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Carpentersville Area Teachers Union Calls For Strike

Empty Classroom

(Credit: Adam Jan/AFP/Getty Images)

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CARPENTERSVILLE, Ill. (STMW) – Teachers in Community Unit School District 300 will strike Tuesday.

The announcement came just before 5 p.m. Monday on the teachers union’s Facebook page, the Courier-News is reporting. The administration posted plans to cancel classes and activities on the district’s website.

That means all 27 District 300 schools will be closed Tuesday, shutting more than 20,000 students out of their classrooms. Only its three middle schools will remain open as emergency attendance centers for students in kindergarten to grade six who have no other place to go, according to the district.

“We began this morning by informing the Board’s team that our members had rejected their final offer. We hoped they would realize this meant our members needed the Board to make significant movement in order for us to ratify a contract,”

LEAD spokesman Mike Williamson said in a written statement.

Discussions between the district and union had had started at 8 a.m. Monday as the clock wound down on the last day before teachers in the Carpentersville-area district could walk out. And by noon, according to an earlier update on the Local Education Association of District 300 Facebook page, the school board was working on a new set of proposals.

That came after the union bargaining team shared with the school board negotiators the results of Sunday’s all-member meeting, at which Williamson said 95 percent of the district’s more than 1,100 teachers said they would not agree to the board’s last proposal if it was brought to a vote.

“We were then asked to present them with what our members would find acceptable in relation to major areas of contention,” according to the LEAD 300 Facebook page.

The teachers union has said the major sticking points in negotiations with the district, which started in earnest in January, are lowering class sizes, raising teacher pay to be more competitive with surrounding districts, and improving the learning and work environment for both students and teachers.

During the all-day negotiations Monday, Williamson said the school board did come down on class size, “but not to a level that the membership feels is acceptable.”

“They refused to compensate people who are teaching additional classes as a result of an overhasty movement to an eight-period-day schedule (this school year) at the high school level,” he said.

The LEAD spokesman said the union team had given the school board the “opportunity to avoid a strike” and invited its bargaining team to reconvene up to 9 p.m. Monday, which it rejected.

It also has requested both teams meet Tuesday to continue negotiations and has been told the board will get back to the union that day.

(Source: Sun-Times Media Wire © Chicago Sun-Times 2012. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)