us,” says East Moline Superintendent, Kristin Humphries.

After nine bargaining sessions and mediation meetings, teachers say they won't back down from fighting for what they say is fair pay.

“We understand there are limitations but you also have two board members who are United Township members who are fighting for raises in the same community asking for more money than what we make,” says Rich Palmer, a teachers' spokesperson.

It all comes down to dollar bills. East Moline School District is offering a 2.5 percent raise on top of raises already received.

Board members say this offer could cost tax payers $24 million over the next four years.

“No matter what something costs, there is a cost to the district and the district has to find a way,” added Humphries.

So far, the board has agreed to two out of the 24 changes the teachers are proposing but it doesn't look like there will be a solution anytime soon.

“Although there may be some differences on what the board can afford or what our teachers are worth, there is no denying that we have amazing teachers,” added Humphries.

“We are the ones and you hear that from the administrators, ‘you are the ones making a difference as teachers’ but it doesn't equal out that way,” says Palmer.

East Moline teachers will meet with the board and a federal mediator to discuss the contract again on December 3rd.