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updated: 6/24/2013 6:44 PM

Dist. 15 reaches tentative contract with transportation union

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After months of contentious negotiations that at one point spilled into the public forum, Palatine Township Elementary District 15 has reached a tentative contract with its transportation union.

The board will hold a special meeting at 6 p.m. Wednesday to vote on the agreement, which first needs to be ratified by a majority of the union's roughly 200 members.

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If approved, the deal would end to efforts to privatize busing, an initiative the district began exploring more than a year ago as a way to save money and gain more control over operations.

Superintendent Scott Thompson on Monday night declined to comment on the contract or provide any details until after Wednesday's special meeting, saying it would be premature.

District 15 Transportation Union President Carin Ulrich couldn't immediately be reached for comment.

The board of education also will vote to rescind the reduction-in-force layoff notices that went out to employees in March. The district said the move was necessary to keep the option of outsourcing busing on the table.

Union officials said turning the service over to Durham School Services, the lone private company that submitted an offer in a second round of the bidding process, would cost the district $750,000 more over three years compared to keeping operations in-house.

However, District 15 officials maintained outsourcing through Durham would save about $1.5 million over the same period.

The special meeting Wednesday will take place at the Joseph M. Kiszka Educational Service Center, 580 N. First Bank Drive, Palatine.

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