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Article posted: 1/23/2013 8:50 PM

Grayslake Dist. 46 teachers contract not yet written

By Bob Susnjara

Although Grayslake Elementary District 46 board members and the teachers union reached a tentative contract agreement to end a strike this week, it may be two weeks or so before the sides formally vote on the deal.

District 46 board members held their first open meeting Wednesday night since the teachers walked off the job Jan. 16. Board President Ray Millington said details of the two-year contract must remain confidential until union members and the elected officials vote on whether to accept it.

If approved, the pact would cover the 2012-13 and 2013-14 academic years.

"The final agreement will be reduced to writing over the next week or so," Millington said. "The teachers will meet first to ratify the contract and then the contract will be given to the board to review and vote on. This process could take a couple of weeks. After ratification by the teachers and approval by the board, details will be released."

Negotiations between the district and the union began in February 2012. Talks for the final bargaining session began at 6 p.m. Sunday and spilled just past midnight into Monday, ending the three-day strike.

Steven Boxer, whose three children attend District 46 schools, spoke at Wednesday night's meeting and questioned why contract talks stretched for nearly a year.

"You're going to have to start negotiating fairly soon for the next contract," Boxer told the school board. "So, what mechanisms are you going to put in place so that two weeks don't go by, a month doesn't go by without (contract) meetings with the board and union, public meetings, whatever it might be."

Per standard board procedure, officials did not provide an immediate response to Boxer.

After a scheduled holiday Monday for Martin Luther King Jr. Day, about 4,000 children returned to classes at the district's seven schools Tuesday. Superintendent Ellen Correll said she visited all of the buildings.

"Business as usual," Correll said after Wednesday's meeting.

Teachers went on strike over retirement incentives, base salary and extra compensation for job-related advanced degrees. The 325 instructors had been working without a contract since July 1.

District 46 serves parts of Grayslake, Third Lake, Hainesville, Round Lake, Round Lake Park, Round Lake Beach and Lake Villa.

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