Dixon Teachers Strike - Worries Over ISAT Tests - News and Weather For The Quad Cities -

Dixon Teachers Strike - Worries Over ISAT Tests

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The Dixon, Illinois teachers strike has been going for 8 days and there is no end in sight.  If the contract dispute is not resolved soon, the district could lose thousands of dollars in state aid.

"This is our crisis center where we gather around for our breaks," says Dixon Teacher Cammie McMahon.

In a downtown Dixon building, teachers are discussing day 8 of the strike.

"We have a chance to get together and decompress," adds McMahon, "We can talk about what's going on."

A picket group of kindergarten and 1st grade teachers are making the best of the situation.

"We have chosen these hats as a signature look and each day that we are on strike we've added a little something to it," says McMahon.

The "Kermit the Frog" hats have bows, pins and a St. Patrick's Day hat. However, even as the teachers try to brighten their day, the outlook is bleak.

"I would of liked to have seen the strike end last week to say the least, but that did not happen," says the Dixon teacher.

The strike has forced the school district to postpone state mandated ISAT testing.

"The state board of education told us the parameters they need for the tests to occur," says Dixon Schools Superintendent Mike Juenger, "Basically testing needs to occur during a regularly scheduled school day and our students need to be in session."

The state board of education has given the Dixon school district an extension until March 22nd. If the testing isn't completed the district could lose $280,000 in funding that they'll never get back."  

"This is new, because this has not occurred before," adds Juenger, "They said if our students were not in session during the ISAT testing then it would affect our general state aid."

If the deadline passes and the ISAT tests are not taken, Dixon schools could also lose their recognition as a district.

"We have to write a plan that would show that this would not occur again and after that we would be in a position to receive our full recognition again," says the Superintendent.

The district asked the teachers union if they would take a 3 week "cooling off" period so the test could be administered. The union turned down the proposal. However, teachers say they want the strike resolved, because they know how important the tests are.

"It would be a real detriment to our school system and the school is the hub of our community," says McMahon, "We really need to get this settled so we can get the tests done."

The main sticking points during negotiations are salary, insurance and retirement.

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