PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — Peoria Federation of Teachers (PFT) Union President Jeff Adkins announced Wednesday that PFT and Peoria Public Schools (PPS) will be going to federal mediation to hash out contract agreements.

PFT ended the bargaining session with PPS on August 2 by requesting federal mediation.

“We are asking for a substantial raise for our members, but it is clear the district did not budget accordingly,” stated the PFT in a press release Wednesday. “Further, we have been told that all the district’s $108,000,000 in COVID relief funds have been allocated. Our professional employees were not a priority.”

Superintendent Dr. Sharon Kherat claimed there was progress with negotiations between PPS and PFT prior to meeting for the 18th time Tuesday night. However, PFT’s press release asserted that Kherat has only attended one of the bargaining sessions.

Representatives from PFT said they are not as confident as the superintendent in the bargaining process, as the two sides remain far from agreement.

PFT said they will be filing unfair labor practices in response to the Peoria School District, having claimed that PPS is has started implementing bargaining proposals that have not been agreed upon.

“It seems clear that the district does not value us and that we will have to fight to be respected,” stated the union’s press release.

The Peoria Federation of Teachers will hold a rally at the Aug. 8, outside of the administration office during the next school board meeting. The rally will be from 6-7 p.m.