The Murphysboro Education Association (MEA) has announced the date for their strike. The strike date is set on Thursday, Oct. 3. The Board of Education (BOE) of the Murphysboro School District 180 has not negotiated with the association yet. The MEA is waiting for the availability of the BOE.
Lisa Shields, the spokeswoman of the MEA, said, “We know parents will need as much time as possible to make arrangements for their children if we do go on strike.” She added that they announced their plans today as the parents could make the necessary arrangements. She said that their purpose was to fight for the rights of the students, their school, and the community. She was hopeful that the strike could be avoided altogether.
The last best offer by the BOE of the district has rejected by the members of MEA and they voted for the authorization of a strike on Sep. 26. MEA could go for a strike as soon as Oct. 1 as the association has already filed an intent to go for a strike with the IELRB. Shields said that they were struggling for finding common ground with the board. MEA looks for an agreement that puts students first and it will continue to work with the board, according to Shields.
Shields accused the board with misrepresentation of the surplus and District 186’s access to the state education fund. K-12 education received $1 billion from the lawmakers in new money in the past three years while the board is saying that the state has stopped funding the district. The board is not willing to give an additional surplus to the members. The negotiation between MEA and the BOE started in March 2019 and they have not reached the common ground yet.
The current contract of MEA with the board has expired in August and the members of MEA are currently working without a contract. There are 2047 students in the district and MEA includes 152 members. Shields said, “We cannot continue to allow these baseless scare tactics to determine what is best for our students.”