DECATUR, Ill. (WCIA) — Teaching assistants announced their strike will begin. Decatur Public Schools and the Decatur Federation of Teachers Assistants can not agree on terms for the teacher assistants health insurance. If they can’t come to a compromise by October 29, more than 275 employees will go on strike.
Teachers assistants, who make around $20,000 per year, would pay too much under the district’s proposal, according to union president Paula Busboom. The union is countering with the same health insurance pricing plan teachers in the district pay.
Busboom says she and her members feel underappreciated by the board.
“I think that it’s time that the board comes to the realization that we are not just a paid volunteer in those classrooms,” Busboom said. “And we do have a significant impact in the education of all the children in this district.”
The district responded with this statement:
The Board of Education and the Decatur Federation of Teaching Assistants will continue mediation on October 23rd, 2019. Until that time, it is important to acknowledge that the Board of Education values each member of our staff and we strive to provide a competitive salary and benefits package for our employees while being fiscally responsible and accountable to the Decatur community that we serve. Within the last two years we have successfully negotiated union contracts with the Decatur, Education Association (teachers), two SEIU-B (maintenance staff) contracts, SEIU-C(security staff), and DESPA (secretarial staff). We are committed to working together like we have with our other employee groups to find a resolution that avoids any educational interruption for our students and their families.”
The last mediation meeting before the strike is on October 23.