Edwardsville School District approves new teachers contract, avoids strike
The Edwardsville School Board approved a new contract with teachers tonight, ending talk of a potential strike.
The new, two year deal gives teachers assurances that the district will take action if class sizes get too large, which was a key sticking point in the previous contract offer.
And even though teacher pay is frozen for this year, teacher’s union president Dave Boedeker said he’s happy with the compromise.
“The day we finished it, you know, everybody was back to normal,” Boedeker said. “There’s nothing that’s going to linger, no bitterness. It’s just something that comes up every so often.”
Up until last week the teachers union and school appeared to be at an impasse, with teachers threatening to strike and Superintendent Ed Hightower indicating the district was done negotiating. Both parties, however, ended up going back to the bargaining table and Hightower praised teachers during the board meeting for making concessions as property tax revenue continues to decline.
“This economy is not going to turn around overnight, and anybody who thinks it will is headed for a big disappointment," Hightower said. " You cannot continue to spend more than you take in, that’s the bottom line.”
Hightower said the Illinois budget crunch has forced every district take cost savings measures. In Edwardsville, the district has cut $12 million from its operating budget over the past four years while enrollment has continued to increase.