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Answers to frequently asked strike questions

DIXON – The Dixon Education Association has been on strike since last Thursday. The teachers have been working without a contract since August. Here are answers to some frequently asked questions about the strike:

Do teachers receive strike pay?

What, if anything, teachers are paid during the strike will be negotiated in the contract. The board says it will provide no pay for the days teachers are on strike.

How many days are required to be made up?

There are no requirements. The number of makeup days, if any, also will be settled through negotiations. The district will begin to lose about $28,506 a day in general state aid starting Thursday, if no agreement is reached.

Does it count against the district if it declares Tuesday a snow day, rather than a strike day?

Yes. Stan Eisenhammer, the board’s attorney, said if the district dips below 180 calendar days for whatever reason, it will lose general state aid.

What is a soft freeze? What are steps in regard to teachers’ pay?

A soft freeze means there is no raise added to the teachers’ step increases. Steps are automatic pay raises based on experience or education. A salary schedule chart determines how much a teacher will be paid in step increases.

For instance, third-year teachers with bachelor’s degrees will get a certain salary. In their fourth year, they will move down one step, to a higher salary. In the fifth year, they may gain more education, and move down another step for experience, for an even higher salary.

Teachers who reach the maximum level of experience or education do not receive a salary increase, unless a raise is negotiated.

These incentives are considered critical for teacher improvement, said Sandi Sodergren-Baar, Dixon Education Association president.

In their last contract, Dixon teachers accepted a soft freeze.

Who is doing the negotiating for both sides?

For the school board, Board President Tom Balser and members Woody Lenox and Tom Lemoine participate in contract talks, along with board attorney Stan Eisenhammer of Hodges, Loizzi, Eisenhammer, Rodick, Kohn, LLP, and his assistant; Superintendent Michael Juenger; Assistant Superintendent Margo Empen; and Business Manager David Blackburn.

For the teachers union, six teachers make up their negotiating team, led by union president Sandi Sodergren-Baar and negotiator Dolph Ricks. An attorney from the state union also participates in talks.

How much could the district lose in the federal sequester?

Empen said the district could lose about $100,000 in federal revenue.

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