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Striking East St. Louis teachers, school district negotiations with federal mediator break down

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FAIRVIEW HEIGHTS, IL (KTVI)-Striking East St. Louis teachers and district officials resumed negotiations Tuesday with a federal mediator.  Officials from the school district and teachers union have been meeting at the Illinois Federation of Teachers union hall in Fairview Heights since 11:00am in an effort to end the 13 day old strike.

The teachers have been on picket lines outside schools and holding large demonstrations outside school district headquarters. The main issue is money. East St. Louis School superintendent Arthur Culver has said the district has made its best offer,  but 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.

Tuesday afternoon, Illinois Federation of Teachers spokesman Dave Comerford said the two sides sat in separate rooms for most of the afternoon. He said district officials have told the union they needed more time before they begin negotiations.

Just before 5:00pm, the negotiations between teachers and the district broke down. In a statement, Comerford claimed that the district’s team did not make a sincere effort at settling the strike.

In a statement, the school district said, "An agreement has not been reached, but the proposal we (the District) presented has not been rejected by Local 1220. We are scheduled to meet with Local 1220 tomorrow to continue negotiations."

There will be no classes in East St. Louis school again on Wednesday.