Kewanee teachers and staff are working without a contract

Kewanee teachers working without contract
Published: Aug. 21, 2023 at 10:48 PM CDT
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KEWANEE, Ill. (KWQC) - School has resumed in Kewanee’s school district #229 but teachers and staff are still negotiating a new contract with the school board.

Teachers say they have been in negotiations since April with the previous contract expiring on Aug. 15, two days before students returned to class. The negotiations are now being federally mediated and the last meeting between the two parties was on Aug. 10.

Jennifer Vickrey, a fourth-grade teacher in the district, is taking part in negotiations on behalf of fellow colleagues.

“It’s been three weeks and waiting three weeks,” Vickrey said, “to sit down at the table again with the board. It’s unacceptable.”

Teachers, staff and community members formed an informational picket outside of a closed school board meeting session Monday evening at Kewanee High School. When the doors opened to the public later in the evening, picketers entered the auditorium to voice their frustrations and demand a new contract.

Vickrey added, “We want our board to see our members out here letting our board know that we are unified and we need them to come to the table so we can get this contract settled.”

Teachers say they do not plan to strike, but they are frustrated to be working without a contract while surrounding districts receive pay raises.

“We want to be in our classroom with our students, that is our priority, that’s where we want to be,” Vickrey said, “we don’t want to strike however, we are willing to do whatever it takes to get a fair contract.”

TV6 reached out to the district but they chose not to comment as both parties continue to negotiate with federal mediation.