DECATUR, Ill. — A mediation session between Decatur Public Schools and the Decatur Federation of Teaching Assistants ended without an agreement.
Both sides sent a joint statement. It reads as follows:
“Representatives from District #61 and DFTA met tonight 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
The two sides have been meeting for months over issues including wages and health insurance. Teaching assistants went on strike for three days at the end of October, before suspending their strike and returning to class. During that time, the school district said students in special education would not be allowed to attend classes, which the Illinois Board of Education said violated federal policy.
When teaching assistants returned, they discovered DPS had removed them from their benefits plans, promoting the TAs to file new unfair labor practice charges. DPS said staff members worked to resolve the issue and fully reinstated everyone within three days. The union also filed charges accusing the district of bargaining in bad faith and interfering in union elections. The charges have been sent to the Labor Board in Chicago for review.