Board of Education approves four-year labor agreement, extends school year by two days
Online Staff Report
The Rockford Board of Education approved a four-year contract with the Rockford teachers’ union, the Rockford Education Association (REA), at a special board meeting April 3, and also voted to extend the school year by two days to offset the days lost to the March 29-30 teachers’ strike.
Five of seven board members approved the labor agreement, with Laura Powers abstaining because her husband is a teacher in the district and Lisa Jackson absent.
The contract will be available on the district’s website once the final language is completed, which could take a number of weeks.
Approval of the labor agreement brings to an end a tumultuous 12 months that included more than 50 meetings between the REA and the district.
The REA voted 1,264-12 to approve a four-year tentative contract Saturday, March 31, inside the Guilford High School gymnasium, ending a two-day strike, the first by Rockford teachers since 1984.
Following a March 26 vote of 1,500-74 in favor of a strike, teachers hit picket lines for two consecutive days March 29-30, bringing to a halt all school functions — including school, sporting events and other activities — for the district’s more than 28,000 students.
The strike included one of the largest public demonstrations in Rockford history, with about 1,500 picketers lining both sides of Seventh Street outside the district administration building March 29.
Had the teachers’ strike lasted longer, the district could have lost out on $472,462 per day of state funding.
Teachers who hit picket lines during the strike March 29-30 were not paid for the days they participated. Of the REA’s more than 1,850 members, 23 crossed picket lines March 29 and 14 crossed March 30. It costs the district about $679,000 per day to pay all REA members.
Teachers had been without a contract since July 2011.
Posted April 4, 2012
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