DIXON - Closed door
negotiations Monday night in
Teachers complain that pay is too low to retain good teachers in Dist. #170. They also complain about budget cuts the district has had to deal with over the past several years causing what they say is a reduced quality education. And one group of people the district is aiming to increase quality education to is the district's special needs students.
"A big push in
With nearly 20% of the school district qualifying for special education services, the teacher's union is hoping the district would hire 7 - 9 new paraprofessional and about 5 special education teachers to help facilitate the move of special educations students from specialized classrooms to mainstream classrooms. But the cost of each new faculty member would come at, at least $40,000 each.
"It's a cost, you're right," said Sodergren-Baar.
"But it's an investment in our school district and we need that. We've lost over 25 positions in the last three years and we've only lost 30 students."
The cost of new teachers, plus the other requests made by the Dixon Education Association total roughly $2.3 million on top of what the current budget is. Dixon Public Schools' Superintendent, Michael Juenger, says that a cost the district can't afford.
"The problem lies in not so much in what they're asking for," said Juenger. "It's where we're going to get the dollars to pay for what they're asking."
But lead negotiator
for the DEA, Dolph Ricks - a teacher at
"We have four operating funds that current have, as of June 30th, 2012, $10.2 million in surplus and reserves," said Ricks.
Juenger says that Ricks' claim may be true, but he's worried about even worse
financial hardship for
"I don't think that things are going to turn around tomorrow," said Juenger. "I think the board desires to try to not spend all that money down."
Juenger says plans are in place if teachers do choose to strike on Wednesday. The district sent home letters to parents explaining the situation, but Juenger says there are several negotiation sessions scheduled to try and avoid that situation altogether.