LAKE FOREST, Ill. (CBS) — The teachers’ strike at Lake Forest High School is in its second day, and there is little optimism about ending that walkout anytime soon.
As WBBM Newsradio’s Regine Schlesinger reports, there is no sign of movement and not even any talks scheduled on the issues of pay and benefits. A total of 152 Lake Forest teachers on the picket lines are settling in for a potentially long walkout in the district’s first strike ever.
LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Regine Schlesinger reports
“We’re going to be here until the board understands that we are serious,” said Chuck Gress of the Lake Forest Education Association union. “We want a fair and equitable contract.”
And their war of words is heating up, with the union accusing the board of lying about which side is holding up negotiations.
Teachers say they accepted a pay freeze last year due to the down economy, and now they say the school board is trying to lock in those sacrifices by creating a two-tiered system of hiring in which new teachers won’t be paid at the same rate as current employees.
About 80 Lake Forest teachers earn more than $100,000 a year, in a town with a median household income that’s about twice that. But Gress said the new hires start at $50,000, and have much less opportunity for big pay raises.
Gress, a math teacher, will retire soon, but said he couldn’t stand by and idly watch second-tier hires be treated like second-class teachers.
Meanwhile, 1,700 students are going a second day with no classes.
Lake Forest Board of Education President Sharon Golan told CBS 2 Thursday morning that school will be in session Monday regardless of whether the teachers are still on strike. She did not say who would be leading the classrooms.