East Moline School Board and teacher’s union reach tentative agreement

EAST MOLINE - The teacher's union and the school board were able to reached a tentative deal during last minute negotiations.

It may be a sigh of relief in classrooms in East Moline schools.

Two and a half hours of closed-door negotiations was good enough for the East Moline School District and its teachers union to reach a tentative contract agreement.

"We're hopeful that this is settled and our families know that our school will go on as normal and we can get back to work," said superintendent Kris Humphries.

It was never a sure thing. For the past nine months, the East Moline school board and the East Moline Education Association have gone back and forth over teacher contracts.

"Without three in a half quarters worth of no contract that other employee groups have gotten contracts settled and there have been increases on their base pay," said Angela Harrell, spokesperson for the union.

Teachers argued they hadn't received a raise in eight years and they were ready to walk. If this agreement hadn't been reached, teachers were ready to vote for a strike this week.

Details of the new agreement are not yet being released, but the school district's last offer was a one percent increase with the teachers lowering their demand to a 1.7 percent hike.

"We have taken pay freezes in the past and we have gotten zero percent on the base for several years and we did those things in good faith thinking and trying to help the district," said Harrell.

Teachers will learn about the agreement Thursday, when they will vote on it.

"I believe they`re going to be really happy with it and only they can decide that for themselves," said Humphries.

On Thursday, February 15th, the union will go over the deal with teachers, then there will be a vote. If the contract is rejected, the teachers can still vote to go on strike.