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D300 board tight-lipped days from possible strike

Updated: December 30, 2012 3:44PM

CARPENTERSVILLE — Community Unit School District 300 Board of Education spokesperson Joe Stevens was tight-lipped Wednesday when it came to questions about Tuesday night’s negotiation session between the board and Local Educators Association of District 300.

“All I’ll say today is we made some progress, and we’re meeting again Thursday (today),” Stevens said.

The sixth-largest school district in Illinois now is just five days away from a possible teachers’ strike.

LEAD filed its intent to strike notice on Nov. 20 after nearly 11 months of negotiations with the district. The Illinois Educational Labor Relations Board also had posted both the school board and union’s final offers on its website that day.

The school board has offered a modest pay raise that includes step increases for time spent within the district, decreased class sizes at the elementary school level, and phasing out pay bumps for teachers in the last four years before their retirement. Meantime, the union has proposed a modest pay raise on top of step increases, decreased class sizes at all grade levels and decreased pay bumps before retirement.

District 300 has responded to the strike notice by releasing its emergency plans: All three middle schools will be open as emergency attendance centers Tuesday if teachers walk out. And, an update Wednesday to said the Lifetime Fitness at 451 Rolls Drive in Algonquin also could provide some childcare at a fee.

Good or bad, an update Wednesday night to the LEAD 300 Facebook page said, “There is a STRONG likelihood there will be an all-member meeting on Sunday, December 2.”

“We’re hoping to conclude this process without a strike being necessary,” LEAD spokesperson Mike Williamson said.

And, he said, the union is waiting to see where tonight’s meeting goes. But he admitted the school board hadn’t made the movement teachers had hoped to see at Tuesday’s meeting.

“We’ve given them some very significant movement at the last session,” Williamson said. “It’s time for us to stop playing some game with drawing lines in the sand. We take the education of our students very seriously, and we would appreciate if they do, too.”

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