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Where would the kids go?

District offers options should a strike be called; not all classes would be affected

Published: Tuesday, Feb. 26, 2013 1:15 a.m. CDT

DIXON – The school district is preparing parents for a possible teachers' strike.

The Dixon Education Association could call a strike as early as Wednesday. Teachers and the school board are embroiled in negotiations; the union's contract expired in August.

A letter issued by the Dixon School Board says if a strike occurs and there are not enough teachers to conduct school, classes would be canceled. Like snow days, they would have to be made up.

The district will advise parents through its automated phone system, on www.dixonschools.org and through the local media, as it does on days when school is closed because of emergencies.

Information also will be available at the district office, 815-284-7722.

"We've been in discussion with our attorney, and we're going off of previous experiences and utilizing previous plans that were put in place," Superintendent Michael Juenger said.

The district's goal is to, by the third day of the strike, open three elementary schools for K-5 child care services. Students would be supervised by teacher assistants and administrative staff.

Reynoldswood Christian Camp and the Dixon Family YMCA also could provide child care services to a limited number of students.

According to the district's letter, transportation and classes for students who receive special education services through Lee County Education Cooperative would not be affected, but special ed services would not be delivered to students in programs taught by district teachers.

Nothing would change for students with classes outside of Dixon schools, such as with Easter Seals, the Whiteside Area Career Center or the Regional Safe Schools at Chana and Nachusa.

Dual-credit courses also would be held, although those students and those who attend the WACC might have to cross a picket line to access bus transportation. None would be penalized for nonattendance.

Extracurricular activities sponsored by the district would be limited. The board voted to allow teams that started a state series prior to a possible strike to continue playing.

Students in spring activities could practice under certain conditions, but could not compete until the strike ends. The building principal for those activities would be able to answer which activities would be affected and to what extent practice can continue.

Again, students would not be penalized for nonattendance.

Child care outside the district

DIXON – If a strike were to occur, a couple of Dixon-area organizations are offering services.

Reynoldswood Christian Camp & Retreat Center, 621 Reynoldswood Road, will open its facilities from 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. to fourth- through seventh-graders weekdays during the strike, Director Eric Hoffman said.

Staff will provide programming, two snacks, lunch and supervision for $10 a day. There are only 35 spots, and currently enrolled camp students will have priority. All others must complete the enrollment/health forms before being accepted.

Call Justin Rodriguez, 815-494-9118, or the camp office, 815-284-6979, for more information.

The Dixon Family YMCA, 110 N. Galena Ave., will run a full child care program for 3- to 5-year-olds and a half-day preschool program.

Space is limited. Call Lindsey Kerley, 815-288-1124, for more information.

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