School board to review union proposal

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DECATUR, Ill. (WCIA) — School board members will review a proposal made by the teaching assistants’ union Tuesday night. 

The two sides met with a federal negotiator in November. Although they did not reach an agreement, the union submitted a proposal for the board to review and set a future mediation date for December 16. 

Decatur Public Schools and the Decatur Federation of Teaching Assistants have been at odds for months over issues including wages and health insurance. Teaching assistants went on strike for three days in late October before suspending their strike and returning without a contract.

During the strike, the school district said students in special education and pre-K could not attend classes, which the Illinois State Board of Education said violated federal policies. Teaching assistants filed new unfair labor practice charges upon their return, after discovering DPS had removed them from their benefits plans. The district said staff members worked to resolve the issue and reinstated every TA within three days. The union also accused the district of bargaining in bad faith and interfering in union elections.

WCIA reached out to both sides ahead of the school board meeting. DPS said it would not provide any comments until after the next federal mediation session. The union said it stands by the joint statement the two sides released after the initial meeting: 

Representatives from District #61 and DFTA met with a federal mediator to continue contract negotiations. Although no tentative agreement was reached, the union did submit a proposal for the Board to review at its next meeting on December 10. We remain hopeful that a settlement between Decatur Public Schools and DFTA will happen soon. The next mediation session is scheduled for Monday, December 16.

DECATUR PUBLIC SCHOOLS AND DFTA, NOVEMBER 2019

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