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State won’t count two Lake Forest strike days

Updated: October 26, 2012 2:12PM

LAKE FOREST — The Illinois State Board of Education is not accepting the two strike days during which Lake Forest High School held classes as legal school days.

State Superintendent Chris Koch ruled the programming did not meet “minimum standards” for all grade levels, ISBE spokeswoman Mary Fergus said Monday.

How those two days will be made up is under discussion by District 115.

“That’s something that’s determined at a local level,” Fergus said.

By law, school must be in session 180 calendar days.

Classes were held Sept. 17 and Sept. 18 during the teachers’ strike and offered alternative programming. Some 1,400 students of the district’s 1,718 attended school on those days.

According to the Illinois administrative code, a school day must include language arts, science, math and history for all grade levels for it to be counted as a legal school day.

The district did meet two of three conditions for a legal school day, Fergus said. Those conditions were that at least 50 percent of the district’s students attended and the teachers hold certificates that are registered with the regional superintendent.

The alternate programming was led by administrators and substitutes.

The teachers’ strike started Sept. 19 and ended Sept. 26.

The terms of the Lake Forest High School teachers contract likely won’t be made public until the next Board of Education meeting, scheduled for Oct. 9.

“We anticipate the board will be reviewing it then,” District 115 spokeswoman Anne Whipple said. “At that meeting, the terms of the agreement would be made public.”

The Lake Forest Education Association members heard the highlights of the four-year contract after school Thursday from their negotiating team, LFEA spokesman Chuck Gress said.

“It is a very fair agreement and compromise on both sides,” Gress said. He would not give details of the contract that negotiators hammered out to put an end to the first teachers’ strike in district history.

The 150 teachers represented by the union need to ratify the contract before the school board reviews it.

The last contract expired June 30. It was a one-year contract in which teacher pay was frozen. The LFEA was requesting raises between 5.6 percent and 6.5 percent over a three-year contract. The school board was offering 2.6 percent and 3.4 percent salary increases.

Current starting salary for teachers with a bachelor’s degree is $50,116 and $56,007 for teachers with a master’s degree. At the top of the scale, a teacher with a doctorate and 25 years of experience receives an annual salary of $127,649.

The current average salary for a teacher in District 115 is more than $100,000.

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