Catlin Teachers to Hold Informational Picket
By Sean Powers
The teachers union in Catlin will hold an informational picket on Thursday night at 7pm during the Catlin Board of Education’s meeting.
Teachers there have been working without a contract since June 30, and they are struggling to reach a new agreement with the school district.
Catlin Faculty Organization President Lezlie Hoffman said one of the sticking points keeping the two sides from reaching an agreement is more competitive salaries to retain and recruit teachers.
“Our salary structure definitely doesn’t speak to a living wage in our county all," Hoffman said. "We are the lowest paid teachers in Vermilion County, and at the same time we consistently post the highest ACT composite scores in the county.”
Catlin Superintendent Gary Lewis said he is hopeful the two sides will reach an agreement, but maintains that education funding in Catlin has taken a hit, largely because of shortages in state support. For this year, Lewis projects about a $550,000 deficit in his district’s education funding.
“We’re like any other small district," Lewis said. "We’re kind of in a tough spot right now. There hasn’t been a lot of growth in Catlin, with the state going through a lot of the financial issues they’ve been going through, and then your enrollment staying flat so you don’t get any increased state aide on that either.”
The teachers union and the school district will meet again on Oct. 22, this time with a federal mediator.