One of the longest teachers’ strikes of 2015 has come to an end, with students in East St. Louis, Ill., finally returning to school last week.
Teachers in the 6,000-student district went on strike Oct. 1, protesting a district plan that would have doubled how long it takes teachers to hit the top of the salary schedule.
The district’s original plan, rejected by the East St. Louis Federation of Teachers, had offered a $2,000 bonus and lengthened the salary schedule to 21 years, up from 11.
Under the terms of the new agreement, as reported by the Associated Press, all but first-year teachers will receive a $3,000 bonus now, and all teachers (including new ones) will receive two more bonus payments totaling $3,000 toward the end of the school year. Those bonuses are in lieu of a raise this year. But the district also secured agreement around lengthening the salary schedule; it will now take teachers an additional eight years (19 total) to reach the top of the scale.
The contract is scheduled to last four years. According to a statement by Superintendent Arthur R. Culver, teachers will see “an average salary increase of $12,834 over the life of the contract.”
The district plans to make up the lost instructional days. A district spokesperson told the Belleville News-Democrat that holiday breaks may be shortened, and classes will likely extend into summer.
The East St. Louis district has been under a state-imposed improvement plan for the past several years, a result of poor academic performance and other factors.
A version of this article appeared in the November 11, 2015 edition of Education Week as Monthlong East St. Louis Strike Comes to an End