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Peoria Federation of Teachers requests federal mediation in contract talks with Peoria Public Schools

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Tim Shelley

Talks over a new contract between the Peoria Federation of Teachers and Peoria Public Schools are going into federal mediation.

This comes after 19 bargaining sessions held between the teacher's union and district administration since March 29 have failed to result in an agreement.

The union broke off collective bargaining talks and requested mediation following a meeting with district administration Tuesday night.

Jeff Adkins-Dutro is the teacher's union president. He said while there are tentative agreements on a few issues, there remain disputes over multiple items, including teacher salaries.

"I don't think the district budgeted for a substantial raise for us, and they received $108 million in COVID relief funds, and all that money has been divvied out already," he said. "And there wasn't any priority for teachers in that money."

He said the union also is bargaining over class size, student discipline, attendance, fine arts curriculum, and counselors for every school.

Adkins-Dutro said it will take two to three weeks to set a meeting with the federal mediator.

Most Peoria Public Schools students headed back to classrooms on Wednesday with teachers currently working under an expired contract.

The school district didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.

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Tim is the News Director at WCBU Peoria Public Radio.