District 57, teachers union reach deal to avoid strike
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The Mount Prospect Elementary School District 57 board and Mount Prospect Education Association negotiators reached a tentative contract agreement late Monday, averting a potential teachers strike affecting more than 2,000 students.
In a joint statement from the teachers union and school district, officials said they met Monday evening for almost seven hours and hammered out the deal. Terms were not disclosed.
"The contract reflects a compromise by both sides and a win for the entire district," the statement reads.
School board President Karen Nejdl said the two sides began talks at about 5 p.m. and did not leave until midnight.
"It was long, but ultimately the results were worth it," Nejdl said.
Carolyn Story, spokeswoman for the teacher's union, echoed Nejdl's sentiment.
"We are just delighted and happy to have reached a satisfying agreement for everyone," she said.
Contract negotiations lasted for about a year. Story said it took so long because there had been several changes in the law, such as state pension reform and teacher performance evaluation reform, since the last contract.
"This is uncharted territory," Story said.
The two sides met for about seven hours Monday after a nine-hour bargaining session Sunday. District 57 teachers have been working without a contract since the last one expired June 30.
Union members voted overwhelmingly Jan. 30 to declare an intent to strike, clearing the way for a potential walkout this week.
Nejdl said she was relieved a strike was avoided.
"We're thrilled that our teachers are in the classroom today doing what they do best," she said. "They are wonderful teachers."
Story said she was also happy the teachers did not need to go through with a strike.
"It's just not good for anybody," Story said. "It's a last resort and I'm glad we did not to have to use it."
Additional information about the contract terms will be released after both parties have ratified the agreement, according to the joint statement.
Nejdl said the school board could ratify the deal at their Feb. 20 meeting.
Story said the union will meet Thursday to go over the details of the agreement, with a ratification vote expected Tuesday.
• Staff writer Lee Filas contributed to this story
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