Representatives for teachers in the Alton public school system and district officials are resuming contract talks this afternoon in hopes of avoiding a strike. A mediator has come in to help facilitate the talks after the teachers rejected a second contract proposal last Friday. The Alton Education Association (AEA), which represents the teachers, then issued a 10-day strike notice to the district after the educators voted in favor of the warning.
The issues of contention regarding the contract include fully-paid health insurance coverage and salary. The district wants employees to pay $5 to $10 towards their health insurance, which is a historical move, and has proposed a slide back in the pay schedule of $200 for certified employees, while uncertified employees would see a quarter-an-hour raise. The district says a $2 million budget deficit and decreasing funds from the state necessitate the provisions in their proposal.
Meanwhile, the union says it has come up with a proposal that should accommodate the needs of each side.
"The AEA is bringing to the bargaining table a proposal it believes addresses the revenue concerns of the board," said Illinois Education Association (IEA) Regional Director Ric Stephenson, according to the Alton Telegraph.
The details of the proposal have not be released.