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Board President Responds to Possible Strike

Quincy Public School Board President Sayeed Ali released a statement Tuesday morning in response to an unproductive round of negotiations Monday night.

A local school board president is now making a public statement after new comments about a possible teacher strike.

Quincy Public School Board President Sayeed Ali released a statement Tuesday morning in response to an unproductive round of negotiations Monday night.

Ali stated:

"The Board is obviously disappointed that the union is looking into this option. Our employees are incredible and do an amazing job for this district and our children. We have genuinely tried to listen and take direction from their leadership. After conversations with union leadership, we cut cost at the Central Office level through our Superintendent’s Central Office reorganization. Throughout the District we collectively cut approximately $1,000,000 from our operating budget. We also wanted to improve communication with our employees, with regard to our finances, so we created a financial over-watch committee. This was to ensure that union leadership would know exactly what numbers make up our budget and how many available dollars we are working with. We finished the 15-16 school year with a $1.3 million deficit, the 16-17 school year with a $600k deficit, and this year we are projecting a $850k deficit. That being said, the School Board realizes how valuable our employees are, not just for our students but the entire community. It’s because of this that our board felt comfortable agreeing to the Union’s proposal after only 5 negotiating sessions. We felt very good about the tentatively agreed upon contract, which enabled us to offer our team members a three-year contract with salary increases in each of those years. The union is aware of the District’s finances; so we believed they would be very satisfied with the contract as well. We understand their concerns about the uncertainty of health insurance premiums, because like the majority of Americans, we have those same concerns. The District will continue to pay the vast majority of our employees' health insurance premiums; but at no point will this board agree to act on something we know is financially irresponsible or negatively affects our District's long-term financial health. The school board remains hopeful that this can be resolved without the possibility of a strike for the second time in 12 months."

Monday night, Quincy Federation of Teachers President Jen Drew said a teacher strike in Quincy is an option.

Both sides met with the mediator for three hours Monday night.

The negotiations began this past July.

The hangup continues to be structuring of health insurance.

Drew said this will be a final offer to provide to membership.

A vote will now happen this Wednesday on the offer and a second vote on how to move forward.

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