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‘Both sides need to show trust, listen’

Grayslake School District 46 teachers went out strike walking picket line waving motorists front Frederick School. | Thomas Delany Jr.~

Grayslake School District 46 teachers went out on strike walking the picket line and waving to motorists in front of Frederick School. | Thomas Delany Jr.~ Sun-Times Media

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Updated: February 19, 2013 2:02PM

With a possible strike on the horizon, Grayslake District 46 officials began recruiting “replacement” teachers on Dec. 20.

Superintendent Ellen Correll has said that, in the event of a strike, no plan for temporary replacements would be rushed immediately into effect.

But School Board President Ray Millington, the district’s designated spokesperson, could not be reached for comment on the matter on Wednesday, the first day of a strike by the Grayslake Federation of Teachers, which includes 325 certified teachers and other education professionals.

Mike McGue, president of the Lake County Federation of Teachers, called any plan to open schools during the strike, which will continue today, Jan. 17, “a silly idea.”

“Teachers are going to make up every single day that is lost,” McGue said. “The kids are going to get their time in. If the parents want B-leaguers to come in and baby-sit the kids, they’re the ones that will get the short end of the stick because they’re not going to get the education they deserve.”

Bob Emerick of Hainesville, who has two children in District 46 schools, said the strike means precious time lost on curriculum. He’s worried about any plan to bring in “temps” and that such a move could extend the strike.

“I think the school board has decided, at this point, not to negotiate,” Emerick said. “Both sides need to show trust and they need to listen.”

Parent Gayle Miller, who has an eighth-grader in the district, doesn’t like the idea of temp teachers either.

“Quality is obviously a concern, but I don’t think they could get enough qualified subs to cross a picket line,” said Miller, a resident of Third Lake. “They are in essence co-workers of teachers who are picketing; they have relationships with them. The idea that the board would rely on and plan for subs to cross the picket line is an inappropriate solution. It shows a lack of good faith.”

McGue, who visited union members protesting outside Prairieview School in Hainesville along with Diane Elfering, a third-grade teacher at Park School in Round Lake and president of the Grayslake Federation of Teachers, said good salaries and benefits help keep highly qualified teachers.

“Just four out of 10 new teachers make it to 10 years,” McGue said.

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