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Grayslake teachers on strike beginning Wednesday

About 4,000 elementary and middle-school students in north suburban Grayslake will not be in class Wednesday morning after teachers for Community Consolidated School District 46 voted to go on strike late Tuesday night, officials said.

“Unfortunately, the Board of Education and D46 teachers were unable to reach an agreement. The teachers have informed the district that they will be on strike,” Supt. Ellen Correll said in a statement.

The strike will affect elementary and middle-school students from parts of Grayslake, Third Lake, Hainesville, Round Lake, Round Lake Park, Round Lake Beach and Lake Villa, according to the district’s website.

Earlier on Tuesday, negotiators for both sides did not sound hopeful that a deal could be struck before entering last-ditch talks. Teachers voted overwhelmingly in October to authorize a strike after the district declared an impasse.

Jim Pergander, who represent’s 327 members under the Lake County Federation of Teachers, said talks stalled over pay.

District 46 teachers, who earn an average $57,000 a year, rejected a last-best offer from the district that included a hard salary freeze and cuts in retirement and extra duty pay.

Under its most recent proposal, the union has agreed to a zero increase in the first year of a two-year contract. But it’s asking for 4.68 percent in the second year.

“We came in with a lean proposal offer knowing these are lean times,” Pergander said.

The district is still offering no raise for the first year, but last week it proposed placing a previously proffered one-time $1,000 stipend into the salary schedule, which would amount to about a 1.75 percent increase.

School board President Ray Millington criticized the teachers’ union in a statement released before teachers voted to strike.

“The school board has attempted to discuss different scenarios with the union. Unfortunately, the union hasn’t accepted or countered any of our attempts to resolve the issues,” he said in the statement.

In anticipation of the strike the district made day-care arrangements with nearby park districts.

Both the Grayslake Park District and the Round Lake Area Park District are offering childcare with daily fees ranging between $26 and $30, depending on the program.

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