Still no deal in Prospect Heights Dist. 23 teacher strike
As negotiations continued late Friday night, the Prospect Heights Elementary District 23 school board stood by its "best and final" offer, which striking teachers have already rejected.
The walkout began Sept. 16, and during negotiations Wednesday morning, the school board made a last offer to the Prospect Heights Education Association: Raises between 2 percent and 3.75 percent each year of a four-year deal for the union's 150 members.
Although 92 percent of the union voted to reject the offer on Thursday morning, the school board continued to propose it during negotiations Thursday and Friday night.
On Friday night, the union proposed a three-year deal that would include roughly 4 percent pay raises for all teachers each year, Board President Mari-Lynn Peters said. The board rejected that proposal and again countered with its "best and final" offer," which Peters said they plan to stick to.
Union President Bob Miller could not be reached late Friday night, but he sent out a statement earlier in the afternoon saying he was frustrated with the growing stalemate.
"We are more than disappointed that the school board did not take the opportunity to get the parties closer to an agreement," Miller wrote. "It takes two sides to work through this problem and bring the strike to an end. We are doing our part. The school board is not."
The two sides were still meeting as of 11 p.m. Friday. The strike has kept 1,500 students from Prospect Heights, Arlington Heights, Mount Prospect and Wheeling out of the classroom for seven days so far.
"As teachers, we fully understand how difficult this situation has been for the entire community. It's been very difficult for all of us as well," Miller continued. "No one wants a strike. What we really want is to be back in the classrooms, providing the great education to our students that they and the community have come to expect and deserve."