SHERRARD -- Members of the Sherrard Education Association overwhelmingly approved an intent to strike vote in a secret ballot today.
About 150 members of the 190-member SEA met at Preemption United Methodist Church for around 90 minutes, according to union spokesperson Todd Volkert. "We'd like to thank our community members for their support," he said.
Two more negotiating sessions have been scheduled with the Sherrard Board of Education negotiating team. The first will be following a special school board meeting at 6 p.m. Monday with the only agenda item to consider contract issues. The second will be Sunday, Feb. 16. The meetings were set up following a district transportation meeting held last Thursday. The SEA represents the district's teachers, education specialists and bus drivers.
"Ten days from now we can take a strike vote," said Mr. Volkert, a physical education teacher at Matherville Intermediate School. He said the union membership will probably not take the strike vote until Feb. 23. "That's a Sunday, when most of us can get together."
He entertained some hope that the strike will not need to happen, saying that negotiating a new contract is a process with certain steps that must be followed. "We all need to decide whether or not this is worth fighting over," he said.
Meanwhile a letter is being prepared to indicate an intent to strike which will be sent Monday to the regional superintendent of schools in Rock Island, the Sherrard school board and the Illinois Labor Relations Board. The union has 10 days after the intent to strike letter is received, before its membership can take another vote to actually go on strike.
Sherrard last had contract troubles in 1991 when a two-day strike was held. In the 1980s, Sherrard District 200 had a 10-day strike.
Mr. Volkert said the union has made some suggestions to the school board to help solve busing issues related to putting all district schools on a universal start time. "We offered them some alternatives for their transportation plan," he said.
The school district has asked for bids from private companies to augment district busing and accommodate busing students to its four campus sites in Viola, Matherville, Sherrard and the rural junior-senior high school. An additional eight bus routes will be needed for a universal start time for all schools. Bus bids will be opened on Feb. 12.
But the main sticking point in these negotiations has been the length of the contract. The school board wants a one-year contract, with the union looking to seal a three-year deal. For more information from both sides, a web site has been set up by the SEA at http://iesearegion17.weebly.com.
Today is Thursday, Oct. 2, the 275th day of 2014. There are 90 days left in the year.
1864 -- 150 years ago: The ladies have adopted the fashion of wearing representations of insects in the flowers on their bonnets. Some look very natural. 1889 -- 125 years ago: T.F. Cary, former Rock Island alderman, has accepted a position as salesman for a Chicago wallpaper house and plans to move to that city. 1914 -- 100 years ago: Work on the new telephone building on 18th Street between 6th and 7th avenues is progressing rapidly. 1939 -- 75 years ago: Rock Island's new theater at 3rd Avenue and 19th Street will have a name significant of its location. The "Rocket" is scheduled to open Thanksgiving Day. 1964 -- 50 years ago: Two of Rock Island's newest water towers were vandalized last night, including the one at 38th Street and 31st Avenue, where police took five Moline boys into custody about 9 p.m.. 1989 -- 25 years ago: Some of us who live in the Quad-Cities take the Mississippi River for granted, or at least we used to. But the river is not taken for granted by our visitors. And most Quad-Citians are realizing the importance of the river to this area as increased emphasis is placed on tourism.