Chronology of the Crosby-Ironton teachers' strike
* Jan. 21 -- Crosby-Ironton teachers file a formal intent to strike after 19 months of unsuccessful bargaining and mediation sessions to settle the 2003-2005 teachers' contract. Three main sticking points to settling the contract include salary schedule, active health insurance and retiree health insurance benefits. A 10-day cooling off period begins until a strike may occur within a 15-day window.
* Feb. 4 -- C-I's 87 teachers originally planned to strike, but delayed a strike so students and community members had time to grieve the death of C-I high school senior Amber McKanna, 17, who died in a car accident Jan. 31.
* Feb. 8 -- A last-ditch mediation session is scheduled between union negotiators and board members; talks break down after 3-1/2 hours.
* Feb. 9 -- Strike begins. C-I teachers begin walking the picket lines at 7 a.m. at both Cuyuna Range Elementary School and C-I High School. School was canceled indefinitely for the district's 1,300 students. The C-I teachers' strike becomes the first strike in the state during attempts to settle the 2003-2005 teachers' contracts.
* Feb. 15 -- C-I teachers, their families and supporters gather at the Ironton American Legion for what will become weekly family night rallies. Judy Schaubach, president of Education Minnesota, presents C-I striking teachers with a check for $46,600, a donation from the state teachers' union crisis fund.
* Feb. 23-24 -- Two lengthy mediation sessions are held. After meeting for 17 hours, an agreement isn't reached. The school board releases a statement that states it would "aggressively pursue the hiring of qualified teachers to reach their No. 1 goal of returning students to the classroom."
* Feb. 24 -- First-graders return to school at CRES, taught by replacement teachers. The C-I Rangers girls' basketball team chooses to forfeit its opening-round game in the West Subsection 7, Class 2A playoffs because of the 17-day-old teachers' strike, ending their season.
* Feb. 27 -- A community prayer vigil and worship service is planned at Immanuel Lutheran Church in Crosby to attempt to heal the community in the wake of the teachers' strike.
* March 1 -- About 400 C-I residents gather at the Deerwood Auditorium for a community meeting hosted by a group of C-I parents to vent their anger and frustration over the three-week-old strike.
* March 3 -- Two CRES secretaries are placed on paid administrative leave by Superintendent Linda Lawrie for an incident that occurs at the school during the strike.
* March 6 -- Two board members and two union representatives meet at a Brainerd restaurant in an attempt to reopen communication between both sides.
* March 7 -- Third-graders return to school at CRES, taught by replacement teachers.
* March 8 -- Several C-I residents testify before a meeting of the Minnesota House Education Policy and Reform Committee at the Deerwood Auditorium about how they've been affected by the strike.
* March 10 -- CRES fourth-graders return to school.
* March 10 -- The C-I boys' basketball team, which had been playing without its head coach and longtime assistant, both striking teachers, loses to the Moose Lake/Willow River Rebels in the Section 7, Class 2A semifinals.
* March 13 -- District officials and union negotiators met for 13 hours in mediation at the state Bureau of Mediation Services in St. Paul. They do not reach an agreement but plan to resume the mediation session at 8 a.m. March 15 at Forestview Middle School in Baxter.
* March 16 -- C-I School Board declares an impasse in negotiations after a 17-1/2-hour mediation session fails to reach an agreement. Education Minnesota announces the statewide teachers' union is suing the school district and superintendent, in part, for violating state law by hiring some replacement teachers who were not licensed and were underqualified, and not releasing public information about the replacement teachers to the union.
* March 16 -- C-I high school juniors and seniors return to school taught by replacement teachers. Many students described the first day as "chaotic," with many students walking out of class and joining their striking teachers on the picket lines outside the school.
* March 17 -- C-I School District released 20 more names of replacement teachers to Education Minnesota, which finds that one in five replacement teachers hired by the district during the strike do not appear to be licensed to teach. Superintendent Linda Lawrie disputes the union's claim, saying "the teachers are licensed."
* March 18 -- C-I teachers' union negotiators are honored at an Education Minnesota convention in St. Paul where union delegates authorized the statewide union to "use all appropriate fiscal and human resources" to support the C-I teachers' union in its efforts to achieve a "reasonable settlement."
* March 21 -- Dozens of people attempt to cram into the Ironton City Hall to attend a C-I School Board meeting. Another meeting is planned the following week to allow community members to speak to the board.
* March 23 -- District and union officials meet again in Cass County District Court in Walker where the district agrees any replacement teachers not licensed by March 28 will be reassigned to non-teaching duties until they are licensed. The union withdraws its request for a temporary restraining order, in part, to stop the district from employing what they termed were unqualified, unlicensed replacement teachers. In court the district stated replacement teachers were never interviewed by the superintendent or school board before they were hired.
* March 28 -- C-I school board members host a public meeting to listen to residents' comments, suggestions and questions about the strike. About 500 people attend the meeting at the Deerwood Auditorium. Board chair Scott Kile says as of this afternoon all the district's replacement teachers are licensed. He said he knew of four replacement teachers who had to be reassigned because their paperwork for licensing was not complete.
* March 29 -- Minnesota Attorney General Mike Hatch tells striking teachers at a family night rally in Ironton that his office has issued an opinion stating that the state Board of Teaching can't issue temporary licenses to replacement teachers on the basis of a district's hardship. He said a strike is not a hardship.
* March 31 -- Sixth-graders return to school, leaving only students in grades 7-10 without the opportunity to return to school. Sophomores were expected to return to school April 6 with grades 7-9 to return to classes two days a week by April 11.
* April 4 -- The C-I School Board votes to cut 35 percent of its teaching staff, or 30 striking teachers, for the upcoming school year to balance its budget.
* April 5 -- A mediation session is suddenly set for 3 p.m. for representatives of the school board and teachers' union at the Ironton City Hall. The meeting adjourns at about 2 a.m. April 6.
* April 6 -- Strike ends. An agreement is reached between the C-I School Board and the teachers' union, ending the eight-week-old strike. Teachers return to their classrooms at 4 p.m. to prepare for school the next day.
* April 7 -- School is in session. All C-I teachers and their students are to return to school together for the first time since Feb. 9.
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