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Teachers strike in Highland Park District 112

DebrVan Aman special educatiteacher Edgewood Middle School HighlPark carries 'Fair Settlement' sign between MirelVes(right) special educatiteacher Green Bay School Annette

Debra Van Aman, a special education teacher at Edgewood Middle School in Highland Park, carries a "Fair Settlement" sign between Mirela Vesa (right), a special education teacher at Green Bay School, and Annette Cronin, a special education teacher at Edgewood, outside the North Shore School District 112 offices in Highland Park with other teachers on strike on Tuesday, Oct. 16, 2012. | Ryan Pagelow~Sun-Times Media

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Updated: November 18, 2012 6:46AM

HIGHLAND PARK — Negotiators for the North Shore School District board and teachers expressed optimism heading into talks Tuesday after the union went on strike.

Teachers in the district, based in Highland Park, called a strike early Tuesday after a seven-hour negotiating session Monday failed to produce a contract settlement.

School Board President Bruce Hyman voiced hope the North Shore Education Association would provide a new counteroffer for board negotiators to review. Union President Pamela Kramer expressed dismay that the School Board had not come through with an offer that would be ratified by membership.

The North Shore Education Association represents more than 400 teachers in the school system, which serves about 4,300 pupils in Highland Park, Highwood and Fort Sheridan.

“The current offer by the board would cause North Shore School District 112 to fall behind 18 other Lake County districts,” said Kramer. Nonetheless, “The (union) remains hopeful that the contract negotiations can be settled quickly so that the strike is short-lived.”

All schools in the district are closed today with the exception of three facilities that will serve as activity centers for children whose families pre-registered last week.

“While the board is disappointed that our teachers are on strike, today is a new day and a new opportunity to make progress,” said Hyman, who expressed gratitude to the government agencies and nonprofit organizations that have stepped up to provide alternative programs for children during the strike.

Meanwhile, the Illinois Education Association announced early Tuesday that it had filed a charge of unfair labor practices with the Illinois Educational Labor Relations Board.

The unfair labor charge, filed Monday, alleges that the School Board has bargained in bad faith and has inaccurately portrayed the union’s proposals with the intention of undercutting the union’s credibility with the public and the teachers that it represents.

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