Alton teachers hold 'informational picket' as negotiations resum - KMOV.com

Alton teachers hold 'informational picket' as negotiations resume

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A large crowd of teachers from the Alton School District gathered outside West Elementary Monday afternoon for an informational picket. Credit: KMOV A large crowd of teachers from the Alton School District gathered outside West Elementary Monday afternoon for an informational picket. Credit: KMOV
ALTON, Ill. (KMOV.com) -

A large crowd of teachers from the Alton School District gathered outside West Elementary Monday afternoon for an informational picket. And they were joined by a number of parents, including Angela Pittman.

"I'm here because I stand with the Alton School District teachers and staff. I have three children that are in the district, nieces, nephews," said Pittman.

The district and the union that represents the teachers, the Alton Education Association, posted their final contract offers last Thursday on the Illinois Educational Labor Relations Board Website. 

Despite the union overwhelmingly rejecting an offer on March 22, both sides agreed to meet inside West Elementary School on Monday in hopes of making progress. The first day teachers can strike is April 25 if no agreement is reached.

The negotiating chair of the teachers union, Jason Chapman, told News 4, "We still want to reach a settlement. My members don't want to strike, the students don't want us to strike. We want to be in the classroom with them, we want to be where we're supposed to be."

Read: Tensions continue to rise as teachers protest declining wages

The district is offering teachers a raise but not as much as they want. In its filing last week the district said, "Teachers in Alton are deserving of more pay, as are teachers all over this state and country. Sadly, based upon our current system of funding education in Illinois, communities can only support salaries that mirror their local tax base."

But union negotiators contend the district will be receiving $500,000 more in state funds than anticipated and that it can afford the raises that teachers want.

"We think that it's time that the school district stops trying to balance its budget on our backs, on my teachers and on our staff, no certified staff's backs," said Chapman."

Neither said has said if more negotiating sessions are scheduled.

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