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Last-ditch effort to avoid District 46 teachers’s strike

Other Lake County teacher unions that went on strike last year included Lake Forest High School District 115, which struck for a week in September, and North Shore elementary District 112 in Highland Park, where a strike was called Oct. 16. Deerfield elementary District 104 voted to strike, but a contract was signed in May.

Updated: February 17, 2013 6:30AM

It’s a drumbeat in the 4,000-student Grayslake elementary District 46, where a last-ditch mediation session Tuesday could end in either a tentative contract or a teacher strike.

Neither side sounded particularly hopeful before the start of the 3:45 p.m., session held at Park School in Round Lake. Superintendent Ellen Correll used the district Web site on Tuesday to publicize childcare arrangements and say she would use the district’s automated calling system to spread the good, or bad news by early today, Jan. 16.

School Board President Ray Millington issued the following statement: “The school board has attempted to discuss different scenarios with the union. Unfortunately, the union hasn’t accepted or countered any of our attempts to resolve the issues.”

Teachers voted overwhelmingly in October to authorize a strike after the district declared an impasse.

Jim Pergander, who represent’s 327 members under the Lake County Federation of Teachers, said talks have stalled over pay.

“Since we started talking money overall, the union has been negotiating with itself,” Pergander said. “Most of the monetary movement by the board has been relenting on takebacks.”

District 46 teachers, who earn an average $57,000 per year, rejected a last-best offer from the district that included a hard salary freeze, and cuts in retirement and extra duty pay.

Under its most recent proposal, the union, has agreed to a zero increase in the first year of a two-year contract. But it’s asking for 4.68 percent in the second year.

“We came in with a lean proposal offer knowing these are lean times,” Pergander said.

The district is still offering no raise for the first year, but last week proposed placing a previously proffered one-time $1,000 stipend into the salary schedule, which would amount to about a 1.75 percent increase.

“Is that movement?”
Pergander said. “I guess so. But its miniscule movement.”

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