Federal mediator trying to break dead-lock in teachers strike

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EAST ST. LOUIS (KTVI) - A federal mediator Monday afternoon brought the two sides together in the East St. Louis teachers strike.  At the East St. Louis School District headquarters, Superintendent Arthur Culver says the district has made its best offer, but he was hopeful that a teachers' union counter proposal will lead to progress in the negotiations.

About 200 striking teachers and parents protested outside district headquarters this afternoon. The teacher’s union counter offer was to be presented at the meeting with the federal mediator that got underway at 2 pm.  The location of that meeting was not disclosed at the request of the mediator. It’s the first negotiating session since the strike began last Thursday. Teachers say they are worried about a district proposal that would double the amount of years it would take for a new teacher to get to the top of the step pay scale. The President of the Illinois Federation of Teachers traveled from Springfield to East St. Louis to rally with the striking teachers.

Today marked day three of the strike that leaves about 6,000 students out of class. Like they did on Friday district officials opened each school today to provide students with a hot breakfast and a sack lunch. The district is providing bus transportation for all students to and from campuses to get those meals.