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Springfield Teachers Still Don't Have Contract

Carter Staley
NPR Illinois

Springfield District 186 school teachers have been working without a contract since mid-August. And despite hours of bargaining, they haven't come to any agreement with the school board. 

Joey Gobble, who teaches history at Lanphier High School, said sure, they're asking for better salaries. But they're also asking for smaller class sizes, more alternative education classes, plus more social workers and psychologists, and more help for students.

"We've asked for more nurses. They say they can't hire them. Which I get,” Gobble says. “But you can offer incentives to try to get more people to come into your positions." 

They can't share their list of demands, but the word “safety” comes up repeatedly.

"It's about schools, it's about what we're doing inside the schools, it's about safety, you know, for everybody to have that atmosphere that's conducive to learning," Gobble says. “Sometimes schools can be … not always the safest place. There can be altercations that come up from time to time. So we’re interested in having security in the schools so that everybody’s safe.”  

Jeanne Stash, who teaches history at Springfield High School, said the teachers also want more social workers. 

“We’ve had situations where we’ve had just one social worker in a high school, trying to cover the needs of 1,400 students,” Stash says.

The two sides are scheduled to meet with a federal mediator on October 16th.


After a long career in newspapers (Dallas Observer, The Dallas Morning News, Anchorage Daily News, Illinois Times), Dusty returned to school to get a master's degree in multimedia journalism. She began work as Education Desk reporter at NPR Illinois in September 2014.
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