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An Open Letter to Our Friends and Families:

An open letter to our Friends and Families:

The Educators of 205 and Knox/Warren Special Ed hope to reach a settlement concerning the issues that remain unaddressed in our contract.  Our Teachers and Paraprofessionals have spent countless hours fighting to resolve this before school ended this past year.  Some in the media imply that the “Union Leaders” want a work stoppage. This could not be further from the truth.  We believe no one on either side wants that. However, it is lazy, uninformed, and irresponsible journalism to blame the “union.” The days of Jimmy Hoffa and the big Chicago Unions are long gone.  How quickly people choose to forget that these “Union Leaders” are the same ones you wave to in your neighborhoods; the ones you say hi to at the store or gas station; the people you ask how your student is doing in class while eating with your family at a local restaurant; the people who have children and peers in the same classes or sports teams together.  This “union” is made up of the people who care for your children. They are the people who will step in front of a gunman to protect your child; the people who teach your children to read, write, do math, play an instrument, and be a good citizen; the people who give a growing amount of their own money to make sure every child has the resources they need in school.  We buy school supplies for those who have none. We buy coats, shoes, and clothes for children that have none. We wash clothes of the children who come to school dirty.  We feed the children who come to school hungry.  We buy the cookies and candles so your children can go on trips.  We spend countless hours outside the work day so your children can have all the experiences possible to them.  We sit for hours after an event waiting with a child and don’t leave until every child is safely picked up.  We love these children as if they were our own.

Many say that educators are always wanting more when they don’t even work in the summer.  Our days are not 8 hour days during the school year and many of us work throughout the summer preparing to better teach your children every year.  We pay for our education and workshops to improve our teaching, we run camps for your kids to attend and improve in a myriad of things. Not to mention, we have never had one paid vacation day.  We are solely paid for the days we teach . . . nothing else.

Our Teachers and Paraprofessionals have fought to come to a compromise.  For over a decade we have fought for compromise only to be met with delay tactics until the last second.  Our love for your children is continually used as a weapon against us; to require us to do more with less; to continually give up more of our own family time.  We are continually chastised “it’s what’s best for students” and told if we care about them we’ll give more.  We are forced into manufactured panic and stress in an effort to make us give in to the things we are begging for at a time when all we want to be doing is getting ready to greet your children in our classrooms.  We believe our students and teachers should be told if they are in danger.  We believe our students and teachers deserve the real support of the Administration with classroom discipline to ensure everyone has the opportunity to learn.  We believe our teachers and Paraprofessionals, like our students, should be free from being bullied and abused at school; but instead should be treated with respect and dignity. IF they are not, we believe the individuals doing the bullying should be addressed and not rewarded.  We believe we deserve to have in writing a set number of days and hours we are expected to work.  We believe we devote our lives to the children of our community and should not be fired without a real reason.  We believe those of us who have given our lives to the school should not have backs turned to us when it comes time to retire.  Our teachers and Paraprofessionals have paid for and have earned our retirement.

The educational world continues to ask more of us and we are up for the task.  We believe our students’ and our family time is important.  During the last contract negotiation we agreed to less salary in exchange for additional work time.  These came in the form of ‘early-out days’.  We agree with the Board that after actually implementing these, some adjustments need to happen.  Although the number of hours only begins to compensate us for the additional work load that is being placed on our teachers and paraprofessionals, there are too many early out days.  We recognize the early out days can create a hardship for our students’ families.  We believe we can maintain the overall number of hours while still allowing students to receive lunch and have PALs available to them.  By eliminating and combining days while protecting them from pointless administrative assigned tasks, the educators can get the time needed to do the work that is required of them without creating additional costs for substitute teachers and hardships for families.

Every school year our teachers work hard to educate your children. We hear in public statements how great of a job we do.  Boasting how our District spends the least to educate while still being competitive in test scores. This only happens at the expense of our Teachers and Paraprofessionals.  We willingly take on the unrealistic and unachieveable standards forced upon our students while quietly watching facts and numbers manipulated for public consumption.   We’ve seen assurances and promises broken.  We believe our people and classrooms are what make a school succeed.  These should be as high as a priority as stadiums, Astro-turf, or technology.  We are happy to give all that we have every day and only ask to be treated fairly and with respect.

Please support the people that actually teach your children.

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BARGAINING Proposal as of JULY 10th

Please find the attached PDF files.  This file contains the GEA’s proposal to the Board as well as the Board’s Proposal to the GEA as of July 10th. Although there has been much discussion between the two parties, these are the official offers on the table as of July 25th.

GEA PROPOSAL

The GEA document starts with a plain language rational for our proposal.  Please note that most of the items are marked as costing the District NO money! Following the rational is the actual contract language proposed.

Please keep in mind these are items that are still outstanding as proposed by the GEA and does not reflect items that have been agreed on by the two parties or items the Board has proposed.

We believe:

  • The foundation to a quality school is found in the people who are actually in the classrooms with your children.
  • Our classrooms are more important than other structures in the district.
  • Having quality teachers educate your children is more important than machines educating your children.
  • All teachers and students should be afforded a safe work environment with appropriate support for discipline.
  • Employees that have given decades of their life in commitment to the children of the community deserve a fair evaluation system that does not suspend or dismiss without just cause
  • People who devote their lives to the school district should receive the retirement they paid for and were hired under.
  • No one should be forced to work without being told their specific work hours or number of days.
  • The GEA proposed teacher salary increase of 1.5% actually costs the District less than what they paid in teacher’s salary last year and is more than affordable.
  • Our paraprofessionals are critical to the education of our children and their wages should be consistent with minimum wage increases.
  • The law and the negotiated contract should be followed without personal retribution.

