Following the Dixon Schools Teachers Contract Negotiations

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Overview

Teachers have been working without a contract since Aug. 20, despite talks that started in April.

The union voted Jan. 18 to file an intent to strike.

The Dixon School Board declared an impasse in negotiations Jan. 29.

Superintendent Michael Juenger said the board declared the impasse because members believe negotiations are at a standstill. He said offers were being returned with little to no changes.

Sandra Sodergren-Baar, president of the union and a teacher at Dixon High School, said in a video posted on YouTube that little progress has been made, despite calling on a federal mediator.

"Yes, we're asking for a raise," Sodergren-Baar said in the video. "We took a soft freeze. We agreed to take the freeze to save the district money. Our efforts did not help, because over 20 positions have been eliminated that same year."

Teachers are asking for a salary increase, adequate staffing in classrooms, updated textbooks, improved training and upgraded technology.

Juenger said that the district is dealing with a revenue loss of about $700,000 from decreasing property values and cuts to general state aid, and that he expects to continue to slash the budget for the next few years.

"We can think of no viable solution to pay for their demands. We operated $57,000 in the black this past year, pretty much a balanced budget, and it won't get any easier," Juenger said.

Specifics

Salary:

  • The Dixon Education Association is asking 3.75 percent new money to be added to the salary schedule. Under its last contract, many teachers received built-in pay increases based on experience or education; this would be a 3.75-percent increase to those raises. Teachers are against getting rid of built-in raises.
  • The Dixon School Board is offering 1 percent pay increases for 2 years and wants to do away with the salary schedule, and wants teachers to agree to add 10 days to their contract and work 40 more minutes per day. The cost of this proposal is about $75,000 per year.
  • Health insurance:

  • The school board is asking teachers to pay $85 a month for a single plan and $331 a month for a family plan, and it wants teachers with a spouse to agree to take their spouse's insurance plan if they are eligible for family insurance.
  • Teachers are opposed.
  • Staff:

  • Teachers informally asked for five more teachers to meet special education needs at an estimated $40,000 to $55,000 per teacher.
  • The board is not in favor of adding staff.
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    Articles

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    March 21, 2013

    Making it official: Board finalizes Dixon teachers contract

    March 20, 2013

    It's official: Both sides ink new teachers contract

    Teachers ratify new contract

    March 19, 2013

    Union to vote on contract today

    March 16, 2013

    Contract with teachers to be made public

    March 15, 2013

    District might share contract after Monday

    March 14, 2013

    Early-morning deal brings end to 9-day strike

    March 13, 2013

    Dixon students, teachers happy to be back

    Dixon schools strike over

    Dateline Dixon: Community wants a resolution

    Waiting for the phone call

    March 12, 2013

    Talks going late into the night, no agreement yet

    Frustrated teachers leave meeting at 5 p.m.

    March 11, 2013

    Teachers say no to "cooling off period"

    Superintendent tells audience revenue not there

    Strike has attention of districts

    March 9, 2013

    Superintendent: No talk of replacements

    12 hours of talk, no agreement in Dixon

    March 8, 2013

    Board waiting on state ruling

    March 7, 2013

    Teachers: 'We're stuck'

    Dixon schools: Kids will take ISATs next week

    March 6, 2013

    No snow day for negotiators

    Answers to frequently asked strike questions

    Dateline Dixon: Should contract talks be open?

    March 5, 2013

    Union makes new offer

    Two more days, and strike will cut into financial aid

    March 4, 2013

    Talks go late, again

    In 1983, judge killed strike

    March 2, 2013

    Let's talk again on Sunday

    Analyzing the proposals: How do Dixon class sizes compare?

    District's child care to start Monday

    March 1, 2013

    Talks resume on second day of strike

    Most sympathize with teachers

    Mayor staying neutral on strike, not on TIF

    Feb. 28, 2013

    Unpopular headlines: Audience member speaks out on strike publicity

    Dateline Dixon: Lessons from Ottawa teachers strike

    Feb. 27, 2013

    Union decides to strike

    When will it end? Parents preparing for kids out of class

    District to open free K-5 child care next week

    Feb. 26, 2013

    Talks go well into the night

    Where would the kids go?

