Carbondale District 95 and Murphysboro prepare to strike as negotiations fail

By Bethany Rentfro, Staff Reporter

Members of the Carbondale Education Association District 95 could go on strike on Oct. 4 and rallied today to garner support amid failed attempts to negotiate with the school board.

See more: (CEA files intent to strike)

The most recent round of negotiations took place on Sept. 30, and the CEA held their most recent rally beforehand to express their concerns to the public.

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“At this point, we have not made any progress. We are not any closer to an agreement than we were before. We are pretty much in the same place we’ve been for the last couple of months,” Melissa Norman, CEA president, said. 

The Carbondale Board of Education was contacted multiple times, but were unavailable to comment. 

“We are planning to meet tonight, and we have another meeting scheduled for tomorrow night,” Norman said. “We are hopeful that we can sit down and talk about what the issues are and the key concern, which is student safety and try to come up with an agreement that both the Board and the CEA feels is fair.” 

According to many Carbondale teachers, safety is a major concern for them, and they are hoping to see that change. 

“The kids’ safety and the teachers’ safety is the most important thing,” Bethany Jenkins, a fifth grade teacher at Lewis School in Carbondale, said. “We want to make sure there is a system put in place for students to get the help that they need and make sure everybody has a safe learning environment.” 

See more: (Carbondale teachers poised to strike, negotiations underway)

According to a press release by the Illinois Education Association, Murphysboro teachers also filed an intent to strike notice with the Illinois Educational Labor Relations Board.  

The Murphysboro Education Association voted to authorize a strike and could legally walk as early as tomorrow, Oct 1. 

“A strike is MEA’s absolute last resort,” Catlin Langellier, MEA Lead Negotiator, said. “We would much rather be with our students. We cannot continue to lose good, quality educators to neighboring districts. It’s unacceptable, we need to be competitive. Our students, our schools and our community are worth fighting for.”

Both Carbondale and Murphysboro teachers have been rallying in solidarity with the CEA and MEA unions to fight for fair wages, school safety and fair contracts.  

“The last thing we want to do is strike, but we are willing to do whatever it takes to put our students first,” Norman said. “We want to be in the classrooms with our students, not out on the picket line. We have been negotiating with the board for months, and it appears they are not interested in reaching a fair agreement as soon as possible.”

This is a developing story and will continue to be updated as developments occur.

Staff reporter Bethany Rentfro can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter @BethanyRentfro

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