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Article updated: 1/31/2013 5:45 PM

District 220, teachers submit final offers

By Eric Peterson

Barrington Unit District 220 and its teachers union sent their "last and final" offers to the Illinois Educational Labor Relations Board Thursday afternoon, having failed to reach a contract agreement Wednesday night.

Two further negotiation meetings are scheduled for Friday and Tuesday as they try to reach a deal ahead of a potential strike Feb. 21. The school board already has moved its regular meeting scheduled for Tuesday, Feb. 5 to Monday, Feb. 4 in order to accommodate the negotiations.

"There were some great discussions," school board President Brian Battle said Thursday of Wednesday's session between the district's and teachers' representatives. "I'm sure both parties will review the last and final offers we exchanged this afternoon."

With two more negotiation meetings to occur in the next few days, the "last and final" offers published by the state next Thursday may or may not still be the ones both parties are considering, Battle said.

And no matter how much longer negotiations go on, there is no legal obligation to update those published offers.

Because the Barrington Education Association, which represents the nearly 700 teachers, declared an impasse in negotiations last week, the two sides were given until 5 p.m. Thursday to submit their so-called last and final offers to the labor relations board. If no agreement is reached by Thursday, Feb. 7, the labor relations board will then publish those final offers.

If the impasse continues for another two weeks beyond that, teachers could legally 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. That strike lasted three days, district sources said.

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