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Impasse declared in Barrington teacher contract talks

Updated: February 26, 2013 6:32AM

BARRINGTON — Barrington area teachers may be the next ones walking a picket line.

The bargaining team representing the Barrington Education Association declared an impasse in negotiations early Thursday with the Barrington 220 Board of Education.

Since last spring, the two sides have met regularly to discuss a new contract for district teachers. Teachers have been working under the terms of an expired contract since August.

A federal mediator was called in last month to assist in the discussions, but the impasse declaration signals the bargaining units remain unable to close in on agreeable terms.

According to Illinois State Law, the declaration of an impasse starts the clock on a seven-day window for both sides to agree on a deal.

“If within that seven-day window, if there isn’t an agreement, both sides are required by state law to submit their last and final offers to the Illinois Education Labor Relations Board,” said Jeff Arnett, chief communications officer for District 220.

Seven days after those offers are submitted, they will be made available to the public, officials explained.

Both sides then have 14 more days to hammer out a deal. If no agreement is reached, the teachers union may initiate a work stoppage.

A Barrington 220 Board of Education newsletter, sent at 2:38 a.m. Thursday, reminded parents and community members that an impasse does not mean a strike is imminent. The federal mediator will continue to assist in negotiations in the specified time.

According to the district, the earliest legal date a work stoppage could begin is Feb. 20. District leaders said they will make the necessary arrangements in preparation of a potential a strike, and also pledged to continue sharing details with the community throughout the process.

The Board of Education also released a statement that it remains hopeful an agreement can be reached to avert a work stoppage.

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