By Sharon Stevens Education Reporter
Edwardsville, IL (KSDK) - Parents in the Edwardsville school district are bracing for a possible teachers' strike.
The Edwardsville Education Association filed an intent-to-strike notice after rejecting the districts' contract offer on Wednesday.
Classes are set to begin August 15th, and there could be a strike a week later.
It would be the first teachers' strike in Edwardsville since 1994.
Debra Welch has just enrolled her two sons at Woodland Elementary School in the Edwardsville District. The last thing she expected was a possible teacher's strike.
"We do work, my husband and I, and this would certainly be a stress. We are new to the state of Illinois so we don't have family and friends that we can turn to," said Welch.
Workers are cleaning the school and preparing opening day on August 15th.
The first day teachers could strike is August 23rd, due to a recent change in state law.
One thing that both sides agree on is that the state of Illinois is a key issue because it is in such dire financial straits. In fact, Superintendent Ed Hightower says the state still owes the district $2 million from last year.
The Edwardsville Education Association says the issue is uncertainty over class size. If current class sizes are exceeded, union officials say extra teachers must be hired.
But the district wants to add more students and without union restrictions.
Superintendent Ed Hightower says the real issue is money.
Clark admits that members rejected the freeze on salary and step increases, which are based, in part, on seniority, and both sides say that a strike can be averted.
Parents are hoping that's true.
So far, there's no strike threat in any other Illinois school district.
Teacher strikes are prohibited in Missouri.