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Collinsville teachers vote to strike

By Maria Hickey, KWMU

St. Louis, MO – Teachers in Collinsville voted Wednesday to go on strike a week from Monday.

The union members rejected an offer of a 12.5% percent pay hike over the next three years. But union negotiator Stacey Soehlke says they want 17%.

We feel that's a fair proposal," Soehlke said before the vote Wednesday. "We're not asking to be the top-paid teachers in the area. We're simply asking that for our beginning and ending salaries to be a little bit closer to the average pay in the area."

School administrators, though, say they can't afford that much of a pay hike. School Board President Jim Achenbach says the schools would have to close if teachers strike.

"As elected officials we answer to the taxpayers of the community, not just to 425 teachers," Achenbach said Wednesday. "Essentially, we'd let them walk."

Wednesday's vote was 302-31 in favor of the strike.

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