URBANA — May 22, 2008 — The Urbana City Schools Board of Education and the Urbana Association of Classroom Teachers (UACT) declared impasse on May 22, 2008.
The parties’ current collective bargaining agreement required the parties to re-open the contract to negotiate limited issues affecting working conditions. Declaring impasse effectively brought any further discussion to a screeching halt until a federal mediator’s assistance is available.
UACT’s Bargaining Chair Mary Binegar said, “The community sacrificially passed the levy in March so that the school system could move forward. It’s disheartening that negotiations have broken down while issues dealing with the quality of education available to the children of Urbana, as well as financial concerns, are still on the table.
Since the passage of the March levy, six elementary classrooms, an elementary counseling position, and an elementary art position have been eliminated. At the High School, industrial arts and graphic arts programs have been eliminated.
UACT President Janet Hains also fears the District is moving backward by “failing to support [our] teachers by not maintaining reasonable class size, by not providing an enriched curriculum for our students, and by not providing support for our students.”
The Board declared impasse in November 2007 during the parties’ initial attempt to negotiate this Agreement. Binegar added, “To me, going to impasse twice in one year epitomizes the lack of communication and respect within the Urbana school system. UACT’s goal is to create a work place that will recruit and retain quality teachers in order to provide the best education possible within the financial limitations of this community. Our teachers have worked faithfully throughout the past year without a raise in their base pay, in hopes of completing the bargaining process this spring and ending the year on a positive, promising note. Instead we’re left questioning what the future holds.”
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