Teachers in Community Unit School District 300 will go on strike Tuesday after the district and the teachers union, LEAD 300, could not reach a tentative contract agreement following a day-long bargaining session Monday.
“We’ve been trying all day to avert this,” Mike Williamson, LEAD spokesman said Monday evening.
“We began this morning by informing the Board's team that our members had rejected their final offer,” he said. “We hoped they would realize this meant our members needed the Board to make significant movement in order for us to ratify a contract.”
The outstanding issues remain class size and compensation.
While the board came down on class size, it is not a number acceptable for the union membership, Williamson said.
As for pay, he said the board “refused to compensate people who are teaching additional classes as a result of an overhasty movement to an eight-period-day schedule at the high school level. ”
Joe Stevens, D-300 board member and spokesman, sent out a statement to parents about Tuesday’s strike stating: “Board of Education and LEAD 300 negotiation teams have been meeting since 8 a.m. this morning with the assistance of a federal mediator to discuss outstanding contractual issues. After the Board agreed to LEAD’s latest proposal to further reduce class sizes at all grade levels and create class size caps for middle and high school classes, the LEAD team increased its salary proposal by returning to an earlier salary request. At this point, the Board has met LEAD’s expectations regarding class sizes, but we have not reached agreement on salaries.”
Williamson said teachers will be on the picket line Tuesday and no additional bargaining session at planned at this point.
“We gave them the opportunity to avoid a strike by extending them an invitation to reconvene up until 9:00 p.m. tonight,” Williamson said. “The board did not accept this invitation. LEAD 300 has also requested to meet with the board’s team tomorrow (Tuesday, Dec. 4) to continue negotiations, but has been told that the board will get back to us tomorrow as to whether or not it can meet.”
“It’s not about walking out of a building, it’s about getting the contract settled,” Williamson said.