Nearly halfway through the school year, teachers in Dupo District 196 still are without a contract.
An impasse was declared after a negotiation session ended Nov. 29 without an agreement. Another session is scheduled for Jan. 16, according to Superintendent Terry Milt.
Union workers say that they have made more than enough concessions to the administration which they blame for breaking down previous negotiations by refusing to bargain in good faith.
"The board walked away from the bargaining table and declared impasse," Illinois Federation of Teachers spokesman Dave Comerford said in a written release Thursday. "The union is still willing to negotiate. The union took a pay freeze last year and has offered more concessions for this year. The board's demands for insurance cuts and pay freezes aren't necessary given the $550,000 they will save next year from teacher retirements."
Milt said he doesn't believe a strike is going to happen. He said he has hope for success in the upcoming round of negotiations.
"We have a wonderful group of support personnel and teachers," Milt said. "They're committed and they do a great job for the kids. So I expect they'll continue to do that."
Union leaders have not filed a notice of intent to strike as of Thursday, according to St. Clair County Regional Superintendent of Schools Sue Sarfaty.
"It is required by law that notice of intent to strike is filed at least 10 calendar days before they can strike," Sarfaty said. "And, so far, that has not happened."
Milt would not comment Thursday about why he felt negotiations have been unsuccessful so far.
Sarfaty said Dupo is the only public school district in St. Clair County in which teachers are working without a contract.
Contact reporter Scott Wuerz at email@example.com or call 239-2626.