Lake Forest High School back in session Monday, teachers or not - FOX 32 News Chicago

Lake Forest High School back in session Monday, teachers or not

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LAKE FOREST, Ill. (FOX 32 News) -

Teachers in Lake Forest may not be back in the classroom by Monday, but their students will.

SEE: Lake Forest teacher salary database

Lake Forest High School will have a mandatory "all day academic program" Monday. Buses will run, attendance will count, and school officials said most athletic events will be held.

Lake Forest teachers have been on strike since Wednesday. They said they need higher salaries to keep good teachers in the district.

PREVIOUS STORY: No Class for Lake Forest students as teachers strike over pay

After more than seven hours of negotiations between striking teachers and the District 115 board Friday, there is still no agreement between them.

The mediator suspended discussions at 4:20 p.m. Friday when the Lake Forest Education Association had not submitted its last, best offer, according to a statement released by the school board. The school board issued its best offer at 10 a.m., an hour into negotiations.

The union, however, said in a statement, teachers submitted a written counterproposal with financial concessions. At 4 p.m., the mediator informed the union there would be no response from the board.

The school board said there will be a full day of instructional programming on Monday, initially using temporary replacement staff.

The school board issued a call for replacement workers earlier in the week. By Thursday, the roster was full.

The school district reactivated teachers' district e-mail to deliver the message that they are welcome to come back to work on Monday.

LFEA negotiators will return to the bargaining table at 10 a.m. on Saturday with the hope that the school board will be willing to bargain "towards a fair and equitable contract."

"Each day the strike progresses, the adverse impact on our students increases," School Board President Sharon Golan said. "The board's primary goal remains the same — to serve our students."

Friday's negotiations following a nearly eight-hour session on Thursday in which the Board of Education said progress was made on numerous considerations.

Working through the mediator, the school board offered to defer the two-tier salary schedule to a faculty and board committee to come to a consensus, and agreed to phase in an HMO insurance change that would require teachers to pay more out-of-pocket, according to a statement released by the school board.

While the union said they put another financial offer on the table, the board contends the union is still demanding salary increases of 5 to 6.5 percent per year. According to the school board's statement, the board responded by rejecting those terms and requested an undisclosed counter proposal, which the union declined.

"We are deeply disappointed by the union's unrealistic expectations regarding salaries. Our offer keeps us highly competitive and fiscally responsible to the community we serve," Golan said.

Lake Forest Education Association lead negotiator Tom Gigiano disagreed and said the union viewed the board's action Thursday as no movement toward a compromise.

The 150 teachers walked out Wednesday in the first strike in the district, which serves 1,718 students, who come from Lake Forest, Lake Bluff and Knollwood.

The Sun-Times Media Wire contributed to this report.

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