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updated: 5/31/2012 6:17 PM

Dist. 15, teachers still hoping for deal by June 6

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Palatine Township Elementary District 15 officials and teachers union representatives have long said they hoped to wrap up contract negotiations by the end of the school year.

That day is quickly approaching, however, and the parties involved have yet to reach a deal. Still, Superintendent Scott Thompson said he believes they could meet Wednesday's soft deadline, well before the current three-year deal expires at the end of August.

"We're continuing to meet and remain optimistic," he said. "Hopefully under this time crunch we'll be able to get to an agreement that suits everyone."

Thompson said another negotiating session is scheduled for Thursday, and that while he can't provide any specifics, it's possible there could be news in the next couple days. If that's not the case, Thompson expects the timetable will be set for later in the summer.

Classroom Teachers' Council President Lisa Nuss did not return email and phone messages.

The CTC, which represents about 830 teachers, District 15 and the District 15 school board all have kept quiet so far about the progress being made, a big difference from a few months ago.

In March, the CTC ran a series of ads in the Daily Herald decrying program and staff cuts. They accused the district of overstating its financial problems, emphasized the union's commitment to deliver quality education and also urged the school board to stop "pitting the community against the teachers."

With hundreds of teachers in attendance to show their support, Nuss then spoke at the March school board meeting to express teachers' frustrations and also share their commitment to negotiate in a spirit of fairness to reach a deal by the school year's end.

The District 15 board that same night unanimously approved $6 million in budget cuts to help erase the $9.6 million deficit projected next year. In April, Thompson presented "historical financial facts" to back up the administration's financial claims that had been called into question by the CTC.

The district also is in contract negotiations with the Service Employees International Union, which represents custodians and maintenance staff. Its current deal expires June 30.

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