Tri States Public Radio Staff
Thu December 3, 2009
Reuschel Supports Anti-Strike Stance
Macomb, IL – The Illinois Association of School Boards has taken a firm stance on a teacher's ability to strike. At its most recent meeting, the association collectively decided that teachers should not be allowed to walk out on the job.
Superintendent Alene Reuschel says she supports the stance.
Reuschel says she herself is in a unique situation. She's a teacher at heart, but also a former teacher's union president. But from a personal standpoint, Reuschel says teaching always comes first, and striking hurts children.
"The timing is sometimes done for leverage," says Reuschel. "It's not done maliciously, I think all of our teachers have children at heart. But when we're dealing with adult discussions, sometimes that other factor is, quite frankly, negated."
Reuschel says "it's possible" that a teacher's right to strike could be valid should administrators and the teachers' union not come to terms on a contract. But she herself would never support such a measure, favoring instead for mediation. Reuschel says a district she used to work for was considering a strike some years ago. She voted against it.
The Illinois Association of School Boards' stance on strikes is not legally binding, but the association will seek and strongly support anti-strike legislation. The group says it will work with the Illinois State Board of Education and teacher's unions to develop striking alternatives, such as mediation and binding arbitration.
Last year, IASB members voted down a measure encouraging school strikes by a slim margin. Association representative Ben Schwarm says the requirement to seek strike alternatives in this year's resolution was absent last year. He says that's a major factor in this year's proposal's wide margin of passage.
Illinois is one of 13 states that allow teachers to strike.