MAHOMET, Ill. (WCIA) — The Mahomet-Seymour school board responded on Friday to the news that the Mahomet-Seymour Education Association has authorized a strike.

The board sent out an email to parents Friday evening about the possible teacher strike if both parties did not reach an agreement. Since late April 2022, the board and the union have been in a bargaining situation and have met almost 20 times since April.

After the board proposed their package, the parties did reach a compromise for teacher planning and collaboration time, but not on pay.

“We learned Wednesday that the Association voted to authorize a strike if the teams cannot reach an agreement on this lone remaining issue,” the board said. “However, after the Association files the required paperwork, there is a ten-day window before a strike can occur.”

The board said Friday they have yet to receive the proper paperwork.

“The board remains committed to preventing any action that would disrupt the educational process for our students.”

The board said in its email that it believes its current package to the staff is “fair and competitive,” and that the increases it offered are enough.

“The board has offered a 4.25% salary increase each year for the next four years to our certified staff. This compounds to over 18% over the life of the agreement and represents the largest increase our staff has received since 2005.”

The board added that for the non-certified staff, they are adding an increase in paid holidays, health benefits for bus drivers, increased the amount of pay for bus drivers, and adjustments to bus drivers for field trips.

The board said the proposed 5% increase for the next four years would cause financial issues to the district.

“This increase would cost the district $6,151,021 and cause financial distress, likely resulting in the need for a reduction in staff and programming for students. At a time when our district is growing, we cannot be forced into a position where cutting staff is even a possibility.”

The next session with a federal mediator between the two parties is Sept. 20