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Lake Forest teachers, board back at bargaining table

Lake Forest High School math teacher Jennifer Snell joined fellow striking teachers school earlier this month. Deerfield teachers narrowly avoided

Lake Forest High School math teacher Jennifer Snell joined fellow striking teachers at the school earlier this month. Deerfield teachers narrowly avoided a strike earlier this year. | Thomas Delany Jr.~ Sun-Times Media

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Updated: November 13, 2012 1:16AM

LAKE FOREST — Contract negotiations between the Lake Forest High School Board of Education and the teachers union began at 2 p.m. Thursday — the first time the two sides were back at bargaining table since the teachers strike began Wednesday.

As negotiations were under way at the District 115 West Campus on Waukegan Road, picketing teachers packed up their belongings and cleaned the area in front of the high school’s East Campus on McKinley Road around 3:10 p.m., bringing a close to the second day of picketing.

A Lake Forest Education Association spokesperson reported to the striking teachers that negotiations began as scheduled and that union leaders remained hopeful they would reach a fair and equitable contract. However, negotiations ended at 9:20 with no resolution.

Both sides agreed to meet at 9 a.m. Friday morning to resume talks. There will be no school.

“We’re going to keep going until we have that fair contract,” Peter Lubliner said.

In a statement released earlier Thursday, lead LFEA negotiator Tom Gigiano said that “after waiting for more than 39 hours to hear the board’s response to our last offer, the LFEA looks forward to substantial negotiations at 2 p.m. today. We will continue to work toward a fair and equitable contract agreement.”

For the first time in school history, high school District 115 teachers walked picket lines.

The 150 teachers walked out because of a two-tier wage system that union representatives said would reduce the quality of teachers that get hired, as well as other salary issues.

School officials have kept the doors open for the district’s 1,718 students — from Lake Forest, Lake Bluff and Knollwood — who want tutoring or to attend other extracurricular activities like theater. But high school athletics have been placed on hold, with the school district promising to make up canceled contests.

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