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National leader expected at statewide rally for NH teachers

National Education Association vice president Dennis Van Roekel is scheduled to attend a statewide rally tomorrow (Thursday) for the teachers of the North Harrison Community School Corp.
The rally will begin at 6 p.m. in front of the North Harrison Middle School with tailgating, followed by guest speakers at 6:45. The group will then process into the school board meeting, which starts at 7:30. They have asked to address the board. After that time, the group will exit the meeting.
Carol Mooney, UniServ director of the Indiana State Teachers Association, said the rally is to show public support for North Harrison teachers and a show of no-confidence in the school board and the superintendent.
North Harrison teachers have been without a contract for more than four years.
Teachers began negotiating for a new contract in July 2004. Since that time, the process has exhausted two state-appointed mediators; a third mediator is now in place.
The North Harrison Classroom Teachers Association is an affiliate of Indiana State Teachers Association and the 3.2-million member National Education Association.
Van Roekel, a 25-year high school mathematics teacher from Phoenix, will be the keynote speaker for tomorrow’s rally. He was re-elected NEA vice president in 2005 and works at the NEA offices in Washington, D.C. Also scheduled to attend the rally is ISTA executive director Warren Williams and top ISTA officers Nate Schellenberg and Teresa Meredith.
Schellenberg is also scheduled to speak. He is a veteran teacher from Dubois County and was elected president of the 50,000-member Indiana State Teachers Association last spring.
‘Teachers have been assured of rally supporters coming from parents, the Louisville teachers union, the carpenter’s union and the UAW,’ said Greg Rupp, the NHCTA president. ‘Wow, I really appreciate all the help we’re getting. It’s amazing. A lot of people realize how crazy this is and want to show their support well before it even happens. Thank you from the very bottom of my heart. This means a lot to us!’
The North Harrison teachers welcome anyone to the rally who wishes to urge the school board to stop the impasse.
‘We’ve been professional, reasonable and respectful,’ said NHCTA bargaining team member Dan Haskell. ‘If being reasonable was important to this board, we would have had at least two multi-year contracts settled and over with by now.’