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Article updated: 1/31/2013 1:47 PM

Grayslake District 46 teachers approve their end of contract

By Bob Susnjara

While Grayslake Elementary District 46 teachers have voted in favor of a tentative new contract, the deal won't be official unless school board members do the same next week.

District 46 instructors voted 247-60 in favor of the two-year contract at a meeting Wednesday, said Lake County Federation of Teachers union business agent Jim Pergander. He said the number of negative votes was more than typically seen when a contract goes before teachers union members for ratification.

"I was not surprised," Pergander said. "Normally, contracts I work with have a larger (approval) margin than this one."

No details about the tentative deal will be released to the public until it receives school board approval. Board members are expected to vote on the contract at a meeting set for 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 6 at Grayslake Middle School.

District 46 teachers walked off the job Jan. 16 and spent three school days on strike, idling about 4,000 students. If the contract gains formal school board approval, it will cover the 2012-13 and 2013-14 academic years.

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.

Despite the teachers' contract going for an expected school board vote, labor negotiation are not over at District 46. Pergander said contract talks, led by a mediator, are scheduled Wednesday for another classification of about 180 union employees.

"They are vital in their own ways," Pergander said. "We're talking about professional (teaching) assistants. We're talking about the secretaires and custodians."

In December, the district announced it was accepting applications from candidates interested in working as replacements in the support staff positions. An impasse has not been declared by either side, but district officials had said the replacement employees were being sought in case negotiations break down.

District 46's support employees have been without a contract since July 1. Negotiations on a new deal began in February 2012.

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