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Huntley school district, teachers reach agreement hours after impasse

Updated: December 15, 2012 6:30AM

HUNTLEY — The Huntley Consolidated School District 158 Board of Education and its teachers reached a tentative contract agreement early Wednesday morning.

That announcement came in a joint statement from both the school board and teachers union at about 2:30 a.m. Wednesday. And it came hours after those teachers had declared an impasse Tuesday in their negotiations with the district.

The Huntley Education Association had declared the impasse early Tuesday evening, according to the school board, just a week after teachers in Carpentersville-based Community Unit School District 300 declared an impasse in their negotiations with that district.

“The board believes that both sides want to reach a compromise that is beneficial for the staff, students, and taxpayers of District 158,” according to its written statement Tuesday from the board.

Members of the Huntley Education Association overwhelmingly had voted to authorize union leadership to strike in mid-October, just days after a similar vote by members of Local Educators Association of District 300.

District 158 and its union have been in negotiations since July and agreed to mediation in late September, after teachers rejected the first of two tentative agreements reached by the school board and union, according to the school board. The HEA has said it had not agreed to anything when it took the district’s last offer to its membership before the strike vote.

The two sides had resolved nearly all their issues with the teachers contract this summer, according to the board, and the remaining issues are “primarily compensation.”

Neither side previously has commented on the major issues in their contract negotiations.

HEA’s impasse declaration starts a 28-day countdown to a possible teachers strike in the Huntley school district.

The union and school district now have seven days to submit their last, best offers to the Illinois Educational Labor Relations Board. The labor relations board then has another seven days to post that information online. That information must be online and available to the public for a full 14 days before teachers can walk out.

That puts the earliest time District 158 teachers could strike in mid-December.

HEA co-president Julie McLaughlin could not be reached immediately Tuesday for comment. The union had issued a written statement the week before saying it was “disappointed to learn that the board of education would not be attending the scheduled mediation on Nov. 13.”

The school board said just before 5 p.m. Tuesday it still “looks forward to meeting” and “continuing work towards agreement and ratification of a contract” with the teachers union that night at a planned meeting.

District 158 is nearly bounded on three sides by District 300 — where more than 500 teachers, parents and students turned out at Monday night’s board meeting, most wearing black T-shirts in support of their teachers union.

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