Evergreen Park teachers, union resume negotiations

October 11, 2012 9:28:47 PM PDT
Evergreen Park teachers and District 124 resumed negotiations Thursday evening after parents were left to deal with a seventh day without school.

The strike began nine days ago.

There's no word if progress is being made.

The teachers union and the school board wrapped up its previous meeting early Thursday after talking through the night on Wednesday.

Some working parents found temporary relief at the Jacob's Well Church Community.

The church is providing a safe place for children to spend their days while the strike continues.

Parents are welcome to drop their children off from 8:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. There is no charge for the service, which is run by volunteers that include teachers, parents and church members.

"Other parents might not be home. I know some parents are taking off work in order to stay home with their children or sending them to other people's homes. I'm glad we're here today to give them a place to go," said Daneen Klauba, a parent who is volunteering at the church.

Meanwhile, the bitter feud between teachers and the school board continues.

The union claims that school officials and board members have communicated that if any teachers are injured at the church while volunteering, their health insurance would not cover the injury.

However, a school official told ABC7 that all teachers volunteering at the church are covered by health insurance, with the exception of a workers comp claim.

Teachers have expressed their discontent with the school district while picketing.

"There doesn't seem to be any urgency with the board. It almost seems like they want to break us but instead they fired us up and made us stronger. We're tired, we don't want to be out here, we want to be back in the classroom," said Sherrie Sabbath, teacher.

The cool temperatures didn't stop Sabbath and her colleagues from marching the picket lines Thursday. And on Wednesday night, negotiations between the two parties ended at 2:00 a.m. while teachers camped outside.

Parents, who say they are upset that the school district has not been communicative, joined them.

"My word today is 'shameful.' It's shameful what the board is doing to teachers," said parent Yolanda Smith.

"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.

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

The district superintendent says a few key issues need to fall in place, with the main sticking point being retirement benefits. But since negotiations have continued late into Thursday evening, it is likely that students may not be in school on Friday.


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