    Feb. 25, 2013

    Union: Tonight's talks crucial

    Feb. 23, 2013

    Dixon district's finances central to talks

    Comparing Dixon's salaries, offers to other districts

    Feb. 22, 2013

    Board encouraged by Dixon teachers' new offer

    Feb. 21, 2013

    Teachers' leader questions Dixon district plans

    Feb. 20, 2013

    Dixon School Board met Tuesday to discuss negotiations

    Feb. 14, 2013

    Union wants more meetings

    Feb. 13, 2013

    Teachers ask for more staff

    Feb. 12, 2013

    Teachers question board spending

    Feb. 8, 2013

    Board releases its last offer

    Feb. 7, 2013

    Strike not inevitable

    Feb. 1, 2013

    Clock begins on possible strike

    Jan. 28, 2013

    Board decides it wants to buy land

    Jan. 26, 2013

    Dixon teachers' option to strike "set in motion"

    Jan. 17, 2013

    Sales tax referendum going back on the ballot

    Dec. 12, 2012

    Teachers union says it tried to negotiate

    Dec. 7, 2012

    Still no teachers deal

    Nov. 8, 2012

    Talks continue over expired teachers contract

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    Documents

    Ratified Contract Agreement

    Click here to view

    Finals Offers

    Dixon Unit District #170 Final Offer

    Dixon Education Association, IEA-NEA Final Offer

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    Editorials

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    March 14, 2013

    Release contract details to the public

  • Congratulations to the Dixon teachers and school board for negotiating a contract agreement. But why keep it a secret? Let the public see it. Now.

  • March 12, 2013

    Release contract details before approval, not after

  • Negotiators for Dixon teachers and school officials eventually will reach a tentative contract agreement. At that point, the tentative contract should be released to the taxpaying public. It's the public's obligation, after all, to pay for it.

  • March 8, 2013

    In search of cooler heads on the 7th day

  • Contract negotiations resume at 1 p.m. today in the Dixon teachers strike. The walkout has frayed nerves. Seven days of lost educational opportunities for students is enough. Let negotiators not rest until a deal is reached.

  • March 2, 2013

    Like it or not, strike all about the money

  • Both sides posture during a strike. Some Dixon teachers say their strike is about more than money. Come on. The strike is all about the money. Let negotiators focus on that and find common ground.

  • March 1, 2013

    Daily negotiations, please

  • Dixon teachers are on strike. Students arenŐt being educated. Contract talks have transitioned from important to urgent. Negotiations should be held daily until an agreement is reached.

  • Feb. 27, 2013

    Snow and strike and sequestration, oh my!

  • With a winter storm bearing down Tuesday, a Dixon teachers strike set for Thursday, and federal budget sequestration cuts due Friday, area residents had good reasons to feel uneasy. All may yet be well.

  • Feb. 23, 2013

    End pension sweeteners; help save pension system

  • The pension-sweetening, end-of-career pay increases, received by school administrators and teachers across Illinois, put further stress on a weakened state pension system. We propose that Dixon School District administrators and teachers renounce them.

  • Feb. 12, 2013

    Unfair funding system shorts schools and hinders students

  • Illinois' financial crisis means local schools receive less money from the state. Students in schools that rely heavily on state aid will feel the impact most of all. ThatŐs not fair.

  • Jan. 31, 2013

    Open talks to public scrutiny

  • Rumblings have been heard of a possible teachers strike after 11 months of contract negotiations between the Dixon School Board and the teachers union. The time is right to open those negotiations and contract offers to full public scrutiny.

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    Letters

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    March 22, 2013

    Strikers get rewarded with more dollars

    March 16, 2013

    In real world, non-performers lose their jobs

    March 14, 2013

    Student: Let me do my job

    Teachers' perks equal great jobs

    March 12, 2013

    Board isn't quite so easy to contact

    Questions for school board, superintendent

    Board should give teachers what they want

    Students are the big losers in Dixon strike

    March 9, 2013

    Says mayor is 'clueless' on finances

    March 8, 2013

    Members of school board are accessible

    Give teachers the respect due to them

    March 5, 2013

    Families need longer notice

    Accessibility of board is questioned

    Feb. 28, 2013

    Double standards of superintendent are questioned

    Neighborhood schools good for budgets, kids

    Feb. 27, 2013

    Agrees with editorial on pension system

    Feb. 23, 2013

    Teachers' pay freeze would be small sacrifice

    Feb. 21, 2013

    How money is spent points to priorities

    Dixon High has too few counselors

    Feb. 16, 2013

    Politics might compromise negotiations

    Feb. 5, 2013

    Give taxpayers the facts on school spending

    As strike looms, support your Dixon teachers

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    Multimedia

    Click here to see photos


    Videos

    Statement by Lisa Guenther, Dixon High School Teacher

    Presentation (Part 1) - Lisa Guenther, Dixon High School Teacher

    Presentation (Part 2) - Lisa Guenther, Dixon High School Teacher

    Dolph Ricks - Public Q&A

    Sandi Sodergren-Baar, Union President

    Stacey Hansen and Charlie Beck - Dixon Teacher Strike

    Bonnie Driver - Dixon Teacher Strike

    Larry Lindenmier - Dixon Teacher Strike

    Statement by Dixon School Board President at Special Meeting

    Special Dixon School Board Meeting Comments (Part 1)

    Special Dixon School Board Meeting Comments (Part 2)

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