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Wolf Branch teachers go on strike

By Matt Sepic, KWMU

St. Louis – Teachers at the Wolf Branch school district in the Metro East went on strike Thursday.

The school board and the Illinois Federation of Teachers remain at an impasse over salaries.

Union spokesman Dave Comerford said the teachers want annual raises of three percent.

"Last year they only took a 1.25 percent increase," Comerford said. "Their class sizes have grown. They're working harder. And basically what the district is asking them is to go four years in a row with raises that don't even keep up with the cost of living."

But district lawyer Barney Mundorf said the school board is offering most teachers raises in excess of 3 percent, and the union is misrepresenting the district's numbers.

"In very simple terms, the board has offered $2,000 per teacher in each year for three years," Mundorf said. "And the teachers union is demanding $3,000 pay raises."

However Mundorf's figures include the individual raises each teacher gets based on his or her experience, known as "step" increases. The union's do not.

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