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Article updated: 10/16/2012 4:04 PM

North Shore District 112 teachers on strike

Northwood Junior High teachers from left, Linda Sticker, Suzanne Sosnowski and Bev Ramirez, join striking District 112 teachers picketing in front of Oak Terrace Elementary School in Highwood.

Northwood Junior High teachers from left, Linda Sticker, Suzanne Sosnowski and Bev Ramirez, join striking District 112 teachers picketing in front of Oak Terrace Elementary School in Highwood.

 

Bob Chwedyk | Staff Photographer

Striking District 112 teachers picket in front of Oak Terrace Elementary School in Highwood.

Striking District 112 teachers picket in front of Oak Terrace Elementary School in Highwood.

 

Bob Chwedyk | Staff Photographer

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Highland Park-area teachers remain on the picket lines after going on strike Tuesday.

Officials at North Shore Elementary District 112 announced on their website the school board and teachers union were unable to reach a settlement agreement after a late-night negotiating session.

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Lacking a new deal, union leaders called a strike that forced closure of the district's 12 elementary and middle schools in Highland Park and Highwood. The walkout has idled more than 4,600 students.

Administrators said most District 112 buildings will be closed. They said Green Bay Early Childhood Center, Oak Terrace Elementary and Northwood Junior High would remain open as activity centers for students who have preregistered to participate.

District officials said all after-school and evening activities have been suspended for the duration of the strike.

In final, best offers posted with the Illinois Educational Labor Relations Board on Sept. 28, the district is offering teachers a base raise of 0.85 percent for the 2012-13 academic year, followed by 0.62 in 2013-14 and a percentage equal to the state's tax cap in 2014-15.

District 112 officials say in documents filed with the state they must "discontinue the existing salary schedule structure because it is unsustainable."

Full-time returning teachers would receive a one-time $575 payment on top of their regular checks for the 2012-13 school season, according to the District 112 school board's three-year contract offer. They would get a one-time $1,000 payment on top of their salaries for the 2013-14 academic year.

North Shore Education Association union officials filed documents with the state saying the teachers seek a minimum base raise of 3.5 percent in 2012-13 and 3.2 percent in 2013-14 as part of a two-year deal.

"District 112 schools and its students have consistently performed at the top of the North Shore schools," say union documents filed with the state. "That is due not only to the committed families, but also to the dedicated teachers. "

Each side has blamed the other for the impasse.

School Board President Bruce Hyman said in a notice on the district website that the school system's negotiating team has presented the union with an improved proposal that showed substantial movement.

Hyman said the school board offered to pay professional growth for teachers who complete graduate coursework at an annual recurring cost of $225,000, and to cover insurance for part-time instructors on a prorated basis.

The board also offered to address union concern about the duration of the contract by eliminating the third year, he added.

However, Pamela Kramer, president of the North Shore Education Association, said the board went backward in negotiations late Monday, offering "the worst teacher contract in all of Lake County."

"This should have been a very easy contract to negotiate because we went in offering up huge concessions in health insurance," Kramer said. "But they wanted to get rid of much more than we were willing to let go."

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