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Alton teachers, district resume talks

By Matt Sepic, KWMU

St. Louis – The Alton School district and its teachers union resumed contract negotiations Wednesday, nearly a week after the union filed an intent-to-strike notice.

Teacher pay is the only issue that remains unresolved.

The union wants annual base pay increases of two percent. But the district is offering only one percent.

However district officials say the actual salary offer is higher, because of raises teachers get based on their experience.

Ric Stephenson with the Illinois Education Association said he hopes the talks will be productive.

"I hope they're going to be very close, if not right along line our proposal that we presented last time," Stephenson said. "I think we've demonstrated where the money exists in the district in order to fund our proposal."

Alton superintendent David Elson said despite the disagreement, the first day of school went well Tuesday.

"As far as any concern about a strike or the thought of a strike, that was not in the air," Elson said. "What was in the air was education and instruction and getting started with a new school year."

The teachers could walk out Monday if the union and district cannot agree on a contract.

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