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Strike in East St. Louis

Teachers strike outside East St. Louis Senior High School on Thursday, Oct. 1, 2015. Photo by Cristina M. Fletes, cfletes@post-dispatch.com

EAST ST. LOUIS • Members of the teachers' union in East St. Louis currently on strike are scheduled to meet on Monday with district officials and a federal mediator.

Details of the meeting are still being worked out, said Dave Comerford of the Illinois Federation of Teachers, a state union that includes the East St. Louis Federation of Teachers, or Local 1220.

Because of the teachers' strike in East St. Louis District 189, about 6,000 students have missed two days of classes, and school is not expected to be in session on Monday. School officials do plan to offer meals and transportation.  

"My hope is that the counter offer will move us beyond our current impasse," said Arthur R. Culver, district superintendent, referring to the offer the district expects to receive from the union on Monday. 

The two sides are at loggerheads over a contract proposal that would save the school system at least $10 million over 10 years. While the proposal provides for a $2,000 stipend and a raise that averages 2.6 percent per teacher, it doubles the amount of years it would take to climb to the top of the salary scale.

The longer salary schedule is the sticking point. If adopted, it would take a new teacher 21 years to climb to the top of the pay scale, assuming there weren’t any salary freezes. Currently, the salary schedule has 11 steps.

The contract offer included no cuts to benefits nor increases to class sizes. Teachers voted down the offer Tuesday night.

The local union represents about 400 teachers and staff members in the district.