Prospect Heights teachers ratify new deal, strike ends

Prospect Heights Elementary District 23 teachers ratified a tentative four-year contract Sunday afternoon, a vote that will put an end to a seven-day strike and get students back in school Monday.

Teacher union officials declined to comment on the vote or the terms of the new deal. The District 23 Board of Education will meet Tuesday night, and if the board ratifies the agreement, the district and Prospect Heights Education Association will release a joint statement containing details on the agreement, according to a statement from the union.

School board President Mari-Lynn Peters said she expects the board to vote similarly Tuesday night.

"I think this is wonderful because the teachers ratifying the contract means the kids will be going back to school tomorrow," she said. "Hopefully we can get everything back to normal as soon as possible."

The news also came as a relief to parents, many of whom have struggled over the past 10 days to find places for their children to go when they normally would have been in school.

"Like everyone else, we're for the teachers. We love the teachers," said parent Jim Lucas. "But we want (our daughter) to get back to school, too."

Teachers walked out Sept. 16 after months of negotiations between the union and school board failed to reach agreement on a contract.

Last week, the school board issued its "best and final," which was promptly rejected by the union.

The final proposal included a four-year contract that would give teachers a 3.75 percent raise the first year, a 3.5 percent raise the second year and 3.25 percent raises in the third and fourth years. High-wage earners, or those making more than $90,000 per year, would receive a 3 percent raise the first year and a 2 percent raise the other three years of the contract.

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