HIGHLAND PARK (CBS)– Teachers apart of the North Shore School District tell CBS 2’s Courtney Gousman, that if they can’t reach an agreement tonight during contract negotiations, they will begin striking tomorrow.

There are 4500 students in the district which serves Highland Park, Highwood, and Fort Sheridan in Pre-kindergarten through 8th grades.

This morning union teachers handed out materials at Oak Terrace School, in preparation for a rally they will be holding this afternoon.

Both sides say contract talks are at a standstill over monetary issues– pay and benefits.

Union President Pamela Kramer says teachers are asking for a 3.25% raise, while district officials say they’re offering a 1.5% increase.

They have been trying to come to an agreement since the spring.

“I’m really disappointed in the board and the way they twist figures. They have more reserves than ever. They put away an extra $2,000,000 in their budget last year, and they’re saying they don’t have enough money. If we don’t come to an agreement tonight, then we will strike tomorrow,” said Kramer.

Parents like Alejandra Crespo are worried.
“We’re scared too all this is going to happen here. I hope that they’re going to find a really better solution to stop this because it’s not fair,” Crespo said.

School Board president, Bruce Hyman released this statement to parents over the weekend saying quote,”If it were possible to give our teachers the monetary raises that the union is asking for, we would do so. If we agree to a contract that is beyond our means, we will be forced to choose between making deeper and more painful cuts, or depleting our finances.”

Another attempt at contract negotiations begins tonight at 5, at the district administrative offices.

The teachers rally is set to begin at 3:30. Activity centers have already been set-up for the students in the event of a strike.

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