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Teachers file intent to strike notice

By Maria Hickey, KWMU

St. Louis, MO. – A union representing Collinsville teachers filed an intent-to-strike notice Tuesday after teachers rejected the district's contract offer.

One of the teachers' negotiators, Stacey Soehlke, says salary and a new health insurance plan remain at issue.

Soehlke says the proposed insurance plan will mean bigger out-of-pocket costs for teachers.

But she says the new plan will save the district money.

"There's going to be a savings of about $800,000 a year to the district with switching insurance, so we feel the money is there, then to give us a raise to help with the additional out-of-pocket costs," Soehlke said.

The school board's attorney says the savings will be absorbed by the district's proposed salary increases.

The district offered teachers a three percent increase the first year of the contract and four percent in each of the final two years.

The school board's attorney, Barney Mundorf says that was the district's final offer in terms of salary.

"The board is disappointed in the strike notice," he said. "It believes it's put on the table what is a fair, competitive and affordable package proposal and it's willing to go back and bargain with teachers in terms of how that package is structured."

The two sides are scheduled to meet next Thursday.