New disagreement in Dist. 60 teacher's strike: school lunches


Along with teacher salary raises and benefits, something new was added to the list of things the Waukegan School District 60 administration and the teacher's union cannot agree on: school lunches.

In a post to the district website Sunday, the administration said union leadership was holding up a district plan to suspend the ongoing teacher's strike two hours a day to resume food service that is available to some students during the school year.

"The District cannot conduct this program without the Union's consent," Superintendent Donaldo Batiste said in the statement. "With their cooperation, we would be able to resume feeding our students, and bringing this District one step closer to normalcy."

Waukegan Teachers' Council President Kathy Schwarz called the district's post a publicity stunt.

Schwarz said Batiste informed her of the plan to feed the students on Friday and the two were emailing each other back and forth to try to come to a consensus on the plan.

She said Batiste stopped progress suddenly to issue a statement to the press that mischaracterizes our conversations.

"In one email, Dr. Batiste claimed he needed two weeks to process the food order and in the District's statement, he claimed food will be ready on Monday," Schwarz said in a statement Sunday. "Why didn't he approach us two weeks ago?"

Some 17,000 students, from kindergartners to high schoolers, have been out of school since the strike began on October 2. The district includes 23 school buildings.

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