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posted: 12/10/2012 12:01 AM

District 300, teachers continue to work on contract

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The tentative labor agreement that ended the Carpentersville-based Community Unit District 300 teacher strike is still being adjusted ahead of a vote by teachers and school board members.

Mike Williamson, LEAD 300 teachers union spokesman, said a long, productive session with district negotiators Friday was amiable and collaborative. With both sides in general agreement on the content of the contract, specific language is all that is left to be finalized.

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"We're getting pretty close," Williamson said Sunday.

Joe Stevens, school board member and district spokesman on matters dealing with negotiations, agreed Friday's meeting was productive. The bargaining teams hashed out details of the contract from about 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m., after having compromised on major issues in a bargaining session last Tuesday that prompted the end of the one-day strike.

Details of the agreement are being withheld by both sides until everyone in a position to vote on the contract has a chance to see it.

When the teachers union called the strike, they cited class sizes and compensation as the major issues yet to be resolved. Williamson said the negotiating session Dec. 4 -- which started on the afternoon of the strike -- gave the bargaining teams the chance to compromise on issues where there was previously major disagreement.

Once those were out of the way, Williamson said the union felt comfortable calling off the strike and leaving the more minor details to be hashed out with teachers and students back in school.

Williamson said the teachers union may be ready to meet Dec. 16 to present the finished contract to its approximately 1,300 members. Teachers will need sufficient time to read over the document before actually voting on it, after which the board of education will do the same.

Stevens said the board likely will call a special session to vote on the contract once the teachers have made their decision.

Negotiations have been ongoing for 11 months to replace the now-expired 2011-2012 contract. The new contract will serve the district through the 2014-2015 academic year.

"We're just anxious to have it behind us," Stevens said.

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