Updated: October 16, 2012 7:30AM
Teachers in North Shore School District 112 have called a strike for Tuesday after a seven-hour negotiating session failed to produce a contract settlement.
All schools in the district will be closed on Tuesday with the exception of three facilities that will serve as activity centers for children whose families pre-registered last week.
In statements released after midnight, negotiators for the District 112 School Board and the North Shore Education Association blamed the other side for the breakdown. Another negotiating session is set to begin at noon Tuesday.
NSEA President Pamela Kramer expressed dismay that the School Board did not make an offer that would be ratified by her membership.
“The (union) began the bargaining session in an optimistic frame of mind,” said Kramer.
“The current offer by the board would cause North Shore School District 112 to fall behind 18 other Lake County districts.
“The (union) remains hopeful that the contract negotiations can be settled quickly so that the strike is short-lived.”
School Board representatives said their negotiating team offered some concessions that remained “faithful to the board’s pledge to deliver a balanced budget.” The School Board offered a two-year proposal to address the union’s concerns about the length of a three-year contract.
“Board members still believe that it is possible to arrive at a fair settlement that will allow the District to live within its means, while at the same time providing its employees with competitive compensation, meaningful professional growth opportunities, and an excellent teaching and learning environment,” noted a statement from the School Board.
Members of the teachers’ union marched outside the district’s Highland Park headquarters before the start of the last-ditch bargaining session. They carried placards with slogans such as, “Honk if you love your teacher” and “If you want your students to be first, you can’t put teachers last”.
“None of us wants a strike but we will strike if we have to,” said Lindsay Yoelin, crisis team co-chair for the North Shore Education Association and immediate past president of the union. “If that’s what it takes to get our message across, we will be striking, though it is the last thing any of us wants to do.”
The union represents more than 400 teachers in the school system, which serves about 4,300 pupils in Highland Park, Highwood and Fort Sheridan.