DECATUR, Ill. (WCIA) — The Decatur Federation of Teaching Assistants will hold a press conference this afternoon to “denounce the Decatur District 61 Board of Education for canceling the Decatur Federation of Teaching Assistants (DFTA, IFT Local 4324) health insurance even though they suspended their strike and returned to classrooms today without a contract leaving over 200 teaching assistants without healthcare.”
After some members of the Decatur Federation of Teaching Assistants discovered earlier today they weren’t able to use their health insurance benefits, Decatur Public School officials said they’re trying to resolve that problem.
In a statement, district officials said they’re ” working as quickly as possible to reactivate all DFTA member insurance. However, the process involves reactivating insurance benefits individually for every single one of the 275 DFTA members, which takes some time.”
That issue comes in the midst of strong tension between Decatur’s teaching assistants and the school district, as differences on health insurance prevented the two groups from agreeing on a contract for DFTA members.
While Decatur’s teaching assistants did return to their classrooms on Friday following a three-day strike, they came back without a contract.
DFTA is requesting more bargaining dates from the Decatur school board through their federal mediator.
The DFTA press conference is scheduled for today at 4 p.m. at the Decatur Civic Center.
In the meantime, the Illinois State Board of Education is investigating the Decatur school district for noncompliance after the district suspended all programming options for special education students in the wake of DFTA’s strike.
ISBE said the district violated the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act when it didn’t allow those children with disabilities to go to school during the strike.
UPDATE: District officials said they finished reinstating all benefits Sunday evening.