Talks continue in Evergreen Park teachers strike

October 10, 2012 10:01:38 PM PDT
A new round of contract talks was underway Wednesday night to try to resolve the Evergreen Park teachers strike that started a week ago Tuesday.

Wednesday night, frustrated parents gathered to demand answers about why their children are still out of the classroom.

The teachers were camped out Wednesday night supporting the union's negotiation team. They planned to be there as long as negotiations are underway.

It was night of negotiations. While the two sides met at Central Junior High, teachers stand by outside, waiting for any developments.

"I am starting to be hopeful that we'll be in class (Thursday)," said teacher Mary Zofkie. "I'll be crushed if we're not."

"There is this glimmer of hope," said Jennifer Craig, 8th grade science teacher at Central Junior High. "We're really close."

But word from the district Wednesday night was different.

"I don't think the kids will be back in school (Thursday)," said Superintendent Dr. Robert Machak.

Teachers have been on strike six school days.

The sticking points remain salary, healthcare and retirement benefits.

And now, parents are speaking up. They're upset the school district is not responding to them.

"We've called them, sent them emails and nothing has been responded to," said parent Ray Richter.

"We need more open, joint communication, stop being 'us and them'" said parent Tim Scanlon. "Let's have us solve this and do this in an expedient, urgent fashion."

So while children, play, flipping cartwheels and facing more time off. parents are applying more pressure on the district.

"I believe we are the taxpayers, we are the ones they are working for and they need to address us face-to-face," said parent Liz Larmon.

"They want the hardest working people, but they want to pay the less for the quality they want to do," parent Yolanda Smith said. "So the word is shameful for what the board is doing to teachers."

The superintendent emphasized late Wednesday night that negotiations were still underway and that parents, "need to plan accordingly."


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