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Article updated: 1/30/2013 3:38 PM

Earliest possible District 220 strike now Feb. 21

By Eric Peterson

Barrington Unit District 220's school board and teachers union have agreed to shift the timeline for their post-impasse contract negotiations by one day, pushing the earliest possible start of a teachers' strike out to Feb. 21.

That also allows Wednesday night's scheduled negotiations to take place before the deadline for both sides to submit their last and final offers to the Illinois Educational Labor Relations Board -- now 5 p.m. Thursday.

The Barrington Education Association, which represents the district's nearly 700 teachers, declared an impasse in the mediated negotiations early last Thursday morning. By law, both sides then had seven days to file their last and final offers to the labor relations board.

But District 220 board President Brian Battle said districts have used different calculations to determine the first day after a declaration of impasse -- some calling it the day of the declaration and others the day after.

The BEA requested this week that the deadline be considered the end of the business day on Thursday and the school board agreed, Battle said.

If no agreement is reached in the seven days after that, the labor relations board will publish both sides' last and final offer on Thursday, Feb. 7.

John Brosnan, special counsel to the Illinois Educational Labor Relations Board, said the full seven days always are taken before posting the offers. It's the first and only direct involvement the board takes in a district's contract talks, he added.

"We don't get involved very much with negotiations," Brosnan said.

If no agreement is reached in the two weeks after that, teachers legally could strike as early as Thursday, Feb. 21.

The union and school board have been negotiating since March toward a new contract to succeed the one that expired at the end of August 2012. A federal mediator became involved in December.

District 220 teachers last went on strike in 1980.

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