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updated: 4/9/2014 5:23 PM

Teachers strike averted in Waukegan Unit District 60

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Waukegan Unit District 60 has reached a tentative contract settlement with its teachers, averting a threatened walkout that was set for next week.

Officials announced the tentative deal was reached Wednesday afternoon. Both sides need to ratify the contract for it to become official.

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"We are elated to have reached an agreement that ends the potential for a work stoppage. This tentative agreement affirms the district's commitment to our students, staff and community. It avoids a disruptive strike and returns the focus to education," District 60 Superintendent Donaldo R. Batiste said.

A union representative was not immediately available for comment.

About 17,000 students would have been idle if a strike had occurred next Wednesday.

Varied salary increases are expected for each teacher under the preliminary agreement, according to District 60. Full details will be released if the deal is approved by both sides.

An impasse in negotiations was declared Feb. 4. Talks between the two sides started last spring for what the union contends was supposed to be a salary "reopener" for the 2013-14 contract, but instead has been focused on health coverage.

District 60 officials had contended a strike couldn't be called before June 30 because a contract is in place.

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