Teachers strike in Prairie Grove School District 64 - FOX 32 News Chicago

Prairie Grove strike ends as teachers, district reach deal

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GRAYSLAKE, Ill. (FOX 32 News) -

Prairie Grove School District 46 Board of Education and the Prairie Grove Teacher's Association reached an agreement after over seven hours of talks Friday.

District 46 Superintendent Lynette Zimmer issued a statement Friday afternoon, stating that both sides were creative in resolving the remaining issue, health insurance contributions.

Students will have class on Monday, and extra-curriculars will proceed as scheduled.

Classes were canceled Friday, after representatives from the teacher's association and district officials could not come to an agreement during a six-hour negotiation with a federal mediator that extended late into Thursday night.

The teacher's union told the school board that they would be on strike starting Friday, according to an announcement on the district's website. The YMCA in Crystal Lake offered daycare alternatives for families with children affected by the strike.

The school board accused the teachers' union of adding several proposals at the last minute in the online statement.

The public was invited to observe, but not participate, in the negotiation process on Friday.

The district and union met with a federal mediator for more than six hours Thursday, according to the district website, which said the school board has agreed to union salary requests and the amount of money that it will contribute for heath insurance premiums.

Contract talks began last spring, with the impasse coming after about a dozen negotiating sessions. The most recent four-year contract expired in June.

"We've been successful with the board on non-economic issues," according to Jim Pergander, a representative for the Lake County Federation of Teachers. "But on the economic issues, there's been no movement at all for the most part."

Pergander declined to outline particulars of the union's contract proposal on Thursday, but said sticking points include salary and benefits.

The district has "moved on givebacks," he said, referring to benefits it had sought to end, and he pointed to the union's past responsiveness to a weak economy and the district's financial concerns.

In 2008, the union added a year with a lower increase - 2.75 percent - extending an already signed three-year contract to four years.

The Sun-Times Media Wire contributed to this report.

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