Sherrard Education Association Votes In Favor Of An Intent To St - News and Weather For The Quad Cities -

Sherrard Education Association Votes In Favor Of An Intent To Strike

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For nearly a year now the Sherrard Education Association and the Sherrard School Board have been going back and forth, unable to agree on a contract. The SEA met again this afternoon and voted with an overwhelming majority in favor of an intent to strike. 

This means that after ten days if the school board and the SEA do not reach an agreement in contract negotiations, the union will take another vote deciding on a start date for the strike. Today's vote was the "if", that next vote would be the "when".

The next meeting for negotiations is set for tomorrow night. Another one is scheduled for February 16th.

In a statement after the vote today, the Sherrard School Board President Leslie Anderson said:

"The Sherrard School Board is aware of the unions vote regarding their intent to strike and their decision today was not unexpected. The School Board will be meeting in closed session tomorrow night to discuss next steps. Representative of the School Board and the interim superintendent will then meet with the SEA negotiating team to continue contract discussions. We remain committed to open and honest dialogue with the sea as well as firmly committed to serving the best interests of our students and families."

The board and the SEA have been arguing over contract length, meeting and professional development days and special education, among many other issues. 

"You get to a point where a window of opportunity closes and if there's no reason to settle, then why settle," said SEA member Todd Volkert. "We're just at the point now where we want thing to end... and know that tomorrow we'll be able to do the same thing again and the next day and the next day and the next year."

Volkert is a 5th and 6th grade physical education teacher at Matherville Intermediate School. He said, as a teacher, he hopes they can meet with the school board and come to an agreement in this ten day window to avoid a strike.

Sherrard parent Amanda Hauger said she's concerned about the effect these arguments between the board and teachers are having on her kids in school and if a strike were to happen.

"That's a tough situation, especially when we're going to have to tell them you may have to stay home for a few days," said Hauger. "But in the end, we're hoping that we get the outcome that teachers deserve and that the board wants."

Hauger has a 7 year old and a 10 year old in Sherrard Schools. She said the School Board and the teachers need to work together to get through this. 
 
The SEA is a "wall-to-wall" union, meaning everyone from teachers, to cooks in the cafeteria to bus drivers are members. If they go on strike, the majority of district employees won't be in the schools.