Effingham teachers push for negotiations with district

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EFFINGHAM, Ill. (WAND) — Honking horns and holding signs, Effingham teachers and their supporters made their message hard to miss.

"We feel like we have a lot of support in the community," said Shannon Hall-Nannini, president of the Effingham Classroom Teachers Association. "When you have a positive work environment for the teachers, there is a positive environment for the students as well."

The starting point for that positive work environment: good relations between the teachers and administrators in Effingham Public Schools.

But for the past seven years, a soft freeze on salary growth has made those relations chilly. In just the past year, 13 teachers resigned.

"The soft freezes may not be the primary reason," Hall-Nannini said. "But it may be the straw that broke the camel's back."

The contract between the teachers association and the district expired last June. That agreement covered the 180 teachers that call the district home.

The teachers association hopes a new deal will raise salaries through better allocation of funds the district already has — not new taxes.

While tensions have been high for years, there is hope today's negotiations represent a turning point for both parties.

"We're optimistic that today will be how it is going forward," Hall-Nannini said.

WAND News reached out to Effingham Superintendent Mark Doan for comment but did not hear back.

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