Proposal Comparison

GEA Board
Length of Contract 1 year 3 year
Wages 1 1/2% on salary schedule

(Using the Board’s numbers, this would cost $3,000 less than what the Board paid for teachers’ salaries for the 2013-2014 school year.)

remove entire salary schedule
year 1 – $500
year 2 – $600
year 3 – $750
(nearly half of which could be eaten up by other Board Proposals)
Retirment Keep current removal of the teachers/paras retirement incentives resulting in massive lifetime earnings slashes
Early Out Days Slash the number of early dismissal days while retaining the over all number of hours and allow students to get lunch and have PAL available reduces the number of early out days but also reduces the overall number of hours.  This will cause the District to pull teachers away from students and pay subs.  The Board’s plan also doesn’t feed the students lunch or allows them to attend PALs.
GHS Block schedule protect the integrity of the research based program but still be open to making changes through a studied, researched plan. Drop ALL language about HS teaching time
Other *  Specify the number of days and hours teachers are required to work.
*  better support by Administration for classroom discipline issues
*  a loss of $2.00 per hour for paras who do the Healthcare job duties while forcing all paras to do those jobs
*  Notice of hazardous conditions

 

GEA Proposal

BOARD’s PROPOSAL

Their published document seems to have some strange highlighting on blank pages but to our knowledge and belief, all information is view-able.

In summary, we believe their proposal is for:

  • a 3 year contract
  • the removal of the entire salary schedule
  • a $500 pay increase for the first year, $600 for year two, and $750 for year three. (nearly half of which could be eaten up by other Board Proposals)
  • removal of the teachers/paras retirement incentives resulting in massive lifetime earnings slashes
  • a loss of $2.00 per hour for paras who do the Healthcare job duties while forcing all paras to do those jobs.
  • gutting the meeting/work time via early dismissal days which will cost the District $$$$ in the form of sub pay.


BOARD Proposal

 

LABOR BOARD POSTINGS

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IT IS TIME TO ACT

You have seen the updates and press releases… what else can you do???
1.  Make sure everyone in your building has the information.
2.  Be at GHS on Tuesday from 1 – 3 for the informational picket.
        – Signs, t-shirts and chants will be available
3.  Contact school board members by phone, email or personal letter!
      Board member’s emails are on the district website.  Click on their name under their picture.
4.  Engage your church family in prayerful support of contract settlement
STAND TOGETHER NOW – our salaries, evaluations, work conditions and retirement are on the line!
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Important Dates

  • Tuesday – July 29th 1-3 Informational Picket at GHS – All hands on Deck!
    Details to follow
  • Thursday – July 31st
    3:30-5:30 Crisis Committee Chairs
    6:00 Membership Meeting
  • Friday – August 1st
    9:00 Crisis Committee Chairs at GEA office
    11:00 Crisis Committees meet – location to be determined
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Galesburg Education Association

2101 Windish Dr. Galesburg, IL 61401
(309)-371-6029 gea.president@gmail.com

Press Release
July 24th, 2014
Time: 3:00 p.m.

For Immediate Release

The teaching professionals and paraprofessionals of the Galesburg School District and Knox- Warren Special Education Cooperative believe actions speak louder than words.  For years we have heard and read in the media the District’s spin about how we have no money while their actions of spending demonstrate differently.  As many in our community are asked to do more and more in expanding job duties without fair compensation, we see the number of management positions grow to lessen their load while they earn almost twice as much including having their pensions completely funded.

We, the teaching professional and paraprofessionals of the Galesburg School District and Knox-Warren Special Education Cooperative, believe:

  • The foundation to a quality school is found in the people who are actually in the classrooms with your children.
  • Our classrooms are more important than other structures in the district.
  • Having quality teachers educate your children is more important than machines educating your children.
  • All teachers and students should be afforded a safe work environment with appropriate support for discipline.
  • Employees that have given decades of their life in commitment to the children of the community deserve a fair evaluation system that does not suspend or dismiss without just cause
  • People who devote their lives to the school district should receive the retirement they paid for and were hired under.
  • No one should be forced to work without being told their specific work hours or number of days.
  • The GEA proposed teacher salary increase of 1.5% actually costs the District less than what they paid in teacher’s salary last year and is more than affordable.
  • Our paraprofessionals are critical to the education of our children and their wages should be consistent with minimum wage increases.
  • The law and the negotiated contract should be followed without personal retribution.

Once again, educators are disillusioned and concerned about the lack of progress in contract negotiations when all we seek is a contract that is fair to all school stakeholders . . . educators, students, and taxpayers included. We seek an agreement that supports the proposition that quality educators are the foundation of a quality school district.  The school board is responsible for its past budgeting decisions.  Educators and students should not be paying the cost of poor economic decisions while administrators line their pockets.  We need a fair contract to attract and retain quality educators for our children and district.  Help us achieve this.  Support your educators for a better tomorrow for your children.

Our educators continue to hope for a settlement before the school year is scheduled to begin.

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Update 07/22/14

Bargaining for a fair contract continues with the Federal Mediator tonight. Crisis Team is asking people to be at the Board Office from 4:00-4:30 to support the Bargaining Team. Stay in touch. Keeping checking for the latest updates. We’re not done yet.

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Up-date #2

Yes, we are still working…

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Still here.

Just an up date…  we’re still working.  :-)

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Board Meeting Update

An insanely short Board meeting tonight with a respectable showing buy GEA.  Within almost 15 minutes most official business was compete.  Great job GEA.  See you at 10:00 AM tomorrow.

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Pay Stubs

As discussed at the last GEA Membership meeting, consider printing your next pay stub and hanging on to it for a few months in case you need proof of how much your checks are.

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