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D300, union explain strike notice, plans

Updated: December 24, 2012 7:05AM

CARPENTERSVILLE — While teachers in Community Unit District 300 now can strike as early as Dec. 4, Local Education Association of District 300 spokesman Mike Williamson said the union’s intent-to-strike notice is “basically a paperwork thing.”

And negotiations between the union and school board are continuing as planned after the union filed that notice Tuesday, Williamson said.

But District 300 Board of Education spokesperson Joe Stevens said, “Obviously, we’re disappointed they felt the need to take that step.”

The Carpentersville-based district still is making plans for a worst-case scenario — a strike that could leave public school students with no place to go and parochial school students with no way to get there, according to Stevens. The district provides transportation for both public and parochial school students within the district, he said.

The district would close all but its three middle schools if teachers do decide to walk out in two weeks, the school board spokesperson said.

Carpentersville Middle School, Dundee Middle School in West Dundee and Hampshire Middle School would remain open as emergency attendance centers for students in kindergarten through grade six, he said. Parents would have to register those students, and they would go to the middle school to which their elementary school normally feeds, he said.

“It will not be education taking place. It will be basically having kids have places to go if there’s no other option,” Stevens said.

Final offers from both District 300 and LEAD were posted Tuesday on the Illinois Educational Labor Relations Board website, starting a 14-day countdown to a possible teachers strike in the district.

The union is required to also file an intent-to-strike notice with the IELRB before its teachers can walk out, which it did that day. Williamson said that was something the union had to do to follow the state’s guidelines and timelines in case a strike should become necessary.

But, he assured, “It’s definitely still our intention to continue this contract negotiation. We’re in no way saying there’s no more movement either side can make.”

In fact, the union spokesman said, both sides had “good talks” Sunday, and he felt the union had made “significant movement” on its side Tuesday.

But he echoed Stevens when he said he felt the two sides still were some ways apart. And, Williamson added, he felt the school board had returned Tuesday to its “hard-line stance.”

Since Sunday, LEAD and District 300 have focused on finances in their talks since, Stevens said, “really that’s what it’s boiled down to: salary, benefits, retirement and board certification.”

The two sides will meet again Tuesday to talk about those finances.

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