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'That's as much as we know:' Peoria Public Schools Board president explains negotiations statement

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Peoria Federation of Teachers Local 780 Facebook
Members of the Peoria Federation of Teachers overwhelmingly voted to approve a strike authorization Thursday at Woodruff High School.

Peoria Public Schools Board president Martha Ross says she was "surprised" to hear the Peoria Federation of Teachers posted to social media opposing a statement she released Thursday following a second round of federal mediation.

The statement reads:

"After 8 hours of productive bargaining, all compensation-related items have been settled. The Board (represented by key administrators) and PFT Union representatives will meet on Sept. 15 to settle the last non-compensation related item. I am very confident that an agreement will be reached in the coming meeting. Thank you to both parties for your hard work and dedication to the children of Peoria Public Schools."
Peoria Public Schools board president Martha Ross

"That's as much as we know," said Ross, referencing the school board as a whole. "We try to keep the, you know, be objective. We set the parameters for what we want administration and legal to do, and then we step back as the board."

The post made Thursday night on the Peoria Federation of Teachers Local 780 Facebook page calls the statement an "untruth." It also says the mediation sessions are supposed to be confidential and the union is considering an unfair labor practices action against the board.

Ross said though the board has created a procedure that takes members out of the negotiation process, they would still be allowed to attend.

"We are allowed to be," said Ross. "The board, years ago, chose not to be a part of the negotiations because we hire people to do that. Our Peoria Public Schools Board of Education, we don't get paid for anything. So, we are on several committees, but that is one we felt we had administration and legal we hired to do the work, so let them do it."

The second federally mediated negotiation session on Thursday comes after 19 previous bargaining meetings. The next session is scheduled for Thursday, Sep. 15.

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Collin Schopp is a reporter at WCBU. He joined the station in 2022.