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Highland Park Teachers, School District To Submit New Contract Offers

File Photo (Ian Waldie/ Getty Images)

File Photo (Ian Waldie/ Getty Images)

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HIGHLAND PARK, Ill. (CBS) – Although the teachers’ strikes in Chicago and Lake Forest have been resolved, negotiations are at a critical point in several other Chicago-area districts.

One of them is North Shore School District 112, in Highland Park, where teachers declared an impasse last week, and the two sides must submit their latest offers to the Illinois Education Labor Relations Board (IELRB) Friday.

District 112 spokesperson Andi Rosen says the dispute is a straight-forward disagreement over pay and benefits. In a PowerPoint presentation presented to the District 112 school board Tuesday, the board said it is in a break-even situation, and that its goal is long-term financial stability, to provide children now and in the future with an outstanding education.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Bob Roberts reports

North Shore Education Association President Pam Kramer said one teacher told the board that, if the proposed two-year pay freeze takes effect, she will look elsewhere, and Kramer said she believes other teachers will as well.

“I don’t know if they think we really would strike if it comes down to it, because right now they’re offering a two-year pay freeze, but that’s unacceptable,” Kramer said.

Kramer said that since the last time teachers negotiated a contract, District 112 has increased the amount of money in its reserve fund and working cash funds.

“We are confident that, what we are asking for, will not hurt the district in any way at all,” she said. “They can well afford it.”

Because of a state-mandated cooling-off period, the earliest possible strike date is Oct. 12. The next mediation session is scheduled for Oct. 4.

WBBM Newsradio also is watching negotiations at Argo-Summit High School, Evergreen Park District 124, and Prairie Grove District 46 in Crystal Lake. Ten-day notices of intent to strike have been filed in each of those districts, according to an IELRB spokesman.