MENDOTA, Ill. — Every chair was filled in Thursday’s night school board meeting with parents anxious to voice their opinion. Teachers from District 289 have been on strike for seven days and will continue to strike on Friday and parents want the school board to do whatever is necessary to end this strike.
“Let’s meet together guys,” one man said. “Put everything aside. “I’m sorry put your families back. Put your job back, let’s get it done. “It ain’t that hard, meet in the middle do something that’s all I ask.”
The growing concern across Mendota is, the longer this strike lasts, the more divided this community will become and in the midst of it all, the students will sufferer the most.
“We need to end this and get on with our days,” one lady said. “And, it’s going to come back around. We do it now, it’s going to come back around. I got grown children that want to come back into this community to give back to this community, but the school district is our foundation to this community.”
Understanding the Mendota’s teachers strike:
Teachers in Mendota have been on strike for seven straight days and classes have been canceled. Teachers say they want fair compensation and cite neighboring districts that pay more and are roughly the same size.
The school board is saying they are offering the teachers a fair wage and a health insurance plan that is better than other districts.
Many said they wanted answers from the school board but feel as though the board is not being as forthcoming as they should be.
Silenced Voices in Mendota:
In the shadows, there’s a growing segment of the population in Mendota that is opposed to the strike. These people say they want to voice their opinions but are fearful of the potential backlash from their fellow neighbors.
Mendota slowly fighting amongst each other:
As the strike continues, tensions are starting the grow between the public and the school board. Before the open forum, one school board member gave a passionate speech about the emotional toll this is taking on her personally and the board as a whole.
That message was not received well by some in attendance at Thursday’s night meeting. One lady came to the microphone, providing stats about District 289, and became combative with the school board member.
As this divide continues to grow, it is unclear what or when a resolution will come. Everyone agrees that the next three days are crucial for the school board and the teacher’s union because if no deal is reached, this strike will be potentially going into its second week. Tensions are already high in the small community of Mendota, but a strike lasting into double digits days could be the tipping point for many.
Working parents will have to continue to find back up plans and alternative options for their kids during the day while they have to work. Some families who are less fortunate and depend on the meals that are provided during school times will have to find ways to feed their children. And as mentioned, the students themselves are in the crosshairs of a negotiation between the school board and the teachers union.